Visiting Norton Simon Museum with Kids

Norton Simon Museum with Kids

This year we are studying Impressionism and the works of several impressionists. As such, we are currently studying the works of Edgar Degas. When it’s time to plan out the art study portion of our school year, I always look for artists who have pieces in art museums somewhat close to our house so that we can go see the works in person. As I planned for this year I realized that Norton Simon is a gold mine for impressionism! With a mix of museum and gardens; art spanning the ages from Renaissance to the 20th Century and audio tours specifically geared toward kids, it’s a great environment for kids to learn about and experience art. Even if you’re not from Southern California, the Norton Simon has resources for you!!!

Why We Like It:

The Sculpture Garden: The gardens are beautiful and it’s a great place for littles to take a break. Keeping quiet and keeping their hands to themselves can get really hard, if not impossible after awhile. The gardens have beautiful paths to explore, ducks to watch and a cafe to get lunch or a snack.

Norton Simon Museum with Kids | Motherhood in the Trenches

Breathtaking Classics: Dirk and I had visited this museum as young college students but we were both so much more “wowed” this time. This museum really is a gem. You will see works from very well known artists like VanGogh, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Degas, and so many more. There were a few works that literally took my breath away.

Norton Simon Art Museum with Kids | Motherhood in the Trenches

Kid’s Audio Tour (this is good for those of you not near So Cal): For $3 you can rent head phones for an audio tour, but the great thing is that there are about 30 works that have a children’s audio tour. The children’s version are lively and fun. You can also pull these up online. If you don’t live near Norton Simon or can’t get out there, you can still listen online which is a fun way to introduce kiddos to various works of art. Here are links to a few pieces with children’s audio:

Before You Go…

Check out the Norton Simon Booklet/Social Story for kids. It was a very effective tool to talk to our kids about appropriate behavior in the museum and what to expect. Our kids were SO good, even our 2 year old did so well. I mostly attribute it to the fact that they were hearing the “rules” from another source besides us. It wasn’t just mom and dad’s rules but it was for everyone. I guess the intimidating guards also helped in that regard…more on that in a sec.

Also, take time to check out the family page for tips for visiting with children.

norton simon with kids

Things You Should Know:

  • The museum and garden is stroller friendly. I read a Yelp review saying that they will not allow you to wear a baby on your back or wear any kind of backpack. I didn’t look into that but if you are hoping to wear baby on your back or wear a backpack, definitely give them a call.
  • They do not allow noisy toys. I saw a guard ask a mom to put a musical baby toy away. Bring soft toys and toys that don’t make noise.
  • Parking is free.
  • Admission: Children under 18 and students with a valid ID are free! Seniors are $12. Adults are $15
  • We went on a Monday and it was a great day, not many people at all. We talked to a guard outside as we were leaving and he said that the weekends are really busy but Mondays are usually pretty slow. If you can, get there on a Monday

Overall this was a really great first art museum trip for our kiddos. If you head out there we’d love to hear all about your trip!