If Christmas lights are your jam, you may have wondered about the oodles of drive-thru holiday light displays that have sprung up around LA this season as antidotes to the pandemic blues. With so many holiday traditions canceled for Christmas 2020, it's pretty exciting to find new ones. But are these commercial drive-thrus worth the price of admission? In the case of Holiday Road at King Gillette Ranch, I'm going to go out on a Christmas tree limb to say yes! If you're able to spend some of the cash you're saving by missing out on Disneyland and holiday travel, then Holiday Road could be a delightful and festive evening excursion for the whole family.
Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch in 2011, eventually becoming Mommy Poppins Editor-in-Chief in 2013. Previously she served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom—all of which works out well for her son, who has grown up serving as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
Latest posts by Roberta
Holiday trains, like many of our annual traditions, have been hit hard by the restrictions of a pandemic holiday season—but the good news is that there are still a few running! Some of our favorites, most notably the two rides families love in Griffith Park, are on hiatus in 2020, but the train rides below have found ways to make their holiday experience COVID-friendly. Obviously masks are a must, and Santa Claus won't be hugging anyone, but there are seats available (so far!) on the train rides below, from Thanksgiving weekend until just before Christmas. We recommend booking ASAP, especially since fewer seats are being offered, to allow for social distancing.
If you don't manage to book the Polar Express experience, though, you could always play the Polar Express soundtrack while driving your crew through one of LA's Holiday Light Drive-thrus!
Who misses seeing a movie in a movie theater? Watching new releases on an iPhone got old really fast, and even if you have a great TV for family movie nights, there is something sooo much more special about going to a real live cinema, sitting in those indulgent movie theater seats, leaning back, and watching a new movie on an enormous screen with no interruptions (preferably with a snack you would never eat under any other circumstances). Well, good news: whether or not your state is allowing movie theaters to reopen, there is a way to have that big screen cinema experience again—and without having to sit next to anyone you don't know!
A pandemic Halloween season needs creative solutions, and Los Angeles has met that challenge head on. We know trick-or-treating this year is iffy at best, parties are taboo, and theme park haunts are all canceled; but Halloween promoters and enthusiasts have hit October running with a variety of drive-thrus, drive-bys, and socially distanced Halloween activities. Most of these COVID-era Halloween experiences are new for 2020, and the highest profile of the bunch is the Hauntoween Drive-thru in Woodland Hills. We made a journey on opening night to give this celebration a test drive, find out how a rolling haunt works, and see if Hauntoween is worth the price of admission.
LA County Health officials have at long last announced that parks and playgrounds around Los Angeles can reopen, after a closure of more than six months for the relentless COVID-19 pandemic. It's not surprising that all over the Southland parents are scrambling for shoes and asking each other "Where? When??" The problem is that, as encouraging as the October 5 announcement sounds, practical answers to "Which playground??" are not so easy to come by. But go ahead and find that other shoe, because some playgrounds have already begun reopening.
Time for swimming lessons? Group swim classes at a local YMCA or community pool can vary widely in quality (even within a single facility), so we’re here to tell you where Angelenos who are serious about getting the job done keep their kids afloat—and it doesn't have to cost a mint. Private and semi-private swim lessons don't necessarily require a private pool, and they do get kids on the fast track to independent swimming. Several popular swim instructors and schools make use of public pools or swing deals with private pool owners to make private instruction accessible to everyone. Check out the great options below for getting kids safe in the water.
COVID-19 info: Note that as of the publish date, indoor pool facilities are not open in LA County, so lessons are only available outdoors or over the county line. The swim schools below are able to function within those parameters; swim schools that are closed during the pandemic are not listed.
Find more ideas for classes, tutoring, pod support, and homework help at our online Back-to-School Fair, going on now!
Distance learning is hard and almost no one's first choice—this we know. But not everything about it is awful. In fact, there are even a dozen or so things about it that my family has found kind of nice.
We may be wishing for the good old days, but sometimes it's good to remember that these are the good old days. And the 12 things below might even be things we'll miss about remote learning when all this is a bizarre memory.
Find loads of remote learning resources in our 2020 Back-to-School Guide.
Back to School doesn't sound nearly so bad when the way you get there is by careening through a wall at Platform 9 3/4, pushing a trunk and an owl.
If your kids are feeling wary about starting the new school year remotely (or in person wearing masks), it might help to join Harry Potter and the gang on their first ever virtual back-to-school trip to Hogwarts. After all, who knows better than Harry, Ron, and Hermione what it feels like to be a little scared of danger and the unknown in a new school year?