News and happenings in and around Los Angeles.

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ucla meteorite collection

UCLA Meteorite Collection Rocks Your World

As you’re looking to fill the long days of summer with educational activities for the kids, we’ve got one to add to your list: the UCLA Meteorite Collection. The experience is free and open to the public most days of the week, offering hands-on learning opportunities about those crazy rocks that sometimes fall from the sky. On Sunday, docents are on hand to guide visitors. Bonus: it’s air-conditioned.  The entire...

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For Teens and Tweens, A Look Back at the Watts Riots

Our current crop of teens and tweens might not remember the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Likewise, parents may not recall the Watts Riots, a monumental moment in L.A. history that took place 52 years ago this August. On that point, parents and tweens alike can get a history lesson courtesy of the new middle-grade novel from Karen English. “It All Comes Down To...

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Where to See This Month’s Solar Eclipse

Here comes the sun … and there it goes. For the first time in almost 40 years, L.A. families catch a glimpse of a solar eclipse from the comfort of their own backyards or other spots around town. From 9:05–11:43 a.m. Aug. 21, the moon will travel directly in front of the sun, covering more than half of the solar surface for viewers in the L.A. area. The L.A. County...

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P-22

P-22 Makes His Debut at the Natural History Museum

To get into the Natural History Museum’s new installation about famed Griffith Park mountain lion P-22, you have to cross the freeway. OK, it’s not really a freeway, but the 10 lanes of scaled-down moving traffic projected onto the floor at the installation’s entrance make an impression. “The Story of P-22, L.A.’s Most Famous Feline,” opening June 21, is a love letter to the big cat famous for crossing both...

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Churned Creamery: A Sweet Spot to Beat the Heat This Summer

Looking for fun activities for your little ones (who are out of school) that also offer a cool treat? Churned Creamery, a new and innovative ice cream shop, is here to delight and provide a “sweet” oasis from the summer heat. Located just inside the charming Westfield Topanga Mall, Churned Creamery is nestled close to the Children’s Play area, the iconic carousel and various children’s stores including The Children’s Place. The combination could...

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The OC Fair Serves Up Farm-Fresh Summer Fun

The first Orange County Fair, back in 1890, included horse racing and a few exhibits. The 127th OC Fair (a few years were skipped here and there) features the Mexican horsemen of the Fiesta del Charro and the annual Clydesdale horses visit. But racing nowadays focuses more on motorcycles and pigs (the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs!). This year’s fair, with its “Farm Fresh Fun” theme, brings back favorite attractions such as...

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Summer ArtExperience Gets Kids of All Abilities Creating Together

Children with and without disabilities are used to being separated – at school, at camp, at play. The Summer ArtExperience at the ARTX Learning Center in Long Beach brings kids ages 6-12 of all abilities together for 10 days of art exploration. “It’s all about inclusion,” says Monica Fernandez, director of communications and community engagement at the nonprofit Able ARTS Work, a partner with ARTX in the program. “They get...

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Seven Summer Activities for Learning in and Around L.A.

It’s a sweet synergy when you can have fun with your kids while they’re learning. Los Angeles is a big city with even bigger opportunities for families to discover and explore together, but you might not have heard of these lesser-known gems. Among them are a path-blazing center that rescues animals while helping kids connect with nature, a shop where you can go back and forth in time (or, rather,...

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16 Great Ways to Spend Father’s Day in L.A.

When I was a kid, my three brothers and I agreed that going clothes shopping felt more like a punishment than a pleasure. So, when my daughter asked me to take her clothes shopping at local thrift stores, the idea didn’t fill me with excitement. Still, off we went. During our first few stops, including Goodwill and Out of the Closet, I felt like Julia’s driver, biding my time until...

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Catch An Outdoor Film for Family Fun in L.A. This Summer

Feel like catching a summer film and a little family fun by a pool? In a cemetery? At a college? In a Bowl? You can do it at all four, and more! L.A. is blessed with multiple outdoor summer movie series – a few particularly worth knowing about. CSUN’s Summer Movie Fest happens Thursday nights on the university’s Oviatt Library Lawn (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; www.csun.edu/as/summer-movie-fest). June’s free films include...

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L.A. Summer Shakespeare is Great For Teens & Tweens

Summers often mean summer reading for middle and high schoolers. Whether or not Shakespeare is on your tween’s list this year, take advantage of the wealth of summer Shakespeare productions and get an entertaining Shakespeare lesson. Shakespeare By The Sea (www.shakespearebythesea.org) stages its shows, which are always free, all over Southern California, beginning this year at San Pedro’s Point Fermin Park with “The Taming of the Shrew” June 15 and...

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Groot’s California Adventure

May is a major month for “Guardians of the Galaxy” fans. The film’s much-anticipated sequel hit movie screens May 5, and the “Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT!” attraction premieres at Disney’s California Adventure (1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim; www.disneyland.com) May 27. This immersive ride offers guests an family fun and out-of-this-world adventure as they join characters on randomized ride experiences complete with new visual and audio effects and music inspired by...

