Hollywood

Best Pumpkin Patches for LA, Ventura, & Orange County Kids

The time has come to surrender to the Great Pumpkin. Mind you, the big guy is spoiled for choice around the Southland in Halloween season. We won't presume to call one pumpkin patch more sincere than the others, but LA’s pumpkin patches (and pseudo pumpkin patches) run a satisfying gamut from small to large, folksy to commercial. Whether you're hoping for a hit-and-run Halloween photo or a day's outing in autumnal reverie, your destination is below...

Free Admission Days at 23 Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center and The Broad. Also, active-duty military personnel can take advantage of the Blue Star Program at many LA and OC museums in summertime. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list below for easy reference. These times offer a great chance to bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free.

The Griffith Park Ghost Train Is Back for Halloween 2017!

It's ba-ack!

If your family is a die-hard Halloween-loving crew, you probably never miss the fabulous, kitsch-as-a-witch Griffith Park Ghost Train—except last year when you sorely missed it. We certainly pined for it last October, when the all-volunteer crew of train enthusiasts at Los Angeles Live Steamers took a year off from their annual, spooktastic labor of love. But whether you love the ride or had never heard of it, we can all share in the wonderful news that the Ghost Train rides again in 2017!

September GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids This Month

September is bitter-sweet. The relief of having back all those hours in the day is tinged with the loss of long, balmy summer evenings without homework or lunches to prepare. And who among us is ready to hear the word "Halloween"? No, better to look to the September weekends as an opportunity to pretend that summer is still with us. Luckily the weather and the SoCal fun generally cooperate! Read on for the best of September in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, but here's your chance to plan ahead for these September favorites.

Kids Eat Free at Restaurants All Over Los Angeles

Ah, those three little words: kids eat free. Even if we suspect that a box of mac and cheese and a couple of chicken fingers have lured us into buying a $10 margarita, we don't regret the margarita for a moment if the kids ate free.

We’ve put together a list of restaurants throughout the Los Angeles area that offer free kids' meals at least one night a week (and up to four!). The restaurants vary from local joints to national chains, from the Valleys to the beaches, from Italian to Hawaiian, and from seafood to steakhouses—enough to satisfy picky and non-picky eaters.

Also check out our lists of birthday freebies with free meals for kids (and adults!), and, of course, kid-friendly happy hours on the Westside, in Silver Lake and Los Feliz, and in Orange County.

30 Ways To Keep Summer Going after School Begins

Whether you're relieved by the quiet or disturbed by the abrupt ending, most LA families are using those three little words (back to school) a whole lot earlier these days. Of course, dropping our kids off at school doesn't change the weather; there might be no child left behind at the beach, but it's still summer until close to Halloween. So if your family is not yet ready for summer to end, pick a few items off our Endless Summer List and go have some fun while the sun still shines!

School Start & End Dates: 2017-18 Academic Year Calendars for LA County Schools

Summer vacation ain't what it used to be. The majority of SoCal school districts now opt for an August start date, with only a few South Bay stragglers sticking with the old-school, New York style post-Labor Day start. And beware assuming that school starts and finishes roughly when it did last year, because schedules seem to change all the time. This year Alhambra is first out of the gate, leading the back-to-school race with a pool-party-pooper start date of August 10; Torrance kids still get the most out of summer with their September 7th first day.

Wondering where your district fits in, and how much time you have left for these 50 Free Things To Do in Summer? Bookmark our list below with start and finish dates for the 2017-2018 school year all over LA County. And if what you read makes you wonder about what other school options are available to you, maybe our school guide can help.

Public Swimming Pools with Extras Worth the Drive in LA and OC

Sure, there are miles and miles of beaches in SoCal, but sometimes you need a break from the sand and you want water that's a little less, well, wavy. Most of us are willing to go out of our way to find a pool that’s open to the public for recreational swimming and offers something special: Think slides, water play features, extended shallow areas for the little ones to splash in, or a beautiful, peaceful setting. Here’s our list of cool destination pools worth a drive in LA and OC. Most range in price from $1 to $12 per person, and several offer discounted season passes (check websites for details).

15 Great Barbecue Grills and Pits in LA Parks for Cooking Out with Family

Nothing says “summer” like barbecue. Many of our local parks are standing by with grills and pits to satisfy that craving for charred food. And the beauty of life in Southern California is that "summer" can be practically any time of year; the 15 parks below have year-round, mostly free barbecue facilities, ready for birthday parties, holiday celebrations, spontaneous picnics, or family dinners al fresco.

Kids Bowl Free: Truly Free and Cheap Bowling for Kids All Over LA

My son went to a bowling party recently that sparked an obsession with the game. Ever the supportive parent, I soon found myself at bowling outings all around town on behalf of his newfound interest. And I realized something: bowling is a really great sport for kids. The ingrained turn-taking structure, team camaraderie, and relaxed competitiveness offer kiddos a dose of sportsmanship at a fun pace. Accommodations like gutter bumpers and starting ramps guarantee success for even the youngest bowlers. Seriously, bowling is like the unsung hero of children's athletics. And it must have been this idea that fueled the creation of Kids Bowl Free, a fantastic nationwide program designed to give youth a constructive way to beat the heat. Read on to find out how your kids can bowl free every day this summer.

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