It looks like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland: A ponytailed toddler pretends to feed paper spiders to a giant plastic grasshopper in Bugsy's Diner, while a couple of her peers ascend 40 feet on a nearby climbing platform shaped like a wisteria vine.
Pasadena's Kidspace Children's Museum may have moved to bigger, sleeker quarters, but its mission ― to encourage children to use their imaginations ― hasn't changed in 25 years.
Situated on 3 1/2 acres near the Rose Bowl, the museum was reworked by designer Michael Maltzan. It now includes three separate climbing towers, a bat cave, a nature exchange where kids can swap their own samples of rocks and plant life for other natural artifacts, and a mini model of Pasadena's Arroyo Seco. Later this year, ground will be broken for a 20,000-square-foot art studio and theater building.
Kidspace celebrates its 25th anniversary May 1 through May 7 with live music, performing artists, storytelling, and other activities. Starting May 3, the museum will be reinstating its monthly free family nights by staying open late and waiving the entrance fee from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
INFO: Kidspace Children's Museum (9:30-5 daily; $8; 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; www.kidspacemuseum.org or 626/449-9144)