Like most Angelenos, I've been to Long Beach—but until recently I had never considered taking a weekend getaway there. Without traffic I can make it to Long Beach in roughly half an hour, meaning that a trip to the aquarium or to see the holiday lights at the Queen Mary is no big deal. So why would I commit to a full weekend there? The folks at the Long Beach Visitors Bureau invited me to find the answer to that rhetorical question, and I am so glad they did. What a wonderful surprise it was to discover that Long Beach is much more than just a busy port wrapped around an aquarium! In fact, this gem, hidden in plain sight, is a delightful beach town full of family activities and indulgent recreation.
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.
Latest posts by Roberta
Hopefully someone is making brunch reservations for you this Mother's Day—but what to do with the rest of the day? Well, there's nothing like feeling appreciated, and what says, "We appreciate you, Mom!" better than free admission (or a free meal, free champagne, or free joust)? Check out these places around town where the free carpet is rolled out just for mamas on Mother's Day.
The weekends of May are packed with activity; there's Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and that one weekend without a holiday. There are parades, festivals, shows, and people eating bugs. With so much going on, it's easy to miss something. To help you keep track, here's a list of the biggest, most once-a-year-ish events happening this month. We'll keep adding to our Event Calendar daily, and it's a good idea to make sure our weekly recommendations arrive in your inbox, but we figured you'd appreciate some advance notice on these May favorites.
Mother's Day, and the brunching is easy—and when we say easy, we mean the culinary version of a chick flick. This is not a day for the Denny's Lumberjack Slam (not that there's anything wrong with that); Mother's Day brunch begs sprigs of rosemary, ocean views, and maybe a harp plucked with a rose. Or, if that's not your thing, Fillmore & Western Railway is happy to Throw Mama on the Train. The key is Mom's Choice—all day!
Read on for some of our favorite restaurants that offer a pretty darn fabulous Mother's Day brunch.
We just got word that Annenberg PetSpace's new summer camp is already full for the season—that didn't take long! But even if you missed it, there are still a whole bunch of wonderful reasons to bring kids to explore this unique, critter-focused community space, many of which are free. The center has educational programs and play opportunities that include story hours, classes, scavenger hunts, birthday parties, and more—all created to strengthen the bond between pets and people. If you thought Annenberg PetSpace was just an adoption center, get ready to take a closer look.
Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but here in SoCal turning on the hose for entertainment is frowned upon these days. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through hot days at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below—many of which are open year-round. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad!
Southern California is blessed with some of the world's most famous theme parks; families travel from all over to experience Disneyland and the original Universal Studios Hollywood (including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter)—but just 90 miles to the south, in the San Diego suburb of Carlsbad, is a park that has at least as much to offer as the mouse and the wizard. There is a whole lot more to Legoland California than bricks, and truth be told I prefer a day there to any other major theme park.
Themed Nighttime Lights over Hogwarts shows return for most school holidays; watch for them at Christmastime, summer vacation, and spring break.