Los Angeles

What Happened to Columbus Day? What's Indigenous Peoples Day? And Is There School?

If, like many Angelenos, you were once a resident of another state—or even if you can remember to way back before 2009—you may be experiencing your annual attack of Columbus Day confusion. Is there school on Monday? Is it a holiday? Should you be picking something to do from the Mommy Poppins events calendar? And what about Indigenous Peoples Day—is that a thing? Go ahead and check your school district’s calendar if it makes you feel better, but we can end the mystery for you right here: yes, your public school kids have school on Monday.

6 Restaurants Ideal for Throwing a Kids' Birthday Party in LA & OC

Planning a birthday party for your kid can be tough, no matter how easy-going your little one might be. Beyond balloons and party favors, there's the question of where to have the shindig (unless you have a large home you're willing to clean extensively before and after). The location has to be family-friendly, fun—and has to serve food your kids (and a lot of other kids) will eat. A restaurant is a good pick, but which one will let you bring in a horde of hungry, bouncy kids? We've found six that serve up lunch and a side order of playtime so you can relax (or, more likely take lots of photos) while the kids run off all that great food you didn't prepare.

Free in October: 25 Totally Free Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles this Month

Boo! It's spooky season here in Los Angeles, which means you're probably already committed to spending on costumes and candy. If you don't have a lot of spare cash to spend beyond the trick-or-teating, no problem; there's still plenty of free fun to be had by the whole family. From Halloween happenings to sweater weather shenanigans, you can hit the town without breaking the bank. Here are just a few of the free events happening all month long.

25 Things To Do in Nashville, TN with Kids

It only takes one minute in the Music City to see it's truly alive, from the constant pulse of live music in almost every public space and eatery to the rich history and beautiful landmarks. One thing is for sure, your family will never be bored. There is something for every kid, from the train enthusiast to the science lover to the outdoor adventurer.

And for more guides on visiting cities around the world with kids, check out our Mommy Poppins Family City Guide.

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Are Your Kids Ready for this Scary Halloween Haunt?

No parent likes to contemplate it, but the day will come for our kids when trick-or-treating is no more. If your family is as hooked on Halloween as ours is, you'll want to find a way to keep the magic going, even once your baby starts to look really big to other people (particularly people opening their doors at night). Filling this void is the main reason for the many seriously spooky big kid haunts around the Southland—haunts like Universal Horror Nights, Knott's Scary Farm, and Dark Harbor. But how to transition? You can't just hit the brakes on collecting candy with Elsa and suddenly start running from chainsaw wielding zombies.

I had a theory (having visited a few of these fright nights) that Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary might be the perfect tween transition to a different way of celebrating All Hallows' Eve, and I committed so fully to this theory that I booked our whole family (and some friends) for an overnight on the haunted, haunting ship. And guess what? It worked! Three tweens I know had the time of their lives screaming with the spooks all night at the Queen Mary. The evening was enormous fun, and I think a few things we did to prepare helped stack the deck in favor of success.

October GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids Halloween Month

Kids cannot live by Halloween alone—or can they? Just in case, we've included several events on our October GoList that are not about Halloween. Just to mix it up. Of course, if Halloween festivals and pumpkin patches are what you're craving, they're with us all month long in abundance. Ghost trains and mega-haunts, too. But with all the activities October has to offer, a little curating is definitely in order. Read on for our top choices of things not to miss in LA, Ventura, and OC this month. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletters, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!

Halloween Festivals and Theme Park Haunts LA Kids Can't Do Without

I have a mama friend who refers to this time of year as the High Holidays, and she ain't talking Yom Kippur. She's also not wrong; there really is no higher holiday on the kid calendar than Halloween. And Southland families can enjoy a long slow build to All Hallows' Eve with more spooky celebrations, haunted happenings, and evil events per capita than any other urban area. Little ghouls and goblins have their pick of pumpkin patches, haunted houses, corn mazes, and ghost trains—but wait; there's more! SoCal theme parks get all creepy at this time of year, too, and the annual festivals below scream Halloween like nobody's business.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Celebrate LA!, Abbot Kinney, OC Book Fest, Underwood Farms

See, this is why I like fall. Weekdays are filled with serious, go-to-school-and-learn-things Important Business. And possibly homework (just for the kids, thank Heavens). But the weekends, man, do they make up for it! I can barely believe the awesomeness that awaits this weekend, and I write this stuff up for a living. For starters: Halloween begins with a spooky vengeance this weekend, with world class theme park approved ooking and spooking at Knott's Berry Farm and Legoland, and at that LA original Underwood Farms. (These join the pumpkin patches and fests that have gotten an early and or supercute start).

But it's not just Halloween. This weekend sees our most Tinseltown-tinged CicLAvia celebration yet, with open streets from Walt Disney Concert Hall all the way to Hollywood & Vine. There's free entertainment from the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Rivers Cuomo, Wynton Marsalis,Ozomatli, and even Katy Perry with Gustavo Dudamel (alas all the tickets have been snatched up for that last one).  

And talk about festivals: this weekend we have festivals that are prehistoricwestside eclectic, and infused with the beat of the drum. We have one that smells like wet dog. We have a book fest for the 18 and under set and a birthday party for a singing cowboyDJ Lance Rock wants to tell you stories (as do Dave Shannon and Drew Daywalt)you can touch a truck and have tea with a tubaIt's bananas

Your homework is to keep reading for our weekend picks...

Magicians to Puppies: 12 Great LA Party Entertainers Who Make the Party

Like the people who throw them, birthday parties have evolved. Grandma might point out that she managed just fine without ponies or puppeteers, but that doesn't mean we have to. The truth is that a good party entertainer can make a budget party in the backyard or local park feel like the event of the season. If you're that mom who's never at a loss to entertain a dozen 8-year-olds, our hats are off to you (and please contact us about writing a party piece!); for everyone else, here are 12 party entertainers who we think are really neat.

America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College: Up-Close Animal Encounters for LA Kids

This may come as a surprise, but LA has more than one zoo. You probably know the one in Griffith Park. And if you haven’t been to the one in San Diego, it's doubtless on your SoCal wish list. You may even have made the trip up to the see the one in Santa Barbara. All great zoos. But have you ever wondered where the people who work at these zoos learn their trade? And, if so, have you considered that the college offering a degree in zoo skills might be right in our backyard – with a teaching zoo open to the public and much cheaper admission than any other SoCal zoo?

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