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The Millennial Dad Takes on Alternative Transportation

I am sitting with Hank in a Nippon Sharyo (which literally means Japanese vehicle) cab, model P865. This pantographed workhorse – a Los Angeles Metro train with a electric-current-collector on top – is here because of years of painstaking negotiations and political savvy, an effort by L.A. officials to create a more attractive cityscape while simultaneously curbing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion. I have fantasized about a train connecting...

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Shopping For a Mom’s Day Out?

Gather the gals for a Mom’s Day Out celebration at The Point and The Collection at Plaza El Segundo from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13. The first 50 attendees to register (at The Point next to Superba Food + Bread) for the free event will receive an exclusive tote and a free ride at Soul Cycle. All attendees receive a VIP passport unlocking exclusive specials: Michael Stars: Mimosas, macaroons and...

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free comic book day

Wow! Bam! Pow! Free Comic Book Day is Here

If there is a comic book fan in your house, you should circle May 6 on your calendar. It’s Free Comic Book Day and, for the 16th year, comic book stores around the country will dole out free comic books – many created just for this day. Titles will include “Super Hero Girls,” “Barbie,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Doctor Who,” “Monster High” and “Underdog.” Among SoCal comics stores participating are...

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los angeles teens

It’s Teen Time at the YMCA This Summer

Cure your teen's summertime blues with free fun at Los Angeles YMCA locations this summer. Ages 12-17 are invited to visit the Y during June and July for free meals provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District, part-time jobs through the city and county of Los Angeles and swimming, basketball, fitness classes, free Wi-Fi and exclusive teen programs. Enrollment begins May 1 at all Los Angeles YMCA locations. All teens enrolled must attend an orientation...

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Cover To Cover Book Festivals

Southern California book lovers rejoice at the arrival of April, when two major book festivals come to town. The 22nd Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books (www.latimes.com/FestivalofBooks) transforms the USC University Park campus into a bibliophile’s paradise from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 22 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 23. As regular festival-goers know, the free event will be packed with author appearances, live entertainment, poetry readings and giveaways as well...

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Millennial Dad: A Voyage of Selfie Discovery

What’s wrong with me? What am I doing clutching my 2-year-old in this chokehold as I attempt to aim my phone at our two duck-lipped faces? Can’t he have a normal “mirror” phase like any other pre-Kardashian child? Profound parental – no, human – guilt confronts me. I know this is wrong, base, tacky. But I need Hank to stare into my smart phone and smile. Smile! C’mon, smile! Instead,...

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Portals Pop Up in Grand Park

Some unusual objects will appear in Grand Park on April 10 – large gold shipping containers. And they aren’t part of a nefarious plot or props from an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster. The containers are the centerpiece of an installation created by the Portals Project. They will function as “portals” that allow park visitors to communicate with people at other “portals” around the world. Twice a day, from April 10-23, you...

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dodgers baseball

Dodgers Put Family Fun and New Tasty Treats on the 2017 Menu

The Dodgers kicked off the 2017 season April 3, and I took a ride out to Dodger Stadium recently for a sneak peek at what’s new. For most of my life, Dodger Stadium has been one of my favorite places to go. I loved going to games as a kid, took my daughters to their first games when they were young – I still remember the smiles when they had their...

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events in los angeles

Spring Fling Things: Experience L.A.’s Family Fun this March

  March 20 officially marks the start of spring, but signs of the season will be apparent even before the Vernal Equinox. At Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge; www.descansogardens.com) the annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place the first two weekends of March. Besides enjoying the beautiful blossoming trees, for an admission fee of $9 adults, $6 students and $4 ages 4-12, visitors can enjoy origami workshops, live...

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Date Night: The Pan Am Experience

Does anyone ever deliberately set out to eat airplane food? If that food is part of Air Hollywood’s Pan Am Experience, you definitely should! Avoid the crowds at LAX, leave your luggage at home and head instead to a cluster of warehouses off the 118 Freeway in San Fernando to board a Pan Am 747 for a flight to the 1970s. Pan American World Airways disbanded in 1991 and the...

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au fudge

“Just Add Magic” Hosts Season Premiere at Au Fudge

Our own L.A. Parent kid reporter, Lola Bassirat, joined the fun at Jessica Biel’s  Au Fudge in West Hollywood Jan. 14 for the season two premiere party of Amazon Studio’s Original Series, “Just Add Magic.” In the series, loosely based on the book of the same name by Cindy Callaghan, three aspiring pre-teen chefs discover a magical cookbook full of recipes that have interesting powers – and consequences. The story...

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los angeles events

Tween Time With Author Greg Pincus

Did you know California once had a law that banned homework? Don’t worry, parents, it was repealed more than a century ago. This obscure law, however, did serve as an inspiration for Greg Pincus’ new middle-grade book, “Homework Strike.” Pincus has brought back Gregory K., the main character from his last book, “The 14 Fibs Of Gregory K.,” and now has Gregory struggling with the trials and tribulations of life...

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snow activities

A Dozen Shades of L.A. Winter Fun

Sometimes it’s hard to tell it is December in California. The skies remain sunny and the temperature touches 80. Sometimes you get the itch for a visit from winter, particularly when that doesn’t require driving on icy roads. This month offers several new spots that can cure your “lack of winter” blues as well as some continuing from November. A Winter Wonderfest takes over Discovery Cube L.A. (11800 Foothill Blvd.,...

