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There are so many kid-friendly places to see in Los Angeles, where do you begin? As the second-largest urban region in the United States, LA offers families more activities and adventures than many small countries, but that doesn’t mean they are all worth the time.
Sure, you could spend a week at Disneyland, but that’s not really what the city is all about. Here are a few suggestions on what to do with the kiddos when they are driving you up the wall in the house. LA is full of vibrant cultural opportunities, art, amazing outdoor spaces, and public transportation.
The weather in LA also means that a family vacation is worth the trek at any time of year. With moderate temperatures year-round, the city is a dream for kiddos who love to run and play outside in the sunshine. And even in places that are designed for kids—like the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre or the children’s garden at the Huntington—adults will find plenty to pique their interest.
Whether you’re age two or 62, behold, here are some really cool destinations in Los Angeles for families and kids.
1. Descanso Gardens
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
If you’re looking to beat the heat, this bucolic retreat is just the place. Full of lily ponds, roses, and leafy trees, Descanso Gardens lets kids roam free and explore the natural world.
Don’t miss the Enchanted Railroad, daily story times, and the family-friendly concerts in the summer.
2. Kidspace Children’s Museum
With 3.5 acres of interactive exhibits including an indoor imagination workshop, an ant colony climbing structure, and an interactive greenhouse, the Kidspace Children’s Museum is one of the top destinations for LA kiddos.
Don’t miss the outdoor Arroyo Adventure area, where children can learn about ecosystems by climbing a giant hawk’s nest, building dams, and exploring a mud kitchen.
Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes, towel, and water shoes; things can get messy.
3. Griffith Park
photo courtesy of Luc-Richard Photography
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Griffith Park has something for everyone, whether it’s hiking to the Hollywood Sign, exploring the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, searching the sky at the Griffith Observatory, or taking a ride on the historic merry-go-round.
But one of our favorite things to do is to take the kids to the Griffith Park Pony Rides, where for $3 a ride, children can choose from slow, medium, or fast ponies. Griffith Park also boasts three different train rides: a larger locomotive operated at the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, a smaller train rolling out of the Travel Town railroad, and the L.A. Zoo Choo Choo train.
Pro tip: Local parents flock to The Trails Cafe for picnic-style seating and plenty of pastries and sandwiches.
4. El Capitan Theatre
Photo from El Capitan Theater
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Families love the old El Capitan Theatre, a glittering example of cinema that opened in 1926 on Hollywood Boulevard.
Beyond hosting “Tiny Tot Tuesdays” for parents with toddlers, the theater also adds something extra to any film experience. Expect to see Disney cast members, live singing, and the delighted faces of children as streamers and confetti fall from the ceiling.
5. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of hospitality online
Los Angeles, CA 90036
As the best art museum for kids in the Los Angeles area, LACMA delivers on top-notch art in a family-friendly environment.
Start in the spacious Modern Art galleries on the second floor of the Ahmanson building, burn off energy in the LACMA sculpture garden, see the illuminating Urban Light sculpture, and don’t miss the Boone Children’s Gallery for painting and story time.
6. Annenberg Community Beach House
Photo By California Beaches
Santa Monica, CA 90402
For any parent who wants to take the hassle out of a beach day, grab a few beach chairs at the Annenberg Beach House.
Located at Santa Monica State Beach on 5 acres of oceanfront property, the beach house was originally a private mansion with 100-plus rooms and a marble swimming pool.
Today, no membership is required to enjoy a splash pad, children’s play area, gallery, historic pool, and guest house. Older kids will also love the beach volleyball courts and soccer fields.
While the pool is only open from May to October, the beach house runs Pop Up Pool Days throughout the year and offers beach amenities year round.
7. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Photo courtesy of http://www.visitvenicecca.com
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay, this under-the-radar aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier is home to 100 species of marine animals and plants.
Kids rave about the interactive exhibits, the mesmerizing “moon jellies,” and watching aquarium staff feed the horn and swell sharks.
