Children's Museum of Cleveland

Wonder Lab


Imaginative Transformation

In December 2014, the Children's Museum of Cleveland purchased the historic Stager-Beckwith mansion in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood. The mansion, which would be the museum's first permanent home, needed a major overhaul before opening its doors to the public in 2017. As part of that transformation, the museum hired Boss Display to create the Wonder Lab, a science-based gallery that uses water and balls for imaginative play and fun-filled learning.


Everyone in the family enjoys watching the balls get launched to the top of the spiral track on the Laminar Ball Launch!

Push the button to inject air into the water creating bubbles that travel to the top of the tube

Diverter Boxes switch the air flow from one tube to another alternating the path the scarves travel.


Incorporating Open-Endedness

To begin, we needed to incorporate a level of open-endedness into the design so children could enjoy different interactive experiences each time they visit the museum. This is perhaps most evident in the Magnetic Ball Wall, Light Table, Slate Paint Wall, and various water table components including the Adaptable Aqueducts, Fog Pipes, and the Sink Interactive.


Doing It Over and Over Again

The next-best thing to open-endedness is an experience that's so enjoyable and fun that visitors don't mind doing it over and over again. That's the feeling kids get at the Air Maze, where fabric scarves are propelled through pneumatic tubes before exiting high overhead and slowly floating to the ground. The pathways stay the same, but a simple turn of a diverter determines which direction the scarves will travel.


Everyone I’ve met at Boss Display has been extremely knowledgeable, handy and fun to work with. They are a fantastic team.
— Karen Katz, Exhibit Designer at Children's Museum of Cleveland


Having Fun While Building Confidence

Wonder Lab, which is steeped in creativity, gets high marks for its industrial science laboratory vibe. It's a place where kids can put on a lab coat and use trial and error to explore how things work and learn about the scientific principles of air, water flow and gravity. In the end, the Wonder Lab emerged as a place where children can have fun while building confidence and developing social and emotional skills through hands-on, exploratory play.



  • Blower ball lift with track and movable magnetic ball wall components

  • Slate paint wall where kids use paint brushes to draw on the wall, only to see their creation disappear before their eyes

  • Air maze where visitors can track the movement of colored scarves as they travel through flexible tubes 

  • Light table on which visitors can experiment with translucent prisms and magnetic tiles to explore color theory

  • Sink table with basins, faucets and toys for interactive water play

  • Button activated bubble tubes featuring different types and configurations of bubbles

  • Two interactive water exhibits featuring :

    • Adaptable Aqueducts 

    • Water Vortex

    • Laminar Ball Launchers

    • Whirlpool

    • Interactive Rain Clouds

    • Button Activated Faucets

    • Water Bernoulli

    • Interactive Wand Fountain

    • Fog Pipes

    • Water Mushroom