Thursday, March 30, 2023

PGAV Destinations Hosts Educational Institute

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’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.

Related stories from InPark Magazine:
Georgia Aquarium expansion: PGAV supplies design services
New Ecosystems wing at the California Science Center depends on ETC control
Oct 26-28, symposium in Denver for Museum & Media professionals

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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