The first kids to play at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids are now at least 15 years old. They’re shopping on their own. Some may be studying medical careers. Maybe some are pilots. They’re likely doing many of the things they once upon a time pretended to do at the children’s museum in Gainesville.
INK will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a birthday party for children and their caregivers.
INK’s 15th Birthday Celebration
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 26
Where: Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, 999 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville
How much: $8 admission
More info: www.inkfun.org/events, 770-536-1900
INK began in 2002 and is “a scaled-down neighborhood for kids to come and play, interact and discover their full potential,” said Mandy Volpe, executive director of the organization.
She said the birthday event on Saturday will celebrate “where INK has come from and all that is involved with INK.”
Festivities are set to include guest speakers, appearances from special characters, cake and crafts.
“We have a bunch of different things going on,” Volpe said. “We’ll have some of our board members, we’ll have our founder speaking (and) we’ll also have Sandra Deal here speaking to the museum guests.”
Other special appearances will include a visit from INK’s Buddy and Chopper from the Gwinnett Braves.
There will also be a Youth Makers Market featuring arts and crafts created by 11 children.
“The children have created their own products and they’re selling (them) to the community,” Volpe said, adding that the children involved were chosen based on submitted applications.
“They were able to take a class earlier this summer and the class allowed them to learn some different marketing techniques,” she said.
In addition to the festivities, INK will have an update on its plans to move to South Hall, which was first announced in 2014.
“We started out with 5,000 square feet over at The Arts Council building right off the square, and we’ve now expanded to 25,000 square feet at the Featherbone Communiversity center,” Volpe said. “And that created a lot of growth (and) a lot of changes.”
INK offers birthday parties, memberships and various exhibits for children, including a grocery store, a 1950s diner, a stage, a bank and a firetruck.
“This has increased our impact on the community from seeing 75,000 people every year,” Volpe said. “We’re looking to move to our new building because of this extensive growth. We’ve had to turn away a lot of field trips (and) a lot of birthday parties because of the limited size we are right here.”