DEALS & DISCOUNTS--Are you looking for a fun activity for your young set over the holiday weekend? Look no further than the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena a place where education, nature, exploration all comes together in one great experience. I recently jumped at the chance to take my adorable grandnieces peaking the interests of kids ages 2 and 5 years old, and mine too! Granted our visit was on a Tuesday early afternoon in November, with just a few school groups to share the museum, and a four wonderful hours of fun.
The adventure began as we entered through a giant kaleidoscope tunnel touching every colorful tile that bubbles out and lights up like a plasma lamp. Out first exhibit hall was the Storyteller Studio where we played dress-up, had puppet shows, drew on the giant white board letting our imagination go wild.
As we made our way to the Nature Exchange, there was an educator introducing Baldwin the ball python to school kids who learned snake facts and had a chance to touch him. We explored insects encased in acrylic, caterpillars, butterflies, millipedes, scorpions, tarantulas and grasshoppers with magnifying glass. In the reptile area, we meet Baldwin’s neighbors; two fire bellied toads, and a Russian tortoise. There are tables covered with pinecones, fossils, animal skeletons, and pelts of furs. A lot to see and touch.
Starvation was calling us. We found kid and adult friendly food at the café feasting from a great selection of hamburgers, chicken tenders, tuna sandwiches and fries. There was plenty of seating in the shade.
After being re-energized, time to venture to the outdoor Physics Forest. Here we experimented with simple pulleys, levers, magnetism, gravity and other wonders of physics. The girls and I won a tug of war against a kindergarten class from a local school; we shot ping-pong balls in a cage, built a giant roller coaster, launched rockets, and raced pulleys on a track. Physics was never so fun.
There is so much more to do, but we ran out of time. One of the biggest attractions is the Water Play area. It is a low creek surrounded by boulders and an overhanging bridge that periodically fills with rainfall while kids learn the valuable lesson of water conservation.
Besides the exhibits, there are daily art workshops, weekends parenting classes, tours, tricycle race course, fountains, mud and sand area, and special events like a semi-annual butterfly release, petting zoo around Labor Day, Pumpkin Festival in the Fall, and live performances at the amphitheater specifically designed for ages 2 -10. You can even host a birthday party/group gathering.
One of the nicest features throughout is a wonderful staff of educators who are very familiar with this age group. They engage kids in learning through investigation, experimentation and creativity, and also help them safe in the process. Our favorite was Erin the educator on the Nature Exchange who answered a barrage of questions and entertained wild thoughts about the reptiles having a party after the museum closes each night. Kudos to Erin!
Kidspace has been around for 35 years. It started off in the basement of Cal Tech, and has grown into the 2.2 acres on the Arroyo Seco parkland with the efforts of educators from NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, the Art Center College of Design UNOCAL and the Pasadena Unified School District. Here they are with an ever adapting and improving space to enjoy with kids of all ages.
The regular admission cost for 2 years old and up is $13. There are discount promotions using coupons on first5la.org, or an AAA or KCET membership. Tuesday Nights are FREE Family Night, from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm. A three-month family membership costs $79 for four people and they offer other membership packages that you might want to check out.
Regardless of cost, there is enough to do for several visits, and it is museum worth supporting. I just need my little ones to come back to Los Angeles so that we can visit the Kidspace Museum again soon, still so much more to do.
NEED TO KNOW:
KIDSPACE CHILDREN MUSEUM (near the Rose Bowl)
480 N Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103
MONDAY Closed during Fall and Winter
TUESDAY 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Free Family Night 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
WEDNESDAY 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
THURSDAY 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
FRIDAY 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
SATURDAY 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, CHECK OUT LOCAL EVENT SCHEDULE
SUNDAY 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, CHECK OUT LOCAL EVENT SCHEDULE
$13 (ages 2 and up)
Family Memberships: $79 for (3 month membership)
$119 (6 months membership)
- There can be multiple school groups on a particular day, check in advance to plan accordingly
- Closures on days of football games at the Rose Bowl
- Some Holidays and Mondays are closed. Please consult the website
- Parking can be challenging on particular days: Rose Bowl float viewing days, flea market Sunday’s, check it out.
- Adjacent to the museum and the parking lot is a lovely park with play structure, Brookside Park.
(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)