Joe Bannon, chairman of the Family Museum board of trustees, has a prediction about how children are going to react to the museum’s new Rivers and Bridges exhibit, which opens to the public Saturday.

“They’re just gonna go nuts,” he said.

The exhibit features a 28-foot-long waterplay table and structures designed to resemble the Government, Interstate 74 and Centennial bridges. It is the first of three phases in a $1.2 million exhibit renovation project that is the first renovation since 1997.

Museum members will get a sneak peak at the new exhibit during a special event from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday.

The exhibit was designed to resemble the riverfront in the Quad-Cities, which museum spokeswoman Elly Gerdts said is a major part of daily life in the area.

“It’s almost like a mini Quad-Cities,” she said. “We got a lot of inspiration from the Quad-Cities.”

In planning the exhibit, museum officials wanted something that would set it apart from other children’s museums. So they decided to focus on the river, which is what sets the Quad-Cities apart, Bannon said.

The waterplay table resembles the river, including the local bridges, and also includes locks and dams.

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Other features include a large crane children can use to load and unload foam rubber “cargo,” an art station, an area where children can build their own bridges and a wooden train set.

After the Rivers and Bridges exhibit is complete, work at the museum will conclude until after the winter holidays.

In January, work will begin on transforming the southwest corner of the museum into a town square, with interactive displays about local businesses. That work is expected to finish around Feb. 1.