Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena

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The Kidspace Children’s Museum is the best museum in LA for children 1 to 8 years old. It is a small museum with an incredible amount of hand-on activities for kids. This place is so much fun that every time we go there we spend the whole day easily.

The beauty of this museum is its simplicity. There are no large exhibitions, no huge spaces, just simple, fun exhibitions where children can explore at their leisure with no fear of being messy, or getting dirty and wet. Each little activity is so well thought out, it is amazing.

In this museum you will find story times, music playing, experiments, water games, outdoor installations,  insects, bicycles to ride, a beehive  and a lot of other simple activities that can engage small children for hours. That is what I love about it! For example, in a corner of the museum they have this small water situation where children fill small buckets with water and fill up tubes with it so the water flows through this small structure. It is nothing special, just a simple water game, but Max played in there for 2 hours all by himself. Score!

TIPS: If you want to spend the day here, there is a restaurant with healthy options, so no need to bring food. Also,  bring a change of cloths for your kids because they will be filthy and wet by the end (or middle) of the day.

jestcafe.com--kids-space28jestcafe.com--kids-space30 jestcafe.com--kids-space27 The entrance to the museum is in itself a wonderful exhibition full of colors, and interactive activities:jestcafe.com--kids-space25jestcafe.com--kids-space26 In the big pavilion there are a lot of hand-on activities like this paint water canvas where kids are free to paint and be messy without an adult freaking out about their white couches getting stained with red paint…jestcafe.com--kids-space22jestcafe.com--kids-space11 And this beehive. Mesmerizing!jestcafe.com--kids-space20jestcafe.com--kids-space21And this kid (my nephew), so darn cute!jestcafe.com--kids-space24 Here is Víctor and Agustín experimenting with electricity. The idea was to move a little engine by transporting energy from the batteries, through the cables and play doh, to the engine. They loved doing this, and learned so much in the process. jestcafe.com--kids-space17jestcafe.com--kids-space19 jestcafe.com--kids-space18 jestcafe.com--kids-space16Here is my beautiful dad helping to take care of the rascal, or at least limiting his escaping possibilities.jestcafe.com--kids-space23The museum has a new outdoor area with lots of games for children that make learning very fun. Also, they are doing new installations that will open in April or May this year. jestcafe.com--kids-space4jestcafe.com--kids-space3jestcafe.com--kids-space2jestcafe.com--kids-space-1jestcafe.com--kids-space15 This place to ride bicycles is always a big hit. How happy and proud is Max of getting a ride from his big brother? I love how these two are best friends. jestcafe.com--kids-space14 jestcafe.com--kids-space13 jestcafe.com--kids-space12My daddy spending the day with grandkids. He is 83:jestcafe.com--kids-space10 jestcafe.com--kids-space9 jestcafe.com--kids-space8 In the garden, the museum has this little green huts with a lot of books. It is a magic place for children to sit down and read a little. Also, as you can see, by the end of the day Max was in diapers and mismatched shoes because I run out of clothes. For me, this is a sign of epic fun.
jestcafe.com--kids-space5jestcafe.com--kids-space7 jestcafe.com--kids-space6At the end of the day, we spent 10 hours at the museum, and the kids still wanted more. If you are in LA, take your children to the Kidspace Children’s Museum. You won’t regret it. Just remember, this is not a museum for older kids. It doesn’t have big exhibitions, just small fun, hands-on fun.

Kidspace Children’s Museum

480 North Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103
Telephone: (626) 449-9144
Fax: (626) 449-9985
Emailinfo@kidspacemuseum.org

Operating Hours

Weekdays
Tuesday – Friday, 9:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. (Open Mondays March 14 – September 5, 2016)

Weekends
Saturday & Sunday, 10:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

*Closed Mondays during Fall & Winter after Labor Day unless otherwise promoted for special events

Admission

  • Adults & Children: $11.00
  • Infants (under age 1): FREE
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Olvera Street

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LA has many neighborhoods that make you feel like you are in a different country when you visit them. One of them is Olvera Street.

Before the Holidays, we took our kids here to immerse ourselves into some Latin flavor, and to get the children out of the house, because having your kids inside a 900 sq. feet dwelling all day can be a nightmare, literally.

Ideally, you will take the train to Union Station to get to Olvera Street, but, for us, the train is not the most convenient way of transportation because it takes so long, more than 45 minutes.

We went on a Saturday for the Virgen Guadalupe Celebration. There was dancing and a vigil, but the most fun part of going to Olvera Street is just walking around and having dinner in one of the many restaurants. The Street has old houses and tries to recreate a romantic idea of “Old Los Angeles”.

It also has a one-block market of  handcrafted items vendors that have been there for generations. Our children loved all the little shops and wanted to get into everything. There were so many colors and noises to spark their imagination, so it was very fun for them.

After walking around and buying some children’s guitars for $10, we had dinner at one of the restaurants. There are plenty of places to choose from. We ordered some guacamole, a couple of beers, some burritos, and we were set.

After a two-hour outing, we were ready to go back home, and felt very happy to have had this little adventure. Going to Olvera Street is a nice option for a short weekend family activity in Los Angeles.

Here is a calendar with the different community events they have at Olvera Street. As of today, they haven’t updated it with the events for 2016, but I am sure they will soon.

Here are some pictures, if you want to see:
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Central Library, DTLA

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The Central Library in DTLA is a treasure. The building was constructed in 1926 and renovated from 1988 to 1993. It has 538,000 square feet (HUGE!) and capacity for 1,400 people. It is a wonderful landmark in downtown, LA. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t send Víctor to school so we could have a little adventure and we went there instead. Read more

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The Huntington Library and Gardens

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, near Pasadena,  is one of the most beautiful places in LA. If you live here and haven’t been, you need to go. If you don’t live here but will visit soon, you need to go. If you don’t live here and won’t visit LA soon, well, you can look at these pictures to enjoy the place from afar, because it is magic.

LA is a metropolis, and, like all metropolis, the motion of people and energy is constant. It is also true that LA is more laidback than other big urban areas. I think the cause of this casual motion is the weather and proximity to the beach, which demands the use of flip-flops and shorts at least once a week, no matter the month of the year.

In the middle of this chaos, The Huntington is a sanctuary. The moment you step in, you are transported to peace (because peace is a physical place, people!). So, after you pay your pricey $23 ticket (children are free) you can start your trip into art, nature, and fun. By the way, the first Thursday of the month is free, so take advantage of it! You can get your free tickets here, and here is a map of the grounds.

The Huntington has 14 different gardens, the lily pond and Conservatory. To start, I always go down the Desert Garden. This is my (and my dad’s) favorite place at the Huntington because of the big variety of shapes and flowers that are so unusual and pretty. I would recommend visiting this specific garden around February, when a lot of cactuses are blooming. Here are some pictures.
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Where is Wally?

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My sister and I took all the kids to the Huntington back in September for a little adventure, and we all had a very nice time. The lily pond is always a hit for the children, with its koi fishes and ducks. I am sorry Max missed it this time, as you can see, but that was a nap needed by all.

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After that, we made our way through the Japanese Garden and the Garden of Flowing Fragrance (Chinese Garden), which have gorgeous details and “secret” corners. It is impressive how much care has been placed into building these gardens; there are so many subtleties that you really need to stop and observe to not miss anything.

I would also recommend visiting the rose garden, that will enchant you with its fragrance and colors, or eating at the tea room if you need a break. The Huntington has 6 cafes scattered throughout the gardens (and entrance), but the tea room is my favorite. Also, bringing a picnic to share is a great idea for the kids.

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Finally, we went to the Conservatory and, most importantly, to the Children’s Garden, the best place for kids at The Huntington. This smaller (and beautiful) garden introduces children to the natural world through “interactive sculptural elements based on the themes of the earth, air, fire and water.” I would recommend bringing extra clothes (and towels) so your kids can explore freely. Be warned, if you don’t like your children to get dirty or wet, steer them away from this garden, though I would encourage you to not do so.

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Be careful during summer days, it can get hot out there.

Also, you won’t be able to take advantage all the things this place has to offer in one visit, as it is pretty massive. I still haven’t been able to go to all the galleries and garden areas, but that gives me a great excuse to go back again soon. I love this place, and you will too!

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

(626) 405-2100

 

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NexGen Family Sundays At LACMA

L.A. can be so much fun for families and kids; there is so much to do and so much to learn. I don’t like to live faraway from my family in Chile, but LA makes it all worthwhile. In this city, I am able to expose my children to the world in a way that, hopefully, allows them to explore and absorb a lot of what life has to offer. This city has an incredible amount of places that are made for children and enables them to wander and discover.

An example is the NexGen Family Sundays at LACMA; one of our favorite activities to do on Sundays. If we have people visiting us in LA, this is where we take them.

Why? Well, the LACMA is a beautiful “open” museum with great outdoor areas and plenty of things to do for adults and children. Even if you don’t feel like looking at art, you can enjoy a coffee, a drink, or a good meal, while watching your kids participate in workshops that inspire their imagination. Also, the museum is free if you have kids, in case you want to see an exhibition. It is a win, win situation.

A couple of weeks ago, we took my sister and nephews to NexGen Family Sundays and they loved it. The theme of the day was architecture; in the workshops, the kids painted imaginary houses and built giant structures.

After playing and having a coffee, we went to the BCAM building to see the Metropolis II exhibit, which is a miniature frenetic modern city that has 100,000 cars circulating through the buildings (yes, that is 100,000). Take your kids to this exhibition if you want to impress them!

Here is a picture of the kids in front of the “Levitated Mass.” If you go to the LACMA, you need to take a picture of yourself (or kids) in front of this giant boulder, the only piece of art in the museum that is supposed to outlive it. More pictures of our field trip are down below.

jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma7jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma8Here is the cutest child in the world (my nephew) that always looks good in pictures because he has those beautiful eyes and willingness to smile at the camera. jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma17jestcafe.com-NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-LacmaVíctor is still doing his model face every time I ask him to look at the camera, as you can see.
jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma10jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma9 Here are some pictures of one of the workshops they participated in. The idea was to build a big structure with cardboard and clips. They had a great time trying to do it. jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma16 jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma11 jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma14 Can you believe Víctor’s face of happiness and achievement in this picture? He was able to place that triangle on top of the structure and was so proud of himself! Cute.
jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma21 jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma13jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma12Here is the Metropolis II Exhibition. Kids (and adults) love it. You can’t go wrong taking kids here. jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma6Max is figuring out how to get inside the exhibit without being caught. He tried a couple of times unsuccessfully. jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma5jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma2 jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma4jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma3 jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma20

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

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