ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The Great River Children's Museum in downtown St. Cloud recently hit a significant milestone.

Executive Director Cassie Miles says they just surpassed their halfway goal in fundraising, with just under $6 million left to raise.

We just passed $8.2 million in pledges and we're very excited to hit our next milestone.  We have a big push right now to try to reach $10 million by year's end.  That's the amount that's going to let us break ground and start building up those walls.  We've done some teardown and now we want to start building up.

The Children's Museum started fundraising back in 2021. They were recently awarded a $199,000 Main Street grant. Miles says they are doing the work as the money comes in with demolition inside the building happening right now.

She says they are also in the pre-production phase right now on the eight mainstay exhibits, which takes about 12 to 15 months.

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When it is ready for the public, the Great River Children's Museum is expected to be a big draw for a wide area of school children.

There are over 60 school districts in the central Minnesota region and once we open we will be the closest children's museum for them to come to visit.  So for a lot of young kids, this is going to be their only chance to take a field trip to a children's museum.

Miles says the Children's Museum has been partnering with the Great River Regional Library for a series of pop-up exhibits that are traveling to each of the library branches. That partnership will continue through next year.

The Great River Children's Museum has a target opening day of early 2024.

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