Westside

Tyra Banks' New Modelland in Santa Monica: Will It Be a Place To Bring Kids?

Model Tyra Banks is opening a theme park in Santa Monica—Santa Monica Place, to be exact—based upon her 2011 YA book and decades as a top model. While details about what the 12,000 square foot attraction will include are still vague right now (the space is due to open later this year), the hype is big, and your America's Next Top Model-addicted kids may already think they want to go. The question is whether you will want to take them.

25 Things To Do in Venice Beach with Kids

Venice, California is about as unlike Venice, Italy as two cities could be, but the Bohemian beachside community has nonetheless acquired nearly as much fame as its namesake. Both Venices can boast canals, beach, and some larger-than-life parties, but LA's famous seaside tourist attraction replaces old world charm with funkadelic grunge, opera with karaoke, and gondoliers with bodybuilders.

Sandwiched between Santa Monica and Marina del Rey, Venice may be small but has its own distinct personality. And the 25 kid-pleasing activites below are good for a few days' worth of fun in the sun, Venice style.

15 Best Indoor Birthday Party Ideas for LA Kids

There is a special kind of stress—both emotional and financial—that planning a birthday party can cause if you have kids born between the months of November and March. Oh sure, everyone struggles with the great birthday party question, but those moms who gave birth in LA in August are pretty safe claiming a corner of a public park or throwing down some blankets on the beach. If you have a December baby, you may have tried that, but at some point probably cried "Never again!" LA might not have a proper winter, but it has a proper Indoor Birthday Party season, if only for the sanity of the parents. Allow us to share some of our favorite options for entertaining the masses without stressing about the weather.

The Paley Center for Media: A Fun Trip Down TV & Radio's Memory Lane

Does having kids bring back memories of TV shows, cartoons, and jingles from your own childhood? Wouldn't it be cool if there were a place where you could watch them? Enter The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Whether you're making peace with some weekend screen time, or you've simply exhausted the other great LA museum and library options, this place is worth checking out. With an archive of more than 160,000 radio and television programs, this small but mighty museum offers a fun (and free!) way to connect with the family over TV past and present. 

10 LA Libraries with Great Play Spaces You Have To Try

The Southland's rainy season may be short lived, but even if we're thrust into blazing heat again next week, either way having fun, free, indoor options for the kiddos is a must. You probably already know some local storytimes at LA libraries. Maybe you've checked out a few of our drive-worthy special libraries or any number of the awesome free perks your library card offers. But do you know the libraries where you can get a great book and engage your little one in some good old-fashioned indoor fun? You're in luck; here are our picks for LA's 10 best libraries with play spaces where you can do just that. 

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

Yes, it's the month with Valentine's Day smack in the middle, but that doesn't mean every day has to be strictly focused on hearts and flowers (unless you and your little ones want it to be). In a month full of eclectic holidays, it isn't hard to find some free fun for the whole family. From Chinese New Year to Black History Month, President’s Day to Groundhog Day and Mardi Gras, LA is hopping in February, and joining in doesn't have to cost a thing. So put down the box of chocolates (momentarily) and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

The Best Los Angeles Area Hiking Trails for Families

We've all found ourselves—on long weekends, spring breaks, sick days, you name it—feeling like we might be ready to climb the walls. If that's not an option, maybe it's just time to take a hike

We've compiled a list of some of LA's best hiking destinations for you and your little cherubs (though if you're pushing someone up that mountain, you may want the stroller-friendly hikes). Each of the self-led hikes below is an LA classic. Of course, if you like to add a goal to hike toward, you might try this list of hikes with waterfalls, or maybe even do a little geocaching along the way.

Where To See Whales in LA: Whale Watching Cruises, Festivals, and Viewpoints

Winter is prime whale watching season in Southern California, and there are several ways to spy on the giant mammals as they pass through on their 6,000-mile quest for Mexican romance. Each year, between December and April, roughly 20,000 Pacific gray whales migrate past our beaches, and March brings particularly high traffic because that's when the underwater procession starts to turn around. Pregnant, south-bound she-whales still trying to make it to Baja before the contractions start are blasted past by upwardly mobile young he-whales, finished with romance and headed for an appointment in the Arctic Circle. All that toing and froing is the inspiration for many a whale cruise and festival. With a little luck and clear skies, even a hike or sand sledding can turn into a whale watching activity.

17 Free Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day in LA

There is no limit to what a family can do outdoors in Los Angeles, and our clichéd weather makes enjoying these activities possible most days of the year. But on the occasional day when the mercury drops below 50 degrees—or when water falls perplexingly from the sky—we need a back-up plan. Indoor activities are sprinkled throughout our bucket list of 100 Things To Do with LA Kids Before They Grow Up, but wouldn't it be handy to have one list of totally free things to do with kids indoors? We thought so, too!

How To Recycle Your Christmas Tree in LA

On the 12th day of Christmas my city gave to me - a chance to recycle my Christmas tree!

Whether from a lot at the corner or a cut-your-own farm in LA's outer regions, we lug those lovely-smelling, triangular chunks of evergreen wonder home on top of our cars each December amid singing, warm drinks, and family bonding. Thoughts of what will become of them a few weeks later are pushed to the outer regions of our To Do Lists. Well, the 12th day of Christmas is fast upon us, and our To Do Lists have come home to roost. Exhausting as it may sound after all the revelry, recycling a Christmas tree does not have to be difficult to arrange; all you need is a little information - which we've taken the time to assemble here!

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