LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After being closed for over two years, the Imagination Station, a Lafayette-based children’s science center, will finally be opening its doors again to the public Saturday, Aug. 6.
“Imagination Station is a science center using the ideas of STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts & humanities and mathematics, to teach children through informal education,” said Matt Bishop, the facilities manager for Imagination Station in an interview back in April.
“So basically, using exhibits to teach them different ideas within that area and help them grow their imagination and help them actually see other paths and careers.”
Initially closed in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, workers have spent the past two years renovating the inside of their buildings and completing some much-needed repairs.
Although they initially had plans to reopen earlier, leadership decided to wait until they felt they could provide a safe and healthy environment for children to play and explore the wonders of science.
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“We were ready to open before this, but then they (CDC & Health Department) said that children were being affected. And then we thought, ‘No, we can’t endanger them.’ So, we pushed it off until now,” said Dee Bishop, the office manager.
“At that time, we were able to add some displays and fixed the plumbing. We’ve also fixed one of the HVAC systems, and we’ve done some work on the roof. Through the shutdown we were able to still improve IS, we just weren’t opened.”
With the reopening right around the corner, the staff is excited to see how kids will interact with the new additions to their scientific exhibit.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, the staff held a soft opening allowing local kids to play in the redesigned facility.
Marlee Kinner, a volunteer at IS, recalled how much joy it brought her when she saw how much fun the children were having. Many were running back and forth between each station, testing out the new scientific concept associated with the display. One display kids couldn’t get enough of was the Tornado Simulator machine, which blew air up to 78 mph.
Along with their reopening, the Imagination Station is also introducing a new program, “Saturday fun labs,” where kids could learn about new scientific topics.
In partnership with a Ph.D. student from Purdue University, IS wants to give kids the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with a brand-new scientific topic each week.
They will be hosting their first event, “Microbe and medicine,” from 10 am to 12 pm on Aug. 13.
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“What we’re going to have the kids do is, collect dirt from either outside or from what she brings. They’re going to put it on a slide, they’re going to cover it and they’re going to take it home and bring it back. And then they’re going to look through microscopes that we have, and they’re going to see the different colors and how healthy microbes help with our soil and help create medicine like penicillin,” said Bishop.
The Imagination Station is also planning on hosting its Hands on Transportation event, which is one of the museum’s oldest and largest annual fundraisers, on Sept. 17.
“It’s going to be super fun. We’re going to have vehicles, like fire trucks, tractors, cars, buses from Lafayette City Bus will be there, and most importantly, we’re trying to get a helicopter to come,” said Bishop.
“We’re really excited to have the kids back.”
The Imagination Station is located at 600 N 4th St. and will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm Admission for adults and for children over the age of 2 is $7, but children under the age of 2 get in for free.
Families can purchase an individual membership for $90 or a family membership for $120. The family membership gives free admission to 2 adults and all their children.
For more information families can visit their website at www.imagination-station.org.