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7 Don’t-Miss Events for December

Check out these great family events happening in December. They are our top picks for family fun.

children's resale shops in la

Where to Buy, Sell or Trade Your Kids’ Clothes in L.A.

Buying used clothing for children makes a lot of sense, and if you can clear their closets of outgrown duds at the same time, it’s a no-brainer. I hit up the top resale shops in the L.A. area to find out what types of deals I could make. Here’s the rundown on these awesome spots! The Green Bean: This cozy, colorful Eagle Rock shop is run by Traci Green of...

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Volunteer on Thanksgiving

Give a Little Back This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to consider the many things we are thankful for. It is also a time to become aware of those around us who are in need. Family Volunteer Day, a tradition for 25 years, offers opportunities to lend a helping hand in your community. And when parents and kids participate together, kids get to learn about volunteering and how much good a person can do in the...

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community news

Come Face-to-Face with Hunger in MAZON’s Mobile Exhibit

In this season of thankfulness for what we have, we also try to remember those who struggle. That makes the “This Is Hunger” mobile exhibit coming this month to three local spots aptly timed – especially since it reminds us that often these people look just like us. Inside the exhibit, housed in a 53-foot-long semi trailer, visitors sit around a long wooden table with striking images of families facing food insecurity...

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Very Special Arts Festival Celebrates Children of All Abilities

As I walked into the courtyard of The Music Center this morning I couldn’t help but smile. Children were everywhere — singing, dancing, and making art. More than 5,000 K-12 students of all abilities from all parts of L.A. County came together for the 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival. More than 130 schools attended this year’s festival, celebrating students’ achievements in visual and performing arts. Eighty school groups participated...

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girlfriend getaways

Girlfriend Getaways: Moms’ Time Out

This Sonoma girlfriends’ getaway is perfect for pals with a personality. Repeat after me: “I deserve a break from my momly duties. My girlfriends deserve a break. We are awesome, therefore we should do awesome things on our break.” Of course, escaping your family’s hectic schedule is not easy, nor is coordinating a getaway with busy friends. And finding a location not too far from home with activities that appeal...

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los angeles attractions

Technology Takes a Front Seat This October

October is often full of surprises, and technology brings a surprising twist to two new exhibits opening this month. You can experience a high-tech musical adventure when you venture into the Orbit Pavilion. Located on the Celebration Lawn of the Huntington Gardens (1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; www.huntington.org), this large nautilus-shell-shaped aluminum sculptural installation is a unique collaboration between NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Huntington. From Oct. 29-Feb....

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A Play Date With littleBits

Play dates are always fun, but getting to play the super cool creative engineer on the Disney campus is especially fun! L.A. Parent joined littleBits last week at Disney’s Creative Campus for an exclusive play date to unleash our inner inventor. Ayah Bdeir, creator of littleBits, joined the kids and adults with her product development team for a hands-on exploration of the modular electronic circuit blocks that easily snap together...

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Step Out to Raise Funds for UCPLA

How many steps do you take per day? Do you have 10,000 in you? Find out, get fit and raise funds and awareness for individuals with cerebral palsy during the “Out & About With UCPLA” fitness challenge Oct. 3-28. The money you raise will help purchase equipment such as adaptable tricycles and adaptable beach wheelchairs that help people with cerebral palsy reach their fitness goals. Kids who participate can also...

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The Great Escape: Hollywood Edition

You’ve probably heard friends talking about the new Escape Room craze where you and a handful of fellow sleuths are locked in a room, left to your own devices to crack codes, riddles and puzzles to escape the room in one hour or less. I experienced my first Escape Room a couple months ago, and much like my childhood friend, Nancy Drew, I’ve become hooked on solving mysteries and jump...

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community news

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Shares His Children’s Book

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, possibly best known for his zero-gravity music video of David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity,” is coming to town to share his latest book, “The Darkest Dark.” Hadfield will appear from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at Saint Timothy Church, 10425 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. Hadfield is also the author of “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” and “You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes,” and...

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Firework-free Festivities For the Fourth

The Fourth of July and fireworks are just about as synonymous as you can get. Look up that night and you can’t miss the sparkle. But what if you are looking to celebrate the holiday without the fireworks? Here are a few events where the fun isn’t fueled by pyrotechnics. Independence In Print It’s not every day that you have the chance to meet Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John...

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fun summer activities

Family Fun Yoga Festivals to Bliss up this Summer

So you are a yogi mom or dad and want to go to festivals and enjoy all blissful workshops by your favorite teachers, but you don’t want to have to get a sitter for the kids? I have the guide for you! At these family-friendly festivals, your kids will have just as much fun as you do. Wanderlust, July 14-16, Squaw Valley Featuring MC Yoga and DJ Drez, Gurmuk, Dharma...

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community news

Tour the Hyperion Treatment Plant and Environmental Learning Center

Who hasn’t wondered what happens after you flush the toilet? You and the kids can find detailed answers – and even see for yourselves – at the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant near Dockweiler Beach. If that sounds like a less-than-appealing prospect, consider this: The Hyperion facility processes 340 million gallons of wastewater daily and is one of the largest treatment plants in the world. The scale alone makes this marvel...

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Take the Family Out to Dodger Stadium

As the Dodgers battle for first place in the National League West and a drive to the playoffs, Dodger Stadium this summer is again one of the best places to enjoy a family outing. And this year the Dodgers are going even farther to make sure you have a good time and get value for your dollar. Of the 81 home games this season, 64 feature something beyond the game...

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Toyota and L.A. County Lifeguards Host Water Safety Event with Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor

To remind the community of key water-safety tips as families head to local beaches this summer, carmaker Toyota and the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division, hosted an interactive water-safety event for the Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor in May. Toyota is the official vehicle sponsor of the LA County Lifeguards, and the company considers staying safe at the beach key to having a great time this summer....

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Big Sunday Just Got Bigger

Big Sunday really isn’t just a “big Sunday.” It has evolved in recent years into a three-day weekend of lending a hand and volunteer activities that ranks as one of America’s largest regional community-service efforts. This year, Big Sunday is growing again. The organization is turning May into “A Month of Big Sundays,” with volunteer projects taking place every day from May 1 through May 31. The public will be...

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Los Angeles events - mom storytelling

Local Spoken-Word Shows Give Moms a Voice

In a yoga class recently, the teacher walked around the room filled mostly with moms, encouraging us to discard our self-consciousness and really belt out those ohms. “Our voices are not valued in this society,” she said. “You still need to value your voice.” But there is a rising wave of new voices storming the country. The voices are those of our mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers gathering to share...

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Partake In April’s Puppet-palooza

If you become merry over marionettes, the month of April will make you ecstatic, because the Skirball Cultural Center and the Hammer Museum will present special puppet events. From 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. April 17, puppets will populate the Skirball (2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; www.skirball.org) for the center’s Puppet Festival. This entertaining event will include art projects, live music, storytelling and performances by talented puppeteers. Kids can make their own...

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Discover Family Fun On The Broad Stage

When you say “The Broad,” most people think of the new Broad Museum that was unveiled last year to much acclaim. But there is another Broad in town that celebrates the arts. The Broad Stage, which opened in 2008 at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (1310 11th St. Santa Monica; www.thebroadstage.com), has consistently presented an impressive schedule of performances that appeal to audiences young and old. This month is...

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L.A. Mom’s Photo Exhibit Explores Student Stress

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg’s photo exhibit, When Did it Stop Being Fun, is much more than an art show. It’s a personal statement from a mom on a mission. Mayers-Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based photographer and mom of three kids ages 11-17, has witnessed firsthand the academic and extracurricular stress and anxiety that has become part of our children’s lives. Starting in elementary school, students now work to build a résumé that will...

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Visit Book Fest and YALLWEST in April

New readers and longtime bibliophiles alike will uncover much to love at Los Angeles events this month. April presents both the 21st edition of L.A. Times Festival of Books and the second volume of the Youth and Young Adult Book Festival, better known as YALLWEST. The weekend of April 9-10, the USC campus (Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street, L.A.) will be stacked with booksellers and book lovers. The Festival of...

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la opera

LA Opera’s Great Opera Choruses Has Families Sing Along

Going to the Opera is an experience many of us don’t get until later in life. Whether it’s the cost, the etiquette required, or having multiple kids, the traditional opera experience is anything but family-friendly for families with young children. Thank goodness the LA Opera is continuing their effort to meet families in the middle. LA Opera is introducing opera to L.A. families of all ages and music abilities through...

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Fifth Graders Take Over the Music Center for Blue Ribbon Fest

More than 3,100 fifth grade students – more than 18,000 over three days – from throughout Los Angeles County will simultaneously perform a choreographed Hip-Hop dance on The Music Center Plaza as part of the 46th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Feb. 17-19. As California’s longest-continuing arts education initiative, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival has introduced more than 830,000 students to the power of the performing arts, despite school budget...

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The Globetrotters Come to Town

The distinctive sounds of “Sweet Georgia Brown” will be heard in Southern California this month as the Harlem Globetrotters mark their annual West Coast visit. Along with hearing that familiar tune (the team’s signature song since the early ’50s), fans will be treated to the team’s major hoops skills and on-court antics. This year marks a special tour for the Globetrotters, as the team is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Fact:...

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Santa Clarita Celebrates High School Artists

We love seeing young artists exploring their creativity. Kudos to the City of Santa Clarita for dedicating a Community Wall to celebrate local artists. The newest exhibit, at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, features a talented group of Valencia High School art students. Students gain valuable hands-on experience by installing the art themselves. They are then treated to a free reception hosted by the city. The art is rotated quarterly,...

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Favorite Characters Will Be Found At Legoland

One of the big surprise movie hits of 2014 (or the last decade, for that matter) was The Lego Movie. As with any mega-successful film, there is inevitably a sequel. While the full-length The Lego Movie Sequel isn’t scheduled to hit cinemas until the spring of 2018, the Legoland theme park will offer something special to keep Lego Movie aficionados happy until then. On Feb. 6, the Los Angeles attraction...

