Los Angeles

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes for LA and Orange County Kids

As kids are mostly settled into the new school year, and local orchards are open for apple picking, the next sign of autumn is the corn maze.

Corn mazes are created by a tractor in a growing field of corn—usually following a fairly intricate design. For large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. A mature corn maze is a true adventure, with walls of corn that are taller than most adults; children (and adults) can for sure lose their way! Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone; use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground and broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Dino Fair, Museum Day, Abbot Kinney Fest

We've been bemoaning the end of summer for a while now (back in school with summer favorites come and gone) so this may come as a surprise to you, but fall only officially starts this weekend. We're still saying goodbye to a few suspiciously summery series, with the LA County Fair and Festival of Children ending this weekend.

Yet for a supposedly autumnal weekend, there are a whole lotta festivities going on: festivals that splash, festivals that roarfestivals that make you shout Opa!  Festivals that remind you LA is a series of small towns, (with some very happening streets!), festivals that wiggle and waggle and put the dog on the board, festivals that make you put on a bib. And that's not half the festive festivities we've got going on this weekend.

Summer? It ain't over til the fat talented lady starts singing.  

Fall into our favorite picks for this weekend...

Top 10 Reasons Orange County Is the Best Place To Raise Kids

Disneyland may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but it's far from the only reason locals brag about living in Orange County. Great beaches, picturesque parks, and close proximity to the desert and mountains are just a few of the many perks of raising your kids within a stone's throw of Mickey Mouse. That, and the fact that it's not LA. Here are the top 10 reasons why children and parents alike love growing up in The OC.

25 Things To Do around Thousand Oaks with Kids

Thousand Oaks, named (and incorporated) in the 1960s to honor the many majestic oaks in the area, may be the perfect SoCal suburb; it can feel as far from city or as close to city as you like. If you have little ones and live in Thousand Oaks, you probably know some of the must-see spots on our list below—but have you visited them all? So much to do! And when you've exhausted your options and are ready to travel elsewhere in the Southland or beyond, take a peek at one of our many city lists. From Culver City to Pasadena, Redondo Beach to Hollywood, Marina Del Rey to Burbank our lists have got you covered. We'll even guide you through Anaheim on your way in and out of Disneyland. But today, the rolling hills and cultural allure of Thousand Oaks.

Weekday Picks: Mickey's Halloween Party, Spiders, Lobsters, & a Pumpkin Train

We don't scare easily, until we look up from our busy lives and realize Halloween is just around the corner! All the signs are there, including a few annual events that kick off this week—like Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. Disney's special event evenings, when kids can trick-or-treat throughout the park, continue through Halloween, but tickets are very limited (so the park does not get overcrowded). Our insider tip: Hit up the treat stations early in the evening, then rent a locker to stow goodies, so you aren't hauling them around the park and onto attractions. We learned this lesson while climbing Tarzan's Treehouse with a treasure trove of treats in our backpacks!

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is also up and running for the season. The annual Halloween event features plenty of family-friendly fun, including the Pumpkin Train, haunted house, a hay ride and hay maze, panning for gold, and carnival games. The creepy crawlies are back downtown, too, with the return of the the Natural History Museum's Spider Pavilion. Visitors walk among orb weavers and their intricate webs, which might freak out some folks out, but rest assured the spiders aren't dangerous and prefer to keep to themselves. To know what to expect, read our review.

All that, plus Tuesday is Talk Like a Pirate Day—and Santa Monica Aquarium knows how to celebrate, putting parrots on landlubbers shoulders as they learn how to make rope and get those little ships in little bottles.

Besides these activities, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar; and be sure to check out our picks for the month in the September GoList.

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...

Rad Women and Civil Rights Heroes: Children's Books for Right Now

By Gwen Glazer, recommendations librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.

Fred Rogers’ famous advice to "always look for the helpers" has never seemed more important. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville and beyond, parents may be looking for ways to engage their children with the social justice efforts—and also to talk about positive examples of activism and leadership.

We put together a list of 13 books for a wide range of children, from picture books for toddlers to nonfiction series for middle schoolers. These books address some of the most familiar human- and civil-rights leaders, like Malala and Gandhi, as well as some lesser-known activists who deserve more attention. All of them inspired others to create change in the world around them.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Coastal Cleanup, Mexican Independence, & Pacific Standard Time

All the talk this week about Pacific Standard Time—it's not anything to do with clocks. It's about LA's influence on LA. Just about every museum in LA is offering a take on it. And it's not just exhibits; there are performances, free days, free days with performances... and Mexican Independence Day as well. The extra attention on Los Angeles and Latin America (yes, those are the two LAs) may be why folks are putting special effort into clearing out and cleaning up. (Except in my house, natch. Oh, poop!)

Or maybe all the cleaning has to do with the reports of spiders being seen in Exposition Park. Big, beautiful spiders—lots of them, and from the looks of things they're planning on staying a while. That's so LA!

Keep reading for our most LA (or most LA) picks for this weekend...

Along Came a Spider Pavilion: Big Spiders Are Back at the Natural History Museum

While some may ring in the Halloween season by smearing shrubs with 99-cent store fuzzy webbing and plastic spiders, the arachnid purists over at the Natural History Museum have a more organic approach. This weekend the screened pavilion on the museum’s South Lawn becomes seasonal home to more free-range, eight-legged tenants than anyone in his right mind could want – in short, an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare and an eight-year-old boy’s version of heaven.

Free Admission Days at 23 Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center and The Broad. Also, active-duty military personnel can take advantage of the Blue Star Program at many LA and OC museums in summertime. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list below for easy reference. These times offer a great chance to bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free.

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