The short month of February isn't short on holidays and celebrations, with Tuesday bringing hearts and flowers and lots of Valentine's Day cards and candy, before next week's President's Day off. Families can take advantage of the extra time together to check out the Harlem Globetrotters in Mission Viejo for some comic relief. And in between all the cards and candy kids can celebrate Valentine's Day at Pretend City in Irvine with crafts, other activities, and story time.
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Valentine's Day stories and crafts at one branch library, a Valentine's Day party at another, a screening of the movie Trolls at still another: families have lots of options this week as libraries look beyond the books to target kid audiences in the afternoon hours.
For more ideas about activities for kids when the school day ends, check out our guide to after-school classes and programs.
Speaking of libraries, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley is throwing a birthday celebration for President Reagan on Monday with an outdoor ceremony that includes music from a Marine band, color guard, chaplain's address, brass quintet, and a 21-gun salute.
Will he see his shadow? Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual prediction Thursday as to whether winter continues or there's an early spring. Groundhog Day is a great opportunity to teach kids about seasons, weather, and renewal; Pretend City in Irvine joins in the Groundhog Day fun, helping kids make their very own Phil, learn about weather forecasting, and hear a story about a groundhog who is struggling to draw a distinction between himself and his shadow.
Also this week, the Discovery Cubes in LA and OC begin new featured exhibits. At Discovery Cube LA, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer exhibit features puzzles, mazes, and obstacles as kids learn problem-solving skills in the famous turtles' sewer-like lair. And at Discovery Cube OC's Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit, the author's love of nature and respect for the emotional lives of children are at the center of activities that include kids' role-playing as five special insects on journeys of discovery.
With all the recent (much-needed) rain, we head indoors for the most part with our list of weekday activities. These include the Kids' Handwriting Day Craft Program and Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum at branch libraries, CAAM: After School and Free Day at the Long Beach Art Museum at local museums, and movie screenings such as the Disney Moana Sing-Along and Mulan (Throwback Thursday).
Kids soon can immerse themselves in the imagination and creativity of the Legoland California Resort in a whole new way. We attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Legoland Castle Hotel, scheduled to open in the spring of 2018, and we're already excited to pack our bags and move in!
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." The words and actions of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hold many lessons for kids. As we honor him at a variety of events on Monday, we can pass on that kids should treat all people the way they want to be treated—kindly and fairly. Driving the point home is this year's Kingdom Day Parade in South Los Angeles, with the 2017 theme "Now More Than Ever, We All Must Work Together."
MOCA pays tribute to that idea by closing the week with free admission on Inauguration Day. But if all of this is too much to think about, there are a few opportunities this week to escape with free movies.
OK, we all made it to the other side of the holidays; it's time to settle back into routines.
Luckily, "routine" here means there's still plenty of opportunities to go out to see and do things with the kids. Your less crowded calendar lets you get around to ongoing activities that include classic movie screenings, weekly storytimes, and myriad free museum days. There's still time to catch Rogue One at El Capitan and the Science Behind Pixar exhibit at the Science Center. And there are some last-chance events as well this week: Bob Baker's Nutcracker and Universal's From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience are both in their final days. There are even two kinds of circus in one day later in the week.
Happy New Year! The first week of the year brings some classic annual family traditions. One local favorite, of course, is seeing the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena in person—a bucket list item if ever there was one. Families spend the night staking out prime viewing spots along the 5.5-mile parade route. This year the parade is on Monday, a day later than usual, because New Year's Day fell on a Sunday. Following Monday's parade, and continuing through Tuesday, post-parade viewing of the floral-covered floats parked at the end of the route is another only-in-LA, only-this-week family outing.
The week ends with Los Tres Reyes Magos, Olvera Street's annual celebration of the traditional Christian holiday of the Epiphany of the Magi (visit of the Three Kings), with music and a procession followed by a colorful theatrical production and piñata in the Plaza. In Mexico and other Latin countries, many children receive their Christmas gifts on this day; around here it's more common to celebrate by recycling Christmas trees.