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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children's Museums, Family Services

Mission: Habitot’s mission is to help the broad community of parents and caregivers raise curious, creative and confident children. Hands-on exhibits and programs focus exclusively on early childhood.

Programs: * Hands-on Exhibits Six permanent exhibits and one temporary exhibit encourage imagination, curiosity, problem-solving, social interaction, communication skills and parent-child connection. Exhibits include Waterworks, Little Town, Wind Tunnel, Infant-Toddler Garden. The current temporary exhibit is the Rocketship 80,000 visitors a year * Public Programs include three dozen multicultural events and performances throughout the year in music, art, dance, performance, storytelling and puppetry. Special Family Literacy Nights foster reading readiness and Child Safety events help prevent unintended accidents among young children. 10,000 participants a year * Art Programs include a drop-in Art Studio (included with admission) with changing daily activities, an Art Reach program taking arts to low income community preschools, and on-site focused art classes for children in ceramics, mixed media, and painting. 45,000 beneficiaries * Parent Education includes an in-museum Family Resource Center of books and other parenting references, 50 parenting classes a year on topics ranging from CPR and chokesaving to positive discipline strategies, and Parent-to-Parent brochures on parenting topics 5000 direct beneficiaries * Family Outreach Program designed to make Habitot's exhibits and programs available to a wide audience, especially low-income families and at-risk children. We offer free field trips to Head Start and state-supported preschools, free admission days, subsidized memberships, class scholarships, teen parent programs, book give-aways and organizational and library memberships for clients of social service agencies, hospital programs, homeless shelters, literacy programs, and teen parent programs. 8,329 direct beneficiaries

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jennifer111

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will try to express how grateful we are to have Habitot in our area. I truly wish every city had a place for parents and children like this to go to. First, the price is more than reasonable. Second, they consistently change the themes so creativity is running wild that rubs off not only onto the kids but onto the parents as well. Third, I'm so happy my daughter can play in the water area and get wet without me having to clean up after as well as do so-called messy projects there with paint and glue and again, i do not need to spend my time cleaning up after. Most of the staff (volunteers?) are exceptional. And the only thing I wish is that this place was open longer hours. We love you Habitot! We refer so many people to you!

Amy_25

Client Served

Rating: 4

My children and I love Habitot! As the mother of a child with special needs and a typical toddler there are few safe, fun places that I can take both of them to. Habitot is definitely one of them. There is so much great sensory play, including the water exhibit, the wind tunnel, and the art studio. The fun we have had together in the art studio is unlike anything we have ever experienced, and I didn't have to clean up after it! :) I also enjoy reading things from the Parenting Cart. I have learned a lot that way.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Such a fun and magical place for kids. Love that there's always a new few crafts to try and the main area changes themes but the train table stays the same. My son will experiment with all of the exhibits but core time is spent there.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Habitot is an amazing place for children. They provide an exciting, clean, and safe environment in which children can paint, play, imagine, create, and learn. For members they have a toy library (which is a fabulous idea) and they have all sorts of programming and interactions with the community. I have attended a parenting lecture there which was very helpful and my daughter has gone to several of their class, which were wonderful. They change a couple of their major exhibits every 6 months, some of the other ones more frequently, and have different things in the art room every day. We could come here every day and my daughter would be ecstatic. When she started school they mentioned that she seemed very comfortable from the beginning and I think this is in large part thanks to Habitot, where she interacts with a range of children in a safe environment. It is also an amazing place to watch your child grow up in, as they play with the toys in different ways at different ages.

rmgt

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was the first Bay Area place for kids we visited once we decided to move here. It is a great place for babies on up, and it is so fun to see kids grow with the place and place grow with the kids. We love the innovative new exhibits like the rocket ship and doctor's office, and that there are a lot of constants like the water area and tot garden. It's a great place for ungs kids on various ages in the same family to play together. Love it!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went there with my 2-yr-old and 3-month-old a couple months ago. I love the products in the museum store--it's a one-stop shop for encouraging my toddler to learn through play. Every time I go to Habitot I walk away with something--that day with 5 items! Wish I knew they had such a nice raincoat and rain boots selection before I settled for Target's only display model, which was more expensive than what Habitot had there!

Previously, when I brought my toddler, he could not keep away from the water table. This last time, he went everywhere and it was just a joy to see him enjoy himself. Going to Habitot gave me so many more ideas about indoor play to start having at home. The price of admission, when compared to the bountiful ideas that I got when I attended, was minimal. I also appreciate they have a resource library and that was how I read the latest copy of the East Bay Moms newsletter.

Although they have a toy lending library, which I wish I could make the most use of, I do not trust my toddler with them at the moment. It would have been useful to know about this library before we had invested in all these look-good toys that only held my toddler's interest for a couple days or weeks at most. Looking back, if we had invested in a year's family membership, we would have actually SAVED toy money!

Plus, they actually promote play, not all the academics that I keep seeing when visiting preschools. I felt for the first time that it was a permissive space and I could let my toddler wander from space to space within the museum.

Best of all, it is in downtown Berkeley, very walkable and commutable for a mom who does not drive. I am so grateful for such a precious resource in our local community! Yes, it's not Disneyland or Six Flags, but at least I can be sure my active toddler is enclosed in a safe space and cannot run too far from me to catch him (very important when you've got an infant strapped to your front as the sole daytime caretaker).

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a stay at home mom I need things to do with my 2 year old. Habitot is his favorite place to go. One of his first words was "tot-tot", which he said anytime we were nearby. It is a wonderful place for young children. It has many stimulating activities and it is great place to teach him how to interact appropriately with other children. I love that they have little art projects that encourage him to be creative and get messy. We also frequently check out toys from the toy library. I appreciate that the membership price is very reasonable as we are on a budget.

Client Served

Rating: 4

We LOVED Habitot on our visit--lots of hands on sensory and art activities and a number of educational exhibits that we haven't seen at any other children's museums--I love the lending library and they make great use of the space that they have, but I would love to see what they would do with a larger space. I removed one star just because the space was a little small (kids LOVE this place) and pricey for my large family--I wish there was a sliding scale/multi-use discount. Hopefully, with more sponsorship they can get a larger facility and may be able to lower the admission cost. It really is a FANTASTIC place.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Habitot is a great museum for the little ones. It is small enough that they don't feel intimidated but large and diverse enough to keep their interest for several hours.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In the safe fun enviroment, Habitot even offers me a moment of reading through their educational hand outs, toy recall info, or simply sipping tea while my child is having a great time playing there.

Daily/weekly art project they offer is also mind-opening, giving parents a new view of using everyday material to make things fun for kids.

Habitot offers Camps and parents night out which my son always has so much fun that it is exciting for both of us to apply.