We love taking our daughter to Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, CA. It’s a place where children learn to play creatively through imaginative play in a museum designed as a small city. The exhibits at the museum encourage kids to play, learn and explore how the real world works.
Exhibits include a grocery store, art studio, construction site, house, restaurant, farm, amphitheater, emergency services, a health center (doctor office, and dentist office), a farm and a beach.
When we arrived, we immediately headed to the Mini Mall. I know, it’s backwards to look around a gift shop before you go in a museum, but we couldn’t help it. It’s so inviting and “fun” looking. There are so many goodies in this shop for all ages.
AND for the Peppa Pig lovers…
Pretend City Museum has a designated stroller parking area to the left of the Museums entrance, and to the right, there are lockers where you can put your belongings.
In the Art Studio, there is a variety of different ways that kids can make art. If your child creates something, you can leave it on a cart (to dry if needed), and continue on with the museum until you’re ready to head home. They’ll keep it for you throughout the day, so you don’t have to carry it the entire time.
I hope you like Little Tikes, because there are plenty of them in the middle of the Museum for kids to drive all around.
Throughout the museum, you’ll find numerous street signs with encouraging names. We especially liked “Diversity Drive,” as one of the main things that the museum strives to achieve is to teach the importance of acceptance and diversity. They do this by recognizing and celebrating many unique holidays throughout the year in exciting and traditional ways.
I love all the hints at diversity throughout the museum. Below is a photo from the home exhibit where is states, “Our Home is your Home.”
The Trader Joe’s exhibit is one of the coolest, in my opinion, because it looks exactly like the store! There are only three shopping carts because it can get REAL crazy in there. You know, like real grocery shopping sometimes? There are also baskets that kids can shop with so that more kids can participate.
One of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s (the real one) is the sign art. I love the colors and the chalkboards that they use. Pretend City Museum mirrors Trader Joe’s down to the sign art.
How pretty are the “pretend” flowers?? I love the pretend produce too! They even have a scale to weigh them for a price!
The Post Office is unique as its a place where the kids can learn to write a letter, and mail it. Our daughter loves to write (and draw), so she was definitely in her element here. When we taught her how to put her letter in the mail, she thought it was the coolest thing.
This started a little game for about 20 minutes straight. I love that it sparked an interest in her imagination. I hope she continues to think of snail mail as a fun thing to do when she’s older.
Our daughter loves to watch her daddy build things at home, so naturally the construction site was a fun exhibit for them both.
Shout out to the Laguna Beach exhibit! Definitely a fun sensory area with the sand and beach toys. Our daughter hates sand, but for some reason was all about the sand at Pretend City.
Pretend City Children’s Museum is located at 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618. It’s the perfect place for kids to run around, have fun, and learn how to think critically, creatively, and build problem solving skills. On top of the exhibits, the Museum hosts daily events that bring a diverse group of families together.
Here are some of Pretend City Museum’s upcoming events:
- January 9-13 – Letter Writing Week
- January 15 – Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day
- January 18 – Winnie The Pooh Day
- January 19 – Homeschool Field Experience Day & National Popcorn Day
- January 20 – Penguin Awareness Day
- January 29 – Family Autism Event