19 January 2014

Sunday Traveler: Toledo's Imagination Station

While we were back in the United States for Christmas, we made a trip to Toledo, Ohio to meet up with some family. At the risk of offending anyone from Toledo or Ohio in general, we were asked, "Why Toledo?" because it didn't really seem like a vacation destination, especially in the middle of winter. Our plans were to use Toledo as a mid-way meeting point for everyone traveling, but the city offers educational and cultural options for visitors. And with kids of just about any age, Toledo's Imagination Station is a great day trip if you're staying in the area or just passing through. I'm reviewing our visit to the Imagination Station while I link up with Chasing the Donkey and others for today's Sunday Traveler.

We visited Toledo in the midst of the Snowpocolypse that was hitting a significant area of the US just after Christmas. And since the snow and bitter cold made doing anything outside less than ideal, the Imagination Station was a great choice to let the kids run off some energy.

What struck me first was the wide range of activities for all age groups. Some of the concepts and activities are for older children and adults, like making a supported bridge with a keystone or building designed to withstand seismic activity, or (at the time) the Grossology traveling exhibit that explores the *ahem* more interesting aspects of bodily functions.

Push the button!

Preparing for the collapse of an
under-supported skyscraper.

Finishing off the arch bridge.

But there are also lots of activities that are fun for younger visitors, even if they aren't yet at a developmental level to fully understand the concept. Water tables allow you to see how erosion works with faucets and piles of sand. A special compartment lets you feel hurricane force wind. Once exhibit shows how or perceptions can be manipulated and fooled into seeing/feeling something different. And you can become a human yo-yo with a counter weight system.

You can wait for the water, or you can just
knock down the levy yourself.

Squinting into the wind.

Here, Little Man is almost as tall as Mark and Grandma

Ace, the human yo-yo

There's a special area reserved for Kindergarten aged children and younger, identified as the "Little Kid Space." Children can work out imaginative play in with elaborate props and signs give adults suggestions to prompt imaginations. An extensive set up includes a large tree house, a play-hospital with x-rays to look at, a grocery store where kids can be customers or employees, and a fire truck that can put out a small "fire" on a nearby building. The water play area even includes a special water table for infants.

Tree house, with play hospital directly behind

Driving to the "fire"

Uncle P helping to aim the "water cannon"

Infant water table

Throughout the museum, friendly staff members are available to guide activities or answer questions; and the available facilities make taking the whole family an easy and enjoyable outing. If you find your self in or passing through Toledo, Ohio, the Imagination Station is a fun break for everyone in the family.

As of January 2014, admission for "Big Kids" (ages 13-64) is $10, and $8 for "Kids" (ages 3-12). Ages 2 and under free, and senior discounts and free admission for teachers and active military are available with proper identification. The Imagination Station is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Check the Toledo Imagination Station website for information about holiday openings and closings, special Monday openings, and current admission rates.


  1. What a great way to teach Sciencey serious stuff to kids. I liked the sound of the compartment lets you feel hurricane wind... but then I saw little man in that truck. So now I am torn. Great yo have you link up and great that you're back home & blogging.

  2. Hands-on science is really the best kind. It gets me excited too!
    Thanks for hosting the link up, I'm happy to be a part of it! =)

  3. I admit I've never felt any need to visit Toledo - but this looks like a really cool place!

  4. Ha - I agree, I probably never would have gone there if we weren't meeting family, but it was a good time!


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