On Sunday 2/21/2010, our small groups went to Pretend City at Irvine for volunteer works. Pretend City is a non-profit organization and this Children’s Museum was opened last August. Below is the description of the facility from their Web-site (http://www.pretendcity.org/):
Pretend City Children’s Museum is Where Imagination and Education Come to Play! This interconnected city allows children to “pretend” to be the adults. With an entire city at their fingertips, children can experience a variety of features every city has to offer. With over 15,000 sq. feet of interactive exhibits and activities, Pretend City brings to life every profession, necessity and daily occurrences of a real city. They can do anything and everything from grocery shopping to banking to visiting the doctor to collecting their pay from the local ATM. And don’t forget to visit the fire station, police station, the café and all of the many other exhibits. Pretend City is always welcoming new citizens! Come and visit our city today!
Betty and I arrived there around 12:45 pm, the parking lot was full and I parked the car on the side of the nearby street. The weather was sort of chilly. In a few minutes, others came in and we were all in high spirits. The staff in charge came to welcome us and gave us the instructions. Then we dressed up the volunteer uniform and split into six groups to work at different stations.
The place was packed with children and their parents/relatives. Betty and I were assigned to the farm and garden station. This garden is to grow fruits, vegetables and harvest. The kids picked up fruits from the tree and vegetables from the field. They cultivated the field and plant the vegetables. The kids pretended to work on the field and got their “timecards” stamped. Then they went to an ATM machine to obtain (fake) cash by their “timecards”.
The station also had a chicken farm with real chick and eggs in hutching process.
The kids really had fun and moved around to pick fruits and vegetables. Consequently, we were so busy in replacing the picked fruits and vegetables. Besides, some kids brought the fruits and vegetables from the adjacent grocery store and we had to take them back to the store. After the first hour, we were sort of exhausted. Fortunately, it was time to switch stations with other groups.
Our next assigned station was the exercise room. Inside, it has three bowling alleys. The space is large and the children played jumping ropes. The parents spontaneously got together and held the umbellera-like cloth-tent cover for the kids to run around inside.
Some people brought food from home/outside restaurant. Inside Pretend City, there is a an area with tables and chair for people to sit down. Next to this area is a “Real Cafe” where they sold sandwiches, pastries, water, coffee and soft drinks.