Did someone say zoo? If your little ones have fallen for the non-stop furry cuteness of LA's petting zoos (and there are plenty in and around LA), there's a chance they're going to start thinking bigger. There are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to see at many zoos, and while petting is not recommended for most of the occupants (seriously, keep your kid out of the bear enclosure), young ones love seeing creatures live and in-person that they usually only read about in books. Here are some of the many zoos within easy driving distance. While the Los Angeles Zoo is naturally on the list, it's hardly the only game in town.
Latest posts by Li Starr
Southern California's balmy beach towns are a treat worth seeking out at any time of year, whether you're an LA family looking for escape, or a visitor wanting to experience the best of our famous California beaches. Right in the heart of LA County we have a few seaside gems; drive an hour or two farther and you'll find towns that feel like they're a world away.
The 10 seaside towns below not only have fabulous sand and surf, there's plenty worth exploring once you head off the beach, too. Find out for yourself why these are our favorite SoCal beach towns.
If you live in LA, chances are good that you know every nook and cranny of such kid-friendly museums as LACMA, California Science Center, the Discovery Cube, and Kidspace Children's Museum—but you may never have been to the Valley Relics Museum. This museum, housed in two airplane hangars next to the Van Nuys Airport, will send you down Memory Lane and give your kiddos an insight into all things retro-cool—including a whole lot of free pinball!
Hotel pools have a certain magic for kids; in fact, book a hotel without a pool at your peril. Whether you're vacationing in the City of Angels, or just looking for a staycation that puts your kids' swim lessons to good use (while waiters bring you delicious food and decadent adult beverages), there's always a good reason to take advantage of LA's bounty of hotel pools. Any of the hotels below is worth a weekend for the pool alone. Don't want to spend the night? These hotels are not only great spots to base a vacation or staycation—they all offer day passes for their pools, too. And while not all hotel pools are kid-friendly, this list of family favorites can turn any swim day into a family vacation, whether you're staying or day-playing.
A Disney Cruise is a memorable experience for any kid (or, really, any grown-up) whether the ship stops in the Bahamas, Europe, Jamaica, or some other exotic port—like Alaska. My family recently cruised Alaska Disney style, and if you're considering this particular Disney Cruise, I have a few tips that should make your vacation even more magical.
Orange County may sometimes be considered second fiddle compared to Los Angeles for fun eats, kid-friendly parks, family outings, and outdoor adventures; but the OC has plenty of all of these—with the benefits of better air and less traffic (sorry, Angelenos!). If your kids are growing up the OC way, here are some key places to take them for the ultimate childhood experience behind the Orange curtain.
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.
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.