Pretend City Children's Museum in Irvine reopening with COVID-19 safety measures

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Children will soon be able to play at the Pretend City Children's Museum, which is reopening its doors with new COVID-19 safety measures in place.

The museum's senior director of education, Linda Hunter, said parents can't wait.

"For a parent, this is going to be a way to just, you know, get out from under that stress of feeling like you've got to be teaching your children, you've got to be trying to juggle this and that because in here, it's just all about quality time, relationship building and the fun of play," Hunter said.

The facility is set up with a learning/play environment, allowing children to interact with each other, as they "pretend" to grocery shop, run lighting and music at a show, be a firefighter - all things to help develop foundational skills for school.

"But most importantly, that social and emotional development and that's the piece that has not happened so much when children have been at home," Hunter said.

Things will look a little different at Pretend City with the reopening: capacity will be limited and masks will be required for visitors over the age of 2.

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According to the museum's Chief Operating Officer Leslie Perovich, there will be cleaning stations, signs encouraging hand washing and sanitizing and hourly exhibit cleanings between rotations on top of a deep cleaning between the morning and afternoon sessions.
"We have two admission sessions - one in the morning and one in the afternoon - and when we close midday, we do a deep clean with electrostatic sprayers," Perovich said.

Among the new exhibits visitors can expect are a car service station and a mind and body studio, where parents and children can work on communicating their feelings.

Staff said they'll continue guiding parents through developmental screenings.

"We have a free tool. It's on our website and we have the free paper copies here. When you do it, you complete it, you'll receive a free ticket to Pretend City, so again, we want to incentivize you to understand more about your child's development. We want to help you down that path if we can see some early indicators," Perovich said.

With Orange County in the red tier when the museum reopens on March 27, capacity will be limited to 25%.

Perovich said reservations guarantee admission, but are not required.

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