Sherman Oaks

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.

Spring Break Camps: 14 Fun Solutions for April Vacation around LA

Spring Break around Los Angeles is a moving feast; some districts have one week, and some have two. Some take a 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!

The Ultimate Roundup of Free LA Holiday Events for Families

The Holidays have arrived, despite what the palm trees outside your window might be telling you. With a Santa in every mall, and a shopping list as long as your arm, it’s time to ring in the most magical time of year. But if you need a little help finding some cost-cutting events to share with the whole family, look no further. From boat parades to menorah lightings, there’s plenty of free fun to be had this Holiday season.

Ultimate Halloween Event List: 34 Best Celebrations in LA for Free or Spooky Fun

If you've already spent on the Halloween costume (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the pumpkin (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the Halloween candy (and perhaps an extra aerobics class if you bought too early), you might have reached your limit with spending money on this mother-of-all kids' holidays. That's when it's time to start sniffing out which are the key Halloween activities (and which are the free ones) that keep the mood going at this haunting time of year. The following events are the Halloween parties not to miss—the scream of the crop!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Boo at the Zoo, Coast Open Streets, and Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Hatchimals  (not sure what that has to do with the season, but just go with it). We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween. There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Korean, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThis land is both your land and my land, and Children's Book World is 32. (Um, me too. More or less.) The streets of Santa Monica are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

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...

Unicorn Food: 10 Surprising Treats from Poop to Pizza

If you have little kids (or even big ones), you've undoubtedly been hit with the unicorn trend. Whether it's selfiies with rainbow sprinkles or a different sort of birthday treat, kids' appetite for rainbow-colored, glitter-filled edibles shows no sign of fading. Here are 10 places in LA where you can enjoy some unexpected silly, sparkly, edible treats in every color of the rainbow. 

Farewell to Boney Island: A Favorite Halloween Attraction Gives up the Ghost

Some sad news came out of a much loved street corner in Sherman Oaks yesterday: Boney Island is no more.

We have been visiting—and raving about—Boney Island for years. It is, or was, a home haunt that could only happen in the Entertainment Capital, particularly since it took place on the lawn of the Emmy Award-winning animation producer of The Simpsons. No one does Halloween better than Hollywood on its day off, and this suburban lawn filled with skeletons performing everything from levitation to mind reading to phosphorescent water shows is a SoCal legend. Not satisfied with bringing my own kid every year, I've visited this wonderful example of Halloween creativity with just about every kid I know, and it has never failed to delight. Its closure is a sad day.

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.

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