Kids’ View: Imagination Place

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You can be whatever you want at this great children’s museum.

by MATTIE KANADAY, AGE 6, And HAGAN KANADAY, AGE 4 as told to CADEN GRIDER, AGE 11

Mattie Kanaday: At Imagination Place, I was a firefighter, a banker, a grocery store cashier and a construction worker. I was also a scientist at the Turtle Travels exhibit. My favorite part of the museum was the trains. They had cool trains going through a pretend Gadsden. They had all the buildings and they even had little people. I imagined I was driving the trains.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]Our next stop was KidsTown USA. KidsTown had all kinds of cool stuff. There was a Piggly Wiggly grocery store, a bank, a construction pit, a swirly slide, a Red Cross truck, a medical clinic, Grandma’s house and a fire station. My favorites were the slide, Piggly Wiggly and Grandma’s house. The slide was fun because to get to the top of it you have to climb through an obstacle course thing. I went down the slide really fast. It was so much fun.

The Piggly Wiggly was also really awesome. I got to be the cashier and handle all the money. I liked pushing the buttons and making the cash register come open. Then I went to Grandma’s house. I put on an apron and made food. After that I had to do the dishes.

Our last stop was the Turtle Travels exhibit. I got to do a scavenger hunt. I had to find all these things in the exhibit. My favorite thing was the raccoon because it looked like it was eating out of a trash can. They had a TV screen that showed a turtle’s view. I was sad to leave because Imagination Place made my day!

Hagan Kanaday: The trains were my favorite part of the museum, too. They were so cool. The trains went around the tracks when you pushed a button. In KidsTown, I liked the bank, construction pit and firefighter station best. At the bank, I got all the money out of the big safe. There were also some credit cards. I pretended to rob the bank.

The construction pit was cool because there was a machine you could sit on and grab the dirt with. The dirt wasn’t really dirt. It was pieces of black, spongy stuff that was soft to walk on. My mom said it was probably made from old tires. I also dressed up like a construction worker. I wore a yellow vest and a yellow hard hat. At the fire station, I dressed up like firefighter and slid down a pole. Sliding down the pole was the best part of the firefighter station because it made me feel like a real fireman.

At Turtle Travels I played a giant board game that you could walk on. They had some real turtles swimming around in a tank. They came over to the glass and looked at us when we looked at them. I wanted to stay at the museum all day!

What’s next at the museum

by CADEN GRIDER

After we toured the museum, we got to meet Imagination Place’s director, Tami Brooks. She told us the museum is mainly for kids 2 to 10, and the construction pit and the slide are the most popular things in KidsTown.

Imagination Place also has lots of cool programs like the Science of Ice Cream and the StarLab. Check out the website culturalarts.org to find out about all the programs.

Ms. Brooks said the Turtle Travels exhibit would be leaving after Sept. 2, but it would be replaced by “Legends of the Falls,” a Native American exhibit all about Gadsden’s Noccalula Falls and the story of the Cherokee girl who gave the place its name. They’ll have clothes like the statue of her is wearing at Noccalula Falls Park and Native American artifacts found at the park. You’ll get to make dream catchers and pinch pots. This exhibit will be at Imagination Place Sept. 10-Nov. 9.

“Legends of the Falls” sounds fun, but I’m really looking forward to the exhibit after that. From Nov. 16 until January, a gigantic room in the museum will be turned into a winter wonderland for the “Let It Snow” exhibit. There will be a mountain to climb, a slide and a pit, and it’ll all be filled snow! Well, stuff that looks and feels like snow, anyway. Ms. Brooks says it is something called a “polymer.” She put some white powder on her desk, then poured water over it. It started growing – Ms. Brooks says it expands up to 100 times the size of the powder – and it was just like snow! Only it wasn’t cold. I can’t wait to jump in a pit full of this stuff.

In December, there also will be a “Festival of Trees.” Nonprofits and kids at elementary schools will make decorations for about 40 trees.

If you want to go to Imagination Place

Getting there: Imagination Place is located in the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts at 501 Broad Street, Gadsden, AL 35901.

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. The museum is closed the first Monday of every month for cleaning and repairs.

Admission: Free for children 24 months and younger; $5 for children 2-10; $6 for all others. Combo tickets for Imagination Place, Noccalula Falls Park and mini-golf at the park: $12 for kids; $14 for adults

More info: culturalarts.org, 256-543-2787

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