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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™
La Habra Children’s Museum
The address of the museum is 301 S. Euclid Street in the city of La Habra and is accessible from either the 5 or the 60 Freeways. Admission rice is $7.00 per person, $6.00 La Habra residents and children under 2 are free. The museum's operating hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and all Major Holidays. In addition, the museum will be closed for Father's Day and from Sept. 2nd through the 22nd for their annual renovation. Here is the good news though, Target is sponsoring Free First Saturdays at the museum so try and plan your visit on the first Saturday of the month and everyone will get in for free. Check for updated hours and info on their changing exhibits at their website.
We started off the day by arriving at 10:30 and parking in the free parking lot adjacent to the train depot theatre south of the museum. The museum itself is an old 1923 Union Pacific Depot station and wow, what a great usage of space! The museum was the vision and product of a lot of hard work by a councilwoman named Robin Young and opened in 1977. It has several permanent exhibits and one changing exhibit in 10,000 square feet of space. Upon entry we discovered that there was an absolutely adorable carousel inside that the staff runs every thirty minutes. This as were all of the exhibits were all included in the museum entry fee. My kids immediately got on the cute animals (think pig, horse, dog but on a small scale, maybe about 10 animals total) and had a blast going around. This was my niece Heidi's favorite part of the museum.
Once they were done I let them set the pace and go where they wanted. The first room you see in the museum is the science station which presents numerous hands-on activities related to physical science. There was a shadow box room which was a hit with both Madison and Logan where your kids' shadow presents itself on a glow in the dark wall and you can do it again and again, contorting your body to make various shapes. There's an area to dig for bones and artifacts in red sand and a cool Clear Water Mountain which presents water in all forms including visible steam. My kids are very interested right now in ice and steam, cold and hot so this was a big hot with them.
Next we went on to the changing exhibit, which at the time focused on Everyday Superheroes including teachers, veterinarians, postal workers, policemen, government workers at a pretend city hall and firemen. It is a huge room with lots to explore and I stayed in this room for probably 45 minutes while Logan loaded up a mailbag with mail and then went around to all of the various mailboxes and put the mail inside. He also got the trash cans from each station and then recycled all of the trash. there were pretend police cars and fire trucks for the kids to get around in, tons of dress up uniforms for each station (firemen coats and hats, shirts for the postal workers, police uniforms and lab coats for the vet area). I can't even begin to tell you everything in that room because we didn't get a chance to do it all. It was just so much fun watching Logan get so engaged in delivering the mail and know how much fun he was having learning about all of the people who make a city tick. We went into the model train room next but then the kids got hungry so we left to find lunch and told them that we would come back and explore the rest of the museum with full stomachs.
There is no restaurant at the museum, they just sell bags of chips and bottles of water, so we got in the car and drove maybe three blocks to a Mexican restaurant. There are fats food restaurants and when my sister visited she and her family went and ate pizza and hot dogs at a nearby Costco. The restaurant we went to was called casa Adalita and it is one of four restaurants in this part of LA County with the same name. Casa Adelita is located at 340 E. La Habra Blvd and they have a huge menu with a big variety including hamburgers and chicken tenders. We had great chips and salsa and it was a comfortable atmosphere.
Back at the museum the kids really wanted to go in the historic caboose from 1942. There are guided tours or you can show yourself around. It has been meticulously maintained, has a lot of details and things to explore and you can even control the lights onboard. Really cute and fun.
Back in the main part of the museum we checked out the room called Preschool Playpark. It is stocked with books and toys in a large room but is clearly meant for younger kids. I loved how open the room was and how we didn't feel crowded. There was neat treehouse and my kids loved climbing up the ladder inside the tree to get to the top of the house and an extensive collection of stuffed animals and puppets. We let them explore this room and then went next door to Kids on Stage, another huge room with a big stage and a microphone for kids to put on impromptu performances. This is where Madison came into her own and got very engaged in singing. There are racks of dress up clothes, 2 pianos, a basketful of various handheld musical instruments, a dozen or more different hats to try on, drawers upon drawers of purses, scarves, belts and other accessories, shoes and more to dress up with. There is also a small room to go in and control the lighting on the stage. Madison sang many songs up there including ten versus of Old Macdonald where she stopped, run into the preschool room, grabbed an animal puppet and then started the next verse of the song. They both put on enormous firemen boots that came up to the hips and sang songs and walked all over the stage. This is a wonderful room for letting kids explore their musical side and use their imaginations.
Next we wanted to spend more time in the model railroad room and the Nature Walk room. The model train village has tons of details and buttons for the kids to press to control the lights and to make various objects move all over the exhibit. The room is a little cramped but my kids love tunnels and were so excited to watch the trains going through the tunnels over and over. Past this room is an exhibit called Nannie's Travels. The objective here is to explore cultural stories, art and clothes from Russia and Asia in a really cozy, warm setting, and I think it would have been fun to spend time here but they were anxious to see all the animals in Nature Walk. Wow is all I have to say about this room. It was so fascinating, even as an adult, to see the hundreds of animals and birds on display and most significantly, to be able to touch all of them. While taxidermy is a little creepy, it does provide for a great way to educate kids about animals. We got to pet all the foxes and beavers and a huge moose and rifle through a few pelts. There is a real snake and gecko and a few insects to view through glass as well.
Back in the carousel room, which we kept going back to every thirty minutes for Madison to ride on, the kids discovered and got engaged with playing at the pretend grocery store which is well stocked with tons of food and the authentic bus with working levers and buttons. Logan loved sitting in the drivers seat of the bus and experimenting with all of the controls and telling me that he was driving Madison to the ice cream store.
Well, I think it's pretty obvious just how much Madison, Logan, Jody and I all enjoyed this museum. Our only regret is that it is 50 miles from our house. This is a model of how all children's museums should be: well maintained, clean, spacious, very hands-on, relevant and appealing. There aren't any special effects and computers: just big rooms filled with exhibits to inspire creativity and imaginations. I highly recommend making the tip out to La Habra and I promise that you won't be disappointed!
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