Yay! The great California reopening is happening! The Dodgers can play to capacity crowds. Disneyland can sell all the tickets—and we can bring out-of-town guests, too. Kids are out of school, but pretty much every Califonia school is pledging to return in-person, 5 days a week in the fall (or summer, since we have a ridiculously early start). Museums, theme parks, zoos, restaurants, and more are all open. But does California reopening mean no more masks? Is social distancing a thing of the past?
As California reopens fully this week, we're looking at what that means, what's reopening, and everything in LA that's now open for kids...
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The Rules for California Reopening
As of Tuesday, June 15, California is fully reopen. One of the first states to fully lockdown, we beat this thing (knock wood) and the reward is a full reopening. That means Disneyland (and all our favorite theme parks) are allowed to open at capacity. Sports stadiums (outdoor ones) can sell as many tickets as the stands can hold. Restaurants and bars can seat people indoors. And every place we love can reopen.
These are the top questions parents, kids, and all Angelenos are asking:
1. Do I have to wear a mask?
Well, that depends. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks unless they are on public transportation, in a K-12 school or child care center, in a hospital, or at a jail. Unvaccinated people (including kids over 2) are still required to wear face coverings when indoors in a public space. Also, a business can require masks of anyone on the premises. So check with a museum or business to find out what their mask requirements are before visiting.
2. Do I have to make reservations?
Mostly, still, at theme parks and museums. (You'll notice none of these answers are definitive!) As it took a while for businesses to implement operational guidelines, many are un-doing these same guidelines at varying rates. Check with a venue to confirm the current policy before visiting.
3. Will I have to prove I'm vaccinated to go places?
No, not to go places. However, businesses have the option of implementing a vaccine verification system and may require those who do not show proof of vaccination to wear masks. Also, at indoor events of more than 5,000 people, all guests must show proof that they are fully vaccinated (or show a negative coronavirus test) to enter. Some outdoor venues, like the Hollywood Bowl, may also ask for proof of vaccination or negative test (this is recommended for outdoor venues that seat over 10,000 people, but not required).
4. Will schools open this fall with hybrid or online learning still an option?
At this time, LAUSD plans to open all campuses for in-person classes, 5 days a week. Outgoing Superintendent Buetner has stated that there will be the option for online learning for families. But the fall is a long, long way away (it's summer, people!) and things may change if there is any change in the number of cases in LA. Also, there are a lot of school districts in Southern California, so be sure to check the policy at your school.
The rule we've been living under at Mommy Poppins during these changing times is to always verify before visiting. Institutions, businesses, and individuals are all making the decisions that are right for them, often on a daily changing basis. Check, verify, and keep following Mommy Poppins, as we update all our favorite local kids' museums, zoos, restaurants, and more as soon as the information is available.
Museums in Los Angeles That Are Open
The Autry Museum
The Autry Museum of the American West, right across from the LA Zoo, is now open.
The museum reopened for all guests on May 6.
California Science Center
This fabulous, much-missed space for kids is now open. Timed entry reservations are required for everyone. Some high-touch galleries and exhibits are still temporarily closed, many Science Center exhibits have been adapted for hands-free interaction. Timed tickets are also available for purchase for The Art of the Brick.
After being closed for more than a year, LACMA is opening again. Though most of the buildings are closed while the new museum is being built, the grounds, the BCAM Building, and Resnick Pavilion will all be open. This means Metropolis II is back, and that's really all the kids care about!
The Museum of Dream Space
Another Hollywood photo-op destination is open. These rooms and experiences are inspired by the work of Yayoi Kusama, so for families who love the Infinity Mirror Room at the Broad Museum, here's your chance to recreate a little of that digital art magic.
Southern California Railway Museum
The museum has reopened its campus and outdoor exhibits for visitors, while indoor exhibits and car barns remain closed. Train and trolley rides have also resumed.
Meet friendly lorikeets at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo by cruz__26/Instagram
Places in LA Where Kids Can Visit Animals
The Los Angeles Zoo
Hooray! The LA Zoo is now open, offering a modified zoo experience with limited capacity, and advance, timed-entry reservations are required. But the zoo is back.
The Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium has reopened both indoor and outdoor areas as of March 16. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Retail and food services are also open.
Heal the Bay Santa Monica Aquarium
The Aquarium has reopened on the weekend only with new outdoor patio exhibits, which include two animal displays: tidepool creatures and the full lifecycle of sharks with shark pups.
