For a fun birthday party our family went to Irvine’s Pretend City, a non-profit children’s museum.

What an incredible way for children to practice in an adult world. Our youngest did not want to leave and talks about returning to Pretend City more than returning to Chucky Cheese. This is a good thing in my book. Why do I prefer Pretend City you ask?

I was sold on Ralph’s.

Our son fell in love with ‘Pretend Ralph’s’, making sure to stock up his basket full of his Mommy’s favorite (boxed brownie mix). He loved having the chance to actually be in charge of his own shopping experience, choosing his own grocery finds, and practicing paying for them all by himself at the check-out. Over and over and then once more. DH patiently let him do this while I took a lay of the land.

Some child entertainment establishments can leave me exhausted/irritable/in need of a cocktail, uumm that mouse place is on the top of the list.  Well, Pretend City was very spread out, with high ceilings and esthetically pleasing.  The floor plan is well designed for flow, the play areas sanitary with volunteers picking up after your child comes through playing with everything, and the themes of the rooms are as real life as you could imagine.

For example, the water tables,  see the photos below, were wonderful. They even provided waterproof aprons to wear over your kids clothes. Each play area has great extras,  hard hats, safety vests, doctor tools, ATM money, tools and so on. Little ones get to incorporate these real-life adult things to enhance their imaginative play.

My children, ages 3, 5 and 9, took control of this experience from start to finish.  They entered the museum and knew exactly what to do. They were off. From their website:

Pretend City Children’s Museum is an interconnected city designed for children ranging from infant to eight years old and their families. The city is comprised of a grocery store, farm, doctor’s offices, art studio, amphitheater, beach, marina, construction site, cafe and much much more. Children will learn through role-play based on real world exhibits as they dress up as a police officer, deliver the mail, create art or put out a fire.


How cute was this birthday cake idea? Cupcakes put together and frosted to look like a huge sheet cake.

In the pre-party room the kids had an entire wall to write on before being released into the “City”

My girlfriend is so savvy smart. For party favors she included in a child’s re-usable water:  suckers for the kids with change for the Pretend City lockers . Ms. Kammi you are always thinking.

Iphone capture of the layout

Thank goodness these in the ‘Pretend Rooms’ are glued down.

Wow, how cool to go to an ATM and be provide unlimited cash. My search for that elusive Money Tree would be over. It is so great to Pretend.


  1. Kathleen this is a great find! I’m going to pass this on to my sis-in-laws… great place to take the kids this summer.

  2. Love this! We need one up here!

  3. Annalynn says

    What a cool place! I can’t believe you have a nine year old… I remember all the fun pre-kiddos. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge