Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch. She served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom. After two years as Mommy Poppins' LA Editor, Roberta became Editor-in-Chief at Mommy Poppins - which works out well for her son, who enjoys his role as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
You can also keep up with Roberta by following her on Google+.
Latest posts by Roberta
Things just got a little more magical at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In case the end of a long day at Universal Studios ever felt like it needed an extra something to send everyone off with a smile, the theme park has added a new lights display for the summer (and, rumor has it, for Christmastime as well). Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is a dazzling and delightful light show projected on and around Hogwarts Castle, accompanied by John Williams' familiar score and narration by the Sorting Hat. This goes way beyond pyrotechnics, creating a breathtaking effect that is definitely worth hanging around until nightfall to see—just like it's worth hanging around to the end of our list of insider tips for our advice on the best way to view it.
Universal is a big park, as your calf muscles will no doubt remind you the day after you visit. While parks like Knott's or Seaworld can be approached with a devil-may-care, keep-your-stinkin'-map sort of spontaneity, Universal's size is better served by a plan. Consider including these ten tips when you form yours.
If you've got an 8-12-year-old interested in STEM or movie-making, hurry up and run to the nearest computer; Apple has just opened registration for its free three-day camps. Located at many Apple store locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, these camps won't last long and are 100% free, so we wanted you to be the first to know!
For more camp information and ideas, check out our Camp Guide and Directory.
Who's ready for some rockets' red glare? LA and Orange County's many communities compete for sky space on July 4th, launching fireworks willy-nilly at the stroke of 9pm. From the mountains, to the valleys, to the ocean, Angelenos have plenty of directions to look on Independence Day. Whether your plan is to book a fireworks cruise, to lay a blanket in a park, or to close all the windows and try not to wake the baby, it helps to know where those firecrackers are being aimed. Below is a list of locations lighting up the night sky on the 4th of July (plus one on June 24). We'll keep adding more right up to the day!
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!
There are lots of ways to celebrate Father's Day. You can do a special-occasion meal among sharks, presidents, or the night market masses. You can brunch among vintage airplanes. We've got Father's Day adventures to recommend for every kind of dad. But most of these ideas require parting with a little of that Tooth Fairy cash. Wouldn't Dad prefer something more, well, FREE? Sure he would! Dad loves a freebie as much as the next guy. So check out these free offers just for dads, and just on Father's Day.
We're sorry to hear that Whimsic Alley, the we're-not-supposed-to-say-Harry-Potter style fan store and party space on the Miracle Mile, is closing later this month. That means no more birthday parties, costume balls, and High Teas set in the faux Hogwarts Great Hall, no more SciFi fan weekends, and no more summers spent at "The Camp that Lived." After several years of having this underground Potter fix at our fingertips, Los Angeles is to become a one-Hogwarts town, with Universal's Wizarding World as the only quidditch game in town.
There is, at least, one silver lining.
School lets out early these days, which means all the weekends of June count as summer—and LA has the festivals to fill them. Summer movie series are already lighting up the Southland night; the beaches are hopping, and the water parks and splash pads are open. If you're ready to start your summer with the dozen biggest, most once-a-year-ish events happening in June, then read on. We'll continue to send our weekly picks, of course, and we'll keep adding to our Event Calendar daily; but consider yourself on notice for these June favorites—most of which are free!
How stressful is the end of the school year? Let me count the ways. Oh sure, there's the silver lining coming of not having to drive to school or argue about homework for 10 blissful weeks; but blissful loses its luster pretty quickly in the face of, "What are we going to do today?" – particularly if you already know that what YOU need to do doesn't involve sprinklers or beaches. We know we should have figured out summer camp by now, really we do. We have a stack of flyers for neat-o programs that are probably filled up already with kids whose parents got on this weeks ago.
Summer vacation may be staring you in the face, but there's no need to panic; all of the camps listed below still have availability as of this publish date. Some of the programs even allow families to book by the day, for ultimate spontaneity. After all, you have to leave some time to bum around doing the fun things in our Summer Guide.