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The Cayton Children’s Museum [Formerly the Zimmer]

The Cayton Children’s Museum, formerly the Zimmer Children’s Museum, opened in 2019 in its new home in Santa Monica. Dedicated to “…activating the Power of Play to enrich the lives of children and their families,” The Cayton Children’s Museum is a delightful place.

Their location in Santa Monica Place Mall has convenient parking, and is 21,000 square feet of fun and discovery for children, with many hands-on exhibits.

The Cayton builds on over 30 years of experience from its predecessor, the Zimmer Children’s Museum, and is a nonprofit organization.

The ball pit at the Cayton Children's Museum, with the fire engine and the helicopter in the background
The ball pit at the Cayton Children’s Museum is a super fun place for kids to play.

The Cayton Children’s Museum
395 Santa Monica Place, 3rd Floor, Santa Monica 90401

The Cayton Children’s Museum Hours

Museum Members OnlyWednesday – Sundays 9am -10am
General PublicWednesdays – Sundays 10am – 5pm
Note: Hours are subject to change; please check their website.

Admission Prices at the Cayton Children’s Museum

Please note that the “Pay As You Wish” pricing model will come to an end in Fall 2022. Prices listed will take effect on November 2, 2022. Advance Reservations are required for tickets.

Prices until November 1st, 2022

LA County Residents“Pay-As-You-Wish”, meaning you decide how much
Visitors from Outside LA County$16
Children under 1Free
Even if you choose to pay nothing, you must make a reservation ahead of time. Prices are subject to change.

Prices Beginning November 2nd, 2022

Adults and Children (over the age of 1)$15
Children under 1Free
EBT, WIC and MediCalFree Pay4All Passes available
Please contact the Cayton Museum for more information about these passes
Cayton Children's Museum firetruck
The Fire Engine at the Cayton Children’s Museum.

What’s the Museum Like?

The Cayton Children’s Museum is 21,000 square feet of discovery-based fun and hands-on exhibits that kids and adults will love. Their calendar will list arts and cultural events that families will surely love.

“Children’s museums are powerful spaces for gathering, for being in community, for celebrating, for playing, and for learning,” explains Esther Netter, founder and CEO of the Cayton.

the Cayton Museum with the water table in the foreground
You really get a sense of the expanse of the Cayton Museum from this angle, with the famous water table in the foreground

How is the Cayton Organized?

The space is designed as five exhibit wings that are meant to inspire visitors to explore “…core universal values, such as kindness, compassion, respect and hospitality.”

Each space has something fun for kids, like the soft play area for toddlers, or the retired Fire Engine and Helicopter, both made to be climbed in.

There’s a giant ball pit with an inflatable raft, a Veterinarian’s office (complete with plush animals), a ropes course type climbing gym, a water table, a large area for playing with foam blocks, a tiny grocery store to pretend in, and so much more.

On top of everything to play with and experience, the Cayton Museum is beautifully decorated with original artwork on all the walls. It’s a colorful space, inviting and fun for all.

the soft play area at the Cayton Museum
The soft play area at the Cayton is designed with toddlers in mind.

Membership at the Cayton

Members may visit the Cayton Children’s Museum anytime, without making a reservation, and they will receive priority entry, as well as exclusive access for the first hour of the day. There are several membership levels to choose from.

There are 3 levels of membership that go beyond personal use. Known as the Super Dupers, these membership levels also underwrite admission for members of the public, so that the Pay As You Wish policy may remain.

The Launchers (for 2)$240/year
The Climbers (for 4)$360/year
The Reachers (for 6)$500/year
The Playmakers (underwrites more than 60 families)$1000/year
The Storytellers (underwrites more than 150 families)$2500/year
The Community Builders (underwrites more than 300 families)$5000/year
Note that all prices are subject to change; please check their website.
green foam blocks at the Cayton Museum
What could your kids make with these fun foam blocks at the Cayton?

Private Events at the Cayton Museum

The Cayton Museum is available for rentals, for private gatherings as well as kids’ birthday parties. There are multiple spaces within the galleries, and they can work with you to create a one-of-a-kind event.

The Cayton has hosted many fabulous events, and has been featured on TV shows as well.

Related: Los Angeles Birthday Party Guide

Does the Cayton have Summer Camp, like the Zimmer did?

Yes! Camp Cayton is launching for Summer, Winter break and Spring Break. Check on their website for all the details.

Cayton Children's Museum classroom setting
a view of one of the arts and crafts rooms at the Cayton Museum

Check out these Awesome Things to do in Santa Monica with Kids.

MomsLA is your source for Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles

The colorful exterior of the Cayton Children's Museum in Santa Monica
The colorful exterior of the Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica

Disclaimer: MomsLA has made every effort to confirm the information in this article; however, things can often change. Therefore, MomsLA makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy of the information published here. MomsLA strongly urges you to confirm any event details, like date, time, location, and admission, with the third party hosting the event. You assume the sole risk of relying on any of the information in our list. MomsLA is in no way responsible for any injuries or damages you sustain while attending any third-party event posted on our website. Please read our Terms of Use which you have agreed to based on your continued use of this website. Some events have paid to be listed on MomsLA.

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Ruth Olson

Monday 21st of September 2020

When you reopen are there any areas designed for 3yr olds?

Sarah Auerswald

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

Yes, the museum has super fun things for 3-year-olds. Fingers crossed they open soon and you can check it out in person!

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