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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™
Cerritos Library and Heritage Park
The city of Cerritos is perhaps best known for the Cerritos Auto Square and in recent years the Cerrito Center of Performing Arts has also received some attention. The city of Cerritos is tucked next to the 91 freeway near Buena Park and Anaheim, only a few miles from Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. I had read about the new library there a couple of years ago and was curious to see it and when I was researching it online I stumbled upon Heritage Park and Play Island which is across the street. Both the library and the park proved to be fantastic!
Heritage Park is located at 18600 Bloomfield Ave. The park is enormous with wide open space, two play structures off the island that are appropriate for all ages, basketball courts, a lighted softball diamond and plenty of parking. The park office has a very caring staff and they even lend out balls, a carom’s board and will put up a tetherball on request as well. I have never been to a park before where they lend out balls so I was quite surprised and impressed by this. The gentemen working the front desk seemed to really enjoy his job and made a point of showing us which part of the holiday decorations he contributed to along with his staff.
The play island is enormous and beautiful. There is a large moat that is filled with turtles and crayfish that surrounds it and the island itself has many different parts.
The island has a theme of colonial/revolutionary America and all of the structures represent buildings that would have been seen at that time. There are beautiful sculptures of horses, towers and small scale monuments that pay tribute to the men and women who fought for America’s freedom. The buildings have signs on the outside like millinery and shoe store and inside the buildings are climbing structures and slides and tunnels. Kids could spend hours here playing make believe games and hide and go seek. My kids were so entranced by how unusual it was. There are also big stationary ships to go on and pretend cannons. We also talked to a friendly groundskeeper who was cleaning the moat and was kind enough to show my kids many of the crayfish and turtles.There is also stage on the island and during the summer they have concerts here. This park is the kind that you would never forget and I of course starting eyeing the nearby homes and thinking how lucky the residents were who could walk to this amazing park any day they wanted. The park showed how much pride the city has in its parks and how much it prides itself on creating a great experience for the many familes that visit their daily. It was so awesome!!
Next it was onto the 88,000 square foot Cerritos Millenium Library. Yes, I said 88,000! The library is located at 18025 Bloomfield Ave. The hours are Monday-Friday from 10 am-9 pm, Saturday from 9 am-5 pm and on Sunday from 1-5 pm. It is located on a large piece of land and is adjacent to the Cerritos Scultpure Garden and the Police Department. The parking lot is huge and it includes an underground portion as well. As we walked in from the parking lot, we immediately noticed the beautiful design of the building. In addition to being enormous, it was the first building in the United States to feature an exterior with titanium panels. It looks very modern and sleek and its commanding presence speaks to the value it must hold in the community. I also loved seeing the three story tall glass elevator on the outside of the building: so cool! The library was remodeled back in the year 2000 to the tune of 40 million dollars and it shows!
Before we entered the building we first checked out to water fountains that had scultpures incorporated in them. One features dolphins flying through the many small water fountains that burst straight upward from the ground. This is the type of fountain that kids love because you never know which fountain is going to spray up. I saw a couple of kids playing in it and laughing as they got wet. The dolphins were just beautiful to look at. The other fountain is closer to the parking lot and it is called the Amaryllis Fountain. I love amaryllis flowers and the sculptures were so beautiful and fun to look at.
The first thing you will notice when you enter the library is the enormous aquarium that covers the length of the children’s section. It has puffer fish, sharks and enormous colorful fish that will not only amaze your children, but will also impress you. The entrance to the children’s area is framed by several enormous classic children’s books and it is enchanting. This area is 7,000 square feet and it’s just a masterpiece! Once inside, you will be amazed by the gigantic skeleton caste of a T-rex that is in the middle of the space. There is also a lighthouse to sit and read in,a medieval mural, a rainforest area, a huge ceiling painted to look like the sky that changes from day to night much like a couple of the malls in las Vegas. The selection of the books here is just overwhelming. There is also a theater for special events...one that they had this month is with a wildlife rescue group that was bringing in animals to show children.
Once we left the children’s area, I starting noticing all of the first-rate artwork. The city commissioned several artists including Dale Chihully for the art that covers the walls throughout the three floors of the museum. There is even an audio tour that patrons could check out within the museum if you want to learn about all of the artists. I loved looking at all the art and sharing that aspect with Madison and Logan.
In addition to the artwork, another aspect that I loved where the themed rooms. One was like a formal study room called the Old World Reading Room with leather seating, fireplaces, chandeliers and carpeting. The computer workstation area was huge and I couldn’t imagine all of the computers being taken at one time. The chairs also looked extremely comfortable which I find to be rare in a typical library.
Another incredible plus of the day is that there was no cost and plenty of availability of parking at both the Cerritos Library and the Park. Another plus in a world of paid parking lots and meters.