The young and young at heart showed up Sunday to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Gainesville’s Interactive Neighborhood for Kids Inc.
The day was filled with birthday-related special events, including cake, ice cream and other snacks, a silent auction, book signing and magic show. Children had the opportunity to win prizes, and an INK family membership was one of them.
Sheri Hooper, founder and volunteer director of INK, helped make the birthday celebration and museum a place for the entire family to have fun.
“It is a great environment for mom, dad and grandparents to make memories of playing and learning together,” Hooper said. “Our main goal for people coming to the museum is to be in a safe, positive environment for families, schools and organizations. We believe INK instills a love for lifelong learning in a child and creates a confidence that it is OK to be unique and grow to love who they are and what their talents are.”
Playing among the many hands-on exhibits were Ruth Munbrieg and her granddaughter, Emily.
“I’m having as much fun as she is, really. This isn’t our first time to the museum, and I love the vision of the whole place. We’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” Munbrieg said.
Emily, 8, said that while she enjoyed all of the exhibits, including the grocery store where visitors could pick out food and the post office where mail was sorted, one exhibit stood above the rest.
“The classroom was a lot of fun because I got to be the teacher, and my Nana was in the desk.”
Darius Greenwood, 6, had the time of his life sitting behind the wheel of the 1927 American LaFrance fire truck on permanent loan from the city of Gainesville.
“My mom took pictures of me since I was like a real fireman,” said Greenwood. “I wish I could drive it back to my room.”
As INK continues to celebrate its growing popularity year after year, the party further emphasized the importance of the community in helping the interactive museum become what it is today. With more than 65,000 visitors from the Northeast Georgia region annually, INK is always looking for more volunteers, community contributions and square footage to help grow to reach as many people as possible.
“The INK bug continues to spread as we are continually approached by many communities all over the Southeast to have INK represented in their community. God has truly blessed this vision and our goal continues to grow as we try to reach as many children as possible to create the love of learning and passion for their individual gifts,” Hooper said.