Saturday, August 21, 2021

A New Art + Play Space for Children in Downtown Del Mar

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt

A giant-size soft-sculpture faucet welcomes children into Wobbleland, the featured installation at Art + Play Space

GOT KIDS?  Or grandkids?  The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego has just opened a newer, much smaller adjunct in downtown Del Mar—a 2,000-square-foot Art + Play Space designed to bring art-related fun to North County kiddies.

Located in the Del Mar Plaza shopping center, Art + Play features a mini-version of Marisol Rendón's soft-sculpture Wobbleland, which offers little ones an opportunity to safely explore whatever they want to in a giant kitchen sink. (The full-size version is in the full-size museum downtown.) Kids can also create their own art in small Makerspaces and soon there will be classes and workshops available for children of all ages.

At the official ribbon-cutting on the morning of August 20th, local VIPs and media assembled, but the first one invited in was 4-year-old Sara Conroy, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, who went straight to the Swiss Cheese, since it offered something interesting to crawl through. My personal favorite Wobbleland piece was the watermelon rowboat, which Sara graciously posed in but didn’t offer much in the way of interactive possibilities.

4-year-old Sara Convoy really got into the Swiss Cheese.

Sara in the Watermelon boat.

About the Wobbleland artist: Marisol Rendón, originally from Colombia, is an artist, designer and educator who lives and works in San Diego and uses sculpture to explore our relationship to the everyday world around us. A member of the Artist Advisory Committee for the New Children’s Museum and the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for the Port of San Diego, she is particularly interested in creating works for very young children that stimulate creative ways for them to observe and define ordinary objects. 

Quick Question: since several of the speakers at the media opening mentioned the increased access this new space offers to North County residents, why does the admission charge--$10 for everyone over two-years-old—make visits pretty much impossible for underprivileged families?

Adults-Only Footnote: For an interesting counterpoint to the toddler-centered Wobbleland, check out the sculpture to the immediate left of the Art+ Play Space 

Art-lovers of all ages: Look for outdoor art-works throughout Del Mar Plaza, and don’t miss the upper-level back patio, a pleasant place to sit, play large-scale chess, and enjoy some quiet time. On the sea-side of the Plaza, there are happy-hour concerts and of course, at all times, the lovely ocean view.

British sculptor Tony Cragg’s bronze Level Head is a standout on the Plaza’s upper-level back patio.

 Art + Play Space
Upper Level, Del Mar Plaza 
1555 Camino Del Mar, Suite 310
Hours: Thurs-Monday 11 am-6 pm  
Admission: $10. Free to toddlers under 2.

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at


1 comment:

  1. The New Children's Museum has asked us to add the following 1. We are charging $1 for an adult with a child ticket ($10). Downtown we charge $10 for all adults.
    2. We are accepting Museums for All, which is $1 for each person, up to four in the party.
    3. We are currently providing free admission for military (through Labor Day)
    4. We are providing access to many more people – based on our zip code analysis, North County families are less likely to drive downtown. We are within a 10 - 15 mile radius of Carlsbad, San Marcos, Oceanside, Vista, Escondido.
    5. With a capacity of 25 people in the space, our admission pricing does not begin to cover much of our daily expenses and materials costs.
    6. We are a nonprofit.