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10 } Make memories with your grandkids in Truman’s hometown M O N D A Y , F E B R UA RY 2 0 , 2 0 1 2


Photo courtesy of Independence Tourism

EVEN “BIG KIDS” enjoy the marionettes at the Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence, Mo. A trip just across the state line can appeal to multiple generations.

ntergenerational travel is a growing trend, and grandparents in Lawrence don’t have to stray too far from home to take the grandkids on a memorable adventure. Independence, Mo. — just minutes east of the Kansas City International Airport — offers a wealth of interesting kid-friendly and senior-friendly sites and attractions. There’s so much to see and do in Independence that it’s hard to know where to start, but my favorite place in town is the Puppetry Arts Institute. There’s a scene in Walt Disney’s animated film, “Pinocchio,” that takes nearly every child’s breath away when they view it for the first time. The Blue Fairy has just granted Pinocchio his dearest wish, to become a real boy, and little Pinocchio comes alive. The fact that a little “wooden head” could suddenly feel life in his limbs and start prancing around is a concept that must occur to every child — and quite a few adults — when they first enter the amazing Hazelle Rollins Puppet Museum at the Puppetry Arts Institute. At first glance, there are puppets everywhere — more than 150 of them: mermaids, nuns, kings, clowns, parrots, and even a perfect replica of Harry Truman! There are marionettes, hand puppets, shadow puppets, rod puppets, finger puppets and European paper puppets (with their own toy theaters). There are even puppets in the Gift Shop that consist solely of “googly” eyeballs for children to wear on their fingers! Some of the puppets’ faces are so lifelike that you’d expect them to hop off the shelves or unstring themselves


DAYTRIPPER from the walls and start dancing. Visitors must surely wonder what happens when the last lights go off and the museum is closed for the evening. Do the puppets come out to play? A wide assortment of hand puppet heads lies invitingly on a table for visitors to select and paint. Don’t be shy about coming in to make a puppet if you’re over 3 feet high, even if you don’t have a child in tow. The museum is not just for kids, but it helps if you’re a kid at heart. And, through the end of July, it’s Howdy Doody Time! Baby boomers may find themselves swooning over the special Howdy Doody collection, enhanced by tapes from the TV show. What a thrill to be able to share the magic of Howdy Doody with your grandchildren! One of the Howdy Doody puppeteers is now on staff at the Institute and can answer questions about Buffalo Bob, Clarabelle the Clown and even Howdy.

Lawrence Journal-World 02-20-12  
Lawrence Journal-World 02-20-12  

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