The Valleys

Halloween's Best Ghost Trains and Spooky Rides for LA Kids

So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level; you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. We know several deadly ways to take this haunt on the road before it's time to trick-or-treat, with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through the bowels of a haunted ship, or even a scream-filled hayride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts. After all, the family that hunts down armies of zombies together stays together.

Two LA Halloween Haunts Give up the Ghost in 2019

There's no way to sugar coat this: the Griffith Park Ghost Train and Boney Island—two of the most family-friendly haunts of the LA Halloween season—are both taking a hiatus this year. The two spooky-not-scary experiences seemed perfectly paired last year, when they first became neighbors in one festive corner of Griffith Park. We had been looking forward to seeing how the partnership would grow this season, but alas the skeletons are staying in the closet.

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

Ready to talk pumpkin patch? Yes, the time has come to surrender to the Great Pumpkin—who is, frankly, spoiled for choice around the Southland in Halloween season. We would never 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 pumpkin picking destination is below...

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes Closest to LA and Orange County

As kids are mostly settled into the new school year, and local orchards are open for apple picking, the next sign of autumn is the corn maze.

Corn mazes are created by a tractor in a growing field of corn—usually following a fairly intricate design. For large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. A mature corn maze is a true adventure, with walls of corn that are taller than most adults; children (and adults) can for sure lose their way! Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone; use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground amid broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

Kidspace: An Insider's Guide to LA's Beloved Children's Museum

Kidspace is now entering its fourth decade in Pasadena and it's easy to see why this children's museum has such staying power. There is something for everyone at Kidspace, from animal lovers to budding scientists to those looking to get their wiggles out. There is an area for babies and toddlers and plenty of activities to entertain bigger kids (the museum is designed specifically for children ages 10 and under). In fact, there are more than 40 hands-on exhibits within the 3.5 acres of indoor and outdoor property. My own family has had a membership for five years now. So what keeps us coming back again and again? Read on to find out—plus tips on how to maximize your visit.

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.

10 Best Children's Museums near LA and Orange County

A museum in Los Angeles where kids are encouraged to touch all of the exhibits, climb on the furniture, and ask as many questions as they want (not in an inside voice either): Fellow parents, this is the beauty of a children's museum, and in the greater Los Angeles area, we are blessed with several of them. Now don't get me wrong—LA has plenty of local museums to excite and inspire visitors of all ages. But the 10 museums below are specifically designed to entertain and enrich the lucky kiddos of Southern California.

7 Best Zoos near Los Angeles: the LA Zoo Is Just the Beginning

Did someone say zoo? If your little ones have fallen for the non-stop furry cuteness of LA's petting zoos (and there are plenty in and around LA), there's a chance they're going to start thinking bigger. There are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to see at many zoos, and while petting is not recommended for most of the occupants (seriously, keep your kid out of the bear enclosure), young ones love seeing creatures live and in-person that they usually only read about in books. Here are some of the many zoos within easy driving distance. While the Los Angeles Zoo is naturally on the list, it's hardly the only game in town.

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