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Once Upon a Time... Exploring the World of Fairy Tales

Once Upon a TimeFrom May 24 to September 7, the Story Lab at ImaginOn is home to the hands on exhibit Once Upon a Time... Exploring the World of Fairy Tales, bringing favorite multicultural fairy tales & folk tales to life!

What is Once Upon a Time?
Once Upon a Time is an interactive exhibit that promotes literacy by fostering a love of reading, books, and storytelling in children and their families. Visitors can explore the larger-than-life pages of these seven favorite tales: Ansasi and the Talking Melon, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Jack and the Beanstalk, Lon Po Po, and Thumbelina.

What can I do in the exhibit?
You can explore the jungle from Ansasi and the Talking Melon and sit on the Monkey King's throne, play the harpsichord and set the beast's banquet table while dressing up as Beauty or the prince from Beauty and the Beast, ride in Cinderella's coach and watch scenery pass by while trying on the magic glass slipper, scramble up the beanstalk and slide down into the ogre's lair from Jack and the Beanstalk, hoist the wolf from Lon Po Po to his doom using a pulley, assemble pairs of boots and shoes at The Elves and the Shoemaker, crawl through the mole's eight-foot tunnel to find Thumbelina, and write and illustrate your own fairy tale story on a specially designed computer kiosk! These are just a few of the activities available in the exhibit!

When can I visit?
Once Upon a Time is open during the ImaginOn Library's regular summer operating hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm. ImaginOn is closed on Sundays from June 1st to August 31st.

Who can visit?
The exhibit is designed for children 2 to 10 years of age with their parents/caregivers.

Can I bring a group?
Yes! Groups are welcome to visit Once Upon a Time after 12pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations are neither required nor accepted and entry into Once Upon a Time 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 of 10 or more, a group visit booking is required. You can make a request at

Can a group make a reservation to visit Once Upon a Time?
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 in Once Upon a Time is every Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-12pm. During this time the exhibit is open just for children with their parents/caregivers. (Limit 5 children per adult).

Can children visit the exhibit by themselves? Children under age 8 must be with a caretaker 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.

How much does it cost?
Nothing! There is no fee to visit Once Upon a Time.

Is it in Spanish?
Yes! The signage in Once Upon a Time is written in both English and Spanish.

Once Upon a Time was created in collaboration with The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum in partnership with the St. Louis Public Library. All materials ©2006 The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum.

©2015 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
ImaginOn 300 East Seventh St., Charlotte, NC 28202, (704) 416-4600
A collaborative venture of The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library & Children's Theatre of Charlotte
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