Los Angeles

Camps by the Day: Book One Day at a Time for the Beach and Beyond

My family doesn’t do a lot of camp. I have two children who loath having their time scheduled, and I am mostly home with them, so in the summer I let them loaf. We all enjoy not having a schedule, and, let’s face it, camp can be pricey. We peruse Mommy Poppins’ Event Calendar, where I always find something fun and usually free. Inevitably, though, the point arrives when somebody, maybe even everybody, is a bit bored—or, in the case of the camp director (me), tired. Also, I do work part time, so I can’t always be in charge of the entertainment. This is a recipe for that most dreaded of all childhood diseases: too much screen time. That's when camp starts to seem like a really good idea, and I regret not having signed up. Even the kids sometimes yearn for something scheduled, because most of their friends aren’t around; they're at camp.

So what to do with a couple of bored couch potatoes? It’s summer. Send them to the beach, the beach, the beach! This is a no brainer. People travel from far away to spend their summers by our shores. We are already here. It would be crazy not to take advantage of this most glorious natural resource. Slather on the sunscreen, get some UV sunglasses, maybe even invest in a wet suit, but make sure those kids get some time in the surf and sand! Of course, if the beach is not your cup of tea, we also know a few other places that don’t require advance planning and will welcome your children for the day. As the summer progresses you may even find more, because sometimes a camp that books by the week becomes more flexible if it doesn’t fill all its places.

Here are 10 you can count on:

Best Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend: Scots, Lunar New Year & Founding Fathers

This weekend is about more than just the long weekend (though it is a long weekend). This weekend asks us to examine the power of the individual, to do goodto excelto achieve greatness.

Whether your skill is slam dunkingtrick shotting, or sheep herding, whether your area of expertise is geekdom or slime or onomatopoeia, this weekend reminds us that we can all rise up and achieve great things.

On Monday in particular, we look at the American presidency and the power of one individual to impact the lives of so many. LA is lucky to have two presidential libraries in the region, both of which offer up free observances of the holiday. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you are going to do with your kids on this long weekend. 

Read on for our most statesmanlike picks for this weekend …

10 Chinese Lunar New Year Festivals for Families around Los Angeles

Time to say Gung Ha Fat Choy to our kids, wish them a happy Year of the Dog, and bring them to a Chinese New Year festival! LA families have several opportunities to greet the Lunar New Year, from low-key neighborhood events to Chinatown's century old grand scale festival. One thing they all have in common is beautiful imagery, so bring a camera and get ready for the Year of the Dog at one of the family-friendly events below.

Roller Skating Rinks Are Still Great Spots for SoCal Family Fun

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you probably have great memories of rockin' and rollin' at the roller rink. Birthday parties, end of year school trips, disco evenings, or just plain having fun inside on a hot or rainy day—roller rinks were the best. Even though inline skates are the outdoor skate of choice these days, we can still put on some quads at these LA- and OC-area roller rinks. Take the kids for a taste of your childhood. And, Mom and Dad, you can go ahead and skate too. It is great exercise and just as fun as you remember.

Dinosaurs Invade a Shopping Mall in Redondo Beach

Part museum, part play space, Wonder of Dinosaurs at the South Bay Galleria is a tantalizing collection of animatronic dinosaurs of all varieties, in the setting of a mini amusement-park-toy-shop combo that offers a full day of family friendly exploration (and shopping). Spanning two floors of retail storefront, this dino destination has such wow-worthy draws as Triceratops bouncies (some reserved for the many birthday parties being held on the premises) and a movable dinosaur with reigns for riding like a horse. This natural history museum of play gyms, Wonder of Dinosaurs is a welcome addition to the many kid-friendly places in Redondo Beach.

30 Things To Do with Kids in Downtown Los Angeles

From the outside looking in, Downtown LA can seem somewhat daunting and unfriendly. Isn't it just another part of LA with tall buildings and not enough pedestrian zones? Tourists and LA natives alike often find themselves wondering what kid-friendly activities there are to do Downtown. Well, I'm happy to be the messenger as well as the reminder of all the wonderful family-friendly activities that there are in this bustling metropolis. Read on for a list of 30 kid friendly things to do in Downtown LA. Then hop on the Metro or the Expo Line and start the adventure!

Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations that Are Great for Kids

In New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras. In Venice, Italy, it's Carnevale. In Austria they call it Fasching, and in England Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, or just plain old Fat Tuesday. Whatever the name, it's a party; and with its traditions of masks, music, and bling, this party deserves to be shared with kids. We've collected LA's most family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations below, and they're mostly FREE. Let the good times roll!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Cookies, Carnival, Whales, and Valentines

​Question for you: Is this Valentine’s weekend or isn’t it? The answer, of course, is that technically, it is not. The actual Bella Notte is next Wednesday, but by next weekend we’ll be sooo over that. Plus, if you’re hoping to inspire someone to get you a super awesome gift (hint: cookies), now’s the time to do it.

Unquestionably, this is a weekend filled with love. Love for others; love for purple, gold, and green; love for cetaceans, and love expressed in iambic pentameter. Love of dance, opera, and kindie rock, love of classic flicks and bunnies and Dogs and flowers.

And whatever they get you, most likely a handmade gift from the heart, I am sure it will be the perfect thing. (Reminder: cookies)

Keep reading for our most beloved picks for this weekend.

Is LA's Weirdest Restaurant Worth a Trip Downtown with Kids?

Whether you're old enough to remember Clifton's Cafeteria before the major remodel, or just a touch leery of dragging little kids through the bustle of Downtown, there's no quirkier spot to indulge in comfort food than Clifton's. An outing to DTLA with kids takes some planning, and it wouldn't be complete without a stop at Clifton's, which is something of a little kid playground—but one rich in history and enough taxidermied animals to compete with the Natural History Museum. Visiting Clifton's and its Cabinet of Curiosities can be a family adventure kids will remember—and beg to repeat.

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