Toby B

Toby B

Toby is our uber-busy events editor for Mommy Poppins LA. Feel free to send Toby events for our LA area calendar, or follow Toby on Google+.

Latest posts by Toby

Free (or Almost Free) Summer Movies for Families All Over LA

And... action! As summer kicks off, a familiar annual scene is playing out at locations throughout the Southland: the season of free, nearly free, and gloriously cheap outdoor summer movie series has started rolling. At museumsparks, beaches, and malls, indoors and outdoors, in the early morning and by the light of the moon, families can catch both recent blockbusters and timeless classics for free or close to it. (While free is awesome, we think a dollar is still pretty good!)

Below you can find our comprehensive guide to free (and darn close to it) summer movie screenings and festivals. Click on the event names for more details, including movie titles. And keep checking back, because we'll continue to post more listings as they are announced, throughout the 2017 summer movie season.

Memorial Day Weekend for LA Kids: Greeks, Scots, Music, and Fireworks

First and foremost, Memorial Day is about the members of the armed forces who gave their lives in our nation’s service. Their sacrifice is unimaginable, our debt to them beyond measure. To those lost, and to those who serve our nation and all it stands for, we salute you.

The weekend is not all somber reflection: Memorial Day also means a long weekend, and the unofficial start of summer. Festival is the word of the day: throughout the Southland folks gather to enjoy yummies and wild art, and to celebrate different cultures (including Greek, Scottish, and Topangan). Discovery Cube LA opens a new exhibit, and Discovery Cube OC flies in with two of its own.

And, of course, Memorial Day weekend closes with tributes to our fallen heroes. Ceremonies are being held at the Nixon Presidential Library, in Burbank and Canoga Park, and at Woodlawn and Forest Lawn Cemeteries.

Read on for some of our favorite picks for this three-day holiday weekend...

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Bug Fair, JPL, Strawberries, & Roses

Things are looking up, my friends. Like, way up—astronomically, even. Especially if you are among the lucky few who managed to snatch up a golden ticket to this weekend's free open house at JPL. (Either way, we hope our heads-up helped you try!) You'll get to see actual star destroyers satellites and other spacecraft, talk to scientists whose work peers into the far reaches and very beginnings of our universe, and maybe operate a rover. But if this one passed you by, no worries: the weekend is full of tasty thingsFragrant thingsCreepy, crawly, serve 'em on a cracker things! You can relive one of the greatest conflicts in our country's history (but rest easy knowing the outcome). Need a little brushing up on your civics lessons? Learn them the cartoon way! Not into conflict? Well, fiddle-dee-dee, you can strum along with that tomorrow!

Other highlights this week are a city's centennial, a fare thee well to a favored faire, a festive fling, and a bicycle blowout. And next weekend is Memorial Day, so you know what that means: Summer is coming!  Prepare to shine.

Keep reading for our most optimistic events for this weekend...

Mother's Day Weekend Things To Do with LA Kids: Fire Service Day, Airport Day, and Brunch

Here's what Momma wants for Mother's Day: ice cream, firemen, and frappuccinos. All the rest is just whipped cream on said frap. Sure, there are other things that will be greatly appreciated. Ice show with world champions? Don't mind if I do! A magical musical movie screening? Are you a wizard reading my mind, Harry? And yes, I would be delighted to accompany you to brunch. Is there bacon at said brunch? More's the better.

Of course, every mom is different. One size does not fit all, which is why frappuccinos come in grande, venti, and some other size. Did I mention I'm a mom? I totally deserve this.

There are some other things going on this weekend: the final weekend of the Flashlight exhibit (with a free photo for Grandma or Mom), a breakfast with gibbons (see how well they treat their mamas), the Anaheim Baby Show (for Moms new to the momming business), and a bunch of clever craft activities that can double as gifts for Mom (aw, isn't that thoughtful!). There are even freebies for Mom, because, really, where would you be without her?  

Call your mom; send her some flowers, and keep reading for some of our most maternal picks for this weekend.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Great Big Family Play Day, Free Comics, Cinco de Mayo

What can we say except "you're welcome"? Los Angeles earns its reputation as the friendliest town around with a giant welcome sign for all incoming travelers to see. And the sign? It's people! Super welcoming people!

All around town, the welcome mat remains out. You are welcome to explore the streets of Downey. You are welcome to get some new comic books—for free! You are welcome to celebrate Cinco, listen eclectically, indulge in ornithology, and flirt with some fraps.

And hello, you are welcome to join MOMMY POPPINS at the event of the year, SoCal Moms Great Big Family Play Day. We will be there and eager to meet you. (Come by and say hi!) (We're super friendly!)

Keep reading for our most welcoming events for this weekend...

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: YALLWest, Puppet Festival, and We All Play

I'm all about giving back, especially when "giving back" is code for "having an awesome time." This weekend offers several fundraisers that are really just an excuse to enjoy yourself (particularly if you are a kid). Saturday's Truck Adventures lets kids climb on, poke, prod, and jimmy a wide range of trucks and one-of-a-kind vehicles, with the drivers who operate them there on hand to answer curious kiddos' questions. (And by the way, your entrance fee benefits Make a Wish Foundation.) Also Saturday, you can see young Hollywood stars perform scenes by kid writers. (And by the way, your ticket price benefits Young Storytellers program, which mentors the young writers.)

On Sunday, the Zimmer's We All Play! event has everything we love about the museum: the airplane, the ball pit, the activities and crafts, and reality-play environments throughout the museum—combined with special day-of only activities like concerts by favorite kid bands (Lucky Diaz! Luis & Ana!), giant Hasbro games, a cookie bar (yum!), a petting zoo and puppy kissing booth (what?), free food, and fun giveaways. We went last year and had a blast. (And by the way your entrance fee benefits the Zimmer's Family Access Program, so more kids can play!)

Of course, as usual, this weekend offers tons of other opportunities for fun. You can ride the rails and party like a Victorian, watch kid-friendly films and attend an award show. Literary types take over Santa Monica, while DTLA's library gets STEAM-y. Long Beach walks the walk (or rides it), while Brentwood gets arty and Burbank puts on a parade. You can celebrate puppets and sanitation and Cinco de Mayo and Holland's King. (And by the way, some of these have no entrance fee at all!)

Keep reading for our most giving finds this weekend...

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Book Fest, Butterfly Release, Earth Day, April 22-23

It's all good this weekend. First, there's good for the environment: Earth Day recognizes the importance of looking after the number one mother (Earth) with a flurry of good festivals celebrating the planet we call home. You can show Momma E some love at the zoo, the aquarium, gardens, or the beach, and on bikes, at the movies, with crafts, concerts, kites, and cleanups.

Then there's a good book. You can find plenty of those at the LA Times Festival of Books, one of the goodliest events of the year. 

And since one good turn deserves another, why not join a whole bunch of science types gathering at the Columbia Memorial Space Center, showing all the good science can do? More science lovers are getting together in Pershing Square; a whole lot of good could come of it.

Keep reading for our most goodly finds this weekend...