The museum opened in 2019 but was shuttered temporarily due to the pandemic. It reopened in late August with a new pay-as-you-wish admission system that makes playtime affordable to all.
The museum takes over the upper floor of the Frank Gehry-designed retail plaza, Santa Monica Place. Operating within the existing framework, Culvert City firm OFFICEUNTITLED (OU) has installed a series of tactile, freestanding play structures that allow kids to ‘choose their own adventure’, feeling and playing their way through 30 exhibitions.
Different zones or ‘neighbourhoods’ cater to different age groups: 0-2-year-olds can build coordination and confidence in the topographical space, while other exhibitions such as Let’s Help spotlight the roles of first responders and the food supply chain from farm to table. Cloud Climber encourages children to reflect and connect with nature.
Ticketed time slots are available, and enhanced safety measures are in place (especially for high-touch areas).