Mission & History

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  • What We Do

    Pretend City Children’s Museum is “the world in a nut-shell.” It is designed for children to learn how the real world works.

    The museum is a child-size interconnected city built with rich educational intention, where children can assume various real-world roles.

    Through interactive exhibits and activities facilitated by highly trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. 

  • There is no better way for young children to develop self-confidence and essential social skills than through this type of imaginative play with other children. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children, Pretend City depends on community-based funding and guest support. The museum is also a unique community resource offering developmental screenings and tools for families, educators, and community agencies to empower the fostering of each child’s greatest potential. Click here to view our 2017 Annual Report.


    Pretend City Builds Better Brains


    We believe:

    • young children learn best through their play
    • families are our children’s first and most important teachers
    • in supporting healthy childhood development
    • in nurturing a passion for learning through play
    • diversity enriches children’s lives
    • in connecting families to each other and the community
    • play changes the world 


    To ensure that each child is ready for school success by providing real-world learning experiences that children need to develop essential foundational learning skills


    Nineteen years ago, two local women, Sandy Stone and Alex Airth, marched forward with their innovative vision for a world-class Children’s Museum in Orange County and the idea of Pretend City Children’s Museum was born. Many years of planning and fund-raising by a strong and forward-thinking board produced the grand opening of the museum in August of 2009. Since that time the museum has seen well over one million guests.

    In just ten years, Pretend City has grown to be a valuable community resource showcasing the annual Health and Wellness Fair, Parent Symposium and serving as a venue for a wide variety of community partners to deliver their programs and workshops.

    Offering free developmental screenings, classes, cultural activities and special events along with providing the community with a fun birthday party and event venue, Pretend City has grown from a mere idea to a well-respected early childhood educational institution attracting parents, grandparents, school groups and educators from Orange County and well beyond.