Anaheim

Laser Tag: Must-Try Spots for Family Fun or Epic Birthday Parties

Kids, teens, and adults all love laser tag. A little bit tag, a little bit hide and seek, laser tag is great fun for a mixed-age group. Video games fans can get up off the sofa and jump right inside the game, with an adrenaline rush practically guaranteed. Players wear special vests and use laser guns; the vests light up when hit (so no arguments!), and no protective gear is required—you cannot feel the laser, and it is eye-safe as well.

Some SoCal multi-activity family fun centers (of the type, for example, that might have glow-in-the-dark mini-golf) offer small versions of a laser tag game; if you've played at one of these, it's time to ramp up your game at one of the major laser tag arenas below! A dedicated laser tag center is two to four times larger than the games at family fun centers, and usually offers multiple levels. There are also fewer extra activities to pull at your wallet. Arenas are dark (the better to see the lasers) and may have other effects such as fog and sounds or music—not to mention blacklights. If you are feeling competitive, don’t wear white.

Laser tag is a great activity for a birthday party, too. In case none of the arenas are convenient to you, we've also found some mobile laser tag companies who bring the guns and vests, barricades, and inflatables to you. Indoor or outdoor, daytime or nighttime, going to battle with your kids is just good, wholesome fun.

8 Family-Friendly Restaurants Near Disneyland, Not in It

It's no wonder Disneyland is nicknamed the Happiest Place on Earth; Main Street USA is crowded with costumed characters, light-up parades, and thrill-seeking rides, making this California landmark a must-see destination for tourists from all over the world. But while people flock to the Mouse House for its incomparable entertainment, many prefer to look outside the park for budget-friendly restaurants and variety in cuisine. Not that we have anything against character-shaped grilled cheese, pizza, and corn dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; it's just that dining outside the park before or after your adventure may be a calmer, cheaper, tastier way to go. Anaheim does have a lot more to it than just Disney, and these 8 kid-friendly eateries are just the beginning.

7 Holiday Shows that Aren't The Nutcracker: Christmas Carol, Pantos, and Disney on Ice

Christmastime. It's well nigh impossible to overstate the number of options SoCal families have for wholesome entertainment at this Yuletide time of year; in fact I'll go out on a Christmas tree limb and say it is impossible to exaggerate the array of lights, boats, Santas, and Nutcrackers that Angeleno kids could be enjoying at any given moment this month. But the theaters of LA and OC offer more theatrical experiences than just the 26 different productions of The Nutcracker (and counting). Looking for a Christmas show without a Sugar Plum Fairy? Try one of the seasonal classics below.

Tree Lighting Celebrations To Kick off the Holidays around LA & OC

Carols, cocoa, and the Claus family deck the Southland halls in the coming weeks from the Westside to the Valleys and back down to Orange County. As the holidays get rolling, there are plenty of opportunities to snap photos with Santa, take in a boat parade, and marvel at some Angelenos' lawn decorations, but the best way to kick it all off is with a good old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony. Communities all over Los Angeles and Orange County have their own traditions—not to mention unspoken competitions for whose tree is the largest and whose lights up the earliest. It's all in good cheer, so pick whichever of the locations below is nearest to you, and go rock around a Christmas tree, SoCal style!

We'll keep adding more below as communities make their plans. Check our events calendar and sign up for our weekly newsletter to keep up with the latest info.

5 Orange County Tearooms for Kids and their Dowager Countess

If you are regularly invited to eat and drink imaginary cakes, scones, and PG Tips from a Fischer-Price tea set, why not reciprocate with an invitation to a kid-friendly high tea at an Orange County teahouse? Forget trying to make conversation with Barbie and the teddy bears; taking your tea party on the road offers a chance to spend quality time with your kiddos while indulging in real scones, clotted cream, and cucumber sandwiches.

Kids love getting all dressed up to gorge themselves on desserts, while parents get to indulge in countless cups of caffeine in a room with an adult vibe. It's a win-win. Pinkies up!

Secret Parks of Orange County: 5 Hidden Gems Only Locals Know

Tired of visiting the same old parks? If your local jungle gym has recently lost its luster, be grateful that you live in (or are visiting) Orange County, where you can take your tykes to explore one of the hidden gems below. From giant Legos to beachfront slides to fountains and duck ponds, there are plenty of captivating playgrounds to explore throughout Southern California, but it takes a real OC native to know all five of these boredom-busting tot lots. Pick any one of them for an outing the whole family can enjoy.

Mommy & Me Movies (and Daddy too!) around LA

The words "Mommy & Me" don't always have to preface responsible activities like infant swim classes; Mommy & Me movies allow even the most devoted parents a chance to revel in adult pleasures. New moms and dads can get out and see a movie that they want to see - not an animated or children's film - without having to leave their baby at home or worry about their little one disturbing other guests. Participating theaters focus on making it work for babies, with amenities that include changing tables, soft lighting, and a place to park your stroller. And the best part: little ones can cry and nurse and fuss without fear of dirty looks or shushing. Plus, because the films are shown during the day, prices are of the lower, matinee variety - and the infants are free!

Walking with Dinosaurs: A Roaring Good Time

I can still remember the thrill when I first saw Jurassic Park, the whole new world that first time that Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs out of the past and moved them around on a screen for us in a way that did not look remotely animated. It was breathtaking and would have been an amazing thing to show a child - if not for all of the violent death and destruction brought on by Spielberg's intensely PG-13 plot. If only there were a way to bring dinos to life with that same impact, but in a way that little ones could better handle - perhaps even learn from. And with that, we bring you Walking with Dinosaurs.

Mini Golf in LA: Where to Play Miniature Golf or Have a Golf Birthday Party

Whether you're looking for an interesting place to have a birthday party or just something to do to keep idle hands from emptying the toy chest onto the living room floor, mini golf can be a real crowd pleaser for kids of all ages. Like the big version of the sport, the miniature version can be a great way to spend time outdoors (without inspiring the critical looks one would collect letting little ones run free on an 18-hole course), and there's little chance of getting bored with all the other entertainment these places pack in. From purists to adrenaline junkies, mini golf courses can keep the whole family entertained.

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