With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2–10 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Tunnels filled with natural decor await youngsters in the museum's indoor jungle-themed playscape, where they can shake excess energy out of their bounding legs in preparation for naptime or hibernation season. In the ESPN center, kids can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts began as a high school. Built in 1929, the town's first steel-beamed building was filled with bright young minds for more than half a century. But when the school outgrew its building, it moved, and set the stage for for the structure's second life. Emerson Umbrella's group of founding volunteers created a community-arts center that saved the building from demolition while also sticking to its original spirit, ensuring it be used for education. Today, owned by the town and managed by Emerson Umbrella, the center hosts studio space for more than 50 artists, workshops and classes for kids and grown-ups, a performance space for arts events of all disciplines, and just as many standardized biology tests.
Luke Adams's childhood talent for drawing spurred him toward an education in glasswork at the Massachusetts College of Art, where he honed his technique under artists from all over the country. Today, Luke molds his molten medium into colorful, one-of-a-kind starfish suncatchers, jewelry, and paperweights. Through jewelry-making and glassblowing classes, his studio spreads a passion for glass-oriented artistry, teaching students to shear and assemble artful shards, molding them into versatile, translucent building blocks similar to the kind used to by Gustave Eiffel to construct an ice-cube model of his infamous tower.
A maze of megalithic chambers and hallways made by man more than 4,000 years ago nestles into the snow- or moss-covered woods at America’s Stonehenge. Guests meander along a trail, marveling at one of the oldest constructions in the United States, complete with inscriptions, eating areas, and evidence of prehistoric art classes. Explorers delve into Stonehenge's history, learning about its use as an accurately aligned astronomical calendar, its role in the Underground Railroad, and the theories about who actually built it. Nearby, eight fuzz balls graze in the alpaca habitat, offering up skeins of yarn spun from their fluffy locks. Winter months coat the site's 105 sprawling acres with crunchy layers of snow, perfect for adventurous snowshoe outings or piggybacking on a snowman.
The Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220 is the only black and white photo facility in Rhode Island offering affordable public access to skilled snappers and amateur aperture setters. Classes occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7-10 p.m., and cover all the basics of manual 35mm shooting, such as shutter speeds, f-stop setting, ISO numbers, clutch popping, focal lengths, and minimizing glowy mouth. Class sizes are kept to five or fewer students in order to ensure each developing documenter gets personal attention. Once they've mastered the art of lens and light manipulation, students are ushered into the community darkroom to explore the chemical processes needed to advance their newborn negatives into fully mature prints in sizes ranging from 4" x 5" to 20" x 24".