The Getty Center is Fun, Educational and Free

Getty Center Outdoor Panorama

A Great Museum with Plenty for Families

The Getty Center is one of two of the J. Paul Getty Museums and sits overlooking Los Angeles between L.A. and the San Fernando Valley. The other Getty museum is located in Pacific Palisades and was the former house, turned Italian villa, of J. Paul Getty himself. The Getty Center is free with no tickets or reservations needed, but you will need to pay for parking which was $15 at the time we visited. This was our first trip to the museum and we were a bit hesitant to bring our daughter as we didn’t know if she would enjoy looking at art all day long. I can say that it was a fantastic family day out and we all equally enjoyed our time there. Our daughter had as much fun as we did looking around at all that the Getty Center had to offer.

The Getty Center Trams

As you arrive by car you enter the Getty Center parking structure which goes about 7 levels below ground. Once you hop an elevator back to the top, you hop in the line to take the tram up to the museum. We waited about twenty minutes before boarding one of the two cool looking trams that are computer operated and driven. You can also choose to walk up the pedestrian sidewalk which is is about a 20 minute walk uphill, but families with kids might want to wait it out for the tram. Nothing worse that tiring out your kids before you get to your family activity. The tram ride is a fun experience on its own as you head along the side of the mountain and you get a great view of the city.

The Getty Center Grounds

We decided to take in the outside of the Getty Center first before diving right into the art exhibits. The grounds at the museum were very beautifully designed, offered exploration and many photo opportunities. We followed the zigzag path along a stream which ran through many different varieties of rocks and boulders and then into a flat stream bed which flowed down a stone wall and into the reflecting pool. The reflecting pool flows and surrounds the Central Garden’s maze of flower plants. It was a nice way to start our day at the Getty Center. After exploring the central garden for a while, we took in some of the spectacular views of almost all of Los Angeles from different viewing areas of the museum. We also saw many fountains, some desert landscapes and many sculptures among other sights.

Getty Center Sculpture Trees

These sculpture trees sat above the Central Garden and provided beauty and shade. | FamilyVacationHub

Getty Center Central Garden

The Central Garden with the reflecting pool and maze flower hedges was very beautiful. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Los Angeles city views from the Getty Center

The Getty Center sits atop the Santa Monica Mountains and has great views of Los Angeles. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

The Getty Center Museum

After taking in all of the outdoor sights and having a quick snack at the Garden Terrace Cafe, we headed into the museum. As we entered the Museum Entrance Hall we grabbed a map of the art pavilions and stopped by to grab some brochures at the Family Fun stand. They have cards for the kids to have them do a scavenger hunt for art which gives them a fun activity to do as they go through the exhibits at the museum. Another brochure from the family fun desk was a set of cards with questions for the kids to answer about the sculptures in the Lower Terrace Sculpture Garden.

Museum Family Fun Station

This Family Fun brochure station in the museum entrance is where they had pamphlets with fun games for the kids to do during their visit. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

During our day trip we viewed the art in the North, East and South Pavilions, but ran out of time before getting to visit the West pavilion. The pavilions are broken into time periods like before 1700, 1600-1800 and after 1800. We saw many amazing pieces of art including paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, pottery and glassware. Our daughter’s favorite piece was a light blue and gold French bed from 1775–1780. She also really liked all of the paintings and sculptures of the saints as she had been studying them in school over the past couple of months. Another fun things for kids is to have them play I Spy with you as there is a lot of things surrounding you in the art exhibit rooms. My favorite was a bronze sculpture of Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea, that was made between 1623 – 1700. All in all, there was a ton of interesting, educational and lovely pieces of art to take in.

Madi and Laura inside the Getty Center Museum

Madi and Laura enjoying the wonderful art inside the Getty Center’s North Pavilion. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

A Very Family Friendly Museum

Going to the Getty Center with kids was not as big of a deal as we though it would be. The museum makes it very easy to take your children and even helps you keep them entertained during their visit. Here are some of the family friendly things that the Getty Center offers during your museum visit.

  • The Family Room features five hands-on activity rooms that the kids will enjoy. Make a mask, play with structure tubes and more.
  • The Family Fun station in the entrance hall gives the kids activities to entertain and educate them during their visit.
  • The Central Garden and water fountains are fun to explore
  • The Cafe serves food the kids will enjoy like pizza, grilled cheese, pb&j sandwiches along with other great snacks and drinks.
  • They allow you to bring your own food so you can have a family picnic.
  • Strollers are available without charge.
  • Family restrooms are available.
  • Baby bottles are allowed in the galleries.
The Sculpture Tubes in the Family Room at The Getty Center

The sculpture tubes room allows you to move the tubes into various holes in the wall. This is one of the five hands-on rooms in the Family Room. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Getty Center Photo Gallery (25 Images)

  • Getty Center View of Los Angeles
  • Getty Center Museum Art
  • Central Garden Stream
  • Museum Entrance Hall

If you are looking for a fun and educational day out while in Los Angeles, the Getty Center is a great experience that the whole family will enjoy. For more information and to plan your family’s visit, go to the Getty Center Website. Also, check out their Families and Kids section for getting your kids (and yourself) ready for your museum visit.

Best Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

Best Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

The Getty Center is part of our comprehensive list of things to do with kids in Los Angeles. Our list of family friendly activities that the whole family will enjoy includes amusement parks, museums, aquariums, beaches, Los Angeles landmarks, parks, shopping and much more.

About Joe Filipowicz

I have a passion for finding fun things to do, good restaurants and places to stay while traveling with my family and friends. Since it takes a lot of research and exploration to find these family friendly places, I wanted to share my findings with others to make it easier for them to plan their next getaway.

One thought on “The Getty Center is Fun, Educational and Free

  1. Merritt Price

    Dear Joe,

    I’m the Head of Design at the Getty. A team of Getty staff are conducting research on visiting behaviors and mobile technology use at the Getty. After reading your review of a visit to the Getty Center I wonder if you would be interested in answering some questions about your Getty experience? I also wonder if you have additional un-posted photographs that you might share with us?


    Merritt Price


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