Around Cape: Visit Discovery Playhouse


One of the exhibits at Discovery Playhouse.

Downtown Cape Girardeau’s Discovery Playhouse has made its mark as a learning experience for all ages and as a safe haven for thousands of families over the past few years.

This 501 C 3 non-profit children’s museum has provided numerous much-needed services to our community, such as their ‘Museums For All’ program, which allowed over four thousand families into the facility free of charge, and the opening of the Playhouse Cupboard food pantry in early 2020 which has served hundreds of individuals.

Executive director of Discovery Playhouse, Micheal Toeinsketter, said, “I think the Playhouse has impacted the community differently over the course of its existence. When it was first realized, it was meant to be a safe haven for the little ones, and its original purpose was to provide St. Louis and Memphis style experiences here at home.” Toeinsketter also points out that the museum has become “more of a learning space now and a safe space with the new programs we are planning on rolling out. It will continue to impact the community for longer than I will be here, so that is something that I am excited for.”

While Discovery Playhouse maybe a children’s museum, the managing team has made an effort to entertain not only the kids that walk through their doors but the adults as well.

“We also have to make sure we’re engaging their adults, and that’s one of the things we have been working on. We also are making sure to diversify the things that we offer, and making sure we have enough tech is one thing we’re working towards, as well as enough tactile toys and enough diversity within the building to keep them entertained for hours and keep them coming back” said Toeinsketter.

Until recently, the Discovery Playhouse team has been contained to their downtown Broadway Street location but has now begun testing traveling animal programs at local schools. These programs allow kids of all ages to get up close and personal with an assortment of exotic animals, including the museum’s local celebrity, Stevie, the ball python. Toeinsketter also takes booking as “Mr. Mike the Science Guy” to teach kids various science lessons.

With the new emphasis on teaching adults with the kids, Mary Cook, the operations manager, continued by saying, “The stuff we have also teaches the adults and older kids that come in, especially with the new fossils and animals.”

Discovery Playhouse has established itself as a hub of fun and learning for the surrounding area. Cook believes, “The way we’ve grown, you can’t really change anything, and if I did change anything, we would not be where we are today.”