The Skirball Center – A Little Bit Of Urban Fun In LA


We recently took a trip to LA with some of our great friends to visit the Skirball Center. I had no idea what to expect from the museum, but any expectations I had were far exceeded. 

Noah’s Ark

The main attraction for us was the Noah Ark exhibition. This exhibit gets very busy so you need to make sure you reserve your tickets in advance for the Ark. Here’s what the museum has to say about the exhibit:

Make plans today to visit Noah’s Ark at the Skirball™, the permanent, award-winning children’s and family destination that’s the talk of the town! Play, climb, build, explore, make believe, and make friends–all while exploring a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark, filled to the rafters with whimsical animals. Share in a timeless story—and together envision a better world.

We started out listening to our guide talking to us about the exhibit and what we might see. As you can tell, the kids were very excited! We had an hour and 30 minutes in the ark. We thought that seemed a long time, but it was actually perfect and we used our entire time slot because it was so fun. The different areas are very well staffed and the staff are engaging and encourage the children to think about what they are looking at. 


Despite the exhibit being called Noah’s Ark, it doesn’t really have a religious spin to it. It is very hand on with focus on science, exploration, imaginative play and whimsy. 

Photos of Noah’s Ark

Helping to build the ark. The pieces only fit together in certain ways which really tested their team work and problem solving skills.
We found it very autism friendly. Arlo loved the giant ark where he could play with his favourite animals.
One part of the exhibit focuses around a huge ark with ropes, bridges, and nets to climb around. There are pulleys for the children to move items up and down which they LOVED!
At the end of our 1hr30 session there was a really fun music session. Each child was given a percussion instrument and they sung and played for the last 15 minutes.
Edison enjoyed joining in with the music session.
There was no pressure to be involved. Arlo doesn’t like music he isn’t in control of so he chose to play in a different area of the exhibit. He did come into the music session a couple of times to listen but the no pressure attitude meant he was comfortable to do that.
One last picture under the rainbow before we moved on to explore the rest of the museum.

Family Art Studio

In addition to Noah’s Ark, the Skirball Center has a number of other great exhibition halls and activities to do. The family art studio at the Skirball Center is open on Saturdays and Sundays during normal museum hours. It is a drop-in part of the museum and they run a different art project each month. The month we visited was make a family tree. The children were given different options to make their tree, but also encouraged to make it their own and think outside the box. We loved the low key nature of this area and both my boys made their own project (which is unheard of. They aren’t crafty souls!).

There is a reading area in the family art studio. This allowed me to work with my eldest without having to worry what my crazy little one was doing! Another very well thought out little detail.


Dig It! Archaeology Adventures

Our final stop at the Skirball Center was the Dig It area. The kids loved this bit, and for good reason. Here’s what the museum says about this area:

Slip on an archaeologist’s vest, sift and sort to find ancient artifacts buried beneath the san. Weigh and examine your findings, and analyze clues to piece together the story of an ancient Iron Age town.

Digging for ancient artifacts. They were so engaged and excited by this activity!

Again, the area was well staffed with people who actively engaged the children and pushed them to think outside the box (see a pattern emerging here?!). They were give tools to dig and brush the artifacts they found, and a laminated sheet showing them exactly what they were looking for. The staff continuously came over to see what they had found and talk them through exactly what it was. 

So finally, and as you’ve probably already guessed, I highly recommend a visit to the Skirball Center. It’s definitely an urban gem. Remember to make advanced reservations for Noah’s Ark otherwise you won’t be able to visit it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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I am Viv, stay at home mom (mummy) to Edison who is 7 and Arlo who is 5. I am married to my best friend and university sweetheart Steve. In October 2014 we moved 5321 miles from our beautiful Victorian home in Sheffield, England to Anaheim Hills and are loving the wild adventure this move has turned our life into. I am so very grateful that this move has given me the opportunity to quit my kinder teacher role to stay home with my crazy whirlwinds and enjoy the adventures of modern motherhood. I love farmers markets with my little foodies, antique shops, restoring antique finds, reading, baking, eating out and trying not to spend everything we have in Target! Oh and chips. I LOVE chips (crisps for any Brits reading this). All the chips.