Pages Navigation Menu

Things to do in Orange County for OC Moms

Categories Navigation Menu

Growing Up Making Memories at Pretend City

We attended as a guest of the venue
Growing up at Pretend City

My daughter practically grew up at Pretend City.   No joke, we were members from the first year they opened (2009) up until she started Kindergarten (2013).
Shopping the grocery store at Pretend City

Petting a bunny at Pretend City

Shopping in the Pretend City Grocery Store

Painting on the walls at Pretend City

Working the checkout line at the Pretend City Grocery Store

Neka Nodjoumi Visiting Pretend City Children's Museum

We had a set routine of dropping her brother off at school, spending the mornings at Pretend City, grabbing lunch and then  picking him up from school.  I can remember my daughter running around in diapers and growing to the age where she could finally use their tiny toilets.

Learning about the body in the Pretend City Hospital

Pretend City was a huge part of her pre-school years and it wasn’t until our latest visit that I realized how special our time there was.  We were invited to spend the morning at Pretend City with Santa.  My daughter is now 7 and hadn’t been back to Pretend City in nearly 2 years so she was really excited to visit, I on the other hand wanted to skip it completely.

Child finding out how tall she is

I was a bit hesitant about our visit, thinking that she might be too old.  Then there was the part of me that remembered the long days spent running around after her room by room.  the music from the stage forever ringing in my ear – I personally didn’t want to relive that.

Having fun at the Wahoo's Pretend City Cafe

We walked into the building and immediately I felt a rush of nostalgia.  I saw a two year old playing by the entrance and remembered when my tiny daughter did the same thing.  My eyes started tearing up, why was I on the verge of balling, what were all these emotions all about? I hated this place, dreading coming and that’s when it finally hit me;  I suddenly realized how special Pretend City was to me.  I honestly had no clue and am still in shock that this little museum meant so much to me.  While going it always seems like a task that I had to do with my child, but I was so wrong.

Child looking at an x-ray at Pretend City

Pretend City wasn’t just another children’s museum that my child played in, it was a place that held special memories of my baby.  Memories of my little one dancing and laughing, playing and laughing, running and laughing and just laughing.  Memories of the two of us creating masterpieces, playing in the sand at their beach, fishing at the shore and grocery shopping.  It was the place that my daughter learned how to work in a restaurant, pick fruit from a farm and dress up for a theater production; a place that encouraged me to interact with my child and to be present.  A place that my cell phone didn’t work in so I couldn’t surf the web but instead play with her, be with her, enjoy my days with her.

Making a pizza at the Pretend City Cafe

Exploring the Pretend City Garden

Little Red Riding Hood at Pretend City Children's Museum

Pretending to be a doctor at Pretend City

As I walked around the museum I closed my eyes and remember specific moments that I now treasure.  Moments that I took for granted, not realizing how special they were.  Hearing little vices that sounded just like hers, it was as if she was 3 again.  I’ve always wanted to turn back time and it was happening.

Dancing on the Pretend City Stage

Our first stop was the art studio and once again we created a work of art that I will cherish.

The Pretend City Art Studio

Doing crafts in the Pretend City Art Studio

Coloring with Santa at Pretend City

Next we hit her favorite location the restaurant and as she did years ago prepared a feast then charged me $20 but this time knew exactly what $20 was.  Next we shopped at the grocery store, had an appointment with the dentist and doctor, visited the beach and of course the best part we laughed – lots of laughing and fun.

Neka at Pretend City

I cannot believe I forgot about all the laughter and fun we had at Pretend City.  To make our experience even more magical was the visit with Santa but in all honesty the visit would have been magical regardless because of all the amazing memories we made there.

Breakfast with Santa at Pretend City

Visiting Santa at the Pretend City Children's Museum

Pretend City Children's Museum during the Holidays

Seeing my daughter back in her old stomping grounds brought me so much joy and this time I wasn’t going to disregard the moment, I took it in and stored it in a very special place in my heart.  I have been thinking quite a bit about why this place made that time period in my child’s life so memorable and I think it has to do with the concept of the museum.  It’s completely interactive, hands on and child focused.  When you enter the city you are emerged into that world and become part of the city.  At Pretend City your child can grow and play all at once, it truly is a special place.

Pretend City Children's Museum

The pizza place at Pretend City Children's Museum

 Pretend City is located at 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618.  For more information please check out their website at

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
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Connect With Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *