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INK kids arent lacking for fun on a rainy day
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Kennedy Smith, 3, eats cake at her birthday party Saturday at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville. INK hosts birthday parties as well as gives parents a good place to take their kids on days too wet for the park. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids
Where: 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sundays
Admission: $8 Monday through Saturday, $6 Sundays
Contact: 770-536-1900, www.inkfun.org

For families who have spent the last few weeks cooped up at home during the holidays because of the cold and rainy weather, Interactive Neighborhood for Kids has become a welcome destination for many.

“We drove out here for the kids. It’s a great rainy day activity,” said Deliana Kostova of Decatur, who came with her two children. “There are only so many movies you can go to. This is a good place to play when it’s raining and even when it’s not raining.”

The children’s museum offers a variety of activities, from the hands-on interactive exhibits to a pottery studio where families can spend time learning and having fun together.

“A good age to get a full understanding of what our museum offers is going to be from 3 to 13 or 14,” said Elizabeth Galvan, birthday party coordinator for INK. “It gets really busy during the winter because outside activities are limited due to the weather, so now is our prime time.”

With three different packages available and four party rooms, hosting birthday parties at INK has become popular with many families.

“It’s actually really good. I saw the website (www.inkfun.org) and it looks like it’s actually better than the children’s museum that’s downtown,” said Lisa Jaquez of Stockbridge, who came Saturday with her son and daughter for her niece’s birthday party. “I like the setup here. It’s really fun.”

A bonus of a party package is unlimited access to the museum.

“There are a lot of interactive exhibits here, so they get to have their birthday party and they get to learn as well,” Galvan said. “They get to play as well, or pretend to be something that they want to be when they grow up. So it’s a learning mechanism as well as celebrating their birthday.”

Jeremy Field and his family drove from Athens after his wife found INK while looking for rainy day activities.

“It’s pretty neat. I like this because of the interactive part of it, the educational portion is more hands on,” Field said.

INK’s a pottery studio available to all ages and accessible to everyone without admission to the children’s museum.

“What I like about our pottery studio versus other pottery studios is that other places make you pay for the time that you’re painting. Our prices, everything is included, and they generally tend to be lower,” said Lindsey McLamb, pottery coordinator for INK. “There are no hidden fees; the price that you see is the price you’re going to pay.”

Those prices range from $2 to $70. No appointment is needed within regular business hours, although advance notice is required for parties.

Once finished, completed pottery pieces are fired in a kiln and available for pickup in two weeks.

After-hours parties are available for a $60 fee, with classes accommodating up to 10 for canvas painting parties and up to 22 people for pottery.

“You can come in bring your own refreshments; after-hours you can bring alcoholic beverages,” McLamb said. “We are also trying to get our canvas classes going. We have a couple of different designs you can choose from and then we walk you through it, step by step.”

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