Habitot Children's Museum

Rating: 4.9 stars   78 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: Pmb 326 1563 Solano Ave Berkeley CA 94707 USA

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
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was fortunate to spend a full year working as a graduate intern and development consultant for Habitot Children's Museum. Habitot is an incredibly unique organization that focuses on very young children and gives them a place to play that is educational, safe, and enjoyable. Every toy, game, or activity in the museum has ties back directly to helping children grow and learn through play. Given that we now live during a time when everything is about cramming a child's schedule full of structured activities, there is something so valuable in seeing an organization that understands the inherent importance of allowing children to play, think, and explore on their own.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to help them raise more money. Would love to help them find a brand new space that would allow them to expand and support a larger audience.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot is a wonderful "indoor play/discovery center. It is an extremely parent and child friendly environment. Whenever I have accompanied families I work with to Habitot, I have found all of the staff, from the front desk person who greets you to the volunteers, to be friendly and helpful. The parents have loved having a safe and fun-filled environment for their children. In addition, they loved the handouts available for parents regarding parenting and child development. The children delight in all there is to do there. Particular favorites are the water play area, art room, and the "store." I love that the vehicles to sit in and explore change, as well as the "climbing wall."

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

love to have it situated in a place where parking was more available and not expensive (meter or parking garage).

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot Children's Museum is an excellent place to give your child an immersive educational experience. As an educator, I often refer families with young children here and receive rave reviews afterwards. Keep it up Habitot!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

I've taken my preschoolers here a few times and they always enjoy the space. I love all of the different areas they offer. The face painting and rotating dramatic play area are always big hits! I love the kitchen/ store area and the climbing wall. The space is a decent size and entertains a wide range of developmental ages. If I could choose one thing to improve it would be the air circulation, it always feels a bit stuffy (but of course the kids are always too busy playing to notice!). A final note, the volunteers and staff are always friendly and greet us with giant smiles. As a preschool teacher, I appreciate them making us feel so welcome!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

As an early childhood educator and mom, this is one of my favorites! My daughter always leaves exhausted because she has been so filled with excitement, good people and great experiences. EVERYTHING is hands-on and inviting. Some areas are predictable (i.e., quieter reading area, snack area, infant space, resource library), and others are often new and exciting (i.e., art area, rotating exhibits). It's intimate, with great staff, and I know my daughter is safe (even if I lose sight of her for a moment). They also have numerous programs to benefit the community (Parents Night Out, Days for children with Special Needs, Free Days for Families in Need, etc.)! What more could you want for a young child!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I'm a parent and an early childhood education professional. Habitot is a fantastic place for young children! My daughter is just 2 and she asks to go to Habitot regularly. We've been members since she was 1. It's usually a bit of an ordeal to get her to leave :). EVERYTHING is child-friendly, and "whole family"-friendly. The creativity, variety and simplicity speak just a bit to the unbelievable quality - displays, materials, workshops, cultural presentations, staff, etc. There is clear attention to detail in every nook and crannie. My husband and I love walking in there, and just letting our daughter go free (once we pass the gift shop corner). I only wish there were more locations, for more families to enjoy.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I have a grandparent membership to this place and it is wonderful. I can bring my grandson (now age 3) and he has a wonderful time in a fabulously stimulating environment. Now he points to Habitot every time we go past it and wants to go inside to play.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My grandson loves it.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Keep it open in the evenings after work/school.

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot is a wonderful environment for young children to have the opportunity to explore their environment freely and safely. I went with a family whose child typically has a very difficult time with transitions into new environment. Upon arriving at Habitot, he just eased right in, and started exploring each of the play areas on his own - with a BIG smile on his face! Their warm and welcoming, kid-friendly decor made all the difference!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that they have made such a huge difference in the lives of many at-risk children and families, both with and without special needs, by reserving their weekday afternoons specifically for other agencies to bring their families in for a free day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

(if given adequate funding) like to see a few more play areas for younger children, and expanding their space to accommodate more people.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their openness and willingness to help meet the unmet needs in the community, by partnering with local agencies to provide a safe haven and friendly staff to host "free days" for at-risk families and their children.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Warm, friendly, and welcoming

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve more people in the community and touch many more lives with their wonderful program

Ways to make it better...

longer hours opened to the public

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the shortage of funding to turn many more of their wonderful vision into reality

One thing I'd also say is that...

this place is truly a small glimpse into heaven for young children and their families

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

This is a great place for young children and parents. The staff are helpful and attentive to individual needs. I am a case manager for a transitional housing program. Habitot let us bring some of our families for a free day of play and parent child interaction. This was a wonderful opportunity for our children to enjoy new experiences and for the parents to observe their children in new situations and observe and learn some much needed parenting skills.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By observing the children and their parents express their personal creativity, imaginations, and play-fullness.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

This is such a worthwhile and engaging experience for both the child and the parents. Their encouragement of hands on exploration and learning for all kids- whether they have special needs or not is extraordinary.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

That I have seen my own child and the children I work with engaged and excited about the hands on learning experience they receive at Habitot.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot is a wonderful space for children to explore. There are so many opportunities for children to learn and play with their peers and families. We have had several field trips with the families we work with and their children with special needs. Habitot has a fantastic outreach program for the special needs community and we look forward to our visits every year!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the feedback from the families I work with. They enjoy their time here immensely.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

 
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