Address: 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618 (Get Directions) Phone: 949.428.3900 Hours: Sun. 11a.m. - 5p.m. Mon. 10a.m. - 1p.m. Tues. - Sat. 10a.m. - 5p.m. Ages: Infants to 8 years old

Pretend City Children’s Museum features a small, interconnected city designed to “build better brains” through purposeful play, hands-on learning experiences, role playing, and educational programming. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children, it depends on community-based funding and guest support. Through 17 interactive exhibits and activities guided by a highly trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills, while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, teamwork, self-confidence and socialization. The museum is a unique community resource offering developmental screenings and tools for families, educators and community agencies working to ensure that each child gains the experiences needed to discover their potential and build toward a productive and fulfilling future.


Mission Statement

Pretend City is a community which builds better brains through fun, whole body learning experiences and empowers children and their grown-ups to meaningfully connect with and expand their world.


We Believe

In the preservation of childhood through play
Families are our children’s most important teachers
In supporting healthy childhood development
In nurturing a passion for learning through play
Diversity enriches children’s lives
Connecting families to each other and the community


Key Events in Pretend City´s History

November 2013 Pretend City will host its 2nd Annual Gala! Monies from this year’s Rock the City Gala and Autction will help fund the museum’s education programming and events.
August 2013 Pretend City Children’s Museum turns 4 years old!
May 2013 Pretend City’s 4th Annual Poker Fundraising Night raises $195,000 towards classes, programs, operations and scholarships.
November 2012 Pretend City hosts its 1st Annual Gala! The Vintage Hollywood Affair Gala and Auction raised $435,000 which will benefit the museum’s educational programming, special events, and scholarships.
August 2012 Pretend City Children’s Museum turns 3 years old!
March 2012 Pretend City’s 3rd Annual Poker Fundraising Night raises $150,000 towards educational resources and programs.
February 2012 Sandra Bolton joins the organization as Executive Director.  Sandra Bolton has served as Vice President of Professional Services at City of Hope, and as the founding Executive Director of Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County.
August 2011 Pretend City Children’s Museum turns 2 years old!
July 2011 Pretend City’s 1st Annual Poker Tournament raises over $50k towards classes, programs, operations and scholarships.
January 2011 Pretend City and PBS SoCal partner to bring popular PBS characters and educational programming to the museum during monthly PBS SoCal days.
December 2010 With the help of many friends and supporters, Pretend City meets its Community Challenge, raising $1 million! A total of $12.7 million has been raised toward the $17.5 million goal.
December 2010 Pretend City autism program receives $22k from OC Register and The Festival of Children’s Season of Caring, Possible Dream Grant.
August 2010 Pretend City Children’s Museum turns 1 year old!
July 2010 Pretend City launches its Scholarships Program. In the Welcome Groups program (fieldtrips and other groups), 1,188 children were given free visits for the months of September, October and November. The Welcome Families program gives scholarships to 8,100 underserved families throughout Orange County. They will use their tickets throughout the next year.
May 2010 1st Annual “When I Grow Up” day is a huge success! Several different professionals took part in programming to teach children about different careers. There was a news reporter, firefighter, veterinarian, ballet dancer, police officer, dentist, baker, lifeguard and more!
April 2010 Pretend City holds its first Family Autism Event which was a huge hit. Over 270 people attended to play in a friendly environment and interact with local support agencies. Autism events are held every quarter.
March 2010 Good To Go From Head To Toe holds its first annual Family Fun & Wellness Fair at Pretend City Children’s Museum offering free vision, dental, hearing and BMI screenings. More than 1,000 families participated in the museum’s first health fair with more than 200 free screenings provided to children.
September 2009 In the first two months of opening in a new Irvine location, Pretend City surpasses the number of expected museum members for 2009 as well as the number of guests. In the first two months, there were nearly 40,000 guests.
August 30, 2009 The opening of Pretend City, a 28,000 sq. ft. children´s museum serves as a community resource, offering classes for children and parents, outreach programs, teacher trainings, and fieldtrip opportunities.
October 2008 The Orange County Children and Families Commission awards $3.5 million to the museum to create and facilitate the implementation of a 10-year countywide initiative to promote developmental screenings (to ensure that children are developing appropriately, physically and mentally, for their ages).
2007 Board of Directors is well established with fifteen 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation philanthropists. The average age of the board is 39 years old. Secured building at 29 Hubble in Irvine, CA which will become home of Pretend City Children´s Museum.
2005 Next generation philanthropists Bill H. Lyon and Steve Muzzy donate more than $1.5 million and join the Board of Directors.
October 2003 Pretend City on Wheels launches. Pretend City on Wheels is a mobile fieldtrip experience that goes directly to schools. The program has served over 22,300 students since 2003.
2002 Anne Marie Moiso of the Rancho Mission Viejo Company becomes the museum´s Chair of the Capital Campaign.
2000 Mars, Inc. becomes the first corporate donor to support Pretend City Children´s Museum.
June 1997 Alexandra Airth is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the museum.
1997 The Children´s Museum of Orange County is founded by philanthropists Alexandra Airth and Sandra Peffer. The museum also receives the initial seed money to build Pretend City, the first major children´s museum in Orange County.