The Imagination Station is a science center that is located in what was once a downtown specialty shopping mall known as Portside Festival Marketplace. The science center frequently changes their main exhibit near the front entrance. Sometimes they bring in a traveling exhibit, while other times they may create one of their own. Currently the exhibit is called Build Toledo: Engineering our Future, which allows kids to build with all types of materials including LEGO’s and K’Nex. The next exhibit will be Body Works RX! The rest of the building has stayed pretty steady over the years with an awesome area for your children under 5. There is also a water area, where kids chan change the flow of water, they do live science shows throughout the day, there is a virtual ride, a high wire cycle, a human yo-yo, a mind zone, energy zone, health zone and a cafe.
Overall the science exhibits are fun and interactive. The food in the cafe is usually pretty good and while eating you get a view of what’s happening on the Maumee River. My kids always love the hurricane simulator and the mind zone area, plus many of the other exhibits.
The reason I marked it down a star was because of the gravity room in the mind zone. The kids always have fun, but be aware that it can make you quite dizzy or give you motion sickness as it really messes with your balance. I say this because if you have small children and you are easily bothered by this type of motion, I wouldn’t send them in without another person. The area is rarely manned by an IS worker, even though I’ve been assured multiple times that someone is supposed to be in there at all times. Once when we were in there, my 2 and 6 year old were with me and no one was manning the area and kids came in backwards and lost their balance and knocked my two year old down and he ended up with a huge rug burn on his forehead. Another time, the place was so crowded in that area and kids were going in and staying in and no one was telling them to get out. They filled the entire space near there and all I wanted to do was pass through and the parents would t let me through with my stroller. This last time was a little better, the first time we went in there was an employee that was inside helping people the through. When we went back, no one was there once again and kids were staying in extra long, coming in backwards and jumping up onto the walls and hanging on the rafters, even though there are clear signs saying not to do that. The room can be dangerous and should have someone in there at all times. When a person goes on break, another person should always be there to relieve them. For the safety of all of the kids that visit, this seems like it would be a requirement, but it isn’t. In fact, I rarely see anyone manning any of the exhibits except the 3 rides and the science show.
I find myself cleaning up after other kids all the time. For instance with the build exhibit, I was trying to clean legos that had been thrown about and my husband and I were picking up the tubes that were thrown all over and wouldn’t have taken much to step on and break. Having a person walking through once in a while and picking up things like that would be nice. It would just make the place so much better for everyone.
I think the science center is a lot of fun and engages students in science, but I really think there should be a few more employees who walk through exhibits making sure things are running well and cleaning up areas for kids that are coming through.
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