Nothing is more fun on a too-hot day than some water play—just ask a kid. If you want to give the kids a welcome surprise on a summer day, take them to a water theme park. There are several water parks in Southern California, with large scale splash parks to please every kid from toddler to teen. Of course, if you're looking for something smaller, closer, or more low-key, you can always check out our list of water play features at city parks; but if you're looking to make a big splash, check out one of the SoCal parks below.
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If you're raising a kid who loves a good rush of adrenaline, maybe it's time for a family outing in the treetops. Ziplining is a thrilling, exciting, and safe activity that is great for adventurous kids—and their daring parents. We've pulled together several zipline locations below that make great day trips or weekend trips from LA.
Hollywood is full of things to do with kids—we have collected 25 of them—and you can easily spend the entire day. Which means you will need food! Hollywood is also full of restaurants. But once you weed out the fast food chains and big tourist chains, there are still plenty of kid-friendly local chains and independent restaurants, and we have selected 10 options. There is something for you if you want something quick, something historic or old-timey, or something new and fun. And even if your kids are picky eaters or have food allergies, they will enjoy something from this list!
Spring is the time for enjoying wildflowers! With all the rain LA has seen, people are using that word superbloom again this season; local hills look more like Ireland than Southern California, and you don't have to go far to see carpets of flowers. There are several locations known for spectacular annual displays of spring wildflowers (not to mention the famous fields of Carlsbad), and areas recovering from recent fires can surprise us by bouncing back beautifully. Large displays typically last two to six weeks, so you need to make plans quickly when word comes of a good one. (Don't have time to drive outside the city limits? We know plenty of local hikes worth checking, too!)
If we hear of more great displays, we'll share in our newsletter! (Have you subscribed?)
This is LA, so of course there are summer acting camps! And since there are different types of acting - stage acting (classical and modern), film acting, comedic acting, improv - there are also different types of acting camp. Acting camps are not just for children who want to study theater, though; they also increase public speaking skills and build self-confidence. If your child is new to the world of drama, a camp that covers many different topics can offer a solid foundation and allow your child to discovers strengths and interests. Other camps offer focused concentration on Shakespeare or acting for film, for example.
Though many of these camps offer some instruction in singing and dancing, be sure to see our Musical Theatre Camp Round-Up for those kids who enjoy Broadway-style performance. And for your other kid - the non-dramatic one - we have a bunch of other summer camps to suggest, too!
Who doesn't love receiving gifts on birthdays? Rhetorical question: obviously kids love gifts, and parents love free gifts. That's why it's worth knowing about the many SoCal businesses that offer birthday clubs, treats, and freebies for kids on their big day. As the parent, you will need to register the birthday kids—and oftentimes yourself, too, before adding your children as family members. Check the age ranges on the offers below, as they vary. Go ahead and sign up now, and the coupons and emails will start rolling in while you are busy planning a birthday party.
Picture your ideal Thanksgiving. Are you imagining a delicious multi-course meal shared with family and friends? Or are you imagining hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning while the TV is blaring football, and you're not spending enough time spent with people you already don't see often enough? This could be a good year to try something new. Go out for Thanksgiving dinner—have your feast and eat it, too, while enjoying conversation with family and friends. And best of all, someone else cleans up afterward.
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. 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 for easy reference. Go ahead, 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.