I have been taking my children to Habitot for over 10 years! Both my children have developmental disabilities and a number of challenges including anxiety and delays. Outings are extremely difficult for us and in fact there are very few places I can take both my children to together. One of our top goals is to have our kids socialize in a safe and fun environment. Habitot has been a safe haven for my family in this sense.
My son is now 12 but still loves playing at the museum. For my daughter who is 8, Habitot is the only place, I can let her play and explore freely, without worrying about her safety. Another great benefit of the museum has been connecting with other families. It can be very isolating to be a new mom. Add to that, being a mom of a special needs child! I hope to be able to take my children to the museum for more years to come. My son has even expressed interest in volunteering there when he is older, to give back.
Review from Guidestar
Hello Gina Moreland, Executive Director,
I writing to share some pictures of my daughter AnnaBella Vaca. She spent many afternoons and late Thursday time at Habitot as a young child. I firmly believe that the play spaces helped to expose her to more pretend play and creativity.
This was the first place where she could paint on the wall! She begged for years to paint the walls in our home. As you can see this wall that was painted by AnnaBella at the age of 12 makes us all so very happy!
Bella is currently an 8th grade visual artist at Oakland School for the Arts.
Thanks for showing her more ways to pretend. Thanks for all of the goop and slime. And thanks most of all for an entire wall to paint on!!
Christy & Ignacio Vaca
Pics at Habitot as well as Bella's art:
Review from Guidestar
Habitot is a wonderfully conceived educational and play-filled universe for my one year old. From the parenting handouts to the art studio to the toy lending library to the water area and rocketship, every square inch is dedicated to something enriching for children and families. We both love that he can practice interacting with other children there. It truly is a little learning laboratory. They also have parenting education programs, child classes, and outreach programs for underrserved communities. Habitot is a thoughtful community resource that is for ALL kids and families and keeps itself accessible through affordable admission and free programs. I know we will enjoy many years of learning through play at Habitot!
Habitot is amazing. The museum provides my baby with a safe, nurturing environment to learn while helping to inform me as a parent. The provide parenting articles, support groups, classes for parents and kids. A true resource for a new family.
Review from Guidestar
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.