Lexi Kelly’s son, Timmy, had a brain tumor. While receiving treatment in Philadelphia, he loved to visit the Please Touch Museum, where he was able to play, interact, use his imagination, and, more importantly, feel welcome while sick and bald. After Timmy passed at age five, Timmy’s Town Center was founded in his memory as a place for children to be children, free from judgment, while learning and discovering.
Timmy’s Town Center is an interactive children’s museum located inside the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton, on the second floor. These days, with so many play centers that tout video games and serve pizza to entice kids, how would a “museum” sound? Pretty great, judging by the excited faces seen on the participants scurrying around! Instead of electronics, the Center focuses on the power of imagination, boasting permanent exhibits such as a puppet theatre, dress-up station, farmers’ market, and arts and crafts area. Currently, the ongoing exhibit is “Eat, Sleep, Poop,” which teaches children about animals indigenous to Pennsylvania.
The floorplan is open, so parents can keep an eye on their little ones. There is staff, but the Center is not a daycare: children must have supervision. The Center is open to all ages, but mostly sees walking toddlers to 10-year-olds. The Independent Gazette spoke to Chelsea Cooper, who has worked at Timmy’s Town Center for a year, as well as a new employee, Tim Planondon. Chelsea said she loves her job because of the children. She talked about how even on a high-stress day, it’s the little things, like a participant painting her a picture, that perk her up. “Kids can brighten up any day,” she told the Gazette. The non-profit museum is privately owned, but at only three dollars, admission is feasible for most families. Day passes can also be obtained from some public libraries. More information on play dates, birthday parties, and other events (including the upcoming costume contest) can be found on the website: www.TimmysTownCenter.org.