Published On: Wed, Nov 17th, 2021

South Florida Science Center Launches Capital Expansion with $20 Million Lead Gift and New Name

The Multimillion-Dollar Gift Made by Howard and Wendy Cox will Launch the Center’s Capital Expansion Set to Debut in 2025

Artist Rendering of newly named Cox Science Center & Aquarium

County Commissioner Robert Weinroth attended the celebration where the leadership for the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium announced impressive expansion plans today along with a name change, thanks to a record donation from Palm Beach residents Howard and Wendy Cox.

Their $20 million lead gift launches a capital campaign to take the new Cox Science Center and Aquarium into the future with plans for an additional 130,000 total square feet of space for programming including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) awareness and education. The Coxs’ gift is the largest single gift in the Center’s 60-year history and serves as the keystone for a $45 million expansion campaign.

“The Science Center has long served as an iconic educational and cultural resource for visitors of all ages and backgrounds in our community,” said Howard Cox. “Wendy and I are committed to helping provide it with the resources it needs to fulfill its mission. Home to the nation’s 10th-largest public school system, Palm Beach County is more than worthy of a top-10 environment outside of the classroom to foster STEM education and knowledge for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We hope our gift will inspire contributions to the capital campaign by others in the community and increase awareness of the new Cox Science Center’s offerings and value to the greater South Florida region.”

Wendy and Howard Cox, Lew Crampton, Dave Kerner and Keith James

Surrounded by colorful renderings of the Center’s exciting expansion plans, Cox Science Center President and CEO Kate Arrizza, along with Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, City of West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and Board Chair Lew Crampton, delivered the news to a cheering crowd of supporters, dignitaries and media. The group assembled outdoors at the Center’s Cox Amphitheater for a front-row seat to the history-making news as they ceremoniously unveiled the new Cox Science Center logo.

“This transformative gift will allow us to offer Palm Beach County residents and visitors the Science Center they deserve,” said Arrizza. “This investment in facilities and exhibits will take our Center to new heights in terms of our visitor engagement and financial performance. The new Cox Science Center offers far greater capacity to provide cutting-edge STEM education programs both on-site and virtually through a range of digital platforms. In short, it allows us to empower the next generation of STEM leaders and truly fulfill our mission to ‘open every mind to science’.”

Expansion plans include renovated spaces, a new three-story science pavilion visible from I-95, new outdoor exhibition spaces and one of Florida’s largest indoor aquariums. The new Cox Science Center is on track to serve more than 600,000 visitors and program participants annually, including thousands more through virtual programming, inspiring and educating them and advancing the local economy. 

As design and fundraising plans continue, construction on the expansion is anticipated to begin in early 2023 and the Center expects to remain open for education and enjoyment during construction phases. A grand opening to the public is targeted for 2025.

Leading the campaign efforts on behalf of the Science Center is chairman of the board and Palm Beach resident, Lew Crampton. 

“In 2017 our board and staff developed a strategic plan to position us to go from ‘good to great’ by 2025,” said Crampton. “We envisioned a multi-phase approach to improving and expanding facilities and enhancing the visitor experience. The first two phases of that strategy were completed in 2019 and 2020 with the opening of ‘Journey Through the Human Brain’ and the Cox Amphitheater. The final phase was envisioned as a major expansion of the Center’s facilities, and we are so grateful to Wendy and Howard for their support in helping us officially launch that final expansion phase today.”

Other important partners in the expansion include broad Science Center board support, Harvard Jolly Architecture, Hedrick Brothers Construction, Roto, H2R Market Research, George Philanthropy Group, EMS Consulting, Hall Aquatic Design and Science Center staff.

The name change to Cox Science Center and Aquarium takes effect immediately. Honoring the Science Center’s transformative evolution will be the centerpiece of the institution’s Diamond Anniversary Gala – 60 Years of Science: An Electrifying Experience. Hosted at the Center on December 4, guests are invited to learn more and support the campaign while enjoying high-voltage entertainment, captivating cuisine and artisan cocktails. The evening will recognize six decades of support from the hardworking individuals who brought the Center to this moment while it looks to an exciting future.

“We are thrilled to continue the progress so many generous and visionary donors and visitors have made to get the Science Center to this pivotal point of growth. The Center has exhibited strong board leadership, staff and friends to enable this confident launch,” said Wendy Cox, who is a member of the Science Center’s board.

The Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s current indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000-gallon fresh and saltwater aquarium, digital planetarium, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” 18-hole conservation-themed Mini-Golf Course and quarter-mile-long outdoor science trail. The newest additions include “Journey Through the Human Brain,” a permanent exhibit which features the most advanced neuroscience research in the world and the Cox Amphitheater, which hosts daily live science shows, seasonal laser shows, and special event programming. The Center is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9am-5pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm.

For information on supporting the Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s capital campaign, visit CoxScienceCenter.org/Support-Us or contact Marcy Hoffman at [email protected]. For general information on Cox Science Center exhibits and programs, visit CoxScienceCenter.org or call 561.832.1988.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>