Orange County provides a remarkable set of museum gift shops. The best gift shops tend to perfect the art of placing an exclamation mark on the already joyful museum experience. Orange County contains multitudes of magnificent museum gift shops, selling astounding art-related materials, excellent educational and historical tools, and spectacular science resources for both kids and adults. These are the five best local museum gift shops in Orange County.
Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 759-1122 ext. 242
The Orange County Museum of Art gift shop provides customers opportunities that are both locally relevant and internationally important. With more than 40,000 annual visitors and award-winning educational endeavors involving roughly 15,000 children and adults annually, the museum itself carries up to 2,500 objects, so the shop itself connects with thousands of people every month. Limited editions, catalogs of exhibitions, beautiful vases, stationary and cards, jewelry, art made as playful toys (“playable art ball”), cool cameras, art books and opportunities to join the museum are all available at the gift store. The shop offers gift items created by local craftspeople and international artists. Preview the offerings at its online shop.
City of Fullerton Museum
301 N. Pomona Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
Offering books such as “Images of America – Fullerton,” the museum gift shop promises an immediate local connection in providing its distinct description of the city history. With historical black and white prints including the work of local artist Peg Carey, the gift shop establishes support of local artists, and these artists capture the area with an inside view. Don’t miss out on color books including “Fender: Sound Heard Round the World,” the Fullerton museum shop also knows how to rock. With kids Fender shirts and Moroccan imported agate bookends selling as well, the store offers something for every eclectic taste.
International Surfing Museum
411 Olive Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
This iconic historical museum provides friendly service and sensational gift shop surf items. Included in this is its best-selling surf culture items, the Christopher Medals bring nostalgia to surfers but are a cool new find for people too. (Saint Christopher is considered patron saint of travelers). Memberships provide extra discounts on gift shop merchandise. The museum truly is a gift itself to the community. It even includes the camera used in filming the classic “Endless Summer” surf film. The museum has received official government recognition, and 25 years into its history, it still draws in surf-loving locals and people traveling across the world for gifts that preserve the lifelong memories of surf culture and history (the museum is dedicated to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku).
The Children’s Museum at La Habra
301 S. Euclid St.
La Habra, CA 90631
Young shoppers can choose from an energizing array of games, toys and educational materials at the Children’s Museum at La Habra. Fun items range from just a dime to $20. Of course, enthusiasm about education can become contagious and, with 95,000 kids visiting the museum each year, learning becomes rapid as worlds of art, culture and science reach growing minds through this surprisingly fun area gift shop.
Pretend City Cake and Gift Shop Children’s Museum
Irvine, CA 92618
You can have your cake and a gift too because, ironically, the imaginative Pretend City has a real cafe. Lulu’s Creperie Cafe provides healthy food and snacks 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The concept is aimed at kids from preschool through third grade, focusing also on their families. The emphasis is on the “Four R’s” of recycling, reducing, reusing and rebuilding. There is also a Mini Mall so adults and kids can extend the fun as they bring what they learned home. No greater gift can a gift shop give than that of enjoyable learning for everyone, and this shop does just that.
Will Engel is a musician and music journalist with eight years of experience. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Will is a singer, keyboardist/pianist, and songwriter who released a well-received album and frequently performs around Southern California. He lives in the Los Angeles area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.