Last night, Anni and I headed to Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine for the 2nd Annual OC Blog Awards, presented by Just Spotted OC. This is not a recap of the night. This is a review of Pretend City and how I wish I had a place like this when I was a kid.
Remember as a kid when you used to play house (if you were a girl, a boy with sisters or girl cousins, or just a boy who liked to play house) or dress-up or cops and robbers or any of the numerous role-playing games that kids played? I remember playing house when I was a kid, with plastic food and everything.
Well, imagine the playhouse you had as a kid, or the sandbox, or the small plastic cars that you ran around in, and multiply it by 100 and turn it into a miniature city. That is exactly what Pretend City is.
They’ve got everything for the young kid (infant to 10 years old is their recommendation) to imagine that they are living in a working city: streets with street lights, stop lights, street signs, cross walks, and cars; gas stations with a BMW; fire and police stations; grocery store; Persian cafe; park; “Orange Circle” with a fountain; beach; the “harbor” with boats; theater and stage with all sorts of dress-up to play with; post office; doctor’s office (where you can actually perform surgery!!!); a farm with real live baby chickens (not chicks though.. slightly bigger than chicks, but not quite chickens yet); art center with different arts and crafts projects each day. They’ve also got a bank and library in the works (donation still needed).
There’s educational videos around the “city” to teach kids about how to keep the beach clean, or how to cook with the family, or how to call 9-1-1.. etc. There’s also informative pamphlets for parents on how to interact with their children to give them the greatest learning experience and help them work on the skills or traits that they are currently developing (like how infants are starting to learn how to wave).
The whole place is pretty amazing, and I was in complete awe when I walked in. It’s literally a small city for kids to role-play in.. like a better Chuck E. Cheese’s without the pizza and the scary mascots. If I were 6 years old, I’d be running wild around the place trying out all the different jobs (policeman, plumber, house contractor, fireman, doctor, cook, etc etc etc.. and all the “jobs” had dress-up outfits to go along, as well as all the equipment). Definitely a place to take the kids if you have any.
Pretend City Children’s Museum is a non-profit establishment and functions on admission prices (probably just covers basic maintenance and wages) and DONATIONS!! Many local businesses have donated money to create this city, but they can always use more.
Pretend City Children’s Museum
Irvine, CA 92618
Side note: Meringe Bake Shop donated mini cupcakes to the event last night.. and they were DELICIOUS!