Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Free Family Night at Kidspace

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
My Cost: FREE!

480 North Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103

The first Tuesday of every month is Free Family Night at Kidspace Children's Museum. The free hours are 4 pm to 8 pm, and the museum is located near the Pasadena Rose Bowl at 480 North Arroyo Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91103.

Tonight we headed to the Kidspace Children's Museum with my sister-in-law and her 9-year-old daughter. I just barely found out about Kidspace last week, and noticed that the Free Family Night was soon, so I figured this would be a good chance to go see what this place has to offer without spending the $10 per person (except for kids under 12 months) for admission.


Having never been there before, I didn't know what to expect. There is a huge parking lot that looked just filled with cars, so I was worried that all those people were there for Kidspace, but it is actually shared parking for Kidspace, Brookside Park, Rose Bowl Tennis, the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, 3 baseball diamonds and a jogging trail, plus probably a few more things I don't know about. So don't be too discouraged, however...


When I first called Kidspace to ask if reservations were needed for Free Family Night (they are not) I asked if it got crowded. I was told, fairly nonchalantly, that it is "pretty popular", but I think someone needs to be more blunt: it gets crowded! Like C-R-O-W-D-E-D! The line was out the door just to get into the museum, and once inside there was a line for every hands-on exhibit. I had sort of anticipated that possibility, so I wasn't too upset by it. I figured we would just cruise around and see if there was anything worth paying to come back and see at a later date. (FYI, Memberships are available for a family of 4 at the price of $99/6 months or $179/12 months.)


The first thing that Vivi was dying to check out were the little water features in the Central Courtyard. There are four little drain grates with nozzles that squirt water in cute little blobs. No continual stream of water. It actually looks more like water bouncy balls going up and down. This is good because your child won't get soaked, but they will enjoy the water. I took some pictures: 

Guess the water didn't show up in any of those pictures. That's how little squirts out, I guess.

We then went from the courtyard to the new Galvin Physics Forest. This just opened in July 2012, so all the activities were brand new and people were lined up to try them. There are 13 kid-friendly demonstrations of things like pulleys, gears, air compression, gravity, pendulums, levers, etc. There is also a shaded area with those interlocking play mats and some wooden cars and tracks that smaller kids can play with. Here are some pictures of that area:

One other neat thing about the Physics Forest is that there is a sort of "dry creak" running through it (lined with rocks, but no water) and so there are wide bridges across that for strollers and such, but also just split logs across it in several places, and Vivi enjoyed running across those.

We did not venture into the exhibit building (aka the Digging Deeper Gallery), so I have no idea what other kinds of exhibits are there, but looking through the window it looked like stuff kids could climb on. We also only peeked at the tricycle area - "Trike Tracks" - behind the building. The line was WAY too long to even think about it (plus Vivi doesn't know how to ride a tricycle ;-)

Behind the building is a hill with a winding path, and up the hill are things like a Harvest Corner and an "Interpretive Arroyo," but we skipped that part because it was too hot to stay outside any longer, and there were crowds, and I have small children that I don't like to keep at any one place for too long.

On our way out I did sneak a peak at the Early Childhood Learning Center, which looks like a great indoor daycare facility with lots of soft mats all over the floor. It's for children 4 and under.

All in all, I would say try this place! If you go on Free Family Night, be prepared for the crowds. There was still a line out the door as we were leaving at 7:00! I think the best time to get there is right exactly at 4:00, because the people leaving when we arrived at 5:30 seemed shocked that the line had grown so long. In general, be prepared to spend a lot of time out-of-doors. Think of something closer to a day camp than a museum.

Other Places Nearby

We meant to stop at the Brookside Park playground on the way out because it did look like fun, but didn't notice that there is no direct access to the playground from the parking lot. So by the time we got close we realized we were on the wrong side of the fence... and it was too hot anyway. But I would say this is a good playground option. Then I also discovered online after we got home that there is another hidden playground behind the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center called "Reese's Retreat". It's pirate-themed with water features. It has a Facebook page, and I read some great reviews on Yelp, so we'll have to find it if we head to Pasadena again.

No comments:

Post a Comment