Children live in an adult world; one where play is viewed as a leisure activity. However, as parents it is important for us to remember that children learn through play. The truth is through imaginative play children are learning to cooperate, solve problems, increase language skills and are strengthening self esteem and social and emotional development. Young children learn through hands on experiences by imagining and doing. It is important to me that when traveling I find places to explore that promote learning through play.
Albert Einstein once said- “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
While visiting my grandmother in a small town called Gainesville; located a short drive from Atlanta, Georgia we discovered a one of a kind, unique and fun place to explore. The Interactive Neighborhood for Kids (INK) offers the perfect opportunity for children, ages 2 to 12 to immerse themselves in imaginative play.
Walking into the INK is like walking into a miniature town for kids. The museum has child-sized interactive exhibits that encourage children to assume various different real-world roles. I included pictures and information about the different exhibits we enjoyed exploring:
Medical Clinic & Radiology Department
From examination tables to scrubs and stethoscopes to tongue depressors this room has all your little caregiver needs to be a doctor, nurse or patient. I found it pretty awesome that this room has working light boards and real x-rays.
I love that this exhibit helps kids understand proper dental hygiene in a non-threatening environment that features a real dentist chair and x-ray light box.
Pretend to be vet in the Animal Medical Care Vet’s Office. I loved watching my little one weight stuffed animals on the scale.
What better way to teach kids that money doesn’t grow on trees by stepping into a pretend bank to learn all about how to fill out bank slips, count money and make deposits. I got a kick out of the bank vault.
Your little fashionestas will love pretending to be a hair stylist in this fun exhibit. Complete with salon chairs, mannequins, hair brushes and other styling equipment the Jane Green Beauty Salon is sure to be a hit.
J&J Foods Grocery Store
This pint-sized grocery store is pretty awesome. Children can shop around the store with mini shopping carts. There are aisles and selves for your little one to collect food items. They can also pretend to be a cashier and scan, check out and bag the groceries. They can even be a store clerk and restock the shelves by putting items in the proper places.
This a great play room where parents and children of all ages can interact together. The kids can play the role of cashier, a cook, or a waiter/waitress. Parents can sit down and order food from a menu. I especially loved twisting to the tunes played on a authentic jukebox.
My kids loved playing in this awesome play system; equipped for kids to explore, climb and crawl through the brightly colored mazes and cargo netting and go down slides.
Castle Room / Preschool Paradise
This matted play space is designed for preschoolers and toddlers. It’s a great place to explore and play. My little ones loved crawling through tunnel into a castle and sliding down to padded landing.
This exhibit features a real airplane (1955 Aero Commander 560 Aircraft) that the kids can step in and pretend to fly. I was amazed that the plane lever pulls up. The airplane is complete with real instruments, aircraft sounds, tickets and luggage so passengers have all they need for travels to fun destinations.
Hall County Sheriff’s Authentic Car
Your little officer in training can grab their uniform and hop into a real police car. They can even turn on the car’s flashing lights and sirens.
1927 American LaFrance FireTruck
Everyone is sure to enjoy this fun exhibit. Hop into fire gear and jump in to action as you climb aboard an authentic 1927 American LaFrance Fire Truck.
Train and Train Set
This was my boys favorite section. Your little conductor can hop aboard a train where they can press different buttons that make various train sounds! Also included in the train exhibit are two Thomas the Train tables, a make believe train, and a large train table with an awesome model train setup. It’s so fun to press the different buttons around the model train table to make the city come alive with a car wash, restaurant drive-thru, construction site and more!
Your little star can put on a show on this interactive stage. Complete with costumes and props your little one can put on a show just for you! The music room is the perfect area to explore all sorts of musical instruments; from percussion to strings your little musician is sure to have a good time.
The Dairy Farm includes a Hen named Haylee that talks about fun chicken facts at the push of a button. You will feel like you are down on the far as you step into a pretend barn or try your hand at milking Buttercup a life sized custom milking cow.
The sky is the limits in this cool area where you can use your mind to build anything you imagine with lightweight life sized blocks.
Address: 999 Chestnut St, SE #11, Gainesville, GA 30501
Monday through Saturday: 10 AM until 5 PM
Sunday: 1pm until 5pm
$8 per person Monday through Saturday
$6 per person on Sundays