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INK dishes up indoor fun when its cold outside
Gainesville childrens museum a sough-after destination to while away winter days
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Aaron Baldwin and mom Laura spend Saturday morning at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, joining other families at the Gainesville children’s museum on the final weekend of winter break from school.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids

Where: 999 Chestnut St. NE, Gainesville

How much: $8 Monday-Saturday, $6 Sundays

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday

Contact: www.inkfun.org, 770-536-1900.

With the end of winter break just around the corner, kids will head back to their studies or day care, but parents still need a way to entertain their children in the colder months ahead.

That’s where INK, the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, located at 999 Chestnut St. NE in Gainesville, comes in.

The indoor museum offers a way for parents to keep their kids busy inside while also educating them when temperatures outside drop.

“It’s a pretty busy time of year for us, because the kids are out of school,” said Sarai Castaneda, an INK employee.

The business was closed for part of the break, but will resume normal operating hours this week.

Ed Abell is one of many parents who took advantage of the indoor children’s museum this time of year. He likes the museum for three reasons.

“It’s safe, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive,” he said.

Mondays through Saturdays, admission is $8 per person. On Sundays, the price drops to $6.

Abell brought his two daughters, Moley, 4, and Lydia, 7, to the interactive playground after he had brought the girls to a friend’s birthday party in the past and they asked to come back.

Lydia and Moley were able to entertain themselves on the center’s playground, the makeshift Broadway stage and the doctor’s office.

“There are lots of games you can play,” said Lydia, a first-grader at Lakeview Academy.

Lydia and her sister liked playing in the building blocks as well as the center’s play place, where they pretended to jump over boiling lava and poked their faces through the mesh to smile for their dad.

“I have a nice smile,” Lydia said, as she scrunched her face against the mesh.

Both girls then moved on from the play place to another favorite part of the museum: the farm.

“You can pretend to milk the cows,” Lydia said.

Not only that, but the museum offers several stations where children can pretend to be anything from pilots to police officers.

“It allows for independent play, they can just make it up as they go,” Abell said. “You can go around with them if you want, but you don’t have to.”

Parents can relax as they watch their kids play and use available seating while keeping an eye on them.

Laura Baldwin and her son, Aaron, 4, drove from Atlanta to play in the museum. Aaron had already visited with his day care and wanted to bring his mom along for the fun this time.

“It’s very interactive,” Baldwin said. “There’s definitely a few hours of entertainment here.”

Aaron’s favorite part of the museum was the plane and the diner.

“He was selling tickets, carrying luggage ... Just getting the whole flying experience,” Baldwin said.

Aaron played in the plane for about an hour, pretending to travel to faraway places like Brazil after he had already made his mom some imaginary spaghetti and an ice cream soda in the diner.

“He loves to cook,” Baldwin said.

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