Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Imagination Station - Toledo, OH

When Bethany and Connor were younger, my mother-in-law and I used to take them to COSI in Toledo. When COSI closed due to budget problems at the end of 2007, we were hugely disappointed. But good news - this hands-on science museum has re-opened as Imagination Station. This place is seriously fun.

Last week we took all four kids to Toledo for the day to check out Imagination Station. We were pleased to find that it was just as much fun as the old COSI. This time around was a little different for us since Bethany and Connor are older now and able to do different things, but we still had the two little ones with us so we could fully enjoy the area reserved for small fry as well.

One of the greatest things about Imagination Station is, in fact, the large section of the museum dedicated to children five and younger. There are many cool things to explore, such as a tree house,

a mini hospital and ambulance,

a child size grocery store, giant blocks, a water play area, and a room especially for babies. It's like a really awesome preschool classroom, but 1000 times better. Although designed for younger kids, even Bethany and Connor loved playing in this area. There is a gate to keep little ones from running off, a nursing room with a super-comfy glider and changing table, and a restroom with a preschool sized toilet.

As much as I love Little Kidspace, I was really excited that Bethany and Connor could try some things they were too young for the last time we were there. Bethany is the adventurous and gutsy one, so she tried the Boyo (sort of a human yo-yo)

and the high wire cycle.

They both went on the simulator ride (free for members, $1 for everyone else). Lucy tagged along for lots of fun activities too, like dancing on the giant floor piano,

and experiencing the force of hurricane strength winds. In the Traveling Exhibit Gallery, there was a neat-o animation exhibit with lots of hands-on stations demonstrating how cartoons are made.

Imagination Station is located in downtown Toledo. The parking situation isn't fantastic, you have to hike a bit to a parking structure or shell out $7 for valet. The employees are friendly and helpful. There is a cafeteria style eating area with lots of choices for snacking or lunch. When the weather is nice, you can sit outside and eat, overlooking the Maumee River. There are lockers available, family restrooms (I love these!), an elevator, and fun to be had for kids of all ages. Admission prices are extremely reasonable, starting at $8.50 for ages 13 and up, $6.50 for children 3-12, $7.50 for seniors 60 and older, and free for ages two and under. This is cheaper than going to the movie theater, and so much more entertaining! I hope the word is spreading that Imagination Station is open and just as great as COSI, because I would really hate for them to close their doors again.

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