CROWN HEIGHTS - After nearly a decade of planning and construction, the first visitors entered the new and improved Brooklyn Children?s Museum that was unveiled Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, surrounded by school children, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony as the building filled with the beat of African drums and steel-pan drum music.

The large-scale makeover came with a price tag of $80 million, but many city officials and children who celebrated the opening of the museum say it was worth it.

According to Mayor Bloomberg, the decision to go ahead with the costly makeover of the museum embodies the need to invest in the future, even amid financial crisis.

?Tough economic times [are] when you have to make more investments, not less,? Bloomberg says. ?That?s the mistake the city made back in the 70s when it got in trouble.?

The expansion project nearly doubled the museum?s size, creating more space for science displays. In addition, the new Brooklyn Children?s Museum is said to be the first eco-friendly exhibition space in the city.

City officials say they are hoping it will become a tourist destination.