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Don’t Monkey Around This Lunar New Year

While the Gregorian calendar begins each year on January 1, the Chinese New Year falls this year on Feb. 8. It’s the 4713th Chinese Year, which marks the Year of the Monkey. The monkey represents the ninth animal in the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year in other Asian countries) will be celebrated throughout Southern California. The first big event is Monterey...

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Get Ready For a Cultural Free-For-All

The SoCal Museums is a group representing more than 20 area museums. This collection of regional cultural institutions covers a wide range of interests -- from Tyrannosaurus rex to TV sets, ancient masterpieces to astronauts and the Wild West to wildflowers. For the 11th year, the group has organized Museums Free-For-All Day, Jan. 30, where institutions admit visitors free. Participating institutions range from big names such as the Broad, Getty...

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Karate Moviemaking For Kids

If you’re tired of listening to the “soundtrack” of your kids acting out improvised kung fu scenes in the living room, focus that energy in a productive direction by signing them up for Karate Moviemaking Class at the Pacific Martial Arts dojo (2614 Arthur St., Ste. D, L.A.). The course boasts knowledgeable teachers and plenty of fun ideas for kids. Taught in partnership with Coding For Treasure computer science center...

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$1,000 Prize Offered In Dad Essay Contest

The DADLY Rally is coming to L.A., and is looking for moms who want to brag about the dads in their lives. Prior to its March 19 Los Angeles event at Kellogg Center at Cal Poly Pomona, the DADLY Rally is holding an essay contest with a $1,000 prize. Moms first register the dad they want to brag about through the DADLY Rally website (www.dadlyrally.com), then submit a 250-word essay...

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Art Takes Center Stage at Night On Broadway

Night on Broadway will mark the eighth anniversary of Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative – a 10-year plan to revitalize the historic Broadway corridor – with free entertainment and Los Angeles events for all ages along Broadway from 3rd Street to Olympic Boulevard from 5-11 p.m. Jan. 30. Seven of Broadway’s historic theaters will be filled with acts ranging from acrobats to performance art and...

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Families Can Get Moving at The Wallis

Continuing its partnership with L.A.’s Invertigo Dance Theatre, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is offering a new session of three public dance/movement courses on Fridays beginning Jan. 22. These three intergenerational courses—Invert/ED’s Tiny Tots Move and Groove, Dancing Through Life and Dancing Through Parkinson’s—provide toddlers and guardians, older adults and people living with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative diseases an inviting environment specially designed...

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Los Angeles Events Honor MLK Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the second holiday of the year (after New Year’s Day) and a chance to learn about history, do some good – and even have a little fun. MLK-related events will begin Jan. 16, even though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day officially falls on Jan. 18. Acclaimed local storyteller Michael D. McCarty will visit Children’s Book World (10580½ W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; www.childrensbookworld.com) at 10:30...

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Congratulations to Our 2016 Cover Kids Contest Winners!

The heat was on at The Original Farmers Market Sept. 27 as dozens of families gathered for the L.A. Parent Cover Kids Contest. But despite the toasty temperature, there were plenty of smiles for our photographers to capture, and plenty of fun rounded out the day. Our editorial, photo and design team poured over the great photos of the kids who entered, and these are our three winners: Here are...

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Some Enchanting Evenings

  This month, family audiences have the chance to spend evenings with two very different people at two different Los Angeles events. One is a real-life scientist, and the other a stand-in for a famous comedian from long ago. While one evening will be serious and the other silly, both should be entertaining nights out for older children and their parents. First, the silly. Frank Ferrante is an award-winning actor...

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Master Gardeners 90210

Your kids can get serious about spinach and become pros at peas with Junior Master Gardener classes in the demonstration garden at Greystone Mansion & Gardens, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills. Registration is underway for the eight-week course, which begins Jan. 10. Gardeners ages 6-12 can learn to grow a vegetable garden – and learn the benefits of locally grown, organic food – while developing critical-thinking skills and confidence....

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Toddler Town Debuts at AdventurePlex

Farm-to-table fun – designed just for toddlers – is coming to AdventurePlex, Beach Cities Health District’s 17,000-square-foot kids fitness and health facility in Manhattan Beach. Officially dubbed “Toddler Town,” AdventurePlex’s newest healthy play zone includes an interactive toddler-sized farm, market and beach home – each specially crafted to help introduce kids ages 5 and younger to the organic farm-to-table nutrition cycle through imaginative play. AdventurePlex will also offer a variety...

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Our Top Picks for Family New Year’s Eve

December 31st can be a day to reflect on the past year and to contemplate the year to come. Or it can be a day to have fun. For adults, the partying typically starts in the evening and culminates at midnight. For kids, staying up until midnight can be a challenge, or even ruled out by parents. Luckily, there are a number of Los Angeles events where children can ring in...

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Skiing Santas Ride Mountain High Free for Charity Event

Mountain High Resort will welcome skiers and snowboarders dressed in full Santa Claus costumes to join in Santa Day, a group ride in the name of charity, Dec. 20. The spectacle, which serves as a fundraiser for Protect Our Winters (POW), will begin at 9 a.m. on the West Resort’s Borderline trail with a group photo. Skiers and snowboarders who want to participate in Santa Day should register by Dec....

