Pretend City Logo

Big futures at play


The only one of its kind in Orange County, Pretend City answers children’s natural impulses to learn and explore through play. Every meaningful play experience gives parents and caregivers an opportunity to create joyful memories that will continue to bind families long after their child is grown.

We’re growing
so kids can too

We’ve exceeded the capacity of our current space, and need your help to meet the demand of these growing minds. We’re expanding from our cramped 28,000 sq. ft. to an expansive 72,000-sq.-ft. space, including 33 learning spaces (up from 19), plus an all-new outdoor area and a full-service restaurant.

Pretend City 1

A transformative

The City of Irvine has invited Pretend City to build its permanent home on a 45-acre parcel in Irvine’s celebrated Great Park. Alongside our partners, Orange County Music & Dance and the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, we’re creating a home base for early childhood development and intergenerational connection.


community hub for events & learning


times the nonprofit partnerships


times the square footage including 14 new learning areas


times the number of school children visiting annually

The path to success is paved in play

Play is essential to the healthy development of children. It nurtures their social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. Emotionally, play is plain fun; it’s a safe zone to imagine, investigate, explore, wonder and just do what children do.


Rooted in child development

From conducting assessments and providing connections to resources to growing our pipeline of esteemed professionals, we’re involved advocates for early childhood development on all fronts. We also work with parents and caregivers to identify engaging strategies they can implement at home.

Kimberly Goll

“Play isn’t just for kids. Engaging parents, caregivers and the community in play is fundamental to the healthy development of every child. The new Pretend City will make that possible.”

Kimberly Goll
First 5 Orange County

Learning Spaces - Interior

Pretend City at the Great Park will be home for beloved learning experiences—like the amphitheater, post office, doctor’s office, café and home—reimagined from the ground up. They’ll be designed with everything we’ve learned over the past 14 years in our current space. And new experiences will reflect modern life and be welcoming for all.

Learning Spaces - Exterior

A most exciting element of Pretend City at the Great Park is an all-new outdoor space that connects kids with our beautiful natural environment. So, our current “outdoor” indoor learning spaces will become even more inspiring when they’re outside.

Be part of a lasting legacy

Our innovative learning spaces foster creativity, critical thinking and social development in young children. These re-creations of the real world lend themselves to perfect sponsorship opportunities.

Progress Updates

Pretend City at the Great Park

Childhood only
happens once

With your help, we can amplify impact. We can meet all children, from all walks of life, at this critical moment in their lives and continue to inspire futures shaped by rich creative experiences.