I took my barely two-year old to Habitot recently and he had the best Special Mommy Date ever! If you've never been to Berkeley's underground treasure of a kids' museum, let me show you a few highlights.
A few of our favorite things:
Straight ahead to gross motor creativity.
The main exhibit rotates to keep things interesting. Over the years, I've climbed on a space shuttle, a big tractor, and on a fire engine. Accompanying costumes let little people complete the fantasy. Play along by giving your junior fire fighter an imaginary situation.
Sawyer and I had fun making the lights and sirens work. He is also a nut for any kind of steering wheel (check!) but did not care for the costume (what?!). Approximately four little tushies can sit side-by-side jockeying for the two wheels and hoses.
Turn right for the Wiggle Wall.
Brave tiny people can crawl up down and around behind a mesh viewing wall so cheering parents can keep an eye on things.
Water, water everywhere.
The water table at Habitot is legend and the primary reason you should always bring a change of clothes. Yes, your small one can wear an oilcloth apron, but stuff's gonna happen. And it's wonderful!
Water shoes and swimsuits are not a bad idea.
Art, art, and more art!
Grab an apron and settle into painting the walls or play-dohing creatures. The staff sets out materials for different hands-on projects; the mess is temporary but the relief from not having to be the one to clean it up keeps me coming back for more.
Take a seat for train table politics.
I've been to Habitot with my fair share of choo choo lovers so the train table is a favorite stop. I kind of love watching the little kids work on taking turns and connecting mini magnets.
Don't miss the fake food shopping.
Role play, counting, and pushing carts never gets boring. If you don't stock a full array of pretend fruits and veggies at home, you'll like this area as much as I do. The cash register, play money, and grocery carts make it awesome.
Use the cool crayons for face-painting.
Against the mirrored wall, you will find oil crayons for make-up application. A nearby note reminds all of us that we really shouldn't draw a cool design on the mirror and line up our faces — the paint is for people. I'm not a fan because it gets kind of messy.
Exit through the gift shop.
There are super duper toys here for the browsing. I always make sure kids know that we are never ever buying anything because I'm that mom.
Other stuff to know about Habitot:
- Hours vary, check the visitation page for rates and coupons before you tote your tot.
- Parking can be tricky but you can enter via the stairway near Starbucks on Shattuck or the backside closer to the library.
- Park your stroller in the hallway but keep other valuables with you.
- Bring a change of clothes. Water and paint may want you to strip junior down before getting back in the car.
- Habitot offers many classes for both parents and small children; check the website for the current schedule.
- Local businesses sponsor many free days and special events; check the schedule.
- Use the library to get free passes to Habitot!
- Membership gets you access to the toy lending program as well as other local discounts.
- Wash your hands before and after touching everything.
Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(near the downtown Berkeley BART)
What is your favorite feature of Habitot?