Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pretend City Children's Museum

29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 428-3900

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Infant to 12 months - Free
Non-members - $11
Military & Family - $8
Discounted price after 4 PM

Upcoming events

Free, with overflow to street. The museum is set within an industrial area surrounded by office buildings. Signs are posted on parking spaces and in the lot where museum guests can not park.

Stroller/wheelchair accessible
Yes, stroller parking inside the museum, right at the City entrance.

Restroom facilities
Restrooms are located behind the gift shop, by the marina, and next to the cafe.

The Real Café offers limited food services since there is no kitchen. It is catered by LuLu's Crépêrie Café. However, there are 2 microwaves in the cafe area that guests can use. 2 vending machines also offer snacks.

The entire museum is hands-on. Every aspect of the museum invites visitors to touch,  explore, and participate. Costumes, props, and toys set the stage for fighting fire, tending to sick patients, fishing for lobster, serving up meals, entertaining audiences with performances, constructing buildings, growing fruits and vegetables, shopping for groceries, and so much more. Each visit is unique for my son even if he's been to the museum about a dozen times. He plays at different locations each time, though he does have his favorites. Every time we visit, my son always stops by the house. He enjoys cooking, sitting down for a pretend snack, checking out the bathroom, and playing in the nursery. While he is at play, I enjoy watching the video about the current featured family. I have learned about different cultures by watching those videos. 
We've also spent a considerable amount of time in the farm and marina. Dirt and water, what toddler boy doesn't like to play with those? He enjoys using garden tools to till the ground and fill buckets with soil (AKA recycled rubber chips). Sometimes he plants vegetables, and sometimes he doesn't. Then it's a bee line to the marina for fishing and sailing. More often than not, this is our last stop. He usually gets his clothes wet which is a signal for me to go home.
Our family experience
Pretend City® is one of my son's favorite museums. I love that everything is kid sized and makes kids feel like they are running the city. This is pretend play at its best. It's amazing how much young children absorb when they observe adults in action. From pumping gas at the gas station to weighing vegetables at the grocery store, the museum gives them the outlet to mimic our behavior. As my son gets older, I will have to learn about concepts presented at the museum (e.g. plumbing, farming) so I can explain them to him. There are a lot of teaching moments while visiting the museum, but for right now, my son is just enjoying play time.
Call ahead and ask which if there is a field trip. The museum gets very crowded on field trip days which are often on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Bring your own food. The smocks used in the marina are not very useful. I suggest bringing a change of clothing in case your child gets wet. The museum has a lot to offer, but I think children 18 months to 8 years will get the most out of the experience. Chicks are usually born on Tuesdays at the farm, although there is no guarantee. However, the last Tuesday we were there, we witnessed a chick coming out if it's shell.

Thanks to Pretend City® for sponsoring this giveaway.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review. I received permission from the sponsor to post their trademarked brand/logo on my blog.