By Larry Kast

ImagineU Launches Grandparents Membership


Last updated 4/18/2020 at 4:58pm | View PDF

ImagineU Children's Museum

Looking for something new to do with your grandchild? ImagineU Children's Museum may have the answer.

The nonprofit opened in 2015 at its current location northeast of downtown Visalia on Tipton Street, just north of Center. Although its focus is on exhibits and activities for children under eight years old, Executive Director Katy Young said they recently turned their attention toward a much older demographic –grandparents.

"One day, I was looking out our window and there's a grandmother and her grandson," she said. "They come here every day. So we talked about it in a staff brainstorming session, and then we launched it."

What was launched is a new membership just for grandparents. While most of ImagineU's 2,800+ members are children, Young said the new grandparents' membership has been well received and is starting to grow quickly.

The new membership includes two grandparents of any age who can bring their grandchildren to the museum, whether it's one or even 20, all for just $150 per year. Alternatively, the daily admission costs are $10 per child and $8 per adult, and $6 for seniors ages 63 and older.

The grandparents' membership also provides a 10% discount on party packages, as well as museum rentals, camp, membership renewal, Night at the Museum, and discounts on crafts. Members can also bring a friend for free on designated days throughout the year.

While the name museum might imply "look but don't touch" to some, ImagineU is very much a hands-on experience with its exhibits and age-appropriate spaces, which helps when it comes to young children.

"We encourage them to bring them down here and get the wiggles out," said Young, who added once patrons arrive, they tend to hang around a while. "Typically, they tend to stay for a minimum of an hour up to three hours. If you are here less than an hour, it's pretty unusual," she said. "Kids usually bounce around. They don't go in a logical flow."

Grandparents will find plenty of seating if they don't want to jump in themselves in the hands-on activities, which are continually changing to keep the experience fresh and interesting, and makes for a strong reason to keep coming back.

Kelli Avila

ImagineU wants grandparents to enjoy the experience with their grandchildren. (Above photos courtesy of Kelli Avila Photography.)

The website,, has a full listing of current and planned exhibits, including when schools have planned field trips to the museum, which can make it crowded.

Special events can also be found on the calendar, which could result in the museum being closed to the public. There you'll also find information about the various memberships, as well as a few rules and recommendations.

"We want grandparents to enjoy the experience with their grandchildren," Young said, adding there are docents available for questions. "But they aren't here to watch the children, they aren't babysitters. They are kind of like a lifeguard. If they see something unsafe, they will remedy the situation. But adults will need to keep an eye on their own children."

Imagine U Children's Museum is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 210 N. Tipton St. in Visalia. For more information, call (559) 733-5975.


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