I think you know this by now, but our family loves anything science-related (see these posts as hard scientific evidence of this fact). So when I learned that our play group was planning their first trip up to kidspace children’s museum in Pasadena a few weeks ago, I concluded we would be there.
For those who don’t know or are not familiar, kidspace is probably the premier children’s museum in the Los Angeles area. There is something for every kid (and adult) at this museum. Whether you love arts and crafts, pretend play, science, gross-motor exercise, or hands-on discovery of the fine-motor sort, kidspace has it all, indoors and out, rustic to refined, classic to modern.
A few months ago, kidspace opened their outdoor Galvin Physics Forest. This is a hands-on (and some feet- and entire body-on) area where you and your kids can get up close and personal with simple mechanics, rocket science, and other physical science play-stations. There 13 exhibits in all, including: pulleys of all combinations where kids can sit and hoist themselves up poles (and compare-contrast why some are easier to work than others); levers situated at different pivot points to show kids how leverage actually works with and against their advantage; and all sorts of trajectory games where users can pressurize different devices to launch balls and rockets through hoops or into the sky.
Compare and contrast is the name of the game in the Physics Forest. Here, science is a fun, non-threatening, and easy activity for even the littlest of junior scientists in your family. Having said that, I am glad I waited to bring T here until he was four. Though I think he’d have enjoyed the playing portion of most of the activities here at three-years-old, I think he got so much more out of the visit in being able to talk to the exhibitors about what was happening at the different science stations and elsewhere throughout the museum. And I enjoyed being able to talk with T about what he was experiencing, too. Simply put, science rocks.
We also took some time during our visit for riding bikes, playing in the stream, and exploring the indoor areas of the museum. It was quite warm when we visited, so we were very thankful for an indoor respite at times to get out of the sun (and the kids had a blast getting soaked in the stream, too!).
I look forward to bringing T back to kidspace soon, and next time we will bring C, too. I know that just like my engineer of a husband enjoys taking T to the Columbia Memorial Space Center and the Discovery Science Center, he will enjoy and appreciate the Physics Forest for the trees.
kidspace children’s museum is located at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91103. (626) 449-9144. Before you visit, remember to check the calendar at kidspace for special events, namely UCLA home football game Saturdays when the museum closes intermittently through the month of January (kidspace share’s a parking lot with the Rose Bowl just a few blocks up the road). I also advise checking the weather forecast before your visit; Pasadena can get very hot (it was 100 degrees the day we went in August), so do not forget your water and sunscreen! And if you are a KCRW member, don’t forget your Fringe Benefits Card for $2 off each admission and 15 percent off in the gift shop!