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Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence offers fun for all ages

Puppets waitng for customers.
Puppets waitng for customers.

Looking for something to do this weekend, besides hitting the movie theater? The Puppetry Arts Institute (PAI) is a point of interest for all ages. Located at 11025 E. Winner Rd., Independence, MO this non-profit organization is more than just a puppet theater; it also serves as a workshop and a museum. Puppeteers from all over the world come to perform at the small theater, tucked deep in the middle of the quaint Englewood shopping district.

The PAI presents plays on one Saturday, each month. "Hungry as a Bear" and "Goodnight Irene" are scheduled to show this Saturday, January 23, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00 per person and includes free finger puppets for each child. The plays are suitable for ages 3 and up. Due to limited seating, reservations are strongly encouraged. You can reserve your spot for the show by calling the PAI at 816-833-9777.

There is ample parking located at the front of the building, but it does require you to cross a busy street, so make sure the kids don't beat you out of the car first. Once inside, be sure to sign up for the free mailing list. The PAI will send out post cards once a month announcing new show times.
If sitting through an entire play is too passive for your youngsters, the PAI also offers a variety of puppet making workshops and hands-on demonstrations. Children can create their own puppets and learn about the art of story telling through puppetry. A word of caution: the puppets created in the workshops are from the paper-bag variety and will require ample time to paint and dry, so be sure to look at the suggested time length for each activity listed on the PAI's website. Also, listed on the website are their hours of operation (Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.), upcoming presentations, and workshop fees.

Even if you don't have time to attend a workshop or a show, the PAI is worth a quick look if you are in the neighborhood. Puppets from all over the world are showcased throughout the museum. Children can learn about world cultures as they view the puppets located in all of the rooms, even the bathroom. The PAI is a unique experience that will suck the boredom out a winter afternoon without sucking a lot of money out of your wallet.