8. Aquarium of the Pacific
Photo by visitcalifornia.com
Long Beach, CA 90802
With more than 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers way more than a few fish in a tank. Kids can get up close with a penguin, touch over 150 sharks in Shark Lagoon, and feed colorful birds in the Lorikeet forest.
Pro tip: Consider reserving a spot in the Animal Encounters to feed a sea lion or other creatures.
9. Oak Park Splash Pad
Photo courtesy of www.conejovalleyguy.com
Oak Park, CA 91377
The splash pad water play area is open from the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend until the end of September 9.30 from 10:00am to 7:00pm
Pro Tip: The water is on a timer that needs to be activated by the user in order for water to come out. Once activated the water will cycle through each play feature and then automatically shut off. The button that activated the water is on top of a pedestal near the edge of the water play area.
Note For Large Groups: Groups using the splash pad must obtain a permit in advance. Please click here for more information on how to get one.
10. Westfield Topanga & The Village
Photo from Westfield Mall
Canoga Park, CA 91303
Open 10:00am-9:00pm Monday – Saturday, and Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm.
Pricing: 1 Token per ride. 1 Token – $4.00. 2 Tokens – $7.00. 5 Tokens – $15.00
Located on Level 1 of Topanga by Target.
Red Caboose Railroad
Open 10:00pm-9:00pm Monday – Saturday, and Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm.
Pricing: One ticket it is $4. 4 tickets for $10.
Located on Level 1 at Topanga near Islands Restaurant.
Introduce your kids to kitchen essentials and the fundamentals of baking with Panera Bread’s Baker-in-Training program.
Ages: 6-12 Cost: $20 per child
Enjoy summer specials at The COOP. Summer Monthly Unlimited Pass: $85
Summer Day Play Sibling Discount $10 ($2 off normal price)
GIGGLES N’ HUGS
Fitness Fridays at Giggles N Hugs with Coach Kody is a great experience for kids and parents too! Get your children active and playing without them even knowing they’re exercising. Coach Kody is great at getting the kids jumping around and sweating!
Every Friday Class Times: 6:00pm-8:30pm Ages: 1-10
Cost: $13 per Child, $10 per Sibling, $7 per Crawler
Learn how to make pizza with one of our chefs!
Sessions: Second Saturday of every month Class Times: 11:30am – 1:30pm Ages: 4-12 years old and must be accompanied by an adult
Cost: $15 per child (includes lunch & beverage)
Join YogaWorks for a unique family yoga class designed for the whole family! Family yoga promotes togetherness and gives parents a playful way to practice and connect with their children. Enjoy healthy family fun with a partner and individual yoga poses, breathing exercises, creative movement, and relaxation.
Sessions: Sunday, June 17, July 1, July 15, August 19 Class Times: 1:30pm-2:25pm
Cost: $15 for non-members, $5 for kids
SUR LA TABLE
Young chefs can cook up some fun (and delicious meals) this summer.
Sessions: June 11 – August 20 Kids Class Times: 9:00 am and 12:00pm* Teen Class Times: 3:00pm Ages: Kids (8-12), Teens: (13-17)
Cost: $300 for the week per child
*Classes run about two hours each and last for five consecutive days.
Ready, set, code! Learn the latest technology and gain new skills at the Microsoft Store. Sessions: June 4 – August 17 Ages: 6+ Cost: Free
To register, please click on the button below. For help registering, call: 818-577-4620. These programs fill up fast and are subject to availability. Make sure to sign up each child you wish to bring. For your child’s safety, a parent or guardian must be present at all times.
YOUNG ART LESSONS
Give your young artist the opportunity to master new techniques and styles—from sketching to still lifes at Young Art Lessons.
Sessions: June 4 – September 4
Class Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm, 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Cost: $375 for the week per child
Kids Summer Dining Specials
Enjoy sweet deals for kids all summer long at Westfield Topanga & The Village!
Let your kids take the (pottery) wheel and have a blast playing with clay at Bitter Root Pottery.
Sessions: June 11 – August 17 Class Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm Ages: 6-12
Cost: $300 for the full week/$60 per day
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If you have some amazing things to do with your little ones please leave it in the comments below. This community would love to hear from you.