Mission & History

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  • What We Do

    Pretend City Children’s Museum is “the world in a nut-shell.” It is designed especially for children to learn about how the real world works and how they might someday fit into it.

    The museum is a essentially a child-size interconnected city built with rich educational intention, where children can assume various real-world roles.

    Through 17 interactive exhibits and activities facilitated by highly trained professional staff, children also learn foundational math, reading and science skills all while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. 

  • There is no better way for young children to develop self-confidence and essential social skills than through this type of imaginative play with other children. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children, Pretend City depends on community-based funding and guest support. The museum is also a unique community resource offering developmental screenings and tools for families, educators, and community agencies to empower the fostering of each child’s greatest potential. 


    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:

    • • young children learn best through their play
    • • families are our children’s first and 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


    To ensure that each child is ready for school success by providing the ideal real-world learning experiences needed by children to develop their essential foundational learning skills.


    Nineteen years ago, two local women, Sandy Stone and Alex Airth, marched forward with their innovative vision for a world-class Children’s Museum in Orange County and the idea of Pretend City Children’s Museum was born. Many years of planning and fund-raising by a strong and forward-thinking board produced the grand opening of the museum in August of 2009. Since that time the museum has seen well over one million guests.

    In six short years, Pretend City has grown to be a valuable community resource showcasing the annual Health and Wellness Fair, Parent Symposium and serving as a venue for a wide variety of community partners to deliver their programs and workshops.

    Offering free developmental screenings, classes, cultural activities and special events along with providing the community with a fun birthday party and event venue, Pretend City has grown from a mere idea to a well-respected early childhood educational institution attracting parents, grandparents, school groups and educators from Orange County and well beyond.