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team cayton


Who We Are

Our Vision

We envision a world where all children, and the adults they grow up to be, experience the transformational and lifelong benefits of abundant, creative and purposeful play.

Our Mission

The Cayton Children’s Museum is a nonprofit organization that activates the power of PLAY to enrich the lives of children and their families, build stronger, more connected communities, and create a better world. We strive to nurture children of all backgrounds and abilities to become engaged citizens of the world by facilitating collaborative, experiential learning and creative expression, both in our museum space and through our community programs. 

Located in Downtown Santa Monica just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, the Cayton Children’s Museum offers 21,000 square feet of discovery-based exhibits and immersive play. We offer a robust calendar of arts and cultural activities designed for children 0 to 8 and their families, including public programs, festivals, camps, classes, workshops and more. 

Beyond museum walls, our community programs bring the Cayton experience into neighborhoods and schools to reach children with limited access to the museum. These experiences, which celebrate the creative, performance and visual arts, are offered throughout the year in partnership with non-profit and community-based organizations that serve parts of Los Angeles County where opportunities for creative, safe, purposeful, and free play are needed most. 

While the Cayton Children’s Museum opened to the public in 2019, our organization comes with 30 years of experience in values-based learning. Before we were the Cayton, we were the Zimmer Children’s Museum, serving more than 90,000 visitors a year in our home on Museum Row. Today, building from the heart of the Zimmer and nurtured by the soul of our diverse community, the Cayton is inspiring children and families everywhere to PLAY THEIR WAY TO A BETTER WORLD. 

Our Values

Cayton Values: Play is essential

We believe people of all ages benefit from and need the inspiration, creativity, learning, connection, and freedom fostered by play.

Cayton Values: Kids come first

We are a kid-centered organization. We trust, listen to, and learn from children, and we put their needs first in all our decision-making.

Cayton Values: Diversity is powerful

We provide a safe space where all kids and families belong. Our institution is inclusive and embraces the rich diversity of cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, identities, family structures, and abilities of our community.

Cayton Values: Collabration is vital

We know that big ideas emerge from collaboration, cooperation, and shared learning. This is also how kids (and adults) come to see the world through each other’s eyes and cultivate empathy, compassion, and kindness. Together we can accomplish great things.

Cayton Values: Perfection is not our goal

Trying new things can be frightening for kids and grownups alike. But we believe that the surest way to achieve meaningful learning and growth is by taking risks. Stumbles and mistakes can be fertile ground for creativity.

Cayton Values: Hard converstatins ae necessary

We believe we owe it to our community to courageously and sensitively address issues that affect the lives of children—and us all. This includes honest conversations about social justice, race, and equity.

Our History

Cayton History

Why Play?

Albert Einstein. Plato. Mr. Rogers. What do all three have in common? They all believed in the power of play to improve lives, strengthen communities and shape a better world. Here are just some of the benefits of play:

Play improves academic performance

Play optimizes cognitive development, including critical thinking, problem solving and comprehension, to support learning and improve academic performance. Additionally, play-based learning is shown to enhance “whole child readiness” by helping develop language and early math skills. In fact, as public schools increasingly see cuts to arts education funding, educators are also looking to play to fill gaps where our educational system is lacking.

Play makes our world bigger

Children acquire cultural values, skills, and abilities through play that influence their everyday experiences and interactions with other children and caregivers. Play can also expose us to people that are different from us to promote empathy and create shared understanding. In recognizing, respecting and representing a range of different cultures and perspectives, children develop a sense of identity and belonging.

Play helps children thrive in an ever-changing world

Play is often called “the work of children” because it is through play that children learn how to interact in their environment, discover their interests, and process their surroundings. As our world continues to evolve, play also helps to mitigate a child’s toxic stress and enhance their resiliency so they can more easily adapt to change.

Play builds life skills

Through play, we learn how to communicate with others and self-regulate our emotions to improve our lifelong success. Play also gives us an outlet to explore curiosities in a low-risk environment, building courage and confidence.

Play benefits the economy

Nationally, children’s museums contribute $5.5 billion to the economy each year and are a vital element of the tourism and cultural sector. They also help to improve educational outcomes, attract diverse audiences and transform neighborhoods through community building and local partnerships.


Meet Our Team

Cayton Staff

Esther Netter


Jessica Aronoff

Chief Executive Officer

Carly Harrill

Chief Advancement Officer

Chris Jackson

Chief Operating Officer

Lisa Sherman-Colt

Chief Program Officer

Kristen Abraham

Development Director

Khadija Ahmaddiya

Guest Services Manager

Elizabeth Apolinar

Play Guide

Alena Cohen

Development Manager

Paige Colvin

Play Guide

Navikka Dasz

Program Director

Ebony Durham

Community Programs Manager

Jasmine Fricke

Play Guide

Teonna Garcia

Program Manager

Trina Garcia

Events Coordinator

Ember Ho

Guest Services Associate

Dakota Judge

Play Guide

Elizabeth Ko

Play Guide

Janette Madrigal-Garcia

Program Coordinator

Sean Morris

Creative Lead

Nathaly Orozco

Guest Services Coordinator

Bianca Peoples

Guest Services Associate

Karl Perry

Guest Services Coordinator

Valerie Ramirez

Play Guide

Ian Riley

Play Guide

Jillian Riley

Guest Services Associate

Alexandra Rodriguez

Play Guide

Janine Rubin

Program Manager


Eva Scheck

Play Guide

Donna Sintic

Retail Manager

Annie Sinzinger

Senior Marketing Director

Katarina Stojakovic

Information & Data Manager

Samantha Tagoe

Senior Events Manager

Javan Taherkani

Senior Operations Manager

Kali Tilton

Play Guide

Hayden Troy

Grants Manager

Darius Tyler

Facilities Assistant

Meleny Vasquez

Play Guide


Board Of Directors

Carl Freed


Susan Goldsmith

Vice Chair

Heather Lindsey


Hillary Mow Cervieri

Board Secretary

Susan Amster

Nathaniel Bach

Kevin Beggs

Heather Braun

Karey Burke

Barry Cayton

Hillary Mow Cervieri

Jennifer E. Cohen

Craig Erwich

Aryeh Goldberg

Sydney Holland

Andy Kleinman

Pauline Malcolm-Thornton

Andy Meyers

Courtney Mizel

Dana Pachulski

Aashika Patel

Rayni Williams

Sheryl Wachtel

Adam Waltuch

Kevin Washington

Grant Withers

Women’s Philanthropy Circle

Alexa Dell


Jen Garcia Allen


Katie Durko


Alexandra Nechita 

Andrea Cayton 

Catherine Powers  

Charlotte Gilbert  

Chelsea Washington 

Christine Lim 

Denise Perlstein 

Gina Wade 

Haeran Zedeck 

Halle Hammond  

Heidi Monkarsh 

Isabella Tang 

Jacqueline Nelson 

Jaymie Beckett 

Jennifer Wexler 

Jessica Fogel Scott 

Katie Grosvenor 

Laura Katzenberg 

Lauren Kleinman 

Lisa Ling 

Mary Kitchen 

Mia Schaikewitz 

Navi Rawat 

Pauline Malcolm-Thornton 

Rayni Williams 

Romy Leroy  

Sarah Dickerson 

Stephanie Eglin 

Stephanie Schaffer 

Sydney Holland 

Tracy Robbins 

Victoria Danhakl 


Our Annual Supporters

The Cayton is the product of so much love and support. We are grateful to our many donors whose critical support has made the Cayton the special place it is today.


Financials & Reports

Annual Report

Read our annual report to follow our journey from the grand debut of the all-new Cayton Children’s Museum through the momentous year that was 2020.

Progress Reports

Click below to view our quarterly progress reports and see how the work we’re doing each day is helping us fulfill our mission.

If you would like to review earlier financials, please email

Financial Statements

As a non-profit organization, the Cayton Children’s Museum depends on the generosity of donors and foundations to make our work happen. In an effort to ensure fiscal transparency and accountability with those who generously support our efforts, please find our most recent audited financials and Form 990s below.

Audited Statements




Become a Member

Development Department

Book an Event

Events & Guest Services

Make a Donation

Development Department

Community Programs 
& Partnerships

Ebony Durham, Community Programs Manager


Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the FAQ page HERE