Playtime at the Zimmer Children's Museum
Nestled in Los Angeles’ Goldsmith Jewish Federation Center, the Zimmer Children’s Museum provides young kids under eight a fantastic place to use their imaginations and play. The museum is not massive in size, but my two children (ages six and two) fell in love with this museum and have already begged me to return.
The museum consists of two levels: the entrance level is quite small, so don’t be led astray by its size. The lower level contains the majority of the exhibits and most kids spend the bulk of their time on this level.
The lower main level features Main Street, where my girls could have played for days. A bookstore, corner market (equipped with groceries and cash register), a house with a kitchen, a bagel shop with counter and table service, and a synagogue for worship all call this street home. Rounding out this life-themed role-play area is a community park and community school bus. Kids LOVE using their imaginations and this stretch of the museum is just the ticket for kids to act out day-to-day in kid-size! I had to literally drag my kids out of the corner market – they had bought and sold groceries for over one hour! Thankfully, there is plenty of up-close seating for grown-ups who find the idea of shopping (endlessly) for (not real) groceries to be more than they can bare.
Around the bend, head to the Mark Taper Foundation Aid & Rescue Center. This role-play section is full of everything life-saving, including a full size interactive ambulance, hospital, and water search and rescue unit. It was fun to watch child after child dress up in costume and play out these various themes. What a treat for kids to get to take charge and save, treat, and rescue their moms and dads!
A water table and giant pinball machine round out the bottom level of this museum.
On the entrance level, kids can pretend to be a pilot or airline steward/stewardess at the Discovery Airport. A music lab allows small ones to make and mix music from around the world. My favorite exhibit was the Mann Theater. This fantastic performance space is really adorable: kids can dress up in their favorite costumes, add sets, props, and scenery, even change the backdrop. As if dressing up wasn’t enough, a camera and reversed TV screen allows kids to see themselves perform live on TV – what kid doesn’t love that?
Tips: The museum offers a few times per week when babies (called their V.I.B.s) get in early and get to explore before the older kids take over and grandparents can visit free on Thursdays. Parking is available for free, but the lot can fill up quickly leaving guests to search for street parking. Strollers are not allowed in the museum, and snacks and beverages are permitted in the downstairs snack room only. Baby items are on sale in case your little ones are in need of extra diapers, pacifiers, wipes, or formula.
Book your Los Angeles family vacation today and stop by the museum!
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photo: Katie Bodell