Coughlan Quarry

What kid doesn’t love playing in a giant sandbox?

Coughlan Quarry

At the quarry, it’s all about working together to get the job done.

A big sand pit, a moveable crane, and a big conveyor system for transporting blocks from one side of the quarry to the other all provide real-life action to the Museum’s visitors. Vertical and horizontal sand play enhance problem-solving skills. Immerse yourself in this hands-on experience inside the real Kasota stone walls that surround this gallery of endless fun.

This exhibit is great for...

exploring materials and tools while working together to get the job done.


Machines require skill to operate and, in the Quarry, children will team up to get the best result. Children use gears, wheels, and slopes to move lightweight, sandstone-colored blocks up the stone transporter. With help from others, the crane operator loads and lifts these blocks high overhead, while another person cranks to move it forward to waiting workers atop a low wall. From here, the crew works together to construct a block arch or shore up the cave.

Material Discovery

Sand has weight, it flows, and it piles. That’s what makes it so good for experimenting. Dump trucks, graders, loaders, shovels, scoops, and pails provide endless opportunities for discovery in the sand pit. Sand goes everywhere and that’s part of the fun!

STEM Learning

Hands-on science investigation and engineering come together as visitors play with local natural resources and materials. A real, 12-foot stone cutting blade, an old-time drill bit, a core sample, rock specimens, and archival photographs all set the stage in the Quarry, and make the work at hand feel that much more important. Levers, gears, pulleys, and inclined planes are used naturally as children roleplay the work needed to cut through and move stone. Put on your hard hat, grab your safety vest, and get ready to work!