Big news out of Santa Monica this morning: the Zimmer Children's Museum, the hugely popular Miracle Mile hub for the preschool set, is making a break for the beach. Macerich, owners of the recently refurbished Santa Monica Place mall, that sits with an ocean view at the end of the Third Street Promenade, announced today that it will be the new home of the Zimmer Museum by the end of 2018—giving families one more reason to spend a day in the seaside suburb.
The Beverly Hills adjacent museum has been located at the Jewish Federation Goldsmith Center on Wilshire Boulevard nearly 20 years. A big draw for families with young children especially, the Zimmer hosts roughly 85,000 guests annually at its 14,000 square foot space. The planned space in Downtown Santa Monica will nearly double that size and is expected to draw 250,000 visitors annually. This level of popularity is easy to imagine, situated walking distance from hugely popular family destinations like the Santa Monica Pier, the Santa Monica Aquarium, the Third Street Promenade, Tongva Park, and, of course, the beach. Adding a children's museum to the mix sounds like a slam dunk.
The Zimmer is already popular for its play areas, educational programs, camps, classes, and parties; the new location will be adding a museum store as well as expanding a program for underserved teens. The move has been several years in the planning, according to board chair Andy Kaplan, with the goal of reaching many more families with its free and paid programs.
The museum will be located on Level 3, in the former Market location. Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Place
The addition of a children's museum at Santa Monica Place is a major development for the upscale mall, which launched its current design in 2010 with a distinctly adult ambiance. The SAMO the Whale play structure that was added in the food court a few years ago has provided more of a family draw, but becoming the new home to the Zimmer Children's Museum will knock it out of the park and establish this Westside mall as the most family friendly for miles around. The museum will be on the third level, next to the Arclight Cinema.
It's exciting news for families—for those who'd like to see a bigger Zimmer with more light, more programs, and more parking, and for Santa Monica parents hungry for more educational outings and indoor play without taking to the freeways. If you've got young kids, this is one grand opening that can't come soon enough!