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Los Angeles events - Grand Park NYE

Grand Park Is L.A.’s Hometown New Year’s Celebration

For the third year, Grand Park and The Music Center bring the New Year home. And this year the celebration promises to be the biggest yet, with more entertainment options and new opportunities for Angelenos, family and friends to connect with each other. Grand Park + The Music Center’s N.Y.E.L.A., which takes place from 8 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, will cover 90 acres from...

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Growing Arts Enrichment at The Wallis

Arts education programs at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts get a major portion of their funding through the GRoW at the Annenberg Foundation. And when Mark Slavkin stepped into his position as director of education at the Beverly Hills venue in January, there was plenty of growing to do. The Wallis, which launched its third season of programming in the fall, was originally intended as a space...

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Knott’s Berry Farm Kicks Off the Holidays with Park-wide Cheer

The halls are fully decked at Knott’s “Merry” Farm, the 160-acre Los Angeles attraction located in Buena Park, home to Snoopy and the PEANUTS gang. In addition to its famous thrill rides, roller coasters and family attractions, Knott’s is offering a variety of family holiday activities. Holiday-themed performances include a world-class ice skating show, “Merry Christmas, Snoopy,” at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, along with Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol"...

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“Girl Meets World’s” Sabrina Carpenter Visits Neverland

Sabrina Carpenter has a lot to be excited about. The 16-year-old stars in the popular Disney Channel comedy “Girl Meets World,” and earlier this year she put out a major-label CD, Eyes Wide Open. But at the moment she is most excited about playing Wendy in the Lythgoe Family Production of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas at the Pasadena Playhouse. “I’ve always wanted to do theater....

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Get KURIOS at Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium has seen its share of acrobatic feats, but they are usually performed by baseball players. That will change when Cirque du Soleil sets up its big top in Chavez Ravine this winter to present its latest extravaganza – KURIOS. The show comes packed with the usual Cirque circus tricks and acrobatic feats, but it also has a story that will spark your curiosity. A 19th century inventor known...

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A Fleet of Holiday Boat Parades

Seasonal celebrations take to the seas this month as holiday boat parades set sail up and down the Southern California coast, from Ventura to Dana Point. We’ll chart a course, north to south, to help you navigate these great Los Angeles events. Let’s start up north at Ventura Harbor Village (1583 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura; www.venturaharbor.com). Ventura’s festively ornamented ships will launch the 39th annual Holiday Parade of Lights and Fireworks...

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The Petersen Revs Back Into Action

For the past year, there has been a major transformation taking place on the southeast corner of Fairfax and Wilshire on the Miracle Mile. After 20 years, the Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; www.petersen.org) has been getting an overhaul – inside and out. Now the work is complete and the Los Angeles attraction is ready to roll again. The building’s former Sixties-era beige walls now sport a “hot rod...

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Wilshire the Fire Dog Will Play ‘Nana’ in Peter Pan Panto

Wilshire The L.A.F.D. Fire Dog will play the role of “Nana” in this year’s Panto at The Playhouse production of Peter Pan snd Tinker Bell - A Pirates Christmas for one day only, Dec. 20, at The Pasadena Playhouse. Wilshire, a Dalmatian, has served as the Los Angeles City Fire Department Fire Dog since he was taken in as a rescue puppy by the firefighters at the Wilshire Boulevard fire...

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Tree Makes Wishes Come True at CityWalk

Universal CityWalk and NBC4 Southern California are collaborating to present the first-ever “The Wishing Tree” event, inviting the public to pay it forward by making a wish for someone deserving. From Nov. 27 through Dec. 22, visitors to the Los Angeles attraction may place their wishes for friends and family next to the trees adorning Universal CityWalk’s “5 Towers” plaza. NBC4 viewers can also share their wishes online. Wishes will...

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LACMA’s Hot New Exhibit Is All Wet

Whether it is the drought or the El Niño forecast, water has been a constant topic of conversation in Los Angeles of late. Now there is a new reason to talk about water: the Rain Room at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (www.lacma.org). Created by acclaimed U.K.-based artist collective Random International, this unique, large-scale art exhibit is making its West Coast debut there and will be a Los...

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Science Center Exhibit Focuses on Global Harmony

The California Science Center, the GRAMMY Museum, and Global Wildlife Conservation have partnered to create the one-of-a-kind exhibit Earth in Concert: Protecting the Planet through Music. Featuring multimedia and interactive experiences, Earth in Concert examines the status of biodiversity in our oceans, grasslands and forests, while exploring how several artists and musicians have helped raise awareness of the global issues that present threats to our planet. Artists featured in the...

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Zoo Holiday Lights Burn Brighter in 2015

Last year’s L.A. Zoo Lights was such a success that the Los Angeles attraction has returned, bigger and brighter than before. Starting Nov. 27, the Los Angeles Zoo grounds (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoo.org) will be lit from 6-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 6-11 p.m. Fri.-Sun. (except Dec. 24 and 25) with hundreds of thousands of LED lights that bring the L.A. icon to life in a wonderfully different way. While the...

