The Valleys

Trash and 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? Would they love to sit in the trucks and maybe even take a ride? Do they know all the different types of trucks and haulers? Earth Day inaugurates the season of city yard open houses and recycling fairs, and—if you haven't heard—these events register high on the LA insider scale. More than 6,000 residents attend an open house in an average year.

20 Mother's Day Brunch Restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County

Mother's Day, and the brunching is easy—and when we say easy, we mean the culinary version of a chick flick. This is not a day for the Denny's Lumberjack Slam (not that there's anything wrong with that); Mother's Day brunch begs sprigs of rosemary, ocean views, and maybe a harp plucked with a rose. Or, if that's not your thing, Fillmore & Western Railway is happy to Throw Mama on the Train. The key is Mom's Choice—all day!

Read on for some of our favorite restaurants that offer a pretty darn fabulous Mother's Day brunch.

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations and Events for LA Kids

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?

15 Best Campgrounds for Tent Camping with Kids Near LA

Marshmallows. Check. Bug spray. Check. Air mattress. Check. Camping season is upon us. Hurrah! And thankfully in this multi-terrain region of ours, you don't need to go far to enjoy a night or two under the stars. A weekend without electronics, breathing fresh air, and enjoying meals over the campfire: all this can be yours without driving more than an hour or two—in some cases even less! Read on to find an easy destination for you and your happy campers. (And if the one you want is full this weekend, check out a few last minute camping spots.)

Earth Day with LA Kids: Green Festivals, Events, and Fun for Families

You say it's your Earth Day; well it's my Earth Day, too, yeah! And yes, we're gonna have a good time. Earth Day is one of those holidays that just screams kids. And when we say scream, we mean outdoor voices. Oh sure, Halloween has its ghosts and goblins; Christmas has its presents, and Easter has its chocolate bunnies (melting in the SoCal sun if not found quickly). But Earth Day is a holiday when families of all backgrounds can come together to appreciate our planet and keep our outdoors great for generations to come. And since loving the environment is something Californians take particular pride in, it's not surprising that we're spoiled for choice for celebrating Earth Day around LA.

25 Spring Egg Hunts and Bunny Meet-ups for Easter Week in Los Angeles

Some of us have lovely gardens and the inclination to creatively hide eggs in them early on a Sunday morning. Others have an inclination to sleep late and find eggs hidden in someone else's garden. We find no shame in that and are more than happy to help guide you to lots of places where Peter Cottontail has evidently just been moments before. Most of the egg hunts below take place Easter weekend; keep an eye on our Event Calendar for last minute additions, and check out these 10 egg hunts in Orange County for even more egg ops!

Project Scientist Summer Camp Was Made for STEM-Loving Girls

There's lots of talk about encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers, but one mom is on a mission to show them how it's done. 

No stranger to gender stereotyping as she pursued a STEM major in college, Sandy Marshall saw the need for a full-time STEM camp that supports girls, busts gender stereotypes, and surrounds campers with the female role models she didn't have—and needed! The working mother of two science-savvy daughters founded Project Scientist, for girls ages four to twelve, in 2011 with locations in North Carolina and California. Project Scientist isn't just STEM activities and labs; campers have the opportunity to meet a female STEM professional every day and take weekly field trips to STEM companies—so girls see careers in STEM in real life. 

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.

Spring Break Camps: 14 Kinds of Vacation Fun for LA Kids

Spring Break around Los Angeles is a moving feast; some districts have one week, and some have two. Some take vacation in March, and some in April. Add to the mix the complications of Easter, Passover, and parent work schedules, and Spring Break camp can be a tough knot to untie. Whether your family needs two weeks full time or a day here and there, we've chosen a few of our favorites that run the gamut. From the Valley to the sea, surfing to soccer, we think you'll find something worthy of a few days away from school among the camps below.

And if you're so on the ball that spring is already covered and you've moved on to summer, check out some of our favorite art, cooking, horse, and classic outdoorsy camps in our Summer and Vacation Camp Guide!

Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf: a Glowing Twist on a Classic Game

There's plenty to love about mini golf; it's a timeless crowd pleaser that can rescue a dull afternoon or set the stage for a great birthday party. But just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about this classic pastime, along comes glow-in-the-dark mini golf! That would be indoor miniature golf, lit with black lights. It's a whole new twist on an old-fashioned game, and it works day or night, rain or shine, little kid or teen. We found five cool spots around the Southland that crank up the day glow effects to set the stage for mini golfers. Be sure to wear white or clothes with glow-in-the-dark designs and take the family to one of these luminous, eye-popping destinations.

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