The City of Angels is also the City of FUN for kids!! Besides the beautiful beaches, there’s tons of family friendly attractions in sunny Los Angeles. Disneyland is a solid 45 minutes away, so here’s a quick list of my top picks for when your family vacation in L.A. is too short for day trips:
The Beaches – The California coast has so many beaches to choose from, it’s tough to know which ones are the best for kids. Among the best family beaches in L.A. is the Santa Monica State Beach. Here you’ll find attractions like the Santa Monica Pier & Pacific Park, along with paved paths (great for strollers), places to eat and well-maintained bathrooms. Visit our post on Family Beaches in LA for more info.
George C. Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits – Since he was two years old my son has said he wants to be a paleontologist, so there is no way we could miss a visit to this legendary spot. This post by local mom blogger and history buff Debra from Breathe Lighter taught me a few things that I had to share with you:
The oldest organisms found in the tar Pits is a wood fragment that dates from 40,000 years ago. And the most common large mammal found are dire wolves. The ancient predator was about the size of a modern-day wolf.
But the second more common fossil found is the Smilodon californicus. This sabre-toothed cat is also the California state fossil. Hundreds of thousands of its bones have been found, representing thousands of the big cats.
I always thought that the place was known for dinosaur fossils, but really, no dinosaurs have been found there. Still totally worth a visit for the many fossils that were found from other eras and are on display there… including mammoths (a personal favorite of my son’s)!! Please visit her post for even more great photos and info. Hmm… does every state have a state fossil?
California Science Center – This is not your typical science museum. For one thing, you can see an actual space shuttle along with other air and space exhibits. There are the typical hands-on learning by building something type exhibits, how your body works, germs, energy, etc.; which are all very cool and fun. But the most unique feature, to me, is the Ecosystems exhibits where you walk through and touch items from seven different ecosystems. Alexander Stuart shares his thoughts from a recent visit with his kids:
It’s really worth checking out the astonishing Ecosystems Experience at the LA Science Museum (actually it’s called the California Science Center) on Exposition Boulevard.
There is a truly beautiful kelp tank with the shoal of fish I photographed here, as well as swell sharks, bat rays and other marine life that you would find in a kelp forest.
The kelp has even started to reproduce in the tank – watch out for the tiny yellow triangles that show where baby kelp is growing. Really worth a visit. We took our young children and they loved it – as did I.
The Hollywood Sign photo op – If you are visiting LA, one of the most famous icons in the world is the Hollywood sign. According to L.A. Kid Stuff blog, the best places to get a postcard-worthy photo is from Griffith Park Observatory, Beachwood Drive in Hollywood, and Lake Hollywood Park / Lookout Point. If you want to know exactly the best place to be, check out their post.
Universal Studios Hollywood – This is on everyone’s top 10 list for good reason… there’s nothing else like it!! Sure there’s a Universal Studios in Orlando, but they don’t have the Back Lot Tour, which is tour of actual shows and movies being filmed as well as memorable sets from movies and shows past. High Tech Dad has some really good tips on the entire theme park, including this insider advice:
And when the park is in full swing, you probably need 2 days to see all of the shows and get all all of the rides as well as do the back lot tour. But let me tell you this secret, if you can afford it, the Front of the Line pass (which is either $129 or $149 depending on the season) is well worth it in that you can actually see everything in the park in one day (and even do a few things a couple of times).
Check out his full post for more tips and be sure to watch the highlight reel he made. 🙂
There’s obviously way more than 5 things to do in L.A. with kids, so what are your favorites?
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