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The Getty Center with Kids

Visiting The Getty Center with kids was not something we planned to do, but sometimes the best experiences are the ones that happen spontaneously. Like most events in my life, it started with us being hungry and when my family goes to Los Angeles, we go to eat. So, when we suddenly got a craving for Matzo Ball soup, we got in the car and drove to Westwood for Lenny’s Deli!

As per usual, as we gorge on one meal, we discuss the next. We decided to eat at Casa Vega for dinner. Okay, great we know where we will be stuffing our mouths next, but what are we supposed to do in between? Let’s take the kids to The Getty!

As you might have already figured out with my blog, our travels are mostly about meals and cocktails broken up with activities to kill time between more meals and cocktails. So, The Getty Center with kids seemed like the perfect way to entertain, burn energy and work up an appetite. Oh, and see some really cool stuff!

Keep The Cost in Check:

Families traveling to L.A are going to love this. Admission to The Getty Center is FREE. You do, however, have to pay a small fee for parking. It is $15 all day parking and you can are welcomed to leave and re-enter, if needed. The parking is only $10 after 4:00pm.

Get your Grub On:

L.A. has so many amazing restaurants, but if you are spending a long period of time at The Getty Center with kids, you might need to re-fuel on the property. There are two cafes and one restaurant at The Getty Center, all with gorgeous views. The Restaurant is an elegant dining experience and reservations are recommended. It is also the only dining option for dinner as the other options close after 3:00pm. Dinner is only available at The Restaurant on Saturdays. The Café has both indoor and outdoor seating. The Garden Terrace Café is outdoor seating only. Beer and wine is available.

Entertain Me:

Museums with kids, doesn’t sound like the most exciting day. I get that, but this museum is different. There are plenty of fun things to do at The Getty Center with kids. Right from the start The Getty Center with kids is an adventure with the boarding of the tram. From the parking lot you board, what looks like the Monorail at Disneyland and it slowly climbs up the hill to The Getty Center Museum, lending gorgeous views of Los Angeles. The kids really enjoyed looking out the window as tram weaved high around the mountainside.

The tram
The tram

Once you arrive, stop into the visitor center and grab a map. Also, there is a kids’ booth where they can pick up their Art Detective cards for a kid-friendly interactive experience. If you want to prepare for your visit to The Getty with kids, visit the website for fun online activities to get your kids familiar with the collections and art concepts ahead of time.

The Getty Center with Kids

I like to let the kids have a little fun first, that way start off in a good mood. What I liked about The Getty Center is that they have a family room for the kids. The family room is filled with interactive exhibits all connected by little doors made for little people to explore.

The first exhibit is has a photo op, where kids can insert their cute little faces into a famous work of art. They can also color a fun mask to keep as a souvenir.

The Getty Center with kids


Crawl through the little door and enter the second exhibit allow kids to manipulate mirrors to distort the image on the wall.

The Getty with Kids

The third exhibit CuddleBear really loved, because he got to build a structure using form tubes. However, my kids did occasionally use the tubes as weapons.

The Getty Center with kids

The fourth exhibit was FireCracker’s favorite. It was a replica of Lit a la Polonaise bed from the 1700’s with a cubby full of children’s books. FireCracker didn’t leave until she read every book! It was a princess fantasy.

The Getty Center

The last exhibit had an illuminated manuscript with dry erase markers for the kids to leave their mark. It also had a back lit board with image of critters for the kids to trace.

The Getty Center with Kids

Around the perimeter of the family room are 70 peepholes for kids to spy into, revealing fun images of art.

Before you leave, make to stop by the Children’s Shop for kid specific souvenirs to continue The Getty Center experience at home.

After sufficient fun was had, I felt confident to take my kids to the Louis XIV exhibit. FireCracker was really into the ornate furniture and really enjoyed the exhibit, but she loves anything that makes her feel like a real princess. I call her my future designer. I mean what 5 year old loves Pinterest? My son, CuddleBear, on the other was bored.

The Getty Center with kids

The real Lit a la Polonaise bed
The real Lit a la Polonaise bed

When exploring the other exhibits at The Getty Center with kids, remember to keep them close to you, don’t let them run around the museum or get to close the artifacts on display. The museum staff gets real stressed out if you let the kids get too close. For instance, FireCracker likes to push her boundaries and was getting to close for the comfort of the museum staff and I felt stressed because they were stressed. Ugh. Then one sweet male staff member came up to me and told me not to worry. That he could tell FireCracker was sweet and wouldn’t touch anything. That little interaction made me relax. Phew.

We came on a cold day and didn’t get to take advantage of the gardens. The kids can only take so much of exhibit viewing, so I missed a lot of collections. No worries, more reasons to come back and explore some more!

The Getty Center with Kids

That’s A Wrap!

Although our visit to The Getty Center with kids was a spur of the moment adventure, we had a wonderful time. I can’t believe I waited to so long to check it out. I really enjoyed the experience, as did my kids and we will definitely be coming back soon!

Have you ever been The Getty Center? What was your favorite exhibit?

Have any tips you liked to share for taking kids to a museum?

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The Getty Center with kids


I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

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