Kidspace Children's Museum
|Location||480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, California 91103
|Director||Kris Popovich, Chairman of the Board
Michael Shanklin, Chief Executive Officer
Since the December 2004 opening of its new facility in Brookside Park, Pasadena, Kidspace Children’s Museum has provided local community children with a space for creative and interactive learning.
1979: Kidspace Children's Museum launched at the California Institute of Technology. A community project of the Junior League of Pasadena, Kidspace addressed an educational need in the San Gabriel Valley: increased access to the arts, humanities and sciences for children. Volunteers created and presented a prototype interactive exhibit, "Making Senses," designed to stimulate the interest of children by featuring robotics and neon light displays. More than 10,000 young visitors, their parents and teachers participated in the first exhibition during its six-week run.
1980: The museum opened its doors in the Rosemont Pavilion on Arroyo Seco parkland with "hands-on" exhibits. Among other organizations, exhibit design and construction were the product of community collaborations with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Art Center College of Design and UNOCAL. Volunteers helping create the new museum included a Pasadena Unified School District superintendent, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory director and an originating director of the Princeton Junior Museum, all of whom provided expertise as members of the Museum's first Board of Advisors.
1981: Kidspace leased a larger and more accessible site from Pasadena Unified School District in the heart of Pasadena. Later that year, Kidspace Children's Museum was incorporated as a private, nonprofit children's museum with a mission of enriching the lives of children through an interactive learning environment that is fun for families.
1982-1990: Kidspace introduced participatory exhibits and educational programs that engaged and educated children in the arts, humanities and sciences. Quarterly themes, such as Homes and Habitats, Seasons and Celebrations and Children of the World at Play, provided focus during public programming and school tours.
1991-1995: A new school programs coordinator met the needs of teachers to coordinate curriculum with visits to the museum. Campers enrolled in summer workshops and "Toddlers on the Move" provided parenting classes and developmental play. With the support of community volunteers and the Circle of Friends support group, the staff produced annual events, including the Rosebud Parade (a child-sized Rose Parade), the "creatively creepy" Haunted House, Critter Expo and the Eco-Arts Festival.
1996: The Kidspace Board of Directors adopted a plan to grow the museum from a small local attraction to a major Southern California cultural and educational destination.
2002: Kidspace closed its former site at McKinley School in Pasadena and began renovation of the historic Fannie Morrison Horticultural Center buildings at Brookside Park in the Arroyo Seco.
2005: The new Kidspace features 2.2 acres (8,900 m2) of gardens designed to encourage children to discover the excitement of learning, while engaging in the creativity of play. Two three-story climbing towers and more than 2 acres (8,100 m2) of outdoor arroyo-scape environments designed by Nancy Goslee Power include 14 seasonal gardens and 10 exploration and discovery stations.
Kidspace has received funding from individuals including Jud and Marilyn Roberts, the Boone Family, Mark Taper, and others. Community partnerships have been formed with the City of Pasadena, the Junior League of Pasadena, Nestle Corporation, and others.
Inside the museum
Kidspace is exhibits, programs and activities that encourage a child’s growth and development through explorations of the environment, investigations in science, and artistic forms of expression that captivate the inquisitive and growing minds of children ages 2 to 10.
Bugsy's Diner: learn about the anatomy and feeding habits of insects and take down some recipe ideas from “The Bug Food Channel,” such as baby bee dip, banana worm bread, or roasted cricket pizza.
Nature Exchange allows a child to trade and research natural items such as rocks, minerals and plants.
The Dig allows uncovering of plant and animal fossils native to the arroyo and discovery of past life forms. Play the part of a paleontologist, while investigating the dig site.
Outside in the museum gardens are:
Gardens: take a stroll through the gardens, designed by landscape artist Nancy Goslee Power, and discover plants native to the arroyo setting.
Water Play: outdoor water features encourage kids to splash to their heart's content.
Trike Tracks: learn the rules of the road while having safe fun. Weave a way through the Wisteria Courtyard on one of the Kidspace tricycles.
Daily activities and programs happen at the museum and include projects such as leaf rubbing in an outdoor garden, watercolor painting, interactive music and movement, story time. Weekly workshops include Art al Fresco, which introduces fine art pieces and painting/drawing techniques, Garden Adventures to employ the senses for nature-based experiences and Early Learners programs with music and movement to stimulate young thinkers.
Monthly workshops and classes are available for kids to further explore natural science, the arts and music and for parents to open up dialog about parenting and encourage positive interactions between child and caregiver.
Kidspace runs annual events involving the greater Los Angeles community:
- Caterpillar Adoption Days (in March/April) invites children to adopt their own caterpillar and observe its metamorphosis, eventually letting the butterfly into the wild.
- The annual Pumpkin Festival is a community festival for families held each October, featuring carnival games, a pumpkin patch, live performances and food.
- Kidspace Children's Museum, City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works
- Kidspace Children's Museum Official site