The city is reopen for imagination.
Imagination City Children’s Museum in the Conestoga Mall reopened — by reservation only — on June 2 after being closed since March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Laura Johnson, co-director of the children’s museum. At that time, she said, members and nonmembers could come visit the children’s museum by paying an hourly rate.
On June 23, Johnson said, Imagination City reopened to “call ahead” without reservations in a Phase 2 reopening, before transitioning to a Phase 3 reopening on July 6.
Imagination City is open limited hours from noon to 4 p.m. every day except Monday when it is closed.
“It feels great to reopen,” Johnson said. “We are really looking forward to coming back out to the city because we were a busy little city before COVID. I am sure that is what other businesses are saying right now. Everybody is being very cautious, which is good. We are also worried that everybody knows that we are even open back up.”
Johnson said when Imagination City reopened, it was at 50% capacity at Phase 2. Now that the Central District Health Department is in Phase 3, it is allowed up to 75% capacity.
To prepare for its reopening, Johnson said Imagination City workers reduced the number of items in each exhibit. She said they took items, such as cups and silverware, out of its exhibits to ensure toddlers do not put them in their mouths when they play.
Johnson said Imagination City continues to clean high-surface areas such as tables and countertops, as well as tricycle handles. It also sanitizes toys throughout the day.
She said, “Looking at the Raising Cane’s exhibit, we had a lot of duplicates of things. So we took a lot of extras out to make sure that we could get everything properly sanitized and in a timely manner. When we’re doing reservations only, we were allowing time between each visit so we could sanitize the whole place before another family came in.”
Johnson said Imagination City had dress-up outfits in each of its exhibit areas that were removed as a safety precaution in light of COVID-19.
Despite seeing a smaller crowd than before due to COVID-19, Johnson said visitors still are “trickling in.”
Tracey Trampe of Grand Island brought her two children, Addalynne, 2, and Enzlee, 1, to Imagination City for the first time Tuesday night.
“We walked in a few times and peeked in. We have had friends that had come out here, so we decided to finally get out here ourselves,” she said. “The girls are tired of being stuck at the house all the time. They love that there is a lot of different areas and room here for them to play and explore.”
Trampe said on their visit to the children’s museum, Addalynne liked all of the exhibits, but spent most of her time in the grocery store where she filled her cart with a number of grocery items before ringing them up on a play cash register.
Johnson said Imagination City “missed our busy city a lot” and encourages visitors to come out to the children’s museum again or for the first time.
“We would love to see more people in our city,” she said. “We are just hoping we can get the word out that we are reopen.”
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