Best Children's Museums in Los Angeles & Orange County

Best Children’s Museums in Los Angeles & Orange County

May 24, 2022

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LaBrea Tarpits Museum - Los Angeles Museums for Kids

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids, look no further than the Children’s Museums in Los Angeles & Orange County. These museums are filled with interactive exhibits that will keep your little ones entertained for hours on end. Plus, they offer a variety of educational programs and classes that are perfect for homeschoolers and parents who want to give their children an extra boost in their education. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best Children’s Museums in Los Angeles & Orange County!

Best Children’s Museums in Los Angeles & Orange County

Natural History Museum- Los Angeles

The Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, the La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall are all part of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC).

They have the biggest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States, with over 35 million specimens and artifacts to safeguard and share. They also look at the current state of nature and culture in Los Angeles and around the world.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum – Los Angeles

The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Los Angeles is a working paleontological study site. Hancock Park was built on a series of tar pits where natural asphalt has been seeping out from the ground for thousands of years. The tar has preserved the bones of caught animals for millennia.

Kidspace Museum- Pasadena

Kidspace is a non-profit museum that uses pleasant, kid-driven activities to excite and engage children emotionally, cognitively, and physically. They encourage all children to explore the world with curiosity and kindness as they play, learn, create, and develop. Southern California’s premier Family destination, Kidspace Children’s Museum is located on nearly 3.5 acres in Pasadena, CA, with more than 40 hands-on, interactive exhibits, activities, and programs.

Pretend City: Children’s Museum of Orange County

The Pretend City Children’s Museum is “the world in a nutshell,” designed to teach children about the actual world while stimulating their curiosity and imaginations. The museum is a kid-sized interconnected metropolis designed to strike a mix between rich educational intent and limitless pleasure, where kids may play numerous real-life roles and let their imaginations run wild.

Children acquire essential math, reading, and science skills while promoting curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and cooperation via engaging displays and activities supervised by our trained professional staff. By studying in our unique, hands-on atmosphere, they can observe how academic principles are used in real life.

Cayton Children’s Museum – Los Angeles

The Cayton Children’s Museum is a non-profit that uses the power of PLAY to improve the lives of children and their families, strengthen communities, and make the world a better place. By encouraging collaborative, experiential learning and creative expression in our museum space and through our community programming, we hope to develop children of all backgrounds and abilities to become involved citizens of the globe.

The Cayton Children’s Museum, located in Downtown Santa Monica just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, offers 21,000 square feet of discovery-based exhibits and immersive play. We have a full calendar of arts and cultural activities for children ages 0 to 8, including public programs, festivals, camps, classes, workshops, and more.

Noahs Ark Exhibit at the Skirball- Los Angeles

At the Skirball, come onboard Noah’s Ark! This award-winning children’s and family attraction enables visitors of all ages to explore an eight-thousand-square-foot wooden ark filled to the rafters with whimsical animals and new storm clouds that will delight your senses. Share a timeless story—and imagine a better future together.

Imagine yourself engaged in a cherished childhood story that has connections across cultures. Create a storm, assist in the construction of the Ark, and enjoy the glow of a gorgeous rainbow. Hundreds of fancifully created animals, ranging from cuddly companions to life-sized puppets, are on display, all made from recycled materials and everyday objects such as baseball gloves, mop heads, and rearview mirrors.

The California Science Center- Los Angeles

With hands-on, interactive exhibits and model education and outreach programs, the California Science Center is a world-class educational resource. Among the top ten most visited museums in the United States. The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films.
Admission is free (except for IMAX films and special exhibitions)

La Habra Children’s Museum

Their objective is to foster a love of learning in a hands-on setting that allows even the smallest kid to explore the world.

They understand the importance of play in learning. Children learn to acquire abilities, express creativity, explore the greater environment, and collaborate with others via play. The Children’s Museum in La Habra has been a resource in the Southern California community since 1977. It is an award-winning, non-profit public museum that provides unique, hands-on educational and cultural experiences to young children ages 2 to 8.

Battleship USS Iowa Museum – Los Angeles

The Battleship IOWA Museum is located next to the World Cruise Terminal at Port of Los Angeles Berth 87. The Battleship IOWA Museum is the first of several jewels that will bring the LA Waterfront to life as a tourist destination. In recent years, the Port of Los Angeles has committed over $200 million in waterfront revitalization.

Their vision for the Pacific Battleship Center and the Battleship IOWA Museum is to connect the past with the future. Connecting the stories and the legacy of the Battleship IOWA with future generations through different programs and education, and interactive innovative ideas.

Peterson Auto Museum - Los Angeles Museums for Kids


Petersen Automotive Museum – Los Angeles

America’s premier automotive museum is the Petersen Automotive Museum. The Petersen Automotive Museum, which houses over 400 vehicles and spans one city block, has over 150,000 square feet of exhibit area.

Margie and Robert E. Petersen realized a long-held desire on June 11, 1994, when they donated $5 million to the Los Angeles County National History Museum to establish the Petersen Automotive Museum. The Petersen Automotive Museum is now the country’s most visited auto museum, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Located in Los Angeles, it is dedicated to the investigation and display of the vehicle and its impact on American life and culture.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Petersen features 100000 sqft of exhibit space, 25 galleries, thousands of stories, and over 300 vehicles.

Discovery Cube – Los Angeles & Orange County

Discovery Cube Orange County has been inspiring and educating young minds through engaging science-based programs and exhibits for over 35 years, making a significant influence on the communities they serve.

Guests can participate in the Eco Challenge to become green superheroes or experience the power of a simulated rocket engine launch throughout the year. There’s always something new to explore thanks to traveling exhibits and annual events like Spooky Science and Bubblefest.

Discovery Cube Ocean – Newport Beach 

Newport Whales’ new relationship with Discovery Cubes OceanQuest takes our whale viewing experiences to the next level, giving customers the opportunity to learn more about our oceans firsthand before boarding the boat! You’ll learn interesting facts about the whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals that can be seen in Newport Beach throughout the year, and this interactive lecture with photos and videos will answer any questions guests may have about how these incredible animals live, eat, and sleep in a marine environment, giving you a better understanding of what you’re about to see out on the boat.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Museum – Hollywood & San Pedro

Through their two museums, picture archive, the fireboat Ralph J. Scott, and the William Rolland Firefighter Educational Institute, we are preserving the extraordinary heritage of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The museum includes antique fire trucks and apparatus, some of which date back to the 1880s.

Los Angeles Police Museum – Los Angeles

Previously, the Los Angeles Police Historical Society was known as the Los Angeles Police Museum (LAPHS). The LAPHS was formed in 1989 with the goal of developing a world-class museum that would showcase the Los Angeles Police Department’s rich history (LAPD).

The department has played an important role in the development of Los Angeles, and the museum’s history reflects not only the department’s many contributions since its founding on March 10, 1869, but also the many challenges it has faced on its way to becoming the world’s most professional police force.

The Highland Park Police Station, which was built in 1925, houses the museum. Vandals, arson fires, and water damage destroyed the station when it was closed in 1983. The Historical Society has since recovered and restored it to its former Renaissance Revival style, and it is now a National Historic Landmark.

Travel Town Museum – Los Angeles

Hundreds of children and adults interested in the evolution of transportation visit Travel Town, the Los Angeles City Recreation and Park Department’s unique display of vehicles representing numerous modes and eras of transportation.

Travel Town is open to the public everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a 9-acre location at 5200 Hollingsworth Drive in Griffith Park. There is no entrance fee. Travel Town, which displays anything from a 104-ton locomotive to a one-horse shay, gives tourists the opportunity to observe and explore many different types of vehicles up close for the first time.

Griffith observatory - Los Angeles Museums for Kids


Griffith Observatory– Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory is the entrance to the cosmos in southern California! Visitors can look through telescopes, visit exhibitions, watch live events at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and take in breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign.

And if you are heading down to San Diego, you’ll want to check out the following:

The New Children’s Museum | Think, Play, Create–  San Diego

The New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego, California is dedicated to helping children learn and experience the world through the lens of contemporary art.

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum 

SDCDM is a favorite destination for families. Explore, Imagine, Experiment. Hands-on educational children’s museum in North San Diego County, serving children ages 0-10 with interactive exhibits and programs focused on science, world cultures, and art.

Looking for more things to do with kids in Los Angeles, check out all our Things to Do Guides.

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