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PGAV Destinations Hosts Educational Institute


Related: PGAV Destinations Heightens the Experiences at Georgia Aquarium  / PGAV Destinations Creates a First-of-Its-Kind Exhibit for the Saint Louis Zoo / Saint Louis Science Centre Announces New Exhibition Hall designed by PGAV Destinations

Experts Consider Free-Choice Learning Environments

PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations, recently hosted a special PGAV Destination Institute in the McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center. Entitled “Rich and Meaningful: How Learning Experiences Inspire, ” the Institute drew more than 100 attendees from attractions in the region and representatives from NASA.

“We want to understand how people learn in environments outside of the classroom, ” explains Mike Konzen, Principal PGAV Destinations. “We know that a visit to a zoo, science center or aquarium can have a powerful impact on a child’s inquisitiveness and inspiration.” 

One of the featured speakers, John Fraser, PhD, AIA, Director Institute for Learning Innovation ( in New York, presented the latest research about the value of museums in our culture.  When families visit these destinations, bonding occurs that sets the stage for absorbing information and changing behaviors. It is speculated that ten years from now, with continuing budget cuts in traditional educational systems, museums will play a larger role in educating people through free-choice learning environments.

Jon A. McBride, Captain USN/NASA Astronaut (retired), Vice President of Strategic Development Delaware North Companies (, spoke about his personal experience. McBride became an astronaut in 1979.  His many NASA assignments have included serving as pilot of Shuttle mission STS-41-G, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on October 5, 1984, aboard the Orbiter Challenger. This was the first crew of seven and completed an eight day mission. McBride values science for personal growth as well as the path for America to be successful.

“Science museums and other educational destinations can tap into a new spirit of hope, ” states McBride. “These are the places to explore new ideas and begin to believe ‘I can do that!’”

PGAV Destinations is dedicated to designing attractions that challenge people of all ages to discover self-expression and transcendence of everyday experiences and limitations. 

About PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now in its fifth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning. 

PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, Niagara Parks Commission, The National Aviary, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Kennedy Space Center, Hearst Castle, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.

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