Habitot Children's Museum

Rating: 4.9 stars   77 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  

My 4 and 2-year-olds love our visits to Habitot. We've been visiting the museum for over 3 years. They love, love, love the grocery store, wind tunnel, and water room. Everyone naps well after a morning at Habitot! I joined the board of Habitot as I feel very strongly about it's mission to provide a wonderful space for kids in our community to play, learn and explore. Habitot does fantastic outreach to make the museum accessible to all children. And it plays an extremely important role in supporting parents. I am very thankful for Habitot!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My three-year-old and one-year-old have a blast every time we visit Habitot. They enjoy every minute of the water room, the grocery store, the wind tunnel, the art room, etc., etc. I love watching my boys exploring, creating, laughing, and pretending at Habitot. We go as often as we can and it never gets old. Habitot also offers helpful hints related to the exhibits that I find really helpful as a parent. For example in the art room, they have a wonderful handout about how to help foster creativity in your child. Habitot is a wonderful resource. I also love that after a morning of fun at Habitot, my boys take fantastic naps in the afternoon!!

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

More space for more creative exhibits.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot Childrens Museum is an amazing place for children and parents.
Families are given empowerment through education and hands on activities that are easily translated for home use. Children are supported at every developmental stage and the museum is laid out thoughtfully and expertly. Some exhibits are ever changing but most are predictable reflecting the need for stability in environment which facilitates the comfort level needed for expanded learning through play.

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

I love Habitot and would not change anything really. The space could be to be bigger, but thats it!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I'm a proud Habitot Board member and believe tremendously in its mission. Not only does Habitot provide a safe, clean, stimulating environment for little ones, but it also does significant and meaningful community outreach. Events such as birthdays for homeless children and dedicated time for LGBTQ families means that all families and children feel welcome and accepted. Habitot is extremely deliberate and thoughtful in its design of exhibits - all of which keep the imaginations of kids alive and create genuine space for them to explore, test, and learn in a safe environment. It's really a magical place!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I found Habitot through my daughter. What she discovered is a world of exploring, imagining and creating whether it is in the art studio, piloting the rocket ship, catching leaves in the wind tunnel or running the restaurant. She has enjoyed hours and hours of fun and learning at Habitot and even after 4 years continues to love going there every week!

What I discovered is there is no other place in the bay area that serves pre-school children and their parents like Habitot! Serving on the Board of Habitot has opened my eyes to what a crucial role Habitot plays in the bay area community. Habitot through its services and programs impacts tens of thousands of children and families and reaches out to the most vulnerable including teen parents, homeless and foster families, formerly incarcerated parents, children with special needs, LGBT and low income families.

Habitot is a truly special place that bring kids alive, what ever their circumstance, and inspires them to learn through hands on play and provides the support parents and caregivers need to help give kids the bright future they deserve.

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

Find ways to encourage more donors to give what they can to enable Habitot to move into a new and larger space, continue and expand their services and programs that help the broader community thrive in raising our future generations.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My daughter just turned 5 and has been going to Habitot since she was 1 and still absolutely loves it. We have gotten tremendous use and value from the membership program given my daughter declared Habitot a must have visit every week (unlike any other place we have a membership).
I see her imagination run wild as she dresses up as a fire fighter, takes orders in the restaurant, figures out how a car wash works, goes shopping for food and builds the longest trains and tallest buildings she possibly can.
What I also see is her jumping in to navigate on her own because things are her size, overcoming issues like being sensitive to noise when she plays in the wind tunnel and learning to share and talk with other kids she doesn't know.
As a parent I have used many of the tip cards on fun ways to help your child learn and enjoy getting emersed in the activities with her. We have gone to all of the museums, exploratoriums, hall of science, etc. in the bay area but none of them seem to capture and keep my daughters attention like Habitot does. There is no other place that serves the younger children like Habitot does.

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

Add natural light and outdoor play space and a place to eat.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Habitot remains the one place that whenever my 3 and 5 year old visit, they leave with a smile. That puts a smile on my face too. No matter the season, no matter their mood or their parents mood, my children and I always find just what we are looking for at Habitot. It is a place my children can be active, climbing and playing. It is a place they can be peaceful, enjoying books with their parents. It is a place they can explore on 'their own' to help develop and foster their own sense of self. it is also a place where they can play with mom and dad - especially at the train table. BTW the train table is the place to learn about sharing. Habitot is a place for dramatic play and for letting the imagination grow. There is so much to Habitot, so many activities that vary by the season, all under one roof. Our family is very thankful for Habitot.

