‘When I Grow Up' Day Gives Kids Taste of Adult Life

A bevy of professionals showcase their jobs to young children at Pretend City

Pretend City Children's Museum, a miniature city for kids in Irvine, hosted its 7th annual "When I Grow Up Day" on Thursday.

Professions ranging from firefighters, Army Reservists and police officers to librarians, dentists and geologists set up interactive stations.

"Today was great. The first thing my daughter Lauren said was, 'Look they have a girl firefighter!' It exposed my daughter to a historically male-dominated occupation and now she can envision herself as a firefighter," said Joe Bustermann. "As a father, I love that."

"It was pretty cool," said Lauren, 7, about the female firefighter.

According to Pretend City spokeswoman Leslie Perovich, children gravitate to the firefighters most. She said the vehicles, which included a race car, fire truck, child ambulance, concrete truck, skip loader and more were also a hit.

"We got to beep the horns!" said 5-year-old Matthew Bustermann.

Perovich said she saw a young boy try to give a police officer "pretend money" earned at Pretend City to pay him for his service.


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Matthew was excited to give high-fives to police officers because they are "superheroes and save the world from crime." And Lauren took interest in the fashion designer and the animal facts she learned from the naturalist.

"Whales' teeth look like brushes!" she said.

Bustermann says his children are regulars at Pretend City and credits their advanced problem solving and sharing skills to their time at the museum.

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