INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids) in Gainesville is not your typical children’s museum. It was designed by educators and created to match the Georgia public school curriculum. But kids would never know that. The museum is full of interactive, hands-on exhibits that look like a neighborhood—with streets and stores and even a bank. Here are a dozen reasons why we think it’s worth a visit.

1950s Cafe at INK

1. Real-Life Exhibits

Kids pretend for hours at INK, because the museum offers over 20 permanent exhibits that look like the real world. Children put on postal uniforms and sort and deliver mail; they serve food to their parents at the 50s café; they care for sick stuffed animals at the vet clinic and they style hair at the beauty salon. INK also has exhibits of a dairy farm, a court room, a theater and more.

Pottery Studio at INK

 

2. Paint-your-own Pottery Studio

Families love this popular spot at INK because kids can create a pottery masterpiece for a few dollars. Children have a blast with this truly hands-on activity, creating and painting pottery (think mugs, bowls, figurines). Their creations stay at INK for firing, but they can be shipped to you.

3. Fun Events

Every week INK has a different themed craft for kids. These are usually tied with the seasons and holidays like “Summer Crafts” or “Earth Day Crafts.” Parents love the price on these events too—usually just $1.00. Check their events calendar to see what craft they are doing when you visit.

J & J Foods at INK

4. Grocery Store

A true crowd pleaser at INK, kids flock to this “J & J Foods” grocery store to shop, work as a cashier or just push a cart around. The children don’t realize that they are actually practicing social skills while they scan and check out their groceries.

5. Preschool Paradise

The four-and-under set enjoy this special area designed just for them. In this castle, little ones can crawl through tunnels, play with toys and games and slide down to a safe padded area.

Imagination Playground at INK

6. Imagination Playground

A recent addition to INK, the Imagination Playground gives children the opportunity to create and build with lightweight, oversized blue blocks. Kids of all ages get creative and focused in this area and can spend a ton of time here.

7. The Music Room

Budding musicians or just young music fans can play with all sorts of instruments—drums, shakers, a piano and an organ, to name a few—and be as loud as they want.

8. Family Playhouse

When the kids just want to climb and play, this is the place to go. It’s a good sized indoor playground structure with slides, nets and tunnels, perfect for a little bit of museum-exercise.

9. Healthy exhibits

Families can check out the “Buddy: Building a Healthy Body” exhibit which features Buddy (the 60′ long smiling boy). With organ replicas, video kiosks and interactive ways to learn about the food groups, children can learn all about making their bodies healthy too. INK also has a “Born Learning Trail” outside where parents can learn about ways to stay active with their kids.

GrandPappy Airlines at INK

10. GrandPappy Airlines

The kids go crazy for this full sized 1955 Aero Commander 560 aircraft. They can explore inside the airplane, see how the plane works and pretend to be the pilot. There is even a check-in counter so they can imagine they are actually traveling.

11. Memberships

If your family is going to visit more than two times, a membership is a good way to save some money. They start at $99 for a family of four. INK Members also receive perks like discounts on birthday parties, camps and pottery classes.

12. Non-profit

INK is not a money-making machine; it’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They charge admission, but depend on donor support from the community. That also means if you do make a donation, it is tax deductible.

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