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Descanso Gardens Celebrates With Buffet, Bling and Holiday Wreaths

Descanso Gardens invites families to celebrate the season with a memorable meal, a fab shopping experience and seasonal crafting. The season kicks off with Patina's annual Thanksgiving feast, and carries on through December: Thanksgiving buffet, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 26: Patina chefs will create a lavish holiday buffet with traditional favorites and vegetarian options. Book early; seating is limited. $57 adult member, $24 child member (12 and younger);...

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It’s Star Wars Season At Disneyland

In the not-too-distant future, Star Wars will be a major presence at Disneyland. Plans are underway to create a 14-acre Star Wars world at that happiest of Los Angeles attractions. While the opening of this attraction still is on the horizon, Disneyland will offer a glimpse into what is to come when it opens Season of the Force Nov. 16. Located (appropriately enough) in Tomorrowland, this temporary exhibit lets guests...

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Actor Taye Diggs Celebrates Diversity With New Children’s Book

Helping kids of mixed race and culture celebrate their uniqueness with confidence was the focus of a recent Multiculti Mixer in West Los Angeles featuring a special appearance and book reading by actor Taye Diggs. The event was hosted by Multiculti Corner, a culturally diverse community of people with the intention to recognize, embrace, and celebrate what it means to be a part of a blended family. The co-host of...

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Get Away With a Holiday Heist

Wrap a Victorian parlor around a gangster hideout mixed with a pirate cave and you’ve got Kidd’s Jewelry Heist (www.kiddsjewelryheist.tumblr.com), a gem of a hangout in back of the venerable Dinosaur Farm toy store at 1510 Mission St., South Pasadena. More treasure hunt than bead parlor, this is a great place to host a holiday party or a gift-making get-together. Kelly Kidd opened the business in 2012, and expanded over...

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New Tunes On the L.A. Family Music Scene

News of a new release from Dan Zanes’ Festival Five Records would normally make it a full month for family music fans. Sonia De Los Santos, a member of Zanes’ band, is putting out her debut solo disc, Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island (My Journey: From Nuevo Leon to the New York Island). Sung primarily in Spanish, this lovely album features tunes from across the...

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Kip’s Celebrates 70 Years of Toys and Smiles

Don Kipper started working at his father’s toy store, Kip’s Toyland, when he was 9 years old. Besides dusting and organizing shelves, his main duty was tying strings to balloons. Balloons and flags were the main items sold at Kip’s Toyland when it first opened in 1945. Don’s father, Irvin “Kip” Kipper, had just returned home from serving as a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. During...

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A Big Day For Los Muertos Los Angeles Events

If Saturday’s Halloween festivities didn’t tire your family out, make it a weekend with Los Angeles events celebrating Dia de los Muertos on Sunday, Nov. 1. One traditional place to observe Dia de los Muertos is at El Pueblo Historical Monument on Olvera Street (125 Paseo de la Plaza, L.A.; www.elpueblo.lacity.org). Festivities will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, with vibrantly decorated altars, live entertainment...

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Get Last-Minute Costumes At Goodwill’s BOO-Tique

Are your kids still deciding what to be for Halloween? Check out the Halloween BOO-Tiques at Goodwill Southern California’s 80 Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino county retail stores. Personalized costumes you create at Goodwill are the opposite of cookie-cutter packaged costumes found at big-box or party stores. And with prices so good, you can afford to buy a different costume for each party the kids plan to attend. With...

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Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies. Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on...

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Cure Cancer In Costume

The L.A. Cancer Challenge, taking place from 7 a.m.-noon Oct. 25 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, isn’t your typical fundraising event. Organized by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, this 5K/10K Walk/Run really gets into the Halloween spirit. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, so if you aren’t a stellar athlete, you could still win a prize for costume design. (No need to worry about running...

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Sharpen Your Crayons for The Big Draw

This October, Ryman Arts once again presents that big blast of creativity, popular among Los Angeles events, known as Big Draw LA. Throughout Southern California, there will be all types of events where people can express their artistic inclinations. Some will be for children, some for adults and some for everyone. You can even organize your own event! Big Draw LA’s biggest draw is “Make Your Mark In The Park,”...

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Kids’ Imaginations Keep Story Pirates Afloat

We were a few minutes late for the Story Pirates’ performance Saturday at Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre. Fortunately, so were the actors. As we took our seats, the one member of the troupe on hand was explaining that the rest of the actors hadn’t yet arrived. And suddenly, they did. The first burst onto the stage to say that a seagull at the beach had stolen his bagel. The second came...

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Nickelodeon’s Spooktacular Lineup

We headed to the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank earlier this week for a Halloween Party. But this wasn't just an ordinary party; guests enjoyed Halloween-themed activities and treats, a meet and greet with Bella and the Bulldogs/Liar Liar Vampire star Brec Bassinger and the Game Shakers cast members Kel Mitchell, Cree Cicchino, Madisyn Shipman, Benjamin “Lil P-Nut” Flores Jr. and Thomas Kuc, plus got a sneak-peek of this month’s...

