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The Bob Baker Marionette Theater

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There’s nothing like exposing your children to California culture. I’m not talking beaches and hiking, but instead museums, architecture and theater. In a forgotten part of downtown Los Angeles under a freeway exit ramp, lives the oldest puppet theater in America. Founded by Bob Baker and Alton Wood in 1963, The Bob Baker Marionette Theater which was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009 entertains families daily.
Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

My family and I were invited by the Bob Baker Theater to attend their 2:30 show and decided to make a historical LA Fun day out of the trip. The drive is long so why not enjoy all that Downtown LA has to offer. We left Orange County at 12:30 expecting the usually LA traffic. By 1:30 we were amongst the towers of a surprisingly busy Downtown LA. Before my life as a mom, I would go up to a desolate LA to grab sushi in Little Tokyo or Chinese from Chinatown so seeing it filled with people was a bit shocking. In the past decade there has been a huge effort to make Downtown LA a hub of all things cultural and it really looks like they are making it happen.

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Being that we had an hour to kill before the show, I decided to find The Angels Flight Railway, but sadly failed. Instead we came upon the most beautiful Art Deco building, The Los Angeles Central Library. When you go to the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, you must visit this breathtaking library. It’s only a 5 minute drive from the theater and it is well worth the visit – especially the children’s library which has the largest collection of children’s literature west of the Mississippi.
Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

After the visit to the library we headed to the theater. The theater is under the Beverly Street Bridge which can be a bit confusing. Parking is in the rear of the white cube building and if the parking lot is full, I suggest driving around the corner and parking in the nearby residential area. Try to come at least 30 minutes early to ensure that you can park in the lot. The theater seats less than 100 people so I advise purchasing your tickets online and picking them up at will call.

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

As you enter the theater, you see the hallway covered with awards and certificates dating as far back as to when it opened. The theater still maintains its original décor, a whimsical little puppet palace with red velveteen curtains and low-lit crystal chandeliers reminiscent to an era that has long since been forgotten. The interesting thing about Bob Baker’s is that the stage is actually the floor. The usher give children the option to kids sit on the floor in front of their parents or on the chairs right behind the floor. I highly recommend your child sit on the floor so that the puppets come up and interact with them. Puppets will literally dance on the kids’ laps and fly above their heads; the only rule is that you can’t touch the puppets.
The lights dim and the MC comes out to welcome us to the show. One by one marionette cascade into the room, each mini show is about 5 minutes long and before you have a chance to get bored another set come out singing and dancing. The puppeteers are local kids who are trained in the art. They are very talented and transport you to simpler time when children weren’t glued to their iPads. You really can’t see another show like this anywhere. They change it up every few months and the kids just eat it all up.
Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

After the show, we were shown into the back room where everyone got a cup of ice cream with a wooden spoon, a tradition that the theater has kept. The room itself was painted in candy colors and the walls were wrapped like presents with large ribbons and bows. Along the walls pictures of Bob with his marionettes as well as many celebrities who have visited Bob. Don’t leave without perusing the gift shop, where else can you get an official Bob Baker Marionettes patch or puppet of your own.

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Bob-Baker-Marionette-Theatre

Shows run T-F at 10:30 am Sat & Sun at 2:30. Tickets are $15. To book your tickets or learn more about The Bob Baker Marionette Theater please visit their website at http://www.bobbakermarionettes.com/

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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