I love raising my children in Temecula, California. I have always loved living here, both as an involved teenager (Assisteens, Interact, Student of the Year, etc.)  and then as a college student visiting on holiday from Stanford; yet it has only been as a mother that I have started to discover how vast the city’s educational and recreational resources really are. For a city that manages it expansion intelligently with an eye toward attracting the businesses of a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, Temecula also somehow retains a certain “small town” feel with its traditions. I adore this city, especially as a place to have a family. I could go on and on about the ice skating rink, the Temecula Western Days, the Mystery Weekend (which we have played most years), blueberry picking, the live theater, movies in the park, art classes, toddler classes, square dancing, the delicious food at the wineries, the farmer’s market on Saturday, the splash park, the Balloon and Wine Festival, firework shows, the Valley Winds concerts… There is always something to do here, something to experience. I love, too, that I can easily reach mountains or the beach with just a bit of a drive. I am close to Los Angeles, San Diego, and Disneyland. Temecula is a great city, I really believe that.

One of the best kid-centered resources in Temecula is Dr. Pennypickle’s Workshop, a children’s science museum in Old Town. The premise of the museum is that Dr. Pennypickle is an inventor and scientist and that the museum is his house. The museum has rooms like the kitchen, the music room, the bathroom, the mud room, and more. In the library there is a time machine, and then the fireplace opens up, and everyone can wander through a maze bathed in ultraviolet light. There are inventions, gadgets, contraptions, dials, buttons, repurposed antiques, experiments, and whimsy everywhere. I do not fully know the history behind the design of this museum, but I do know that the minds behind it are genius. I wish I could describe what it all looks like, how truly inventive the use of everyday items really is.  I can’t keep my hands off things—and I am an adult. Fortunately, everything is made for touching and exploring. I feel like a child myself when I am there. The whole museum invites curiosity. The whimsy speaks to me also: an old, old Singer sewing machine made into a record player? Yes. Vintage typewriters? Displays of vintage games and toys and books? A wall dedicated to turning gears? I love this place.

The best part? The children can grow with it. There is something for every age there. And, they also offer home school days during the fall on Tuesday with a science curriculum. Katie, I have felt, has been too young for most of the programs held there (Dr. Pennypickle himself often visits), but she might be getting to a good age for participating in those.

Katie was super excited that we had a field trip planned there today. I wasn’t sure what Eric would think, but oh my, he was in paradise, too. He loved exploring and touching everything.

The museum also has helpers who demonstrate science facts, such as this morning’s lesson on polymers. I love, love, love the teaching component here.

Sorry that some of these pictures are blurry. My camera is persnickety in indoor lighting, and I didn’t have a chance to fiddle with it because I was enjoying the museum too much!

There is a hot air balloon basket in the entryway!

Eric loved this. He liked turning the old wheel. They both liked the periscope, also.

This was Eric’s favorite activity, one which he could have done all day I think.

He understood that stepping on the pedal made the red ball balance on a stream of air.

My mom played in the kitchen.

A lesson on magnetism in the kitchen sink!

For better pictures, click my link to the Pennypickle’s website and view the photo gallery. You will get a much better sense of what the rooms really look like!

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