ImaginOn welcomes "TINKERTOY®: Build Your Imagination™" exhibit this summer

TINKERTOY: Build Your Imagination

There’s no limit to what kids can do in TINKERTOY®: Build Your Imagination™, a new interactive exhibit targeted to children ages 3-10 that will be at ImaginOn from May 20 to September 10, 2017.

Giant replicas of the classic TINKERTOY construction set provide the framework for fun, educational activities inspired by GE technologies that turn imagination into working solutions to real world challenges. Kids can design, build and work together to make amazing TINKERTOY structures. Experiment with renewable energy and water filtration; create inventions, and build, build, build!

Creating Tinkertoy designs.

Visitors to the exhibit will enjoy a variety of activities that promote imagination and collaboration:

  • The Welcome Gallery - The Welcome Gallery celebrates the 95th anniversary of TINKERTOY through a retrospective of the toy’s history, and highlights GE technologies that improve communities around the globe every day.
  • Invent – Children are encouraged to think about where ideas come from, and to explore the emerging field of biomimicry – nature’s influence on design. Visitors can match real inventions with their natural inspiration and create a design of their own.
  • Collaborate – Dual-sided panels allow visitors to work independently or with a partner to create TINKERTOY designs.
  • Filtering processEnergize – Children can explore GE’s commitment to renewable energy as they use a kid-powered fan to test their own wind-powered TINKERTOY creations.
  • Change – A Rube Goldberg-like contraption illustrates the power of creative thinking and how simple mechanisms work. The activity lets children select and position words to build silly – but thought-provoking! – sentences that serve as the springboard for innovation.
  • Process/Connect – TINKERTOY-inspired equipment lets children explore the concept of filtration, while a companion activity invites them to build ball tracks that illustrate how GE technologies help address the challenge of providing clean water. Finding the correct path through a graphic maze answers children’s curiosity about “Where does the water go?”
  • DevelopDevelop – Visitors will enjoy filling a life-size human form with TINKERTOY hubs, providing a great photo opportunity and revealing the elements of a healthy lifestyle – and emptying the piece is fun, too! A special rotating TINKERTOY hub array inspires children to consider the impact of their personal choices, highlighting one of our most important responsibilities: taking care of ourselves so that we can do anything!
  • Create – This open play area reserved for children age 3 and older features a spectacular assortment of TINKERTOY pieces – the perfect place to build their imagination. Pictures of remarkable TINKERTOY creations and special tips provide guidance and inspiration.
  • Reading in The Tinker TankThe Tinker Tank – A walk-in size replica of a TINKERTOY canister is the starting point for the exhibit’s challenging scavenger hunt, a must for those with an eye for detail and a nose for knowledge! The Tinker Tank contains a variety of educational materials that attest to the impact of unconventional ideas on some of the world’s greatest – and strangest – inventions, and serve as a reminder that “If at first you don’t succeed…”

Admission and Hours

Admission to the exhibit is free.

The exhibit is open at ImaginOn (300 E. 7th Street, Charlotte) during building hours: Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday – Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (ImaginOn is closed on Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day for summer hours.) The exhibit will be at ImaginOn from May 20 to September 10, 2017.

For more information, see below or call 704-416-4600.

Information for Groups

  • Can I bring a group?  Yes! Groups are welcome to visit the exhibit after 12 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Reservations are neither required nor accepted and entry into the exhibit is always on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if you wish to combine your visit to the exhibit with any other building-wide activity and have a group a group visit booking is required. 
  • Can a group make a reservation to visit the exhibit?  No, all visits to the exhibit happen on a first-come, first-served basis. Families are encouraged to take advantage of Family Time if your schedule allows. (See below for details.) 
  • Is there a time when the exhibit is open just for families?  Yes! Family Time for the exhibit is every Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. During this time, the exhibit is open just for children with their parents/caregivers. (Limit five children per adult.)
  • Can children visit the exhibit by themselves?  Children under age 8 must be with a caregiver at all times. Caretakers should be at least 12 years old and mature enough to follow ImaginOn rules and guidelines. Chaperones are required for all groups visiting ImaginOn and the exhibit.
  • What if the exhibit is full when I arrive?  Because visitor safety is our top priority, admittance into the exhibit is limited. This allows guests the ability to fully explore the exhibit at their own pace. If the exhibit is “full,” we have a queuing area where visitors can wait to enter the exhibit on a first-come, first-served basis. We have suggested activities to pass the time while you are in line.

The TINKERTOY®: Build Your Imagination™ exhibit was developed by the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in collaboration with PLAYSKOOL® and GE. TINKERTOY is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc. and is used with permission. © 2010 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.