Right in the heart of Pasadena, California is a children’s museum that is as grassroots and charming as can be. We had a great afternoon visiting during their Monthly Party event, which featured a bubble show – which really was just icing on the cake of this fabulous museum. Their new permanent location is still growing and developing, and that’s exciting for a local family like ours.
The Southern California Children’s Museum is dedicated to the local community in a powerful way from its inception, since the founders are all local mothers who wanted to see a void filled in their own hometown. It’s still in its nascent phases but the ideologies are not. It’s a play-based learning space that allows young kids to explore on their own terms, and I assure you that the quality of their current event offerings and exhibits do not fall short. Their focus is on the four main areas of Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Culinary Arts, and My California. Their weekly events are full and vibrant including a variety of class series that require pre-registration. An example of some classes are Rise and Sing Music Class, Open Mic Mondays, Parent and Me Dance and Yoga, Bilingual Storytime, and Art Party. They also have on-going seasonal special events like Halloween parties, and when Santa comes to visit. They recently had a Touch-A-Truck event at a nearby outdoor venue in Arcadia, where families were invited to come and explore various Fire trucks. What a wonderful collaboration!
The museum also offers packages that are truly unique, like the new afternoon play packages which allow for play groups to privately enjoy the space and various drop-off Camps which explores on the 4 focus areas.
Upon entry the bold and colorful graphics peaked the Museeum Kids’ anticipation for the afternoon. They were immediately drawn into a reading nook, which had one of my daughter’s favorite books on display ready to be read – “Dragons Love Tacos.” A giant pin-art board was a piece the kids came back to multiple times during our visit. It was so much fun making our own 3D sculptures with our hands, arms and faces. No play space is complete without a bounce house, and their cool minimalistic looking one was definitely a favorite for my son and - I would assume - any kid that wants to get a little more physical. Bouncing is the immediate inducer of blissful giggling for all ages after all, so of course I joined in for a moment as well!
Each exhibit was explored and enjoyed including planting, harvesting and cooking their ingredients in the gardening and kitchen zone, building and dressing a snowman, dressing up and putting on a stage show, sliding down and climbing up the play structures, playing with magic sand, playing with the Tegu magnetic board, free-drawing, making some arts and craft foam popsicles at a crafting station and serving up some square meals in the culinary area with aprons on and all. As mentioned, the museum has special activities set up throughout each day, some days with more options than others (check the calendar on their website or wall board before your visit to plan ahead and not miss out!). We definitely did not want to miss out on the opportunity to create our own fruit salad snacks as a welcomed pick me up mid-play. It was a really nice element that the thoughtfully cut up fruits were complementary to boot. For those families that want to bring along their own lunches or snacks, the museum offers a separate room dedicated as a picnic area to enjoy their meals in cleanliness and semi-privacy.
The bubble show was fun and entertaining for young ones and adults alike. The experienced performer had an engaging presence, the space was intimate, and at the end of marvelling at some really neat tricks, each kid got a chance to stand in their own giant bubble! The length of the show was perfect, and long enough for the kids to really get their fill of excitement through it. Just prior to heading out, we noticed that the camper play area was left un-visited and of course the kids insisted they check it out. We ended up staying another half an hour as they made some cool new friends and pretended to be on an epic camping trip complete with fire place and s’mores.
The day was full and happy. So much so, that we were all pretty much fun-tired and ready to head home for a good rest. This museum is perfect for families that want an educational experience for their kids while they play their hearts out while using their imaginations, being interactive with one another and exploring their creative sides. It definitely has a place on our local museums spots list, and we have already enjoyed it on subsequent visits with friends. Thank you for being you, Southern California Children’s Museum!