Extreme Sports and Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: Go-Karts, Axe Throwing, and More

Test your agility skills through endless obstacles. Photo courtesy of American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park
Test your agility skills through endless obstacles. Photo courtesy of American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park
8/12/23 - By Matt Matasci

Extreme sports in Los Angeles might be the thrilling solution for kids that are getting older and aren't necessarily as entertained by the prospect of an afternoon at the playground or a Chuck E. Cheese birthday. 

It might be time to graduate to more action-packed activities that are a little more grown up! There are plenty of activities in Southern California that fall under the umbrella of extreme sports but are still kid-friendly. From go-karting to axe throwing, read below for the best extreme sports for kids in SoCal.

Thrill-seeking kids can jump into these trampoline parks in Los Angeles or soar to new heights at Los Angeles's best skateparks. Discover more electrifying activities in our Sports Centers, Gyms, and Fun Zones for LA and OC Kids Guide


Extreme Sports: Axe Throwing

Axe Throwing in Los Angeles

1. Mo's House of Axe — Koreatown

One of LA's original axe throwing spots, you can eat, drink and throw at Mo's House of Axe. Of course, your children will only be eating and throwing, and Mo's allows kids eight and older to chuck a hatchet at wood targets.

They do have a rule that there needs to be one adult for every three children that throw, so be sure to have enough chaperones.

Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: Lumber Jack's 
Kids can try chucking a hatchet—safely. Photo courtesy of Lumber Jack's Axe Throwing

2. Lumber Jack's Axe Throwing — Northridge

Lumber Jack's Axe Throwing is a little more strict about the youths they allow to throw axes; only 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed. This location is all about axe throwing as there's not any food sold at the venue, but you're able to bring in your own food. 

3. Golden Axe — Tarzana

Golden Axe in Tarzana is a colorful, artfully-decorated axe throwing venue. They allow minors that are 15 and over to throw axes as long as they're accompanied by an adult. 

Axe Throwing in the Inland Empire

4. Axe Lair — Upland

Located in downtown Upland, Axe Lair claims to be the first axe throwing location in Southern California. Unlike most other axe throwing venues, Axe Lair allows kids ten and over to participate. Those younger than ten can enter the lair but cannot throw and must be watched closely by an adult. 

There's also a lounge at Axe Lair, which serves drinks and snacks. Plus, you can bring in your own food, which is always a bonus.

Axe Throwing in Orange County

5. Kings Eye — Westminster

Kings Eye isn't just an axe throwing location; it's also home to two different escape room adventures. They allow kids aged eight and over to throw axes in their "dungeon." You'll get training from the dungeon master before getting started.

Extreme Sports: Go-Karts

Go-Kart Racing in Los Angeles

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Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: Go-Kart Racing at K1 Speed 
Kiddos can have fun at a rapid pace. Photo courtesy of K1 Speed

6. K1 Speed — Multiple Locations

K1 Speed has locations all over Southern California, with three in the Los Angeles area, two in the Inland Empire, and two in Orange County. The junior karts have a height requirement of 48" to ride, while the adult karts have a height requirement of 58" — so older kids and teens may be able to use the larger vehicles.

Junior karts are always on a separate track from adult karts, so you can feel comfortable with your younger children racing alone. K1 Speed is a great location for birthday parties — they offer both Junior Birthdays and Adult/Teen Parties, so there's a package for every occasion!

7. MB2 Raceway — Sylmar

MB2 Raceway is an indoor go-kart racing experience in the northern San Fernando Valley. There's more than just go-karts at MB—the venue also has laser tag, virtual reality games, and an arcade. 

8. Boomers — City of Industry & Irvine

Like MB2, the go-karts are just one part of the experience at Boomers. With two locations in Southern California, you won't have to drive far to get to Boomers. Boomers are more little-kid-friendly than the previous entries on our list. 

They offer rookie go-karts that allow kids between 42" and 58" to drive by themselves, while turbo karts have two-seaters (passengers must be 40" and drivers must be 60"). Another attraction at Boomers is the slick track, which makes it possible to drift the karts — kids must be 58" to drive on the slick track.

