Museum in Santa Monica shows kids how to take better care of pets

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LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire) — The highly anticipated Cayton Children’s Museum is open to the general public in Downtown Santa Monica on the third floor of the popular open-air retail and hospitality destination, Santa Monica Place, with the visibility and accessibility to reach the many diverse neighborhoods of greater Los Angeles.

Cayton Children's Museum
Cayton Children’s Museum.

The 21,000-square-foot-facility features hands-on exhibits and a robust calendar of arts and cultural opportunities for children and youth ages 0-10, seven days a week.

Designed by award-winning architects, OfficeUntitled, and celebrated environmental museum exhibit designers, S2 Associates, the space houses more than 35 child-directed exhibits, multipurpose rooms, art studios, a start-of-the-art theatre, curated murals, a rotating exhibit gallery, gift shop, and community and public space.

“Children’s museums are powerful spaces for gathering, for being in community, for celebrating, for playing and for learning,” explains Esther Netter, founder and CEO of the Cayton Children’s Museum.

Building off of the values and history of the former Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles, the reimagined Cayton Children’s Museum features a series of unexpected experiences that empower young visitors to author their own adventure. The space is designed as five exhibit wings that work in concert to inspire visitors to explore core universal values, such as kindness, compassion, respect and hospitality.

The five wings feature the following themes and highlighted exhibits, including a theme that teaches children about helping animals and people:

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 our Animal Hospital, sponsored by VCA, where children practice caring for and taking responsibility for their pets in imaginative ways.

This theme also includes: the Help-a-copter where visitors interact with a repurposed helicopter to fly to the rescue; and To the Rescue!, a sea-like ball pit with a recycled Coast Guard rescue boat.

The other themes/exhibits are:

REACH FOR, which 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 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.

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.

Built on kindness, responsibility, social justice, and inclusivity, the Cayton Children’s Museum is the culmination of over 30 years of working with children and youth to inspire lifelong creativity and promote civic engagement to build strong communities.

To learn more, visit

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