Habitot is truly an unique and special space for families. I have seen diverse crowds over the years share laughs, get messy and develop their outlook on the world through exploring hands-on imaginative play which ties in real world experiences. The crowd attracts families of all shapes, sizes and makes-- allowing for an everlasting family memories.
As a visitor to the museum, one may hear families speaking a number of different languages and may see people from across the world, while this is true families of all walks benefit from the space's ability to hone child development skills and lose themselves in the fun of doing what is not expected. From shopping for a basket of fruits and veggies for a Habitot cooked meal to creating baby's first wall painting using recycled materials in the art studio, Habitot allows staff expertise, cultural sensitivity and appreciation for the beauty in the simple things shape the family visit.
The museum plans events for Chinese New Year, Black History Month, Christmas and also finds time to offer free and subsidized visits for households of families who are homeless, incarcerated, or teen-parents. This is a gem to the diverse atmosphere of the Bay Area and allows a safe space for the positive growth of our kids-- or The Future as I like to call them- through play and cultural awareness. We need this place!
Habitot is the go-to for me and my daughter. She's 2 1/2 now and we've been going for close to two years. In the beginning, it was the toddler section that was her favorite but now it's ... well, everything. From playing with the water to discovering her inner van Gogh to pretending to be an astronaut (or a car driver - I'm not sure) she has so much to choose from that she is constantly discovering. Every time when it's just her and me I ask, "Do you want to go to Habitot?" and she responds with a loud "PO!" (which is 'yes' in albanian). Is Habitot one of those hidden gems in the bay area? Po!
We love Habitot! I take my granddaughter to Habitot twice a week because its a place that she can play with her peers, fully use her imagination, and explore water, wind, and make amazing art projects. The staff are friendly and really enjoy being around children. On Fridays they have pizza for the price of $1.00 and my granddaughter really looks forward to the treat. What I so appreciate is that unlike other kid friendly places it is racially diverse and they have an affordable summer rate which makes the world of difference in our ability to visit. You will not be disappointment! I was talking with a family who came all the way from Modesto (80 miles) to Habitot and they were not disappointed!
One of the first places we discovered when we moved to Berkeley. Both of my children 1 & 3 love it! The staff is extraordinary. The wonderful lady in the art studio helped my son (1yr) paint for the first time by getting him a highchair and helped me with paint and a clean brush. This place is amazing!
My son had his two year old birthday party at Habitot and he was super delighted with all the exhibits at the museum!!! His favorite included the Waterworks exhibit, the Wind Tunnel , and the Wiggle wall!!! My nine year old daughter also had great fun doing face painting!!! Habitot is a great place for the entire family!!!
Review from Guidestar
I began taking my kids to Habitot when my oldest was becoming a toddler over one; she is now 9. I have watched my girls grow with the museum and learn to explore that greater side of themselves. Whether it's through the fire truck exhibit or the water play, they joy I see in their eyes when at Habitot excites. Habitot reminds me of the importance to connect with your creativity and innovation. It has been an important part of my life as a parent and what fueled me to become more involved in the organization.
My almost 4 year old daughter and I love Habitot. We go there almost weekly. The staff is great there and they use their small space very well. Our favorite area is the art studio. My daughter can focus there for over an hour doing one creative project or another. Thank you Habitot!
My 1st visit to Habitot was in 2002 when my daughters were 2 & 3 (now 15 & 17). We fell in love with this place! They played pretend Dr. - dressed in white lab coats, partnered to exam a baby girl, and even read xrays! The pictures priceless! They then moved on to the painting area and made these poster size paintings which I still have hung up as art work! I loved the idea and the results so it became mandatory for my children to make a poster painting for my keepsake. I've returned today with my 7-year-old son who in 2010 made his 1st poster painting and had his priceless firefighter photo shoot! Today, he painted his 2nd and my almost 2-year-old (on June 19) made her 1st poster painting. I've been coming to Habitot for 14 years and this place never gets old. My Family & I will forever LOVE HABITOT!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HABITOT for all Families! Your children will get to explore, learn, and enjoy this museum. I'm sure I'll return with my grandchildren!
I was recommended to visit Habitot from a dear friend and absolutely fell in love. As I walked in the door, I felt the joy of children exploring and playing. Gina Moreland, the Founder and CEO, toured me of all of the exhibits and shared countless stories of the positive effects Habitot has had on Bay Area communities over the past 18 years. I was most impressed by hearing how active Habitot is in engaging families of all backgrounds including multi-lingual and multi-ethnic families, foster and homeless families, as well as middle and upperclass families. Habitot offers affordable fees for all families and even hosts parent workshops to make sure everyone knows the positive effects of early literacy, socialization, and play in the growing brain. Habitot goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone feels welcome and a safe space in their discovery museum.
After my visit, I was so moved that I joined their Board of Directors and look forward to helping the museum expand their reach in serving kids and families in the Bay Area and move into their brand new building in a few years.
Habitot is one of the most unique and special children's museum. They make sure that ALL families, regardless of their income, ability, ethnicity, or background, are able to experience learning through play. I was so inspired by their campaign to give birthday parties to kids experiencing homelessness too. Habitot is raising money right now for children without a home to call their own, so that they may enjoy a private birthday party all to themselves . Please check it out and share what you can: http://igg.me/at/BirthdayPartiesforHomelessKids/x
I see families and children engaging in play, learning, discovering, and taking advantage of the free family bonding classes, and parenting education workshops too. Children with special needs, especially in the autism spectrum, are able to enjoy the entire museum with other families just like theirs in the "Special Times for Special Families program too. I really can't say enough about how incredible this place is for young children and their families.
I couldn't even believe that Habitot has been able to stay strong as a Berkeley institution for almost 18 years, having an impact on over 1,000,000 children and families.
Every time I come here with my little girl, we have such a good time, we make new friends, and we always get a treat across the street at Cafe Clem!
Thank you Berkeley for giving us such an amazing place!