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Habitot Children's Museum

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Nonprofit Overview

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

118 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our preschooler as learned so much at Habitot from the art room, to the water area and make believe cafe. The size is perfect to let my toddler room with my newborn in my arms. We have loved going!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Upon my first visit to Habitot, it was love at first sight both with the facilities and the staff. It is a fantastic creative, safe and unassuming place where your child can let go of their inhibitions and reach beyond. The entire space is thoughtfully designed with the children’s perspective in mind making it an even more inviting space. I am honored to be part of the board and look forward to seeing Habitot grow!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I interned at Habitot Children's Museum for a three-month period earlier this year, and throughout my internship I was constantly impressed by the staff and director's enthusiasm and dedication to supporting the museum's mission, providing resources as well as a safe, creative learning space for Bay Area families. Habitot is a unique organization in its steadfast commitment to its function as a community resource, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with its staff and director.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Habitot is an organization that I donate to happily, knowing that the money will be utilized to the fullest extent and to support those most in need. Habitot has a powerful mission and does meaningful work in our community. I'm thrilled to support them!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Habitot!!!

Habitot is a great play based museum for toddlers who love to explore, pretend, use their sense and becoming artists.

I wish I had a place like this as a kid I was exposed to.

I love them so much I have worked with Habitot on the past being an Assistant Teacher for their fun Summer camp and even helped out for their weekend car seat inspections in Alameda.

Now, I have a 2 year old that loves going to Habitot on,”Parents Night Out,” which is a great way for parents to have a night for themselves and for the children to enjoy the museum after hours.

And my son loves the pizza!

I’m excited to see what comes next as they grow and evolve and as my son grows and evolves with them.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Habitot is a community treasure in the Bay Area! It provides a wonderful space for young children & their caregivers to enjoy imaginative play and explorative learning. I’m a disabled grandma, yet have been able to care for my grandchildren by including Habitot as one of our “adventures” on a weekly basis for years. Now my “kiddos” feel at home there, familiar yet always surprised and entertained by their exhibits and activities. The staff are committed and caring, focused on celebrating diversity. We feel welcome. I’m truly grateful to have the joyful memories of helping my grandchildren bloom because Habitot has been so engaging with an incredible variety of things to do! Arts & crafts including a huge paint wall. Water play with tables, toys, cascading stream. Grocery store & cafe filled with foods, dishes, registers and tables to be served the latest yummy treat. Wind tunnel to delight airborne leaves & petals & snow in season. A special exhibit that changes, a full fire engine, hoses, gear & chance to learn “stop, drop & roll”... formerly a full rocket & space station, and a veterinary and hospital with animals & dolls. Face painting station. Climbing wall. Even quiet spaces for reading & relaxing. A garden for very young ones to climb, stand & play. Train tables & lunchroom. Now we have boxes of artwork and thousands of photos, and chance for them to “make a friend”. Habitot has made all the difference for me, enabling me to be the kind of “Grammy” I hoped for my loved ones. I sincerely recommend Habitot to share and enjoy with your family too!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We absolutely adore Habitot. We've been taking my son almost monthly since he was 2, and now my daughter. They both love the exhibits, and they are entertained for hours. It's our favorite rainy-day activity in the Bay Area. It certainly feels good to support the organization considering their incredible generosity towards disadvantaged groups.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Habitot is a fun and joyful place that fills a critical need in the East Bay by providing a safe and affirming place for all young children in our community to play and learn.

The Executive Director, Gina Moreland, and the great staff have focused on fostered a welcoming environment for all kids and their parents. This is reflected not just in the inviting physical space they have created, but also in the inclusive programming they have developed. Creating spaces that meet the specific needs of children experiencing homelessness, recent immigrant and refugee children, those with disabilities, and other groups of kids who can often be left out of the fun of play, are all enthusiastically welcomed at Habitot, and treated with dignity and love (as are their parents).

As a resident of Berkeley, although I'm not a parent, it's an honor to be able to support an organization so dedicated to helping all of our community's kids to learn and grow.

emilyschnitzer

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I run a summer camp and coming to Habitot has been great for our older campers. They spent a half-day volunteering- helping prepare the activities for the museum as well as had a tour and talked about Early Childhood Development (these are all 13/14 year-olds who are hoping to become counselors next year!). It was a fun and informative way for our oldest campers to learn some leadership and child development in a light-hearted and exciting way!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have lived in the Bay Area for a long time and would often hear people talk about Habitot. Once I had kids I realized why it had such an amazing reputation. My two girls love visiting the museum and could play and learn for hours in end. They even had birthday parties there. As we continued to visit I learned about Habitot’s numerous inclusion programs for new parents, caregivers, and families with special needs. It’s not just a space to play, but also learn, and more importantly a safe space for the community to gather. It truly is a community resource. After meeting the founder, Gina Moreland, the mission to provide the community a safe space to help people explore their curiosity, creativity, and confidence really stood out. I happily joined the board and have been a proud supporter ever since!

Victoria M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to Habitot as a child and have so many fond memories of playing there. From playing with windmills in the wind tunnel to crawling like an earthworm in the fun crawl wall to painting my face in all sorts of ways, I always looked forward to birthday parties and outings at Habitot.
I was so happy to hear about a group of teens from a summer camp I work at going to volunteer at Habitot this summer as it brought back so many fond memories of my childhood.
Habitot is such a wonderful part of our community and I can't wait to bring my children here. Thank you so much for the wonderful memories :)

2 Lilian2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

2 Christy V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!

Sincerely,
Christy & Ignacio Vaca

Pics at Habitot as well as Bella's art:


https://goo.gl/photos/C2AwSWbt8WMSvmfW7

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

2 Jess27

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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