Montebello Barnyard Zoo
Now open with pony rides (kids need to bring bike helmets to take a pony ride), train rides, a petting zoo, a picnic area, and playground.
While the farm is open for visits, for health and safety reasons, currently no more than 6 people can visit Danny's Farm at a time, and visits are limited to one hour. Check the website for details and to make reservations.
The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn is only open for "Cow Hug Therapy" at this time: Get hugs and unconditional love from the therapy cows. Make a one-hour appointment for your family.
The Ocean Institute
Dana Point's Ocean Institute fully reopened on April 10, with two new exhibits.
Moorpark Animal Center at Underwood Farms
See the farm animals! While play structures and feeding/petting the animals are not currently allowed, all 13 baby goats, baby chicks, ponies, alpacas, emus, sheep, bunnies, birds, and more are there for kids to see.
The Shadowland Foundation
While the foundation has suspended Saturday visits with wolves, families or small groups can still book a private experience to meet (and feed) wolves in person.
The Gibbon Conservation Center
The Gibbon Conservation Center, the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to gibbons, offers tours to visit the rarest group of apes in the western hemisphere. You can now visit the center.
The Living Desert
The desert zoo is open, and a trek to Palm Springs rewards visitors with a chance to get up close and personal with bighorn sheep, mountain lions, desert tortoises, and countless other animals.
Oasis Camel Dairy
While currently only offering private tours, this is an experience no one can forget: a visit to Oasis Camel Dairy, just north of San Diego. Tours can include feeding and taking rides on the camels.
Orange County Great Park
While attractions (like the balloon ride and carousel) are still closed, outdoor park spaces and playgrounds (including the Farm + Food Lab) are open at Orange County Great Park.
Santa Monica Pier
The pier is now open daily again, after briefly being closed on weekends, to reduce crowds. While rides are closed, restaurants are open for takeout, and you can still take lessons at the trapeze school, do the Secret Story Tour, rent bikes, and go fishing.
Go karts with outdoor tracks are now allowed to operate, which means K1 Speed in Anaheim is now racing, as is Go Kart World in Carson, and Boomers in Irvine (which also has mini golf and batting cages).
Irvine Park Railroad
Choo-choo, this track is running its open-air train daily. Pony rides and paddleboat rentals are also available at Irvine Park. Bring a picnic and make a day of it!
Take a ride under the Hollywood sign. Photo courtesy of Sunset Ranch
Outdoor Sports & Activities for Families in Los Angeles
If your little slugger is missing Little League, batting cages are open.
Water Sports Rental and Lesson
With ocean breezes clearing the air and longboards and boats enforcing social distancing, SUP, kayak, surf, and other water sports rental shops and lesson providers are all open for business.
Beach Bike Rentals
Rent (or bring) a bike to ride the beach bike path, bike rental shops and beach biking paths are open.
Farmers markets all over LA County are open, and while samples and pony rides are currently on hold, visiting your local farmers market is a great way to support local farms who have been hit hard this year.
Guests can take a wagon ride around the farm and pick some veggies.
The Underwood Farms Moorpark location is also open daily for pick your own visits to the field, as well as saying hi to the animals at the animal center.
The Original Farmers Market
This open-air market is fully open. Also now open: outdoor dining! So get groceries for the week, and enjoy a meal (or ice cream, or donuts) today.
Something is always blooming at Descanso. Photo courtesy of Descanso Gardens
Hike to the Batcave in Griffith Park, as trails are open. However, this popular hike can get crowded, so families may wish to visit on weekdays or early morning.
Eaton Canyon Natural Area
While the nature center at Eaton Canyon is closed, the trails remain open and are perfect for cautious families. They never get crowded, because free reservations are required to access these trails.
Malibu Wine Hikes
Malibu Wine is open and leading hikes that never get crowded, because they’re on private property. It’s the only way to see the vineyards of Saddlerock Ranch and the Chumash Native American cave paintings on this property. (Yes, there is a fee, but you also go home with wine-and support a local business!)
Visit Griffith Observatory
The Observatory is still closed, but you can still visit the landmark spot, hike, and take in the views of the city, Hollywood sign, and even the ocean.
Toodle around Griffith Park in a mini car. Photo courtesy of Sunny Day Scoot
Outings & Adventures for Families in Southern California
Fillmore & Western Train Rides
With reduced capacity and masks, families can take a Saturday scenic ride on a Fillmore & Western train this summer before it closes to change ownership.
Island Packers started running trips to the Channel Islands again at the end of January—now is a beautiful time to go visit the island dwarf fox or take a kayak around one of the islands.