The Valleys

Best Water Parks and Water Slides around LA and Southern California

Nothing is more fun on a too-hot day than some water play—just ask a kid. If you want to give the kids a welcome surprise on a summer day, take them to a water theme park. There are several water parks in Southern California, with large scale splash parks to please every kid from toddler to teen. Of course, if you're looking for something smaller, closer, or more low-key, you can always check out our list of water play features at city parks; but if you're looking to make a big splash, check out one of the SoCal parks below.

Mother's Day Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Fire Service Day, Rocket Launch, and Gibbons

It's Mother's Day, and Momma wants something good. Something unique. Maybe something handmade. Most likely something handmade.

For the record, Momma is well-rounded. She likes apes, and she likes butterflies. She likes gardens. She likes big cars; she likes fast skates. She likes firemen and men in tiaras. She likes to drink the tea.

Momma likes rockets in flight and stars on ice. She likes getting in free and being treated like the queen she is

But mostly she likes spending time with her kids. We get one weekend to call our own, Mommas; make it count!

Keep reading for our best suggestions for a Mother of a weekend! 

Mommy Freebies! Free Stuff for Los Angeles Moms on Mother's Day

Hopefully someone is making brunch reservations for you this Mother's Day—but what to do with the rest of the day? Well, there's nothing like feeling appreciated, and what says, "We appreciate you, Mom!" better than free admission (or a free meal, free champagne, or free joust)? Check out these places around town where the free carpet is rolled out just for mamas on Mother's Day.

Free in May: 24 Things To Do that Don't Cost a Thing

Summer is just around the corner, and so are the camp fees, vacation expenses, and hefty ice cream budgets that come with it. So why not be responsible for once and make May your month to get frugal? Whether you’re looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo free of charge, or just check out a movie without breaking the bank, here are a few free things to do this month with the whole family.

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

The weekends of May are packed with activity; there's Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and that one weekend without a holiday. There are parades, festivals, shows, and people eating bugs. With so much going on, it's easy to miss something. To help you keep track, here's a list of the biggest, most once-a-year-ish events happening this month. We'll keep adding to our Event Calendar daily, and it's a good idea to make sure our weekly recommendations arrive in your inbox, but we figured you'd appreciate some advance notice on these May favorites.

21 Mother's Day Brunch Restaurants To Book 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.

School Start & End Dates: 2019-2020 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 vanishingly few stragglers sticking with the old-school, 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. 2020 is a leap year, and that extra day may impact the school calendar as well.

This year Alhambra is first out of the gate, leading the back-to-school race with a pool-party-pooper start date of August 9; but in a radical change of course, Torrance goes from last man standing to a late August start. Hermosa Beach is now the only district on our list with a September start date, with classes beginning on September 5. 

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 2019-2020 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.

Trash & Recycling Fun: 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? Spring kicks off city yard open houses and recycling fair season, and these events are hugely popular with kids of a certain age. If your kiddos have any curiosity about what goes on in a garbage truck, this is their chance to satisfy it, at one of the most eagerly awaited free activities in LA. Public tours (also detailed below) are often available throughout the year (call first); but the spring open houses are a must-do for little one who live for the roar of the garbage truck.

Water Feature: 16 Water Playgrounds and Parks with Splash Pads in LA

Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but here in SoCal turning on the hose for entertainment is frowned upon these days. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through hot days at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below—many of which are open year-round. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad!

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