Mission & History
WHAT WE DO >>
Pretend City Children’s Museum is “the world in a nut-shell”, designed for children to learn how the real world works while engaging their curiosities and imaginations. The museum is a child-size interconnected city built to balance rich educational intention with boundless fun, where children can assume various real-world roles and let their creativity rule.
Through interactive exhibits and activities facilitated by our trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. They see how academic concepts have real-life application by learning in our unique, hands-on environment.
At Pretend City, we understand that all children learn differently. The museum is designed to engage young visitors at age-appropriate milestones. Interested in finding out more about those milestones? Check out Pretend City’s Good to Go from Head to Toe initiative. And for children on the autism spectrum, we are delighted to invite them, their families and caretakers to enjoy the museum at their own pace. Family autism night is a fun and interactive customized evening of educational play. The museum is a unique community resource offering developmental screenings and tools for families, educators, and community agencies to empower the fostering of every child’s greatest potential.
As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children, Pretend City depends on community-based funding and guest support. Learn more about our giving culture and find out how you can become part of the Pretend City family.
MISSION >> PRETEND CITY BUILDS BETTER BRAINS
At Pretend City, We Believe:
- young children learn best through play
- families are our children’s first and most important teachers
- diversity enriches children’s lives
- play changes the world
We Strive To:
- support healthy childhood development
- nurture a passion for learning through play
- connect families to each other and the community
- provide enlightening and inspiring resources for families, caregivers, and educators of young children
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
In 1999, Orange County locals Sandy Stone and Alex Airth began transforming their vision for a local, innovative, world-class children’s museum. The women consulted with educational insiders and area families, garnering insight and articulating community needs. The concept of Pretend City soon took form. A strong and forward-thinking Board of Directors soon came together and undertook years of strategic planning and fundraising until, in August 2009, the entire community celebrated the grand opening of Pretend City.
Now, in our 10th anniversary year, we look back on our history with great pride, and we look forward to the future with unbridled enthusiasm. We’ve welcomed well over a million guests into our educational wonderland. 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 sprung from the imagination to become a well-respected early childhood educational institution attracting parents, grandparents, school groups and educators from Orange County and well beyond.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Museum
To protect the health of Pretend City Children’s Museum community, we ask families to please only come play with us on days that everyone is feeling well.