Sanford Underground Research Facility Sponsors Immersive Water Experience in the Kirby Science Discovery Center

May 24, 2023

Sioux Falls, SD — The Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), managed by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, has agreed to sponsor the new immersive water experience coming this summer to the Kirby Science Discovery Center. The former “Room to Grow” exhibit on the second floor is currently under construction to create a new, one-of-a-kind experience.

“The Sanford Underground Research Facility is proud to have a new partnership with the Washington Pavilion—one of South Dakota’s premier science education and outreach centers. We look forward to the opportunity to share the excitement of the Sanford Underground Research Facility with our neighbors in eastern South Dakota,” says Mike Headley, Executive Director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority and Laboratory Director of SURF.

The new immersive water experience will include interactive, colorful and educational features to help children learn about the phases of water through fog pipes, fog mushrooms and rain clouds. Children also will explore how water moves through aqueducts, conveyors, faucets, river channels, squirt guns, whirlpools, fountains and more, all while having fun.

The Sanford Underground Research Facility is sponsoring the exhibit in addition to partnering with the Washington Pavilion on programming opportunities. As America’s deepest underground science laboratory, SURF has a mission to support the advancement of world-class science and inspire learning across generations. The organization develops unique K–12 outreach programs for future scientists, delivers exciting opportunities for discovery to community audiences, creates collaborative spaces for scientists from around the world and supports extraordinary projects.

“We are so grateful for the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s investment in the Kirby Science Discovery Center and excited to see children using this fun space later this summer,” says Kerri DeGraff, Chief Operating Officer with Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. “This exhibit will be unique to our museum and offer both hands-on learning and full-on joy to those who come here.”

Construction is currently underway to make physical improvements in the space, including new flooring, paint, wall graphics and the physical exhibit. The Washington Pavilion has engaged Boss Display to design the exhibit.

The sponsorship agreement is valued at $80,000 over five years, which includes funding to offer a day of free admission to the Kirby Science Discovery Center and Visual Arts Center after the new immersive water exhibit opens in early July. More details on the grand opening and free admission day are coming soon!

For more information and visuals, go to

About Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. (WPMI)
Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the largest arts organization in the state. The management company oversees and programs two historic City of Sioux Falls facilities: the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science and the Orpheum Theater Center. The company also provides professional management services, including administration; arts, science and educational programming; ticketing; event management; marketing; and more to other arts and nonprofit organizations. For information, please visit


About Sanford Underground Research Facility

The Sanford Underground Research Facility is located in Lead, S.D., and hosts world-leading research experiments in physics, biology, geology and engineering. Dubbed America’s Underground Science Laboratory, it is managed by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority.


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