As a parent, it takes a whole production getting your little ones out the door. Finding interesting and convenient family activities without paying Disney dollars or spending hours looking for parking is a challenge on multiple fronts.
Fortunately, Los Angeles provides many unique opportunities outside the Chuck E. Cheese’s of the world for parents looking for these types of activities. That said, here’s a list of ideas of things for kids to do in L.A. every parent should be adding to their arsenal. It’s not exhaustive, but it should get you pointed in the right direction.
After all, in the never-ending quest to occupy and entertain your kids, you’ll need all the help you can get. 😉
Rundown starts after the jump!
1. Leonis Adobe
In the heart of Calabasas lies this historic adobe and ranch that is Los Angeles’ first designated landmark. Celebrating the 1880’s, the staff dresses in period pieces and provides a great background to the site’s great history. There is plenty of space for kids to explore what a 19th century lifestyle was like including a number of barnyard animals they can see up close.
23537 Calabasas Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302
2. Remo Drum Circles
If you’re tired of your child using their pent up energy chucking your cell phone, then Remo’s Drum Circles are for you. Saturday mornings, they host two sessions where kids are welcome to play along/against the drum leader. With access to hundreds of drums and free admission for children($5 for adults), your kids will catch onto the beat quickly.
7308 Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood, CA 91605
3. Grand Park
You can find jet fountains all over Los Angeles, but none with a better view than Grand Park. A perfect getaway during summer(which is almost 300 days of the year), kids will spend hours in the water, just be sure to bring a change of clothes. The park also has plenty of lawn space and shade to let your children roam freely. A new playground will also be opening near the bottom of the park in the coming months.
200 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
4. LA Central Library
Very convenient if you choose public transit, our Central Library is worthy of providing a grand experience for children. You will be overwhelmed with their selection of books along with the added grandeur of the upper level. Check their calendar of events as you’ll find book readings from various special guests. You’re also nearby Grand Central Market, Pershing Square and many other activities to make a day out of it.
630 W 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071
5. Tongva Park
Just a year old, this new park is a great connection from the beach to the promenade. It has many imaginative playground and landscape features that are framed towards the ocean. Remember to look in the civic center for parking as well. It’s a great gateway to start your day if you’re looking to be in the Santa Monica area.
1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401
6. Kidspace Children’s Museum
Tucked right into the Arroyo, the Kidspace Museum is a hassle-free experience as long as you’re not competing with any Rose Bowl events. It provides many unique learning opportunities that are integrated with physical activities, such as their Physics Forest and Nature Exchange. There is enough to do that you may consider purchasing a yearly membership.
480 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91103
7. Griffith Park Merry Go Round
Historic and in great working order, this venerable carousel has been entertaining families in the park since 1937(but built eleven years earlier). At only $2 a ride, it is a great value and with shorter wait times than the pony rides. Shane’s Playground is within eyesight and is one of the few play areas in the country that’s fully accessible for the disabled. Also consider heading to Travel Town where parking is plentiful and admission is free.
4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
8. Getty Center
Now that the Getty has dropped their reservation system, it’s easy to pick up your family and go as you please. Of course, kids love the tram ride up, but they’ll enjoy the gardens and expansive space for your kids to run around. It’s like a modern Versailles. Also, check with their family events and education room for their hands on learning activities.
1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90049
9. Clutter’s Park
With the best view of planes coming in and out of LAX, Clutter’s Park is a great place to introduce those to the wonderment of aviation. Just on the fringe of the Imperial Highway, you’ll find many enthusiasts wilfully sharing fascinating details you’d never imagine as a travel. You’ll see a bigger crowd when the A380 lands, the world’s largest airliner. Also, there’s….
E Imperial Ave & Sheldon St., El Segundo, CA
10. Apollo 11 RC Airfield
Tucked in the middle of Lake Balboa Park, this remote control airfield will keep your kids’ heads spinning for hours. Always filled with a wide variety of replica miniatures, the action is so mesmerizingly chaotic that you could be convinced that a dogfight was going on.
6201 Woodley Ave., Encino, CA
11. California Science Center
Exposition Park has many family activities to offer, but the California Science Center is an excellent place to start. It is filled with educational opportunities for all ages and the admission is FREE! You are also adjacent to the Natural History Museum, IMAX Theater and Rose Garden. For a day’s adventure, take the family on Expo Line which lets you out right on the park’s doorstep!
700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
12. Moonlight Rollerway
Learning how to skate is a difficult task, but starting off in a pair of old school quads is a simpler way to help young ones deal with balance issues. While there are now only a handful of roller rinks left in the Los Angeles area, Moonlight Rollerway has a fun family atmosphere that’ll keep you coming back for more.
5110 San Fernando Rd, Glendale, CA 91204
13. Beverly Hills Library
You don’t have to be Zsa Zsa Gabor to enjoy one of the best libraries in the area. Open to all, their children’s area is beautifully articulated and provides a fun platform for children to interact with reading. There are also a couple of side rooms for when you kids take a break from the books to play. Plus, there is free two hour parking in the structure adjacent.
444 N Rexford Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Are you a parent always looking for activities for your kids in L.A.? Have a suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!