Melissa Hall recalled driving past the section of Wayne Memorial Drive where the anticipated Maxwell Center was being constructed.

Her children would regularly ask "when they could come in," she said with a smile.

So when the March 1 grand opening approached, along with a special family day event on Saturday, she knew their request would be granted.

"This is a nice experience for the children to interact, to do stuff and learn stuff," she said as her 8-year-old twin daughters, Khloe and Khirsten, played dress-up and posed for selfies at one of the booths in the children's area.

They had already earned a prize from the nearby ringtoss game, a small plastic chicken, which they promptly carried over to where the live baby chicks were on display.

"They're just excited," Hall said.

Her children, which also included Gabby, an eighth-grader, and son Jordan, 11, shared some of their earlier impressions during those rides past the county's newest showpiece.

"I thought it was cool, like the glass windows," said Gabby.

"I thought it had a pool inside," giggled Khloe. "I thought it was a college."

In addition to the meeting rooms and office space, the spacious gathering hall was particularly impressive for many, demonstrating just how expansive the facility will be once it is utilized for a variety of events.

On Saturday, it was converted into a section for bouncy houses and kid-friendly games, an assortment of foods being served and several large law-enforcement vehicles, including fire trucks.

"I was actually shocked when I came in and there was a firetruck in here," said Lisa Barker. "It's amazing that they're able to fit everything inside this room. From the outside, you see it's a big building but you don't realize how big it is.

"It's very impressive and it's nice that they have a family day."

Her son, Braydon, 4, was more interested in the ringtoss, so ran off to play the game, accompanied by his father, Don Barker.

Guillermo Estrada, 13, was stationed at the straw rocket booth -- assisting youngsters with adding fins to a straw and then making it fly.

He said he was at another 4-H event and when he learned about the family day, volunteered to help.

"It's historic," he said of the new facility. "I think it's pretty cool. I don't think we have ever had something like this in Wayne County."

Tyler Hicks, a member of the Explorer Post, which allows youth to train with Goldsboro Police toward a future in law enforcement, also donned the McGruff character costume, "scaring all the kids," he said with a laugh.

He admitted it was a pretty good assignment and that he was impressed with the Maxwell Center.

"It's a rather nice establishment," the 20-year-old said. "It took my breath away, how nice it was. It's bigger than I thought from the outside."

Marlowe Ivey Vaughan was waiting by the bouncy house as her 4-year-old daughter, Kivett, played with a friend. She said she has been at the center for the past three days and her appreciation for it had not diminished.

"It's amazing how diverse it is," she said. "I have seen it from the Ag Expo Thursday to the gala (Friday) and now family day. It's amazing how diverse it is. It's just an amazing building.

"This space -- it's great for Goldsboro to have something like this."

County commissioner Wayne Aycock, and wife, Linda, have also been frequent visitors.

"I have been in it every day this week," Aycock said, crediting facility manager, James Wade, with doing a wonderful job of bringing things together.

Linda Aycock said she was still finding new things to see around the premises. Her only wish was that the plaques bearing names of the donors had arrived in time to be on display for the grand opening weekend, she said.

Longtime residents and business owners Janice Whisenhunt and husband, Gerald, arrived early before heading to The Inside Shop, they said.

"I wanted to come by and see it for myself," said Janice, crediting organizers with "covering all the bases" and providing an eye-opening education on how well-stocked law-enforcement is in this community. She said she was pleasantly surprised by "all the protection we have in Goldsboro" as well as the new agricultural center.

"I checked out all the bathrooms, looked at all the small rooms here and all the office areas -- you know I'm going to check it all out," she said with a chuckle.

"It's something that Goldsboro has needed for quite a while and hopefully they can use it for a lot of special events and bring a lot of people into Goldsboro and the Wayne County area," Gerald said. "I don't see anything but good things for it."

Even the parking spaces are bigger, his wife commented.

"They have done everything -- everything has been completely thought through," she said.

The weekend wraps up today with an open house from 1:45 to 4:45 p.m., free and open to the public. Choirs and bands from Wayne County Public Schools will perform.

Then, from 5 to 7 p.m., a multi-denominational youth rally, "MAX Out the MAX!" will be held for middle and high school students (parents are welcome) starting with a pizza party, games and prizes followed by music and speaker Bill Rose Jr., the founder and lead pastor of a fast-growing church in Holly Springs.