No matter where you live, chances are your family has a favorite local attraction. That place you return to again and again, knowing there will be fun for all, and likely new memories to carry away with you. Maybe it’s a zoo, a park or the beach. But if you were to ask our kids where their favorite place to go is in LA, without skipping a beat, they will always choose Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center.
We’ve been to Noah’s Ark more than a dozen times, but without fail, from the moment we walk through the door, our kids are nearly manic with excitement, anxious to revisit their favorite creative corner or to explore whatever new exhibit the Skirball Cultural Center has curated just for their little hands.
Our eight-year-old and our five-year-olds love the interactive experiences designed to capture their imaginations and expanding minds. They learn about the art of re-purposing everyday materials with hands-on exhibits that let them make sounds with animals crafted out of recycled items like combs, folding rulers and old faucet parts. They compete for a turn spinning the drum of the conveyer belt that lifts the animals up two by two into Noah’s Ark (without realizing they’re learning about mechanics and cause and effect). They can play Mother Nature, creating rain and thunder storms by manually pumping water and turning cranks. But they have the most fun scaling the ropes that lead to a playground of tunnels, soaring like rafters atop the wooden ark. Then we wrap up the afternoon with a long hang-out in the gorilla den, interacting with the handcrafted puppets.
The installation is 75 feet wide and 17 feet tall! There’s plenty of room for kids to explore without feeling too crowded — my kids never want to leave!
The final room of the exhibit is a rotating exhibit or activity. Sometimes there are live musical performances or an interactive display that kids can help create. Whatever the feature, Skirball Cultural Center promotes ideals important to our family and community: diversity, inclusion and bringing people together. (Last year, their “Love is Love” display brought tears to my eyes. This place that I cherish and consider a community landing pad for my family was displaying their love for me and my kids in letters larger than life in support of all types of families. And as an aside, our family is so in love with this place that we have chosen to shoot a Youtube video in Noah’s Ark itself. We can’t wait to share it with you at the end of the summer!)
So, if you find yourself on a staycation, or looking to escape somewhere local with your kids where they can climb, dance and cultivate their imaginations, you must check out this LA treasure. Believe it or not, our kids say, “It’s better than Disneyland!”