North Kansas City museum will bring children’s books to life

The Rabbit hOle

The Rabbit hOle (Photo by Adam Vogler/Kansas City Business Journal)

A husband-and-wife duo are digging deep to meld together whimsical, resonant snapshots from the past century of children’s literature in what they have deemed the world’s first Explor-a-Storium in North Kansas City.

During the pandemic, Pete Cowdin and Debbie Pettid have overseen buildout of a cavalcade of exhibits for The Rabbit hOle, a $13.5 million undertaking to create an immersive children’s book museum for young readers and their families.

The pair, who previously owned Kansas City’s Reading Reptile bookstore for nearly 30 years, in 2015 began designing and displaying exhibit prototypes in a storefront off of Southwest Boulevard.

In February 2018, they acquired a 165,000-square-foot former beverage distribution warehouse in North Kansas City, where they have since carried out phased renovations to support future programming.

Capital funding reached $11.5 million, which puts the museum into the home stretch, Cowdin said. The museum plans an opening between fall 2022 and early 2023.

“We know it’s going to happen now, so we’re really excited about that. We’re on the other side,” he said.

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