Roanoke Attractions Bouncing Back
Roanoke, VA - Roanoke's Center in the Square is now into its third month since its grand reopening.
The $30 million project completely gutted the downtown building to create a whole new experience. So far, officials say things are going well, but they're not perfect.
Officials running the center say things are moving along very well. The new butterfly garden that makes up part of the Science Museum of Western Virginia's draw is finally where it needs to be three months after opening.
Museum officials recently got the final documents needed to bring in more colorful and exotic insects.
"They were crucial to get this exhibit to where we want it to be," said Derek Kellogg, whose job it is to take care of these critters. After all, without them, the display just didn't quite live up to its expectations.
"We have made a major leap forward both in the diversity of the species we have available and also somewhat in just the color ranges that are available. There's a lot wider range of colors that the tropicals are bringing in," said Kellogg.
Critics have complained about the museum, but museum officials have been offering visit vouchers and reduced admission.
The museum says it's trying to keep the customers happy while they work out the kinks.
"We know some of our big exhibits are not in place yet - although we have a lot of things to see - we still have other things coming in. We want you to see those," said Jim Rollings with the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
The museums are also facing some financial challenges-- some worse than others. The History Museum of Western Virginia laid off two top administrators just two weeks after the re-opening.
To center management, that's a minor wrinkle that pales in comparison to the success the majority of the attractions have been seeing.
"The truth is every museum has more exhibits than they have had in the past. You can take the atrium with the fish with the rooftop and put them with the museums and the people coming to the Center have a lot more than they had three years ago," said Dr. James Sears, president of Center In The Square -
Other than a few cosmetic issues that need to be addressed, many are excited and they think they are now just starting to hit their full stride. So people can expect to see a lot more stuff rolled out for the public over the next few weeks.