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

Help it grow!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

An outstanding place to play and connect with the little people. Both of my kids loved spending time at Habitot and when I look around their bedroom the artwork and crafts that we've kept are mostly from Habitot. The art classes are superb utilizing high quality materials and expert hands-on instruction. The play space in the museum is so enriching and engaging for young children; they literally don't stop moving and exploring and creating from the minute they walk through the doors.

Staff are super friendly and helpful. As the name suggests it's a sanctuary for little ones and for young parents a guaranteed hit when you're looking for a special place to take your kids.

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

I would say a better location...space needs to be bigger and allow natural lighting, heating and cooling systems.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Both of my boys, who are now 5 and 7, spent many mornings and weekends when they were toddlers and preschoolers playing and learning at Habitot. They enjoyed the African drumming lessons, painting on the art wall, dressing up as fire fighters, veterinarians, and astronauts, washing cars in the car wash and running boats down the water slide, shopping for pretend groceries, climbing through the wall tunnel, and so much more. Habitot was a place for them, their grandparents, their nanny, and me and my husband to play and grow together as a family. In fact, they still love visiting Habitot, even though they're onto their elementary school worlds now too. Habitot is a wonderfully creative and safe venue for young children and their families to explore together. When I joined the Board of Habitot a few years ago, I learned about many of the other wonderful contributions that Habitot makes to the community too. These are after-hours programs that much of the public does not see. Habitot opens its doors for gatherings of children with special needs; provides a safe place for parents who are recently out of incarcerated to reunite and play with their children; provides a welcoming space for GLBT families; and works with homeless families as well, and so much more. Habitot is a rare and wonderful place for all types of families in the Bay Area, and it serves a critical socal function as well. It also couldn't have a better leader than its founder and executive officer extraordinaire, Gina Moreland.

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

Give it an opportunity to grow with an expanded space, including outdoor space, that would allow it to serve an even broader audience, and provide it with more funding that would allow it, among other things, to expand its hours to serve even more of the public.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot Children's Museum has meant a great deal to my family - especially to my two daughters. Hardly a week goes by where the older one does not ask to go to Habitot. The younger one, well she cannot talk yet, but I see how big her smile is when she is there. We have been to Habitot so many times over the past few years to take classes, for our daughter to attend camp, for birthday parties, for parent's night out, and to attend the museum. After each and every single visit we have walked away glad we came. We say this not just because our kids have fun there. Habitot is more than just a fun place to play. We say that because Habitot has helped my children grow, nurtured their curiosity, and stimulated their development. Habitot has also helped my wife and I with all of the wonderful things Habitot provides parents. From parenting literature to the book library to the toy library to parents night out, Habitot supports parents and care givers. I will not forget the time when my then 2 year old daughter had a difficult time sharing at the train table and I looked up and saw the brochure on sharing and taking turns on the wall. Nor will I forget the first time I took our younger daughter in to the area for pre- and new walkers and saw her crawl through a padded obstacle for the first time. Moments like these with our kids are very precious for my wife and I. We thank Habitot for providing so many smiles, and so many lessons.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My children beg me to take them to Habitot, even my 6-year old. It is a really creative space where kids can play and develop their imaginations. My children love to pretend they are astronauts as they climb aboard the spaceship exhibit wearing space gear and they like to pretend they are running a car wash in the water play area.

Habitot is more than just a children's museum. It is a place for parent education and it helps parents connect with their kids through play. In addition, Habitot has special playtimes for kids who would normally not get to go to a children's museum such as homeless kids, disabled kids and kids of teenage mothers.

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

my kids really enjoy playing at Habitot and I am reminded of the benefits of joyful and creative play in a world filled with electronics and structured activities.

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

publicize it to the greater East Bay community

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My wife and I have had our son's 1st and 3rd birthday parties at Habitot, and clearly we've found it to be an excellent place to host our friends, and for young children to play and learn. The exhibit space is modest in size, compared to some larger children's museums, but it is very well designed and thought out. Our son looks forward to going to Habitot every time. He's had alot of fun there for several "Parents Night Out" drop-offs (the rare dates my wife and I can manage in our busy lives, and w/o grandparents or other family living in the area). He also participated this past summer in a couple week-long "summer camps" (4 hours/day), learning and exploring science, and interacting with children and adults from outside his preschool/day care. Great experiences all around, and I'm very proud to be a supporter and fan of the museum.

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

birthday parties; Parents Night Out; summer camps; volunteered as a Board member

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

Help it find more of an audience and more funding.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

fundraising

What is its top priority in the long run?

exploring alternative venue options

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful?