letter from Ceo
Dear Cayton Visitors, Members, and Supporters:
What a ride these past few years have been!
When the Cayton reopened in August 2021 after a 17-month COVID closure, we were committed to demonstrating our role in the healing and recovery of kids and families in the Los Angeles area. We knew that safe, purposeful, community-oriented play was needed more than ever.
So, we made the decision to waive admission fees for all LA County residents for at least one year and adopt a pay-as-you-wish model. Despite knowing that this meant giving up much-needed revenue for our nonprofit, we believed this program was worth piloting because of its potential impact on our community. We put the power of play into action!
More than 100,000 visitors have benefitted from our pay-as-you-wish admission since the program’s launch. We are so proud of its success. During these challenging times, it has been a joy to see so many enthusiastic families coming back to play at the Cayton.
Still, as so many other organizations are finding, the recovery from the pandemic has been slow. Our operating costs have increased dramatically, while philanthropic giving has not. In the absence of significant underwriting from a major donor or corporate sponsor, the Cayton’s pay-as-you-wish admission is just not sustainable. Securing the long-term financial health of the museum needs to be a priority.
Therefore, starting November 2, the museum will begin charging admission for all visitors again. Tickets will be $15 per person for children (ages 1+) and adults. Our regular membership pricing is remaining the same, so the value of membership for those who visit the museum more than a few times a year is clearer than ever.
We understand that for some the cost of admission is prohibitive. For families facing financial hardship, the Cayton will be introducing the year-long PLAY4ALL Pass. Households receiving Medi-Cal/Medicaid, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), CalWorks (TANF), or CalFresh (Food Stamps) are eligible. For visitors who qualify, passes can be activated by presenting proof of eligibility at the museum check-in desk upon first visit. We know that these are big changes and that these are tough economic times for many. Rest assured that the Cayton remains committed to bridging the play divide for all families—even those who may not qualify for the PLAY4ALL pass—so we are continuing to pursue other ways to increase accessibility for everyone. Stay tuned.
We are so grateful to you for sharing your family time with us and for believing in the value of the Cayton Children’s Museum now and long into the future. So much creativity, learning, and possibility is on the horizon. Together, we can play our way to a better world!