We have an awesome story of our son with special needs being able to bond with his typically developing peer at the habitot special needs day. It really does feel like a special time that we don't need to worry about what other parents or children are thinking or even answer questions. We can just enjoy ourselves. Wish this special needs time could be more frequent!
My first experience with this children's museum was when I was told about a free event they were sponsoring for families of kids with special needs. I had heard of the museum and wanted to go and that was the perfect opportunity to do so. I was initially surprised at how small the museum is, but that actually turned out to be a blessing, because I could relax more there than in bigger children's museums where I am constantly worried about my kids getting out of my sight. Because Habitot is small, I knew my two kids were always close, even if I couldn't see them. Plus there was only one way for them to get out and there was always a staff member watching that door. My kids had a blast and we stayed all afternoon. I was happily surprised that in addition to giving us free admission for the afternoon, there were also snacks provided during this special event. That was such a nice, welcoming touch and it was good so that families could connect when they were taking a break and getting the kids snacks. There were also volunteers that engaged my kids, one who stayed colored with my son for about 30 minutes. This was nice because it game me a chance to spend quality time just with my daughter. Finally, when we were leaving, each child was allowed to pick a book to take home. The book we found for my son was a song book that he absolutely loved and has become one of our most-read books. So the experience was a very nice, complete, satisfying one that lives on each time we read that book. Since then, we have gone back a few times on another special event day and with a group.
Habitot has been incredibly welcoming to my ASD toddler. We've had fun at the museum on days reserved for special needs families (he loves the painting white board that you can squeegee) and he had so much fun at the two summer camp sessions we signed him up for. The teachers were so welcoming and friendly - he developed trust with them right away and came home every day with evidence of creative endeavors and fun (glitter in hair!). Thank you, Habitot, for being a safe and welcoming place for every toddler to explore and be creative.
Review from Guidestar
This place is so amazing. There special needs kids afternoons have been wonderful for my family. My kids get to play in a safe, enclosed environment with lots of Staff helpers around to help them engage and I get to meet and connect with other parents who really know what it’s like to raise a non nuerotyoical child.
Review from Guidestar
We have been going to Habitot a lot this summer. My 3.5 year old son loves it and asks to go almost daily. He always finds something new to do even though we go there a couple of times a week. He loves the grocery area, the trains, the water area and he loves to yell into the wind tunnel. I enjoy watching him play, the staff are incredibly nice and supportive and it’s been nice meeting other families. I appreciate habitot and their programs so much
Review from Guidestar
My little one loves Habitot, and I am deeply grateful for the special needs playdates. Having such a wonderful space with great staff at a time that's dedicated to our kiddos means they can explore without the usual tons of kids. Having that special time to gently broaden her horizons has been wonderful. Please keep it up! I also learned a ton from a workshop they held about IEPs, so thanks for that as well!
Such a wonderful place!! I was able to introduce my son to this space with only a few kids around since it was for a special event. My son takes a little time getting used to new spaces but he quickly took a liking to this place. There were so many things for him to do and explore that we weren't able to see it all in one go. The space is very clean and well kept. I would highly suggest bringing your little ones here. We will definitely be back to explore more of the spaces we didn't really get to on our first visit.
This museum is very sweet. It is quite small, but every ounce of space is used for something creative. My daughter's loved playing in the shopping area and cafe, swinging on the farm bench, and painting and playing with slime in the art room. The workers are kind and helpful. We hope to be back soon!
Review from Guidestar
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 :)
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