Nothing says “summer” like barbecue. Many of our local parks are standing by with grills and pits to satisfy that craving for charred food. And the beauty of life in Southern California is that "summer" can be practically any time of year; the 15 parks below have year-round, mostly free barbecue facilities, ready for birthday parties, holiday celebrations, spontaneous picnics, or family dinners al fresco.
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A native Angeleno, Jackie enjoys revisiting her childhood as a mom and writer for Mommy Poppins. She did a lot of cool stuff as a kid and has newfound respect for her own mom who made that happen without the internet! Today in Los Angeles, some things are gone, some have changed and some, like the grunion, remain exactly the same. In her former life, Jackie was a development executive on the Fox Studios lot where she rounded up writer/director lists and covered screenplays. Mommy Poppins is much more fun. Jackie's kids, Benjamin and Juliet, agree.
Latest posts by Jacqueline
Every once in a while we parents get an opportunity to re-experience a treasured childhood memory with our own kids. If you grew up here in Southern California, odds are that you made it to a grunion run at least once when you were a child. If you're from elsewhere, chances are that you thought this was total urban folklore. Well, it's no myth; there really are SoCal fish that jump out of the ocean at midnight and slither up the beach when the moon is full. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro has been hosting grunion runs with a front row seat for this peculiar phenomenon since 1964. I remember cooking out on the beach with friends and family, bundled up and waiting for those squirmy silver fish to appear. The hot dogs were usually a bit burnt, and the sand was wet and cold, but it was a night of adventure and marine biology that I never forgot.
As parents we face the pressure to find the best of everything, and finding the best preschool for your little heir is no exception. Some parents jump on this task intimidatingly early, doing research and attending open houses even while Junior is still in utero. And there are so many choices: Play-based or academically focused? Montessori, Waldorf, full-time, part-time, cooperative, parochial, or secular? Media-free or media-intensive? A philosophy of "let children be children" or "teach them everything as soon as possible"? Perhaps we want our kids to learn to use their words in more than one language, to preserve their midday nap, or to spend most of their day playing outdoors in nature.
In Los Angeles there is pressure to find the best of everything, and finding the best preschool for your little heir is no exception. Some parents jump on this task intimidatingly early, doing research and attending open houses even while Junior is still in utero. And there are so many choices: Play-based or academically focused? Montessori, Waldorf, full-time, part-time, cooperative, parochial, or secular? Media-free or media-intensive? A philosophy of "let children be children" or "teach them everything as soon as possible"? Perhaps we want our kids to learn to use their words in more than one language, to preserve their midday nap, or to spend most of their day playing outdoors in nature.
We've rounded up some great deals from our partners to get your holidays hopping with special savings. Help yourself to extra servings of fun and convenience with discounted tickets to area amuseument parks, top shows like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Gazillion Bubble Show, and more. With so much going on, it's the perfect time to try delivery from Babeth's Feast. Your special offer will make dinner a snap and a great deal. As always, you'll find lots more holiday fun in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Guide.
As fall approaches, there are fewer ways and reasons to enjoy the outdoors; but while the movies are fading to black and the music and the melodies begin to ebb, the Ford Theater in Hollywood continues to jam with interactive, internationally themed movement and music. This week families learn to dance to the Brazilian accordion rhythms of Forró Dance.
Yes, David Shannon is at Vroman’s this week, signing his new book, Duck on a Tractor. If you purchase a new copy of Duck on a Tractor, Shannon will sign it. Proof of purchase is required, or No, David won’t sign.
And the much anticipated remodel of the Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavillion opens on Friday. No child’s education about the cycle of life is complete without some up close personal time with cocoons, caterpillars, and the beautiful butterflies they become.
As always, Mommy Poppins has picks for the week, the month, the season and an up to the minute Event Calendar. Find something new or rediscover old favorite ways to enjoy parenthood on our September GoList and Best of Fall selections.
While summer may well be winding down and the kids may well be back in school, there are still outdoorsy things to do—so go do them! The Hollywood Bowl honors 400 years of the Bard with Shakespeare at the Bowl this week; actors from the great playwright’s very own Globe Theatre in London perform scenes accompanied by music inspired by his works, including my personal favorite, Nino Rota’s soundtrack to Romeo and Juliet. In other amphitheaters, this is also the final week of Orange County's summer staple, The Pageant of the Masters.
If the "theatah" feels too high falutin’, break on through to the pop culture side at the Redondo Beach Pier, where Doors tribute band Strange Days can light your fire.
The El Segundo Museum of Art, or ESMoA (not sure how it’s pronounced but it is kind of an arty monniker), hosts Tinkertopia. This drop in design and build evening is free for kids and their adult; and it makes good, artistic use of recycled materials.
And finally, if you've been feeling the pain of the California Incline closure, the re-opening this week is celebrated with a once-in-a-lifetime pedestrian-only ramp party.
As always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar.
For Angelenos who have not yet made it to Long Beach this summer, Wednesday is the day to do it: admission to the majestic Queen Mary is free after three. If you can hang around until 7pm (and I confess this is more for my movie buff side than my mommy side), there is a cool lecture on the powerful women of early Hollywood which profiles two of the Queen Mary’s most celebrated passengers, Mary Pickford and Frances Marion. Alas, my kids have returned to school; otherwise, I would surely drag my tween age daughter to this one.
Though summer is winding down, there are still many outdoor movies and concerts to enjoy. My favorite this week is in Beverly Hills where Concerts on Cañon highlights Jewish music with Under the Stars with Wise; the Stephen S. Wise temple brings Israeli, Sephardic, and Yiddish songs to the grassy area of the Montage Hotel. L'Chaim!
My daughter will be leading the way to Culver City on Friday night for one of her favorite annual events: Fiesta La Ballona. This is a neighborhood carnival that she and her friends look forward to every year.