Omo Aye Children’s Playspace and Cultural Center

Our Mission

Ome Aye Cultural Center is new project from EXIT Santa Cruz with the mission of promoting cultural awareness through interactive play. We will create a playspace that encourages physical activity and exploration of toys, games, and music from cultures around the world."Omo" (oh-moh) means "child" in Yoruba, and "aye" (ah-yay) means world. Part play center, part museum, Omo Aye will be a world for children (and their loved ones) to experience the many cultures of the world.


Omo Aye will feature play structures and bounce houses for toddlers and young children. We'll also have a special infant play area dedicated to the littlest explorers.


Omo Aye will be divided into multiple areas representing different parts of the world, each with exhibits on a specific culture. Virtual displays will demonstrate the music and games of the featured culture, but you're not just expected to look--you'll also be able to play with the toys and musical instruments, as well as touch and feel other exciting artifacts.

Respect for Diversity

Omo Aye will be created with the following principles in mind:

  • Children learn important cognitive and socioemotional skills through play.
  • The world is full of diverse cultures that are fascinating to explore.
  • No culture is more important than another, but some have received more attention and status throughout history.
  • Every person has unique interests, talents, and experiences that are informed by their cultural heritage.
  • Cultures are dynamic. We can only describe cultures as they are at specific place and time.


Support Us

Our goal is to open Omo Aye within two years in Santa Cruz. In the meantime, we are seeking sponsors to help us design and produce exhibits. Dr. Christy Byrd will serve as curator and chief designer. Your financial support will help us identify and support additional experts to bring Omo Aye into fruition. We can also use your help if you have skills in electronics, video production, or construction, if you are willing to share your knowledge of your culture for an exhibit, or if you have artifacts you can donate.

Use the form below to contribute or email us at [email protected] to discuss other ways you can support us. Please note that donations are not tax-deductible.

Sponsorship Level