Visiting child-friendly museums, as well as specific children’s museums, is a terrific way to bond with your child, have fun together and help pique your kid’s curiosity in a variety of topics. Children can learn lots of fascinating things in an immersive environment, and museums can inspire little ones to want to know more about the world around them. Southern California has many great activities for young children, including an assortment of excellent children’s museums and child-focused exhibits. These are our top recommendations for museums and exhibits to enjoy with your kids in SoCal.
Skirball Cultural Center
Located between Bel Air and Sherman Oaks and easy to access by road, Skirball Cultural Center may not be the first place you think of visiting preschoolers. Many of the museum’s interesting exhibits aren’t so interesting for the youngest members of the family. One exhibit in particular, however, makes it well worth a trip: the award-winning Noah’s Ark. The huge wooden ark is filled with animals made from recycled materials, and everyone is encouraged to clamber, climb, play and have fun. In Addition, other kid-friendly activities at the cultural center include the weekend family art studio, nature walks, and special events throughout the year.
Cayton Children’s Museum
With something for all younger kids, Cayton Children’s Museum offers a terrific day out for families in Santa Monica. Enjoy sensory activities abound, ideal for aiding development and growth. Your child can have fun role-playing a variety of real-life situations with other young visitors. From a fire station, helicopter, and animal hospital to a café, mini market, and a rescue boat driving in a ball pool, there are so many aspects of the Let’s Help area to capture your kid’s imagination. Climbing equipment, art, experiments, games, and stories are just a few more things to enjoy. The Launch Your area, specially designed for kids up to the age of two, is ideal if you’re taking a younger sibling along too.
Heritage Square Museum
Take a journey back in time and spend half a day (or longer!) at Heritage Square Museum in LA. Home to several preserved buildings from the Victorian period, children are free to roam around the living museum. Likewise, at Heritage Square, you get to experience life in times gone by. Buildings include Lincoln Ave Church, Ford House, Octagon House, and the Palms Depot. The museum has regular special events throughout the year too.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has something to intrigue kids — and adults! — of all ages. The dinosaur exhibition is particularly popular with younger members of the family. Likewise, the exhibit features a huge replica of dino skeletons. Children also are often fascinated by seeing scientists clean ancient fossils in the Dinosaur Lab. Step outdoors to brave the Spider Pavilion filled with arachnids and their intricate webs. In this exhibit, your young scholar can learn more about local bugs and get hands-on in the Discovery Center!