Maybe your younger kids are fans of Brave, or your older kids saw The Hunger Games. Maybe the whole family watched the Olympics together. Whatever the inspiration, lots of families are curious about archery lately, leading to lots of parents scratching their heads, saying, "Where do we do that??" Gymnastics, yoga - that's easy. But where to bring a would-be archer to string a bow and shoot some arrows? Less obvious, perhaps, but not as hard as you might think. And the even better news? It's usually free!
One of the great things about archery is that anyone can do it, at almost any age and any size, making it a great sport for parents and kids to learn together. Film star Geena Davis took up the sport in her 40s and found herself at the Olympic trials two years later - so no excuses, Mom! And if you have one of those kids who'd rather sit inside with Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft, this is a great way to lure the warrior outdoors. Also, no need to take the plunge with equipment before there's a committed archer in the family; the clubs below are happy to share their bows and arrows while you're testing the waters.
Los Angeles Archery
Cheviot Hills Recreation Center
2459 Motor Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Every Saturday and one Sunday each month
The Los Angeles Archery Club has been meeting every weekend at this park in Rancho Park for years, putting bows in hands of would-be archers ages 8 and up. The free class is offered each Saturday at 11am as well as the second Sunday of each month at 1:30pm. Only the first 24 students to arrive are taken, and many people arrive early; to avoid disappointment, we recommend arriving at Cheviot Hills Park three hours early. Once you've taken a class, you can participate in open practice time from 9:30am-12pm on Saturdays and 12pm-3:30pm on second Sundays - so you won't be just waiting around for three hours. All equipment is available for use free of charge.
Woodley Park Archers
6350 Woodley Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91436
Saturdays and Wednesdays
Woodley Park Archers also share what they know for free, in beginners' classes Saturdays 9am-11am and Wednesdays 6pm-8pm (except during rain). Equipment use is free during class time. Students must be at least 9 years old. A registration form is available online, and having this prepared in advance makes the first visit go more smoothly. These classes are popular; the club recommends arriving at least an hour early.
Pasadena Roving Archers
Lower Arroyo Seco Park
415 South Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
First class free
Pasadena Roving Archers have been firing arrows into hay bales in Pasadena's Lower Arroyo Seco Park since 1935. Beginners are invited to try their hand at the bow in beginners' classes offered Saturdays from 8:30am-12pm; arriving at 7:30am is advised. The first class, and use of the equipment, is free; for subsequent classes a $5 donation is requested. Children under the age of 10 are offered an evaluation and introductory archery session at 9am at Target 1 on the range. Speaking of the range, it can be hard to find without checking the map and directions.
El Dorado Archers
El Dorado Park
7550 E. Spring St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
Free; donations accepted
Long Beach has its share of armed warriors as well, and they sling their arrows at El Dorado Park, 1984 Olympic archery competition, on Saturday mornings. Beginners' class is at 11am, but the more advanced folks start firing their bows at 9am. The first session is a mandatory safety class held at 11:45am, and since this class size is limited to 15 participants early arrival is recommended. Children are welcome starting at age 8 - as are boy scouts seeking the archery merit badge.
Find more great ideas for enrichment classes in our Los Angeles Classes Guide.
Top photo via Bigstock