The grand opening of Bona Vista’s latest innovative approach to kid-friendly fun was more than anyone could imagine Wednesday afternoon. Magicians juggled magic in the air, a princess waltzed into a room of gowns, crowns and jewels, and robots took on lives of their own while kids snacked on cupcakes and candy. It all happened inside the walls of Bona Vista’s Imagine That! Innovation Center, a multi-room play facility that encourages child development, learning and lots of fun.
The process of transforming the 1800 S. Plate St. location into an imagination station for kids of Kokomo started in November 2012. Adria Snoddy, director of pediatric therapies for Bona Vista, said being able to see the kids’ reactions to the final product was better than she could have ever dreamed. Snoddy said the idea for Imagine That! Innovation Center is inspired by a play facility in Bloomington, where Snoddy took children she nannied while earning her degree at Indiana University.
“I’m so happy to see all the kids here and see how excited they are. I just saw a little boy totally freak out with excitement when he walked in and saw the magician,” Snoddy said. “It’s great to see something like this take off in Kokomo. Before this you had to drive an hour north or an hour south to find something like this. It’s great to have it right here in our community.”
Something like this includes: Five uniquely themed areas ranging from a princess-themed room to a robotics room. Plus, the brightly colored kid hangout invites room rentals for kids’ parties.
“There are different themes for different interests and abilities [of kids],” Snoddy said of the rooms, decorated and supplied by Bona Vista programs Kindergarten Readiness, Keys for Kids and Early Headstart. “This place was sitting empty. We came up with the idea. We took a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum for ideas, and then we just really cranked this project out from there. We had great sponsors get involved, like our robotics team that put a room together. It’s a great place for kids to play, but it’s also a great way to showcase our local organizations.”