9. Go Kart World — Carson

Go Kart World is essentially a go-karting supercenter with a variety of vehicles that visitors can choose from, including turbo karts, slick karts, Euro karts, champ karts, Nas karts, bumper karts, kid karts, and mini Indy karts. Go Kart World is a great place to have a party for kids or teens too!

Go Kart Racing in the Inland Empire

10. Golf N' Stuff — Norwalk & Ventura

Similar to Boomers, Golf N' Stuff is a great place to introduce a kid to extreme sports like go-karting because there are so many other activities too. Of course, there's mini-golf, but there's also a large arcade, bumper boats, and a mini-train for the littlest kids. If you're on the northern end of Los Angeles County, there's also a Golf N' Stuff in Ventura.

Extreme Sports: Rock Climbing

11. Sender One — Playa Vista, LAX & Santa Ana

Sender One is a popular rock climbing chain with locations throughout Southern California. These studios are enormous and don't just offer rock climbing—you can also find yoga classes and fitness studios at each outpost. 

RELATED: Rock Climbing Gyms Where LA Kids Can Climb the Walls (Safely!)

Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: rock climbing at Balderdash 
Scale the walls. Photo courtesy of Boulderdash

12. Boulderdash — Chatsworth, Thousand Oaks & Ventura

There are three Boulderdash locations, mostly located around the San Fernando Valley and points north. Parties and junior programs are available at each location.

The Thousand Oaks location has over 10,000 square feet of top-rope, bouldering, and lead climbing; Chatsworth has 13,000 square feet of top-rope, bouldering, and lead climbing; Ventura has 10,000 square feet of climbing walls. 

13. Rockreation — West Los Angeles & Costa Mesa

Rockreation is great for experienced climbers and newcomers alike! This rock climbing studio has two locations, one on the Westside and another in coastal Orange County. They've been operating for over 20 years, making it a great place to learn to climb or advance your skills. They have kids' programs throughout the week, kid camps, and kids/parents programs. 

14. The Stronghold Climbing Gym — Lincoln Heights

Kids can participate in The Stronghold Climbing Gym's after-school program, which is team-oriented rock climbing. The program doesn't require any previous rock-climbing experience and is ideal for kids trying to break into this extreme sport. 

Stronghold also offers summer camp sessions from mid-June to mid-August, where kids will learn to climb and participate in team-building exercises. Of course, your kids can also sign up for a single class—the gym recommends kids be 14 or older for advanced climbing but just age six for basic wall climbing.

15. Hangar 18 — Multiple Locations

Hangar 18 is easily the largest climbing gym chain in Southern California, with locations in LA County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.

The square footage and activities available at each gym vary. For instance, the Arcadia location has 7,000 square feet of climbing space and three massive bouldering areas, while Orange County has over 9,000 square feet of terrain and 150+ bouldering problems to solve. 

Mission Viejo boasts 30+ youth-friendly climbs, and Riverside is massive at 13,000 square feet of terrain. Some locations, like Riverside, have a party room, but be sure to check the individual gym website to confirm.

16. Touchstone Climbing Gyms — Hollywood, DTLA, Burbank & Culver City

Touchstone operates four gyms in LA County: Hollywood Boulders, LA Boulders, Verdigo Boulders, and Cliffs of Id. In addition to its SoCal locations, the company also operates several gyms in the Bay Area. Each of the LA-area locations offers youth programs.

17. Long Beach Rising — Long Beach

Long Beach Rising offers youth programs in three formats: pre-training team, training team, and recreation team. Which format is best for your child is up to you! Keep in mind the training team requires a try-out, so not everyone will be ready to join that program. LBR also hosts birthday parties. 

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Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: AdventurePlex in Manhattan Beach 
Conquer the ropes course. Photo courtesy of AdventurePlex

18. AdventurePlex — Manhattan Beach

Unlike the other entries on this list, AdventurePlex isn't dedicated solely to rock climbing. It has a rock climbing wall, but it's much more limited in scale compared to other dedicated gyms. However, there are other exciting activities like a ropes course, a five-level play structure, and more.

