Los Angeles

Cheap Spring Break Travel Ideas for Families on a Budget

Is there a way to travel for cheap with kids during spring break? The short answer is... yes!

While some might automatically head to Orlando or even the Caribbean for spring break, airfare for a family of four can quickly add up to waaaay over budget. Families-in-the-know deploy a few tricks to plan a fun spring break vacation for the kids without blowing their mortgage payment, from scoring a secret deal to compromising a bit on the location.

There are plenty of family-friendly cities and destinations that cost a bit less but don’t scrimp on the family attractions, including top museums, eateries, beaches, and even amusement parks.

Read on for some of our editors’ favorite hacks in planning a cheap spring break and where they like to vacation as a family!

Love Hot Wheels? Make a Pit Stop at the Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Ever wondered what makes a car go? Why some cars sound different? What safety gear is most effective when racing? Why is it important to use weather compliant tires and steering wheels? The Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit at the Discovery Cube Los Angeles is providing all these answers through interactive videos, displays, and “hands-on” stations giving the whole family opportunities to learn while unleashing their inner race car drivers. The iconic miniature vehicles, which have been igniting kids’ and collectors’ imaginations since 1968, are the centerpieces of this traveling show: some vintage models are enclosed in glass cases, while others serve as die-cast models to experiment with high-speed racing.

Best Indoor Play Spaces for Entertaining Orange County Kids

Rain or shine, a list of indoor play spaces can be like a Golden Ticket in your pocket. On a rainy day, it can be the place to let your kids run (or jump) free and stay dry. Even on a sunny day, an indoor play space can be the answer to “What are we doing today?” If you’re in the Los Angeles area, there are plenty of indoor play spaces to choose from; but Orange County also has many play places that are fun to visit—and even worth the drive if you’re outside the area. And of course all of the indoor playgrounds below are great birthday party options, too.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Zimmer Closing, Golden Dragon, and Valentines

This is a weekend about love, loss, and (spoiler) finding love again. With Valentine's Day only days away, our kids and/ or spouses need to act fast to buy and/ or make objects to show us their love. Also acceptable is taking us out on the town and showing us a good time.

We spoke of loves; now let us speak of loss. Last week we discovered The LEGO Space Hollywood, the free interactive installation powered by The LEGO Movie 2. Alas, poor LEGO Space, we only just met and now, come Sunday, it is over. But the brick-shaped hole it will leave in our hearts is small compared to the loss we will be feeling at the closing of the Zimmer—truly, the place where childhood lived (not to mention a giant ball pit and a kid-sized Wailing Wall). On Sunday we say goodbye to the Zimmer as it opens its doors, for free, for one last playdate.

But remember I said this is a story of love found again. Yes, the LEGO Space Hollywood is closing, but the LEGO Movie 2 is opening. (We saw and—you guessed it—love love love it. ) And as for the Zimmer, the goodbye is only temporary. The beloved museum will be reborn sometime in April 2019, emerging with a new name and a new zipcode. (We srsly cannot wait.)

Love triumphs and love conquers all, creating a happy ending to our love story, and to your fun-filled pre-Valentine's weekend.

Keep reading for the part where we all live happily ever after...

The Cutest Animal Ever Was Just Born at the LA Zoo—and You Can See Him!

Squeee! The Los Angeles Zoo has an adorable new baby, and your kids will consider visiting this little guy a must-do. Born December 19 to first-time parents and zoo residents Steph and Mario, this southern pudu—a tiny and super cute deer species from South America—is now out and about. Allow us to help you set a beeline for him so you can stop by the zoo to say hi (and call him by his surprising name)!

Cartoon Network Hotel to Open in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Fans of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time, We Bare Bears, Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, and other programs are getting a treat this summer. The TV network and Palace Entertainment are working together to open the Cartoon Network Hotel, a kid-friendly resort steeped in the channel's animated world, for summer 2019.

The nine-acre, 165-room property will be located in central Pennsylvania's Lancaster County along Route 30. It will neighbor Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park, which is also owned by Palace Entertainment, so a family could easily enjoy both attractions in one trip. It is the Cartoon Network's first themed hotel.

Seems like there's one more reason to plan a Pennsylvania weekend getaway with the kids.

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. 

Everything Is Awesome at The LEGO Space Hollywood

If your kids are hyped up about The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part opening February 8, you could make them feel special by taking them to experience it live and interactive right now at the LEGO Space Hollywood. The free pop-up photo op experience offers tons of Instagrammable moments, interactive installations, and fun reveals from the new movie. And don’t think for a second they would make a LEGO space without giving you the opportunity to play with LEGOs. 

Mall of America's Most Amazing Attractions for Kids of All Ages

Mall of America, located in the heart of the American Midwest in Bloomington, Minnesota, is nothing short of an indoor entertainment epicenter for kids. Sure, it has over 500 stores, but there’s way more to do than just go shopping at the country's largest mall (so big that it requires its own zip code: 55425).

From Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower to the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee, the Midwest is full of fun, interesting, and educational things that kids and their parents will love. Mall of America might possess a more commercial feel than some of the area's other travel destinations, but it also likely offers the most entertainment per square foot (5.4 million square feet to be exact) with some of the most popular kids' characters and brands on hand, including Lego, Nickelodeon, American Girl, and Paw Patrol. There's an indoor amusement park, aquarium, arcade, mini golf, and so much more, all within just a few minutes of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Read on to check out our list of the top 25 amazing things that kids of all ages can do at Mall of America.

10 Traditional Outdoor Summer Camps for LA Kids

Los Angeles is blessed with a whole bunch of summer camps (just check our camp guide and directory). Parents with kids who are driven to spend their summers focusing on their music, their art, their particular sport, science, or even cooking have all the options they could wish.

But sometimes summer needs to be about good old-fashioned swing-on-a-rope, splash-in-a-pool type fun. Sometimes what our kids really need is to spend a couple of weeks in the fresh air doing things that won't necessarily fill a college application, but sure will fill a memory book. For those types of summers, we offer 10 great summer day camps in the Los Angeles area that are all about playing outdoors.

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