Family & Pets

A Guide To ImaginOn

May 25, 2011 4:38 PM

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ImaginOn is the home of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Children’s Library. The mission of both organizations is “bringing stories to life.” And they do. What better partnership than a children’s library and a children’s theatre to do just that – bring stories to life. A library is stories on the page, a theatre is stories on stage. There is nothing like it anywhere in the Southeast. It is truly a one-of-a-kind building. Located at 300 E. 7th St. in uptown Charlotte, ImaginOn has something for kids of all ages, from preschool to high school.



ImaginOn is a “green” facility. It’s the first public building in Charlotte to be certified by the US Green Building Council. Many parts of ImaginOn were constructed with recycled materials. Recycled wheat, rubber and plastics were used in different parts of the building. You can even go on an ImaginOn Green Scavenger Hunt to find all the green parts of the building.

Spangler Library


The Spangler Library

The Spangler Library, located on the first floor of ImaginOn, has books and activities for kids from birth through 5th grade. With shelves and shelves of picture books and chapter books, kids will love spending hours here just flipping pages while chilling in a comfy chair or propped up on big pillows. And there are often a few toys around like perhaps a train table or a giant teddy bear that the kids will love to get their hands on. There are also numerous computers with plenty of educational activities that will just seem like fun games to your little one. And what a great place for the older students to get a jump on homework or summer reading. The Spangler Library often has events such as Family Storytime, Yoga Storytime and many more. With lots of interesting, creative decor, The Spangler Library is an enjoyable way to spend time with your kids while letting them explore their own story interests.

Click here to check out the Spangler and peruse the calendar of events.

Teen Loft


The Teen Loft

The Teen Loft is located at the top of the ramp and it’s for teens only. Don’t even think about hanging out there if you are not between 12 and 18 years old. Teens need there own space without adults interfering or younger brothers and sisters bugging them. And this is the perfect place. With plenty of novels, comic books, anime, biographies, DVDs, music and more geared just toward teens, they will feel right at home in the Loft. There are even booth-style tables where you can hook up laptops or even break out a snack. The programming offered by the Teen Loft is like nothing you can find elsewhere. Upcoming programs include Hands-On Building and Programming Robots, Teen Sketchbook Project, and Strategy Gaming: Settlers of Catan. Teens have opportunities to express themselves creatively in unique competitive and non-competitive fashions. And of course, you can schedule time to play the Wii and Playstation with your buds.

Click here to check out the programs and events for The Loft.

Studio i


Studio i

Studio i is one of the most unique opportunities that ImaginOn offers. Studio i is a film and recording studio where families and teens can use movies and music to bring stories to life. With all the equipment you’ll need right there in the studio, you can shoot a live action or animated movie, edit it yourself and mix the sound for it as well. Or you can record a song, shoot a video to go with it and put it all together in one day using their Blue Screen technology. Or you could even put on your best meteorologist duds and predict tomorrow’s weather with the full-size map of the US behind you to make it official. Completed songs and video can be burned to a disc and are available for purchase at ImaginOn or can be uploaded to You Tube. Check their You Tube site to view videos made by teens in Studio i. The possibilities are endless. If you’ve ever wondered how film or music recording worked, you should check out Studio i.

Click here to find out more about Studio i.

Story Jar

courtesy: imaginon,com

The Story Jar

If you’ve been to ImaginOn, you’ll definitely notice the enormous 3-story high Story Jar. With colorful, three-dimensional “things” hanging from it’s spirals, the Story Jar is intended to spark ideas and juice up imaginations. The computers surrounding the Jar invite kids to create their own stories and draw their own illustrations and play fun, educational games. Or they can watch videos of behind-the-scenes moments with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. When you and your kids watch live shows on stage, it’s inevitable that someone will ask, “How did they do that?” Well, you can watch these videos with your kids to find out costume and scenery secrets. The Story Jar is a compilation of toys, household items, and costumes that will hopefully encourage kids to bring their own stories to life.

Stage Play


Stage Play

Around the Story Jar, on the first floor on ImaginOn you can experience different aspects of theatre. There is a Puppet Theatre with little curtains and a multitude of colorful puppet characters where you can put on full puppet shows for your friends and family. Or you can explore the Mysteries of the Theatre and how the lights come to life. Using hands-on levers and buttons and dials, you can control the lights by making them flash and twinkle and change colors. Or you can put on a play on the Page Stage. Simply dress up in any number of costumes, from knights and princesses to lions and elephants, and act out the characters on the stage. Designed to look like a giant book, the Page Stage has two different pages with different backgrounds. You can choose a royal castle or turn the giant page for a jungle scene. And don’t forget to watch yourself on the TV screen as you act out the scenes.

ImaginOn FAQs


Parking, Hours, Phone Numbers

Parking Under ImaginOn
Limited parking is available in the parking deck below ImaginOn, which is accessed from 6th Street. There is direct elevator access from the parking deck to the ImaginOn entrance. The first 90 minutes are free for ImaginOn guests (parking ticket must be validated). After 90 minutes additional rates apply. Because there is only one exit, there may be delays when exiting if the lot is close to capacity.

Parking at Seventh Street Station
Located across the Lynx light rail line from ImaginOn, this deck has entrances on 6th and 7th Streets. For ImaginOn visitors, the deck offers 3 hours of free parking after 5:00 pm Monday – Friday, and free parking on Saturday and Sunday. There is no free parking before 5:00 pm Monday – Friday. Parking ticket must be validated at the Welcome Desk in the ImaginOn lobby. Additional rates may apply when there are Arena/Uptown events. Make sure you identify yourself as an ImaginOn guest when entering the parking deck if Arena/Uptown event rates are in effect.

Surface Parking Lots
Several ground level parking lots surround ImaginOn. Fees range from $3.75-$5.00 and must be pre-paid using exact change. Rates may increase when there are Arena/Uptown events.

Library Hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10am – 7pm
Friday and Saturday –10am – 5pm
Sunday –1pm – 6pm

ImaginOn General (704) 416-4600
Children’s Theatre Box Office (704) 973-2828
Children’s Theatre General (704) 973-2800

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