The Children’s Museum at La Habra has a variety of interactive displays for children aged two to ten. The 10,000 square foot museum, which opened in 1977 and is housed in a renovated 1923 train depot, allows parents and children to observe firsthand the link between play and learning. It allows youngsters to ride a tiny carousel, walk in the footsteps of a T-rex, pump gas (in a simulation, of course), ride a bus, and, among other things, dress up and act on stage.
Today, the Children’s Museum’s pride in its building’s successful railroading heritage can be seen throughout the museum’s “Old Wing,” which dates back to 1923. While going through the Nature Walk Room, it is easy to envision how pleasant a waiting room for people ready to board a train to a new adventure would have been. Visitors entering the Nannie’s Travels room will still see a “Ticket Booth” sign just down the hall. What was originally a luggage storage area is now a Model Train Village, demonstrating the museum’s connection to its historic past. As the freight room, the long space that is now the changing gallery used to see enormous crates of oranges and avocados pass through its large doors. Finally, when trains passed by, the Carousel room opened directly onto the platform.
Train passengers could see La Habra from its covered platform in the 1920s and 1930s, but it would not be the La Habra of today, but miles and miles of orange groves. A stable water supply allowed the rich soil and sunny climate of La Habra to establish the ideal citrus plantation in the early 1900s. With so much fruit, La Habra needed to distribute it as rapidly as possible. As a result, the building that now houses the Children’s Museum was built to be the second of two train depots that served the La Habra district. The Pacific Electric Company operated the first station, which was established in 1908. The Victorian-style Pacific Electric Depot presently serves as the La Habra Depot Theater, near to the Children’s Museum, and serves as a showcase for local community theater. The second station, which is now the Children’s Museum, was built in 1923 in the Mission style and was managed by Union Pacific. The lines shared by the two stations were part of the Overland route, which went from Omaha, Nebraska to Los Angeles. The development of both train stations demonstrates the strength of La Habra’s agricultural at the time.
The Children’s Museum at La Habra, an interactive enrichment center that stimulates the imagination, serves 95,000 children, their parents, and teachers each year with 10,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits about the arts, sciences, other cultures, and everyday life. Children can improve their sensory/motor interaction, art, science math, English literacy, creativity, and analytical skills through play. The Museum also offers free school tours and classroom visits to disadvantaged children, as well as community festivals, family workshops, and educational programs – all of which are designed to allow children to learn through exploration, interaction, and play!
The Museum has seven hands-on galleries, several of which are still unique in the field. In addition to these exhibits, an outdoor dinosaur garden, and a historic 1942 caboose, the Museum has a changing exhibit twice a year. The Children’s Museum invites visitors from all over the world. In one afternoon, kids can ride a kid-sized carousel, walk in T-Rex footprints, pump gas, drive a bus, dress up and perform, and dig for fossils!
Next Point of Interest: Brio Park