Los Angeles

8 Free Cinco de Mayo Celebrations that Are Great for Families

First let's set the record straight: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and—while the festivals might look similar—confusing the two holidays is as gringo as, say, putting pastrami in a taco. (Actually, scratch that—LA is pretty darned proud of its pastrami tacos.) Let's simply agree that just because the US named its independence holiday 4th of July doesn't mean that Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is Mexico's independence day. What the day actually celebrates is an underdog Mexican victory over a French military attack on Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday is mostly observed in Puebla and in Southern California, where there's little mention of the French, but much swinging at piñatas and dancing to mariachis. After all, by the first weekend of May, who needs more excuse than that to revel in the sunshine?

A Mother's Day Gift for You: Free Play at Giggles 'n' Hugs!

Mommy Poppins and Giggles 'n' Hugs are teaming up to offer a little gift for you in honor of Mother’s Day. On Monday, May 7th, it’s Mommy Poppins Day at Giggles 'n' Hugs. We invite you to enjoy free admission at either Giggles 'n' Hugs location (Topanga Canyon or Glendale), plus a special Mother’s Day treat for you: choose a cupcake, cookie, coffee or, go on, a mimosa. You deserve it!

Water Feature: 15 Water Playgrounds and Parks with Splash Pads in LA

Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but in parched SoCal we really can't be turning on the hose to while away a lazy afternoon. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through the heat at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad!

Target's Car Seat Trade-in Returns: Get the Details

Is it time to toss or upgrade your child's car seat? Beginning on April 22, Target will recycle your goldfish-crusted and stained old one and help you to save on a new model through its popular car seat trade-in event. As if we needed another excuse to go to Target, right? 

Whether you're expecting a new baby, or simply sizing up, read on for all the details on this year's trade-in program.

30 Things To Do in Austin, TX with Kids

As a native Texan, I can quickly rattle off about 100 obscure things that make Austin an amazing place for a family getaway. But on a larger scale, Austin, Texas, is widely known for several major reasons. Hailed as the live music capital of the world, Austin is home to one of the nation's most notorious music festivals, SXSW (South by Southwest), as well as the Austin City Limits Festival, and many smaller permanent live music venues throughout the city. Austin is a college town, home to The University of Texas campus, the second largest university in the second largest state in the country. It's also the state's capital, which means it is rich with historical sites, museums, and iconic landmarks. 

The city's popularity is booming thanks in part to the wide variety of culturally enriching activities available, especially for families. "Keep Austin Weird" is the city's unofficial mantra, and boy do they ever keep it weird...in the best way. This list of must-do family activities in the capital of the Lone Star State includes quirky toy shops, breathtaking outdoor sites, unique museums, and even a collection of old "junk" in one man's backyard. And don't forget, we also have awesome ideas for the best things to do with kids in other parts of Texas, including San Antonio and Houston.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Festival of Books, Earth Day, CicLAvia, and Poppies

Extra, extra, read all about it! This weekend's hot pick is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. It's a true crowd pleaser. Going makes you happy, makes your kids happy, and you know who else it makes happy? Yo momma.

Yo Momma Earth that is. This is the weekend we celebrate having a planet with breathable air and potable water. And plants and animals and sand and trash trucks and maybe chalk. We live in a city where you can go outside year round, and maybe even get by without a car. (Just for a few hours, don't panic.)

So buckle up, cowboy, and get ready for a wild and wonderful, swashbucklingpop pop poppin blow-up weekend ahead!

Read all about the earth-shattering choices for this weekend....

Trash & Recycling Events: Sanitation Yard Open Houses for Kids Who Love Garbage Trucks

Vroom Vroom! Does the sound of the garbage truck coming down the street send your kids running to watch? Do they dream of grabbing a ride? Earth Day kicks off city yard open houses and recycling fair season, and these events are hugely popular with kids of a certain age. More than 6,000 residents attend an open house in an average year. If your kiddos have any curiosity about what goes on in a garbage truck, this is their chance to satisfy it.

Ten Things My Preschooler Loves at the California Science Center

We've talked before about our teen and tween favorite features at the California Science Center, but there are at least as many things to fascinate preschoolers and toddlers at LA's oldest, freest science museum. Never underestimate the appeal of science to the preschool set, and amazingly, with the exception of IMAX films and special exhibits, the California Science Center is free and open to the public 7 days a week, 362 days a year. 

Grunion Runs: That SoCal Thing When Thousands of Fish Crawl up the Beach at Midnight

Every once in a while we parents get an opportunity to re-experience a treasured childhood memory with our own kids. If you grew up here in Southern California, odds are that you made it to a grunion run at least once when you were a child. If you're from elsewhere, chances are that you thought this was total urban folklore. Well, it's no myth; there really are SoCal fish that jump out of the ocean at midnight and slither up the beach when the moon is full. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro has been hosting grunion runs with a front row seat for this peculiar phenomenon since 1964. I remember cooking out on the beach with friends and family, bundled up and waiting for those squirmy silver fish to appear. The hot dogs were usually a bit burnt, and the sand was wet and cold, but it was a night of adventure and marine biology that I never forgot.

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