The Getty is one of the most fun museums to visit with kids. When you visit The Getty, you have the opportunity to view amazing art pieces as well as the opportunity to get a view of Los Angeles you don’t often see. Children will most likely be intrigued before you even reach the Museum; riding the computer-operated trams from the parking lot is sure to garner a lot of excitement among young visitors.
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The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr. (for GPS use N. Sepulveda Blvd. and Getty Center Dr.), Los Angeles, CA 90049
Tuesday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
The permanent collection includes European and American art, from Medieval Times to the present. And while, understandably, the art is hands-off, The Getty does have family discovery cards (available by the front information center) that make visiting the galleries a bit more of an interactive experience for children. There are also opportunities to have some fun with art on display!
In addition to what you’ll see inside, is what you’ll see outside — the Getty’s famous Central Garden and architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through the Garden and see if children can locate a flower or plant for every color of the rainbow (my son did this last time we visited). And don’t forget to bring some pennies to toss into the shallow pool, but not before making a wish, of course. Go for an architecture walk and have the kids identify shapes. Can they spot any fossils within the Italian travertine? (You should be able to locate fossilized leaves, feathers, and branches within some of the stones).
The Getty Center also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year including live musical performances, lectures, film screenings, and more.
And be sure to visit the Getty’s Family Room, a place where kids can build, touch, and draw all based on the Getty Center’s exhibits. You’ll find five “activity coves and treasure-hunt walls” where kids can build a tube sculpture (inspired by one of the outdoor sculptures), play with a wall of mirrors, relax on a luxurious bed resembling one belonging to an 18th-century French aristocrat, and much more.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney is on display through November 26th. Families will view a series of Mr. Hockney’s self-portraits in one exhibit area and a series of Mr. Hockney’s photographs in a separate exhibit area. “David Hockney is considered one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century.” The self-portraits include paintings, photographs, and iPad drawings. Photographs feature Mr. Hockney’s famous photo collages and Polaroid composites. For children especially, the exhibit serves as a bit of an eye-opener — there are countless ways to make art, and artists often evolve and change their technique to reflect the times (as shown with the iPad drawings).
The Getty is also showcasing four special exhibits as part of its participation in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Latin American and Latino Art in LA. Exhibits include Golden Kingdoms – Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas; The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930; Making Art Concrete; and Photography in Argentina, 1850-2010. The exhibits will be on display through January 2018.
Related: The Best Museums for Kids in Los Angeles
Price: The Getty Center offers free admission.
Parking: Parking is $15, and $10 if visiting after 3:00 pm.
Food: Several dining options are available for families visiting the Getty. Families with young children may opt not to visit the Restaurant, a more formal dining option at the Getty. (But keep it in mind for a future visit without children present). If you’re dining with younger ones, the Cafe is very family-friendly. The Cafe is self-service, offers indoor and outdoor seating areas, and serves a wide variety of foods (including sandwiches, salads, pizza, grilled items, burritos, pasta, and more). If you’re just looking for a snack and a chance to sit and relax for a few minutes, then the Garden Terrace Cafe may be what you’re looking for. They have limited, seasonal hours and offer a much smaller selection.
Nearby Attractions: The Getty Center is located in the Brentwood neighborhood of West Los Angeles. The Skirball Cultural Center is not too far from The Getty, though it may be best to make a visit to the Skirball on another day so children (and parents) aren’t overwhelmed by visiting two museums in one day. Click here to read our post “9 Things To Do In Brentwood With Kids.”