By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 16, 2015 at 8:12 AM

There are a number of changes under way at Discovery World on the lakefront, including newfound exhibition space, an existing exhibit that is ballooning and changes for the Innovation Theater.

The first to arrive will be a real excavator that visitors can operate using a set of controls. The museum has had a remote-controlled excavator for years, of course, but that one was toy-sized and behind plexiglass. This one, just a few feet away, is full-sized and accessible.

Visitors will be able to sit inside, though the control panel will be outside the cab. The new excavator will be up and running on Black Friday, Nov. 27.

Right nearby, the museum's staff is prepping the second annual appearance of the legendary Kooky Cooky House, which was a Milwaukee holiday tradition for decades at the old Capitol Court shopping center.

The newly constructed house debuted last year at D.W. but this year moves to a much more high profile space, right in the heart of the main exhibition area, as you can see in this photo:

Discovery World CEO Joel Brennan told me that the museum is "over-theatered," having two state of the art projection and presentation spaces on the first floor. Therefore, the Innovation Theater, next to the gift shop, will be re-purposed.

In order to do that, the tiered seating structure (the underside of which you can see in the photo below) will be dismantled. That structure is made of a thin layer of concrete atop a metal structure that will be relatively easily removed, according to Brennan.

The digital theater, with its stunning lake views, will remain and will become the locus of Discovery World's visual media programming and presentations.

Lastly, the museum has carved a new 5,000-square foot exhibition space out of an area that was previously used – and under-utilized, said Brennan – as storage and offices. The area is above the Kohl's Design It! Lab and is accessed via a new staircase.

The space, which will likely be opened up to offer a view down over "Les Paul's House of Sound" and other exhibits, will debut in January with a traveling show, "Genome: Unlocking Life's Code," and will host temporary shows for about a year, according to Brennan, before a permanent health-related exhibit is installed there.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.