One thing to remember before planning a visit is that the climbing wall, ropes course, and other select activities are put on hold while AdventurePlex hosts summer camps—check the website before planning your visit.

Rock Climbing in the Inland Empire

19. Flowstone Climbing — Redlands

Flowstone Climbing has 4500 square feet of bouldering plus 3000 additional square feet of climbing walls. Other amenities include training with an adjustable moon board and kilter board, plus a training facility and yoga studio. Flowstone recommends that if children climb alone, they be over 13 years old, while those accompanied by an adult can be as young as five! 

There are youth programs available for kids: the competitive team for ages 10 to 18 and a recreational team for ages six to 18.

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Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park 
Little Ninja Warriors can start as early as age one! Photo courtesy of American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park 

20. America Ninja Warrior Adventure Park — Santa Ana

This is something completely different from rock climbing—but takes extreme sports to the next level! The American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park is where your kids can experience a variety of crazy obstacles inspired by the hit TV show. The park includes training programs, drop-in sessions, group packages, membership options, and party packages.

Kids can start their American Ninja Warrior training early because the minimum age to participate is just one year old. Children five years old and under must be accompanied by an adult. Kids eight and older must have an adult present, though they don't have to join them on the obstacles. 

Extreme Sports: Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting on the Kern River

21. Sierra South — Kernville

The Kern River is just outside Bakersfield, winding its way down the Sierras to the valley flood below. Sierra South offers a variety of rafting options, from half-day excursions to full-day adventures. Classes include Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert levels. 

The three-to-four-hour long Lower Kern Half Day trip is perfect for beginners, requiring no experience as it traverses the calmest Class II and III rapids. Beginner and Intermediate trips have a minimum age of 12, while Expert trips have a minimum age of 16 (if there's a high water protocol in place, the minimum age is 18). 

22. Kern River Outfitters — Wofford Heights

Kern River Outfitters is similar to Sierra South, offering various river rafting options. Another bonus: they have a youth rate—so you can save money. There are trips on the Upper Kern, Lower Kern, and Forks of the Kern, all with unique characteristics.  

23. River's End — Bakersfield

River's End is best known for "The Blaster," their two-hour excursion along the Lower Kern River. This trip only traverses Class II-III rapids, making it ideal for families with children. The minimum age is usually six years old, but when rainfall and snow have been abundant, it may get adjusted to up to 12 years old.

Whitewater Rafting on the Kaweah River

24. Mountain Descents — Three Rivers

If you're willing to drive a little further, the Kaweah River flows near the city of Visalia. Mountain Descents offers river rafting trips, with the Family Fun Run being a particularly great choice for those with younger kids. The minimum age for the Family Run Run is seven years old. In times of high water flow, it can get raised to ten years old. 

Whitewater Rafting on the Merced River 

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Extreme Sports and More Thrilling Activities for Kids in Los Angeles: white water rafting with OARS in Mariposa 
Whitewater rafting photo courtesy of the OARS website

25. OARS — Mariposa

If your family is going on an extended Yosemite trip (it's about six hours from LA), consider a whitewater rafting trip along the Merced River. OARS operates on the Merced River with a minimum age of nine. It then bumps up to 14 when there are higher flows. 

These trips traverse Class III and Class IV rapids, so it's a little more difficult than the previous ones mentioned. OAR excursions come with lunch, a "build-your-own-masterpiece" deli-style lunch.

26. Whitewater Excitement — Lotus

Whitewater Excitement offers rafting trips on several rivers in California, including the Merced River. The minimum age to raft on the Merced River is 14, and the trip lasts five hours. The Merced River is much more tumultuous than the Kern or Kaweah, with plenty of big dips and drops throughout the trip, and Whitewater Excitement is your guide!

27. Sierra Mac — Groveland

Sierra Mac is another Merced River whitewater rafting company offering trips with a minimum age of seven to ten years old. Book a full or half-day trip, but be warned: like Whitewater Excitement, Sierra Mac excursions go through Class IV rapids, so only extreme sports adrenaline junkies should apply! 

Places featured in this article:

American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park Santa Ana