The long-awaited Cayton Museum Santa Monica opened this summer at Santa Monica Place.
The first museum of its kind in Los Angeles, the Cayton Museum offers 21,000-square-feet of discovery-based exhibits, more than 35 child-directed exhibits, and immersive play and hands-on learning for children ages 0 to 10 throughout.
With a robust offering of public programs, workshops, classes, camps and arts, and cultural activities seven days a week, the museum is designed around core universal values, giving children, youth, and families a unique space to practice their best selves.
The Cayton Museum Santa Monica is located on the third floor of the popular open-air retail and hospitality destination, Santa Monica Place.
The new flagship facility, which will open as the city's premier children's museum, was made possible with a generous gift by philanthropists Andrea and Barry Cayton.
Building off the values and history of the former Zimmer Children's Museum in Los Angeles, the reimagined Cayton Museum will feature a series of eye-opening experiences that empower young visitors to author their adventure.
Beneath the rainbow-colored climbing nets at the museum is a children's utopia, designed to inspire visitors to explore core universal values such as kindness, compassion, respect, and hospitality through five themed exhibit wings.
The museum's five wings feature the following themes and highlighted exhibits:
REACH FOR___ inspires children to discover their capacity and ability to achieve. Visitors can test new height through the Courage Climber, a mesh web of ropes suspended from the ceiling that forms a canopy, allowing children to explore the museum from different vantage points, expanding their perspective and worldview.
LAUNCH YOUR___ invites the youngest visitors (ages 0-2) to explore what it means to push beyond, in a safe yet exciting way through 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 each other. 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 to explore what is possible when we work together in a 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 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 thinking, response and questioning; and the Hello Booth inspired by the Telephone of the Wind in Japan.
Apart from the five exhibit wings, there is also the The Derfner Theatre, a state-of-the-art theatre featuring a full green screen and costume center underwritten by The Derfner Foundation; Art Studios which will host arts and public programming all week long; two Multipurpose Rooms - S. Mark Taper Foundation Brilliant Blue Room and the Celebration Sphere, which will act as private, functional spaces for birthday parties, celebrations, after-school programs, camps and classes; a 500-square-foot Exhibit Gallery space for artist residencies, rotating exhibits and curated pop-ups; and The Grand Exit, one of the best memory-making photo shots of the whole museum featuring a mini amphitheater for story time, puppet shows, sing-alongs and performances.
Museum hours of operation are Monday - Saturday from 10 am - 7 pm, and Sunday from 12 pm - 7 pm. To learn more, visit Cayton Museum.org.
Admission is $14 for children and adults. Children under 12 months; free. Annual memberships, starting at $105 for an adult and a child, with additional members added for just $40.