Trailhead Museum looking for ideal location in valley

“Negotiations are currently under way”

As its first full winter season unfolds, the Trailhead Children’s Discovery Museum is looking to the future, and plans to add more square footage to offer more exhibits. Right now the museum is located in a 1,000-square-foot space in the Treasury Center at the base of the ski area in Mt. Crested Butte. Where it will live in the future remains to be seen.



According to Director Ross Tunkey, “It is the Trailhead’s goal to increase its space, along with its exhibits and programming, by more than double for the upcoming summer season. Negotiations are currently under way to find the best space for the Trailhead.”
Tunkey said their board has been heading up the search process. “We’ve identified one space in each of the municipalities [Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte] that will work,” Tunkey said. “We want to be in a centrally located place with the appropriate square footage at the right price.
 “Expanded space will give the Trailhead the ability to provide expanded exhibits and programming,” Tunkey added. “The Trailhead has its sights set on several significant exhibit additions, included the Lucky Climber, Red Lady Rapids, and Air Play exhibit, a Garden and Grocery exhibit, Bubbles, and more.”
Previously, the Trailhead was slated for a location in town that would be donated by benefactors. “The owners of the lot who were planning to build a building for the museum have decided not to build it at this time,” said Tunkey. “The Trailhead has other options to rent and that’s what we are pursuing. There are rentable options available and that seems to make more sense right now. We expect to know within the next two weeks where we’re going to be.”
The Trailhead is a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization funded primarily by memberships, daily visits, donations and grants. “We have received grants from the town of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, and also from the county,” reported Tunkey. “We’re continuing to seek grants from all sources. That’s part of our non-profit mission, that we are dependent on donations and grants.”
According to Trailhead founder Kara Miller, the Trailhead Discovery Museum & Arts Center was born in 2007 to provide children and families with a space for stimulating science projects, art programs, music classes, special kid-friendly events, and an indoor jungle gym.
While Miller was launching the non-profit, her daughter was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1), a progressive disorder that causes those affected to grow tumors on their nerves. The founding board unanimously voted to dedicate the Trailhead to families living with NF1 by assuring that each family to visit the Trailhead would be admitted free.
For this winter, a full season family membership was $125 and daily visits were $6 per person, for children and adults. The museum is putting on a number of fundraising events in March to achieve the expansion goals, according to Tunkey. Events include the Slopeside Arctic Adventure on Saturday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to purchase ice blocks to help build a real igloo. Other activities will include Arctic face painting, snow art and sculpture, igloo science, bake sale, hot cocoa bar and more. Admission is $5.
And on Monday, March 29 at 5 p.m the Trailhead will host its fundraiser dinner at Django’s in Mt. Crested Butte. Tickets are $60 per person. There will be a separate party for kids at the Trailhead during the dinner, with special art activities and pizza, for $15 per child.
For more information about the museum or about upcoming activities and fundraising, call The Trailhead at (970) 349-7160 or send an email to

Check Also

School district board approves housing statement

Hoping to open up conversations to partnerships  By Kendra Walker During their May 20 meeting, the …