Kidspace Children's Museum, Pasadena
||Los Angeles, CA|
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There's so much to do at Kidspace Children's Museum that you could be there for hours and still find activities you haven't tried. The activites are high-tech, creative, and unusual.
Although a children's museum seems like a rainy-day outing, it's actually fun to come on a sunny day because the tricycle course outside is one of the favorites. There are stop signs and paths with arrows and there's even an employee with a whistle keeping kids on the right side of the road! This museum would be a great place to come for a party because the party area is right by the tricycles. There's also a smaller trike path and sensory play area for toddlers.
Another unusual feature of the museum is the tower where kids can climb many storeys high on clear blue circles that take them step by step to the top. It's hot up there, and a little scary because parents down below can't see their kids at all. But parents can climb up too as long as their knees are strong.
Outside there's a rock-lined stream and some cool features such as a spiderweb climby and musical drums that you play by shooting water guns at them! This would be a blast on a hot summer day! There is an area of huge "vines" that kids can hang upside down from. A waterwheel also intrigues, with a fountain by it that drops a sheet of water kids can look through.
Inside there is a smaller tower-like climber where kids can climb up, safely enclosed by netting. It looks like a giant plant. Below it are stairs that lead down to a tunnel. Brave kids can climb into the tiny, dark tunnel. Parents are too large join in! When the kids come out they are near the top of the stairs, exiting what looks like an ant hole.
There's a jeep to ride. There are dinosaur bones to uncover with sand brushes. A huge leaf with water running down it makes a never-ending surface where you can paint. Flowers with plastic pins make a place where you can push your hand in and see its shape on the other side. A table topped with a hilly area covered in moveable sand and trees teaches about mud slides- push the button and the rain comes down.
There's a real bee hive to observe, tanks full of creepy crawlies, and a house you can retrofit and then shake with an earthquake.
The Nature Exchange looks less high-tech but it's a wonderful place. Here you can touch all different kinds of rocks, leaves, and twigs. The best part is the shell area. There are the most beautiful shells that you can hold and admire. Kids can look at them with magnifying glasses.
The only bad part about this museum is that the cafe is absolutely disgusting. It's misleading because the cafe is called Wolfgang Puck, which is usually a great place to eat. I was shocked to find such awful food in classy LA. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich was actually just a Smuckers sealed package with something so far from food in it that I didn't dare give it to my child. The chicken salad consisted of the lady at the register digging her hand into a huge cylinder filled with barely-cut iceberg lettuce, and dumping it on a plastic dish with some huge chunks of veiny mystery chicken. Really, skip the cafe if you want to feel happy. This is a shame because it's inconvenient to leave the museum to get food when you have a bunch of kids in tow. Maybe you can bring some take-out or a packed lunch with you- there are some nice seating areas under yellow umbrellas where you can eat.
Head to Old Town Pasadena to walk around or eat after your time at the museum. On weekends there is sometimes a clown who makes balloon animals for you. Cheesecake Factory is an easy place to eat with kids because it's so loud inside. Be decadent and order a banana cheesecake to have before your meal- it tastes even better when you haven't eaten anything else yet. Watch the parking meters- they go faster than real time (the new way that cities make money).
For another good children's museum, check out the Children's Discovery Museum in Rancho Mirage.
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The museum is located at 480 North Arroyo Boulevard in Pasadena. It is on the west side of Brookside Park near the Rose Bowl Stadium. There is a large parking lot that is part of Brookside Park. Exit Highway 210 and head west on Seco St (turn left if you were on the 210 westbound. Turn right if you were on the 210 eastbound). Turn left on Arroyo Blvd. Turn left into the parking lot. There are plenty of signs for the children's museum.
When you leave, if you head south on Arroyo Blvd, you will pass the coolest bridge and some beautiful scenery. After 3/4 mile, you will do a very sharp left to turn onto Arroyo Dr. Then turn right on Holly St and then right on Orange Grove Blvd. This leads to Highway 134 westbound. Or from Holly St, follow the signs to Highway 210.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.