CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The T-rex Science Center in Charleston says it is closing its doors permanently by the end of 2020 due to COVID-19.
Center officials say they are unable to keep up with expenses such as rent, utilities and supplies while ticket sales are down by at least half of what they had been prior to the pandemic. The center says its funding comes from donors and ticket sales.
The T-rex Science Center opened as a 501c3 nonprofit run entirely by volunteers in November 2019. The center had to close for more than two months during the initial stay at home orders, after it had “just barely gotten off its feet” and birthday parties and school field trips had just begun. The center reopened in May following the state’s guidelines, but they say due to concerns about the virus, they now only have five volunteers maintaining the 26,000 square foot center.
Center officials say they have also reached out to multiple officials in an attempt to get help to keep the center open. They say once classes began, and high school, college and pro sports started, attendance at the center “plummeted.”
“These dedicated volunteers are tired and overworked but they persisted. We mailed a plea for help to local, city, and county officials, county commissioners, every state Senator, Delegate and Governor. Few replied, none offered any assistance or hope. We were just barely holding on,” center officials said. “It has become clear that T-rex Science Center cannot survive such a wave of unforeseeable circumstances. It is with heavy hearts and yet some relief that we announce the extinction of the T-rex Science Center effective by the end of 2020.”
Center officials say they hope to keep the museum open until after Christmas and are still hoping to reopen the Trex Mini Golf course in the spring of 2021.
“To all those who have visited, we thank you for your support and hope you not only enjoyed your time with us but also learned a few things about the fascinating world of dinosaurs and WV prehistoric history. To our dedicated volunteers there are no words to adequately express how grateful we are for your continued support and belief in our mission of providing unique learning opportunities for all West Virginians,” the center said.