Oct 9, 2007

Surprisingly Toddler-Friendly: The Getty Center and the Getty Villa

I don't know about your toddler, but mine is happy to have a new place to explore. That means lots of space and lots of walking. Challenging climbs? Even better. What my toddler doesn't care about is kids' activities - crafts and such hold his attention for about two seconds.

So we recently headed out to the Getty Center thinking that Alex would enjoy the gardens and stairs, and we were right. Even on a Saturday afternoon, with a packed parking lot, there was plenty of room for him to explore. He enjoyed the ride up to the museum in the unmanned tram, the expansive city views from the top of the mountain, and the zig zag garden with its winding paths. He happily wore himself out going up and down different sets of stairs. He even made faces at me through the distortion lenses in the Family Room, though he breezed past the art coves where kids can create their own masterpieces.

Since the Getty Center was such a huge hit, we headed out to the Getty Villa in Malibu (just north of where Sunset meets PCH). Again, there were plenty of stairs and a huge area to explore. Alex actually whined whenever we entered an exhibition, but was perfectly happy when we were outside. The Family Forum contains a couple of kids' activities but none that held Alex's interest for long (you can decorate some vases with erasable ink and put on a shadow play). I loved the herb gardens, with their edible plants and fruit trees - I even saw a gardener walk past holding two radishes he'd just plucked out of the earth. Alex's favorite part was climbing the seats in the open-air amphitheater.

Unlike when it opened several years ago, the Getty Center no longer requires any reservations. But you'll have to reserve tickets ahead of time for the Getty Villa. Parking at each facility is $8. Both facilities are completely handicap accessible, which means there are ramps everywhere for strollers. However, we've found that it's easier if Marc wears a backpack and I pop Tyler into a mei tai so that we can all go up and down the stairs together.

Cross-posted at CFO Reviews.

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