Perched atop a clock tower, two animatronic owls are already telling knock knock jokes every hour in anticipation for the public opening of the Knock Knock Children's Museum finally announced Tuesday for August 22.

In a little more than a month, the exhibits that workers were testing out and polishing up on Tuesday will contain squealing kids and watchful parents. Knock Knock Children's Museum leaders provided a first look at the museum's interiors on Tuesday, where the two owls in the "Knock Knock Town Square" greeted visitors.

"The Knock Knock Square is definitely unique, we haven't done anything like that anywhere else," said Penny Sander, the Massachusetts-based project manager for Knock Knock's interior exhibits, designed by her firm Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. Cambridge Seven designs exhibits for museums, universities, aquariums and more across the U.S. and internationally.

"The owls up in the steeple of Knock Knock square, that's totally unique to them," added Sander, an associate principal at her firm.

Can't see the video below? Click here


The town square also features a giant screen showing animated storybooks, along with cushiony blocks that spell out "welcome" on one side and can be combined to show the state's seal on the other side.

Past the town square, a cascade of rainbow-colored butterflies flutter from a mobile, catching the light from one of the museum's giant windows facing the City Park lakes.

Can't see the video below? Click here.


Along with the August 22 opening date, Knock Knock's staffers also announced their pricing information on Tuesday. Museum entrance fees will cost $14 per person for those ages one and up.

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

The admission prices in Baton Rouge will be higher than other children's museums in Louisiana. The Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans charges $8.50 per person, while the Children's Museum of Acadiana in Lafayette charges $7 per person.

For the Baton Rouge museum, families that anticipate being frequent visitors can buy annual memberships starting at $154.50 for a family of four, which pays for unlimited visits each year.

The nonprofit children's museum is still about $1 million shy of its $14 million fundraising goal, and the museum's leaders are still seeking sponsors for some of the 18 learning zones spread throughout the museum that touch on different areas of learning through play.

The museum will also hold "pilot play dates" over the next few weeks as soft openings where some children can experience the museum before it opens to the public.

Sander said her team had two major directives in designing the museum's exhibits. Knock Knock's board members wanted the museum to focus on literacy, and they also wanted the museum to have a local flair.

While books are incorporated into many Knock Knock learning zones, the names and themes of some exhibits also highlight Louisiana and the Red Stick: the aptly named "Pelican Pantry," for example, or the "crawbaby" swamp-themed exhibit for the youngest tots to play.

After Sander and her team designed the exhibits, the Nashville-based 1220 firm went to work on building them. Sander said most were built off-site and then brought into the museum.

A museum in Germany called Mathematikum helped to inspire the "geaux figure" playhouse that will focus on kids' math skills, Sander said. But she pointed out that other sources of inspiration are closer to home — like a tug boat that simulates steering through the Mississippi River, or a mock bridge in the style of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge.

"They've done such a great job of threading our culture through it," said Knock Knock's Director of Development Jessica Gagliano.

Can't see video below? Click here


Follow Andrea Gallo on Twitter, @aegallo.​