Thatcher Partridge, 2, is part of the target audience for the Glazer Children's Museum.

  • Glazer gala to raise funds for new robotics area
  • Imagination Gala will invite guests to discover all levels of museum
  • Museum wants to host more exhibitions, artistic performances

"He's touching everything that he sees," dad Tyler Patridge said. "He likes to go touch it and play with it and interact with it."

The duo was working on an excavation vehicle and a tower made of small Lego bricks in the Tampa museum's Engineer’s Workshop. But for Thatcher, the bricks aren’t just toys. They were the building blocks of science.

Jennifer Stancil, president and CEO of the Glazer Children’s Museum, explains.

"That's all activating neurons for you to start learning and to start thinking and start being a critical thinker and problem-solver for the future," Stancil said.

To continue their work, the museum is hosting its 14th annual Imagination Gala Fundraiser.

For the first time, Glazer’s Gala guests are invited to discover all three levels of the museum — and to return to their own childhood. The Gala will make up part of the museum's $1 million to $1.5 million fundraising budget.

"One of the things that we are fundraising for now is a robotics area,” Stancil said. “We've also fundraised for a neat motion-capture lab that just debuted in April — the only one in a museum in the world.”

The museum is also planning more traveling exhibitions and artistic performances so children can get a good mix of both science and the arts.

And it's the future development of Bay area children, like young Thatcher.

"There's no doubt his scope and scale of understanding the world grows dramatically every day," Partridge said. “In an environment like this where there's lots of other kids, parents plus lots of stimulus activities, it's fun to watch him grow and learn."

The Imagination Gala will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.