Melissa Wright works with "Lab Rats" at the former Lakewood space: by Chera25

Melissa Wright works with “Lab Rats” at the former Lakewood space: by Chera25

Melissa Wright, founder of recently retired entertainment and learning center, the Lab, arrived on the scene in Lake Highlands in 2010 and operated in East Dallas since 2011. Today, she announced, via social media, that she has been named manager of the ginormous, highly anticipated and a wee-bit controversial new Dallas Arboretum Rory Meyers Children’s Garden.

Wright first opened the Lab in a clandestine business strip near Northwest Highway and Ferndale, where she grew a fun science-learning center at which kids could create, experiment and socialize in an inspiring setting that engaged all of the senses.  From our 2010 [Lake Highlands Advocate] story:

Before opening the Lab, she looked into similarly themed franchises, but none of them really matched her restriction-free vision.

“You can run a science program out of your garage, or make it mobile and take it to classrooms and things like that, but I wanted to be able to make a mess without getting in trouble.”

In 2011 she moved the operation to Lakewood in the cozy Junius Heights strip that houses East Dallas-fave Garden Café.  It remained a crazy-popular venue for kids’ summer camps and interactive parties.

In August 2013, Wright announced she would close the Lab, citing a “strictly a financial decision.”

After some cajoling from Lab fans, she implied on her blog that she might not close after all.

But then, last week, she posted this on Facebook:

 “After lots of back-and-forth, and last-ditch efforts, tomorrow is the last day the Lab will occupy Junius Street …  “ —Mess Wright

Which might have had something to do with what she announced today:

“I am proud to report that I have accepted the position of Children’s Garden Manager … Opening Weekend is Sept. 21.”

No word yet on whether she still will offer those mobile science parties she mentioned during the Lab-closing discussion, or if she will be able to “make a mess without getting in trouble” at the relatively structured Dallas Arboretum, but I’ve left her a message and will update this with whatever she tells us after we get a chance to chat.

Until then, you can read our story about the opening of the Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Garden and some of the issues its existence has created in the surrounding neighborhood. Or just watch a video: