Animal Hospital

New Children's Museum Opens at Santa Monica Place

The museum is based off the values and history of the former Zimmer Children's Museum

What to Know

  • Hours of operation are Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • $14 for children and adults. Children under 12 months are free
  • The Cayton Children’s Museum features 35 exhibits

A new Children's Museum at Santa Monica Place opens to the public on Saturday.

The Cayton Children’s Museum is a 21,000 square-foot facility featuring 35 exhibits, a multipurpose room, state of the art theater, art studios, gift shop, and more. The museum is located on the third floor of Santa Monica Place.

Hours of operation are Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

"Children's museums are powerful spaces for gathering, for being in community, for celebrating, for playing and for learning," said Esther Netter, founder and CEO of the Cayton Children's Museum, in a statement. "We are so excited to unveil the Cayton in Santa Monica for all the families, children and youth of our great city."

The museum was designed by architects OfficeUntitled. It is based off the values and history of the former Zimmer Children's Museum. The museum is designed as five exhibits aimed to encourage young visitors to create their own adventure.

According to a company press release, visitors can explore universal core values through the five exhibits:

REACH FOR ____ inspires children to discover their personal capacity and ability to achieve. Visitors can test new heights through the Courage Climber, a mesh web of ropes suspended from the ceiling that form a canopy, giving children the opportunity to explore the museum from different vantage points, expanding their perspective and worldview.

LAUNCH YOUR ____ allows our youngest visitors (ages 0-2) to explore what it means to push beyond, in a safe yet exciting way through the Skyscape, an exhibit of suspended ceiling sculptures that combine color, movement, and air to stimulate senses and engage young minds.

LET'S HELP ____ teaches children the many ways they can serve and support our communities as active citizens who respond, rescue and help one another. Exhibits include the Help-a-copter where visitors interact with a repurposed helicopter to fly to the rescue; our Animal Hospital, sponsored by VCA, where children practice caring for and taking responsibility for their pets in imaginative ways, so they understand the importance of taking accountability for others; To the Rescue!, a sea-like ball pit with a recycled Coast Guard rescue boat.

TOGETHER WE ____ encourages collaborative play, communication and discovery in an effort to explore what is possible when we work together in shared space. Exhibits include Teamwork Waterworks where children build, sail, explore, invent, play and watch as droplets join together and turn into rivers; the Wisdom Wall, where we aim to inspire by sharing the wisdom of great thinkers, artists, and leaders; and the All Systems Go! Ball Machine, a Rube Goldberg-inspired interactive exhibit that engages children and adults of all sizes and abilities in making healthy choices.

REFLECT ON ____ inspires introspection, reflection and connection, while teaching our young visitors what it means to be still, so we can listen and observe the world around us. Exhibits include In Tune With Nature, a room that is buzzing with 360-degree digital scenes of nature with a bench for meditation and reflection; the Wishing Wall which has been created with inspiration from many cultures, sacred spaces and memorials throughout the world that prompts reflection, response and questioning; and the Hello Booth inspired by the Telephone of the Wind in Japan.

Admission to the Cayton Children's Museum will be $14 for children and adults. Children under 12 months are free. The Cayton will offer annual memberships, starting at $105 for an adult and a child, with additional members added for just $40.

The museum was a gift by philanthropists Andrea and Barry Cayton.

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