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Oct/Nov 2004

Imagine It!
Learning is disguised as fun at The Children's Museum of Atlanta.
by Sarah Gleim

Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta offers four different learning zones that are as fun as they are educational.
As fall weather begins to rear its ugly head towards winter, your children will soon turn indoors for play and quickly start to complain of boredom. You've tried new PlayStation games, the movie theater and the shopping mall, but what you really want is somewhere that will both challenge and entertain the young and restless. If this sounds familiar, then pack up the car and head straight for Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta (CMA). Located on the corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Baker Street, it's a 30,000-square-foot museum designed especially for children.

CMA is a unique, high-energy environment, where having fun and learning are synonymous, and the exhibits are all hands-on, colorful and "larger than life." While the museum is designed primarily for children ages two to eight, young toddlers and children up to age 10 can still find plenty to do. The museum features four different learning zones and exhibit spaces for children to look, explore, touch and discover.

Fundamentally Food features activities that let children discover where various foods come from, how it is transported in different cultures, and how it is weighed and measured. Children can translate information about nutrition into recipe ideas, use food to create art, or load an 18-wheeler with the forklift so that food supplies are transported across the country.

Creative kids love the Let Your Creativity Flow exhibit, where self-expression is encouraged through movement, manipulation and sound. Children can paint on the walls, make their own music, build sand sculptures, and even try traditional dances from around the globe. Though this zone is primarily designed for children ages four to eight, it's usually quite a hit with the adults, too.

The Tools for Solutions exhibit engages older children in creative problem solving-both individually and cooperatively. Here they can explore an under-the-garden world, and, with the help of simple tools, solve complex problems through creativity, teamwork and strategy.

The Leaping Into Learning zone is designed with the museum's youngest visitors in mind. Here they can discover colorful and imaginative opportunities, and make-believe as they crawl through the "friendly forest," splash in a stream, and peek through the stream's bubbles to get a fish's view of life--all in an environment that is designed to be safe for toddlers.

If all of that isn't enough, each of the museum's learning zones features a special "spotlight" area known as In the Spotlight, where educators, performers and experts share their knowledge and lead visitors in hands-on activities.

Imagine It! CMA officially opened its doors in March 2003, but has been operating its Museum Without Walls program for the past six years, offering more than 115,000 metro-area children interactive learning experiences in collaboration with public schools and community organizations. These multi-disciplinary, hands-on programs explore the arts and sciences, history, literacy, cultural diversity and environmental awareness. While that program continues, creating a permanent space where children can explore and succeed was the realization of a dream for the staff at Imagine It! CMA.

Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta
275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30313-1827
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Children 2 and under: Free; Children 3 and older and adults: $11
Advance reservations are encouraged. Adults must be accompanied by children to visit the museum. Recommended for children ages 2 to 8.

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