by LISA CAPOBIANCO
Summer programs have just kicked off at Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center.
This month, the museum is showcasing the wonders of light through its light and reflection studio. Last weekend, the museum unveiled the new Kaleido-Lab, which was funded by the Smith Family Charitable Fund at the Main Street Community Foundation.
On Friday, June 24, the museum will celebrate “Imagine Nation Loves Bristol Day,” opening its doors to all Bristol residents from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can receive free admission upon proof of Bristol residency.
“The goal of that is really to engage the Bristol community to know that we’re here and to have them come and…see what we have to offer,” said Development & Marketing Director Doreen Stickney.
In July and August, programming will focus on the celebration of circles, which will give children a chance to explore circular ideas through science, math, literature and the arts.
From July 5 to July 16, “Bubble Mania” will take over the museum. From exploring bubble machines to creating bubble wands on the 3D printer to bubble contests, children will get to explore the magic of bubbles. On July 13, a “Bubble Bash” will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with indoor and outdoor activities and interactive stations that include bubble art and more.
From July 19 to July 31, wheels and gears will take over the museum. The “Wonder of Wheels” event on Thursday, July 21 will feature all different kinds of wheels in Imagine Nation’s parking lot, including trucks, bikes, tires, construction vehicles and more. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Friday, July 29, the Roaming Railroad will make its way to Imagine Nation’s parking lot where children can hop aboard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while engaging in railroad inspired activities indoors. Roaming Railroad is New England’s trackless train that was custom built to accommodate children and adults. An additional fee is required to take a spin around the parking lot.
Other programs that month include Patriotic Day on Friday, July 1, when the museum will feature a variety of art provocations and American Flag weaving to honor Betsy Ross. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 1 also is “Sweet Treat Day” in celebration of National Ice Cream Month. From 12 to 3 p.m. that day, Imagine Nation will offer a single scoop ice cream cone or cup for $1.
On Tuesday, July 12, the museum will feature a high energy performance by Turtle Dance Music, along with hands-on, visual and sensory experiences from 10-11 a.m.
Tuesday, July 19 through Thursday, July 23, marks “Members Bring a Friend Week” at Imagine Nation. Museum members can bring a friend for free. If a guest buys museum membership, he or she will receive a $10 discount.
From Aug. 1 to 13, the museum will feature circle games as a celebration of the Olympic games that will kick off around the same time.
“We’re going to have some things focused on the Olympics, but also lots of different child games that are focused on circles,” said Assistant Director Sara Castle.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, a magic show will take place at 3 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 11, marks “Circle of Fun” day when children can join Imagine Nation during its very own Olympics, taking part in a variety of physical events and circle activities. The event will take place from 12 to 2 p.m.
“That’s going to be a really cool outdoor event which is going to be an old-fashioned field day with lots of activities and games,” said Stickney.
Wednesday, Aug. 17, marks “Annual Achievement Day,” which will celebrate the achievements of students in the museum’s Early Learning School from 6 to 8 p.m. The event also will include a family picnic.
“It’s winding down the end of our school year,” said Castle.
On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the “Dog Days of Summer” will take over the museum with visiting canine friends, such as the K-9 unit. Children will take part in different activities relating to dogs, including a literacy component.
From Aug. 15 to 27, Imagine Nation will introduce the studios to loose parts using buttons, bottlecaps, pans and cans, giving children an opportunity to sort, classify, count and explore those items.
On Friday, Aug. 26, children can experience mud pie making fun and create a variety of pies in all shapes and sizes in the outdoor bakery from 12 to 2 p.m.
“Imagine Nation is a great place for families in the summer to still learn while having fun at the same time,” said Stickney, adding how families also can enjoy the outdoor learning park.
Summer hours at Imagine Nation are from Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with outdoor birthday parties offered throughout the summer.
Starting on June 29, Imagine Nation will be closed on Sundays in the summer. Imagine Nation’s museum studios will be closed from Aug. 31 to Sept. 14 to refresh and revitalize. The Early Learning School will be closed from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5.
For more information, visit imaginenation.org.