Los Angeles

Build-A-Bear Has a New Pay-Your-Age Contest, without the Lines

Making a puffy, fuzzy DIY toy at Build-A-Bear is a great experience, especially for a birthday gift, but those bears are far from free. So it was no surprise last year that the company's big Pay-Your-Age Day (5 years old, get any toy for $5) resulted in lines not only out of the stores but out of the buildings—and lots of angry parents when lines were shut down. The good news? Build-A-Bear is doing the popular event again, but doing it differently this year.

27 Festivals and Fairs: Must-Do Fun for Summer in LA and Orange County

What's summer without a good festival? And what's LA without at least 25 of them? We've pulled together more than 25 of the best summer festivals in Los Angeles and Orange County, from June through September. Whether it's celebrating community or something more specific—like salsa or lobster!—fairs and festivals are an essential part of a Southern California summer. Here's our guide to help your family make summer plans to bond over fried food, carnival rides, art, boats, and lots of outdoor music

10+ Great Private Swimming Classes and Swim Schools for LA Kids

Time for swimming lessons? Finding goup swim classes at a local YMCA or community pool is usually easy and inexpensive; but since quality on these classes can vary widely (even within a single facility), we’re here to tell you where Angelenos who are serious about getting the job done keep their kids afloat—and it doesn't have to cost a mint. Private and semi-private swim lessons don't necessarily require a private pool, and they do get kids on the fast track to independent swimming. Several popular swim instructors and schools make use of public pools or swing deals with private pool owners to make private instruction accessible to everyone. Check out these great options for getting kids safe in the water...

Mostly Free Outdoor Summer Concerts for LA Families

They say music soothes the savage beast, but it's also pretty good at entertaining the easily bored child. Free (or almost free) outdoor concert series fill Los Angeles and Orange County parks and open spaces all summer long, so odds are you won't have to travel far to find an under-the-stars event. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie the evening away as you sway to breezy melodies.

This year offers many returning favorites, plus a few changes: The Downtown Stage concerts in Pershing Square are still free, but now they are limited to 21 and older (excuse for a Moms Night out perhaps?); Santa Monica's Twlight on the Pier series doesn't kick in until near the end of the summer this year, but the Tiny Porch series anticipates returning to Peter Strauss Ranch in spite of damage from last fall's Woolsey Fires.

Once again Arcadia Summer Concerts and Summer Movies are joining for a combined event, and of course there are plenty of standalone free outdoor movie series all summer as well.

Click through for complete details, including dates and bands. And check back often, because we continue adding and updating concerts throughout the season!

Asheville with Kids: 40 Best Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC, is a popular destination for visitors, including families, with so many fun things to do like the Biltmore Estate, a thriving food and arts scene, a Vanderbilt mansion with extensive grounds, and its kid-friendly local breweries. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the plentiful hiking trails, waterfalls, and swimming holes. I frequently visit my sister’s family in Asheville and get to explore this charming Southern city with my young nephew, so I wanted to share the inside skinny on the best family-friendly attractions, restaurants, and what to do in Asheville with kids.

Find more family fun destinations in our Family Travel City Guides, and be sure to check our picks for North Carolina's best beaches for families.

12 Things Dads Actually Want To Do for Father's Day in LA

There are lots of ways to celebrate Father's Day around LA, including special occasion meals among sharks, ex-presidents, and the night market masses. The trick is figuring out what the dad at your house really wants. If you want this Father's Day to revolve around something more exciting than a new tie, check out our dozen ideas for dad-friendly, kid-friendly activities that he won't see coming. We guarantee there are some ideas on our list you hadn't thought of.

How Can I Find Free Summer Meal Programs for Kids?

Many parents rely on the free breakfast and lunch available through the local school system to keep their kids' engines running—but what happens in the summer? Thankfully, there are still free meal programs available when school lets out.

Parents will find free breakfast, lunch, and sometimes afternoon snacks and more meals served up at certain parks, schools, community centers, hospitals, and elsewhere this summer. Many of the summer meal programs are federally funded through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, but administered by local organizations, cities, or states. Read on for tips on how to find a free kids meal near you.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Wooden Boats, Fun-A-Palooza, REDCAT, Playhouse Block Party

Can you feel that? That's summer getting ready to pop. Whether or not summer break has started for you personally is moot; if it hasn't it will soon, and enough Angelenos are in flipflops-and-beachbags mode that, on average, we are all on vacation anyway.

So how are you kicking off your summer break, which may or may not have started yet? You could be competing in the Special Olympics Summer Games (or cheering on the exceptional athletes who are). You could be winning a Tony (or cheering on the talented performers who are). You could be winning an award from the PBS SoCal Kids Writers contest (or cheering on the talented writers who are). You could be rounding the bases at Angels Stadium. You really could. If you're under 13. Otherwise, you can (checks notes) cheer on the kids who can. Remember: they also win who only stand and cheer.

More summer series are starting this weekend, and everyone is in a partying mood. We have kid-centric moviesfree videogame play, wooden boats, cardboard cars, hard-shelled heroes, a fun-a-palooza, sweet, sweet treats, oceans, fishcartoons, dance, and sanitation. Summer 2019 is go for launch!

Keep reading to get this summer started...

LA's Best Swimming Pools with Play Areas Worth a Drive this Summer

Sure, there are miles of great beaches in SoCal, but sometimes you need a break from the sand, and you want water that's a little less, well, wavy. It can be worth going a little farther to find a swimming pool that’s open to the public for recreational swimming and offers something special: Think slides, water play features, extended shallow areas for the little ones to splash in, or a beautiful, peaceful setting. Here’s our list of cool destination swimming pools worth a drive in LA and OC. Most range in price from $1 to $12 per person, and several of these pools offer discounted season passes (check websites for details).

55 FREE Things Kids Can Do in LA this Summer

Summer's great, isn't it? So much time, so much to do. All the things that can't be squeezed into the cursedly short time between school, homework, and dinner can be enjoyed at leisure, without stress of school night bedtimes. Summer means not a care in the world—except how to pay for all this frivolity, right? 'Cause we sure aren't getting a whole lot of work done! The answer? Summer freebies. Become an expert on how long your kids can get in free to Southland activities. Hit all the free museum days. And then start working your way down this list of totally free things to do with LA kids over the summer!

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