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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™
Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
The museum is located at 46 North Los Robles Ave and it is right near Paseo Colorado and Old Town Pasadena. Take the 134 freeway and exit at Fair Oaks. It is about one mile from the offramp. There is a parking lot adjacent to the museum which is a little hard to maneuver around in, but it is free, which is rare! If the lot is full then you can either find a city parking lot or find parking on the street. The hours for the museum are Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am-6 pm. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. The admission prices are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for children ages 11 and younger. The museum offers free admission to everyone on the fourth Friday of each month.
We went to the museum for a free family festival and these festivals are held about three times each year. In addition to touring the museum galleries for free, there were also several art projects, culinary delights and love performances all offered for free as well. Each festival has a theme and the one we attended was Pakistan, so all of the projects, food and performances were related to Pakistan. I have been to many festivals both at museums and at other locations and this one really stands out because of the beautiful courtyard setting with shade trees and a koi pond and because of how much they had going on, all geared toward kids.
When we first got there a staff member told us that a performance was just beginning and to go upstairs to take a seat and check it out. They had an area in front of the stage reserved for the kids to sit at which is so smart because most kids and toddlers will more likely sit through a performance is they are right in front. Then two men took the stage dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes and performed two lively dances. For the second dance they asked several kids in the audience to stand up on the stage with them. My son Logan got up there and just loved following along with the steps as the men taught them a simple dance. The drum beats got the crowd up on their feet and we all had a great time. Then we went back to the courtyard to take part in the 5 different art activities.
There were helpers at each activity booth and their was no shortage of materials need to make each craft. One of the activities allowed my two 4 year olds to have their own ceramic tiles to take home.
Both of my kids loved using the unusual materials and creating their own projects. It was a casual vibe and there were a lot of families milling about. After they spent time at each station we went in and viewed the galleries.
One booth out in the courtyard gave the kids a scavenger hunt with pictures of various sculptures, paintings and decorative pieces that were on display and the kids were encouraged to match all of the pictures to their real pieces in the galleries and then come back to the booth to pick out a prize. I saw many kids doing the hunt and having fun with their parents. my kids seemed a little young for this activity but we saw many elementary age children participating.
The current exhibits at the Pacific Asian museum involve modern/contemporary Pakistani art, Japanese textiles and ceramics as well as Indian miniature paintings. There are events related to each of these exhibits.
The permanent collection includes Himilayan art, Korean art and bronze and wood sculptures from Southeast Asia.
In addition, the museum has a permanent exhibit called Journeys: The Silk Road that is designed for kids. We spent a while here letting them use the magnifying glasses to see artifacts and paintings of the legendary trade route that linked Europe and Asia for more than a thousand years. The kids are encouraged to make the journey down the silk road their own by trying on a clothes and hats, unraveling a silkworm cocoon, sitting on a camel (or dressing up the camel like my kids did!), holding real jade, investigating maps and more. This room was awesome because it encourages them to use hands-on play to understand the history of the time period. On the first Saturday of each month at 10:30 am there is a story-time held in the travelers tent in the Silk Road gallery.
In addition to the festivals and storytime each month, there are classes held at the museum for teenagers, performances that include music, poetry, dance and more and the newest museum event is Fusion Fridays. The Friday events are held once each month in the summer from 7:30-10:30 pm. Each Friday event is based on a theme. The theme for the event in May is India and Pakistan and the theme for June is Japan. At Fusion Fridays you will enjoy hands-on activities, dance performances, DJ music and gourmet food trucks. The cost for the Friday Fusion events is $10/person.
We really enjoyed the Pacific Asia Museum and how they really have great family programming and accessible art for children.