Los Angeles

Memorial Day Weekend for LA Kids: Greeks, Scots, Music, and Fireworks

First and foremost, Memorial Day is about the members of the armed forces who gave their lives in our nation’s service. Their sacrifice is unimaginable, our debt to them beyond measure. To those lost, and to those who serve our nation and all it stands for, we salute you.

The weekend is not all somber reflection: Memorial Day also means a long weekend, and the unofficial start of summer. Festival is the word of the day: throughout the Southland folks gather to enjoy yummies and wild art, and to celebrate different cultures (including Greek, Scottish, and Topangan). Discovery Cube LA opens a new exhibit, and Discovery Cube OC flies in with two of its own.

And, of course, Memorial Day weekend closes with tributes to our fallen heroes. Ceremonies are being held at the Nixon Presidential Library, in Burbank and Canoga Park, and at Woodlawn and Forest Lawn Cemeteries.

Read on for some of our favorite picks for this three-day holiday weekend...

Splash Parks, Sprinklers, and Water Playgrounds in Orange County Parks

A rainy winter has erased many drought restrictions, and families are looking for water, water everywhere in the summer. There's hanging at the beach or playing in a pool, but fun places with splash pads and water features rank pretty high on a summer bucket list. Little kids, bigger kids, and even the occasional parent (yes, you!) can cool off on a hot day without tons of planning or tons of waste. Let's face it: playing in the water is just plain fun—and if you keep an extra towel handy, you're always ready.

Check out some of these free water play parks and sprinklers around Orange County. Most are open Memorial Day to Labor Day, though we recommend calling to confirm before heading out, as water conservation efforts may still be in effect.

Memorial Day Parades Around LA and the OC

One thing about Los Angeles - it's not a one-parade town. If festivals are too stationary for you, if you need a parade to drum up an appetite for that Memorial Day BBQ, then you've got it made in the shade (as long as you've found a shady spot for your  chair) in Los Angeles and Orange County on Monday. The good news for the parade abstainers is that none of the parades on this holiday marches down a major thoroughfare (unless the 405 gets shut down - in which case Topanga is going to hear plenty of honking that isn't for peace). For parade fans, the patriotic fanfare never sounded so good.

Strawberries and Cherries and Stone Fruit, Oh My! Pick Your Own Berries in LA & OC

There is something magical about picking your own food. If you want to "get back to the land" within an hour of Los Angeles, there are myriad opportunities to go live a farmer's life for just a few hours and come home with your basket overflowing with berries. Whether you prefer strawberries, cherries, or stone fruit, picking your own berries is a fun (and tasty!) family activity that keeps on giving. Just three caveats: 1. Be sure to check the farm's hours and availability before heading out, as current conditions dictate the seasons; 2. Farms may charge small admission fees, and 3. Bring cash to pay for your harvest, because many places don't accept checks or credit. Then slather on the sun screen, don a wide-brimmed hat, and don't wear white, and bon appetit!

Weekday Picks: Strawberries, Fiesta Days, & Hello Kitty Meets the Dodgers

There's a whiff of summer in the air. And along with the longer days and warmer weather come annual events like the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival, the second largest city festival in the West, and La Canada's Fiesta Days, celebrating Spanish heritage and the arrival of summer. Speaking of summer, Hello Kitty is teaming up with the original Boys of Summer, the Dodgers, for Hello Kitty Night at Dodger Stadium this week.

To start making your plans for summer, check out our Summer Activities Guide, which includes the lowdown on parks and playgrounds with water features in LA, as well as similar splash parks in OC, and the 10 best beaches for kids and families, and more!

Still want more? There's always more! Check out our Mommy Poppins Event Calendar and picks for May in our GoList

Our picks for this week follow...

8 SoCal Campgrounds with Extra Entertainment To Keep Kids Happy

Camping with kids is a smorgasbord of sights and sounds, loaded with opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Hiking and biking, telling stories fireside, and unplugging from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives is good for the soul; but let’s face it, even with the whole of Mother Nature at their fingertips, kids sometimes get bored.

It’s time to up the ante on family camping, and you don’t have to ditch the tent to inject a bit of pep in your sulking teen’s step or enchant your tantrum-prone three year old. Southern California is home to several awesome family campgrounds that offer kids exciting alternative activities and entertainment when they tire of forest tag. Zip lining, anyone? Fishing? Rock climbing? Movies? Even ghost tours? All these and more are offered at the Southland campgrounds below. Get ready for the best of both worlds, cause we dare your kids to get bored at one of these campgrounds.

Travel Town in Griffith Park: Train Rides for Little Tank Engines

Have a train-obsessed kiddo? If riding back and forth on the Metro line isn't enough for your little engine, it's time to explore the train options in Griffith Park—the crown jewel of which is the park’s train-filled Travel Town Museum. The museum itself is free, and rides on the miniature trains costs less than $3 per person, making it a perfect place to visit with toddlers, or host a birthday party full of tank engine fans.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Bug Fair, JPL, Strawberries, & Roses

Things are looking up, my friends. Like, way up—astronomically, even. Especially if you are among the lucky few who managed to snatch up a golden ticket to this weekend's free open house at JPL. (Either way, we hope our heads-up helped you try!) You'll get to see actual star destroyers satellites and other spacecraft, talk to scientists whose work peers into the far reaches and very beginnings of our universe, and maybe operate a rover. But if this one passed you by, no worries: the weekend is full of tasty thingsFragrant thingsCreepy, crawly, serve 'em on a cracker things! You can relive one of the greatest conflicts in our country's history (but rest easy knowing the outcome). Need a little brushing up on your civics lessons? Learn them the cartoon way! Not into conflict? Well, fiddle-dee-dee, you can strum along with that tomorrow!

Other highlights this week are a city's centennial, a fare thee well to a favored faire, a festive fling, and a bicycle blowout. And next weekend is Memorial Day, so you know what that means: Summer is coming!  Prepare to shine.

Keep reading for our most optimistic events for this weekend...

15 Great LA Parks for Birthday Parties Kids Will Rave About

Lucky for us, hosting mostly free kids’ birthday parties at the many glorious parks around Los Angeles is available year round; and with our famous weather, it’s a pretty safe perk to gamble on. From rustic to scenic to built-in activities, the city’s bounty is near limitless. And the best part: no sticky floor and dirty fingerprints to scour afterward. Be sure to check whether there are additional fees around parking or other rules; LA City parks, for example, require a permit fee for bounce houses (we have an entire post just on parks that allow bounce houses). Read on for some of our favorite party parks, with ideas for themes at each one. And check out these other parks with barbecue grills and parks with gated playgrounds, too.

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