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A New Take on ‘Community’ Theater

The Center Theatre Group will stage a production in Grand Park this month that gives “community theater” a new meaning. Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven is a unique collaboration between CTG, the local Chicano theater company El Teatro Campesino and members of the Boyle Heights community. Popol Vuh is the legendary tale of the Mayan creation myth, and this production adds some distinctly L.A. elements to the storytelling. The show...

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The Village at Westfield Topanga Opens with New Restaurants and Shops in a Beautiful Outdoor Setting

With much anticipation and excitement, The Village at Westfield Topanga kicked off their Grand Opening weekend with a festive cocktail party on Thursday night featuring a wide array of drinks and food, fireworks, live entertainment and 30 Batala drummers. Invited guests joined Westfield and city officials to celebrate the opening of the new outdoor mall in the San Fernando Valley, which has been under construction for the past 18 months....

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Don’t Miss Museum Day Live!

For the 11th year, Smithsonian magazine has organized Museum Day Live!, a day where museums and cultural institutions across the U.S. waive their admission fees and let folks in for free. More than 1,300 venues will be participating this year, representing all 50 states. And the event, Sept. 26, will add generously to the list of things to do in L.A. that day. In Southern California, participants range from A...

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Venture Into Descanso’s Ancient Forest

Descanso Gardens opens up a new floral area Sept. 26 that takes visitors back into the past – way back. The Ancient Forest lives up to its name as one of those unique Los Angeles attractions, housing plants that have hardly changed since the days of the dinosaurs. This new space, located near the Lilac Garden, will be home to nearly 175 cycad plants representing 66 species. These palm-like seed...

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Learn To Install Car Seats Correctly

No child in L.A. avoids riding in a car for long, but despite massive outreach efforts, most of them still ride in car seats that are either wrong for their size or improperly installed. “The incorrect-use rate is still over 90 percent,” says Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBeltSafe USA, a Torrance-based national nonprofit devoted to car-safety education. Tombrello says the range of car seat models – including convertible seats...

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Greet Gumby In Glendora

The Gumby Festival returns to Glendora Sept. 19-20 after a triumphant inaugural event last year. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the popular green character, and the festival's Los Angeles events will salute this milestone with a special birthday celebration Sept. 19. Gumby fans attending the festival, which runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at Citrus College (1000 W. Foothill Blvd.) can also have fun exploring a Gumby...

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A Doggone Great Day For Needy Pets

The Westwood Recreation Center (1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.) will be a barking lot from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 19 when the Doggie Street Festival (www.doggiestreetfestival.org) comes to town. This pet celebration and adopt-athon, which has taken place in cities across the U.S., offers Southern California animal lovers the opportunity to come together for a day of pet-related fun, and perhaps give a deserving dog or cat a new home....

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Get Ready to Clean L.A. Beaches, Matey

Even pirates would rather land on a clean beach than on one littered with trash. You can help make the beach more pirate (and family) friendly, then indulge in some pirate talk, during Coastal Cleanup Day Sept. 19. This is the 30th year that the California Coastal Commission has organized this gem among environmental Los Angeles events. In its first year, just about 2,500 Californians participated. Last year, nearly 67,000...

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DEAFestival 2015 Comes to Grand Park

The 17th annual DEAFestival, a free daylong family event offering resources, entertainment and community building, will take place at Los Angeles City Hall and Grand Park (200 N. Spring St., L.A.) from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 3. The event will feature a deaf talent show, a T-shirt design contest, a fashion show, information booths, art workshops, child safety seat classes and free car seat giveaways. At the “Once Upon a Sign”...

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New Warner Bros. Studio Tour: That’s Entertainment!

In Los Angeles, the entertainment industry is part of our day-to-day life. We drive around and see bright yellow signs that indicate a production company’s “basecamp.” Something is always being shot somewhere in our neighborhoods. Movie premiere activity shuts down the major thoroughfares of Hollywood, harnessing the attention of curious onlookers. This fanfare fascinated me when I first moved here, but through the years the fascination fizzled and I became...

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Baritones Meet Beach Chairs During Free Opera Opener

Grab your opera glasses – and a beach chair – and head to the scenic beach near Santa Monica for L.A. Opera’s “Opera at the Beach.” Here’s your chance to see L.A. Opera’s season opener, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, staged by Woody Allen, and Pagliacci, directed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli. And it’s free! This double bill will be broadcast live in high-definition video from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to the...

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Finding a Home For treehaus

Saralynne Lowrey Precht and Michelle Pedersen met at an early-intervention therapy program at the Cheerful Helpers Child and Family Study Center in L.A., not long after their sons were diagnosed with autism. Over play dates, family dinners and therapy sessions, they found they shared a common childhood vision of owning a boutique. As they mulled over how to make it happen, they researched how to navigate L.A.'s Fashion District, work with artists...

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Meet Our Shooting Stars Photographers

One of the great things about the L.A. Parent Shooting Stars Cover Kids Contest is that it gives children from all over L.A. the chance to be photographed by some of the best photographers in the area. These are the people who make the images that grace the cover of the magazine, and who photograph events, celebrities and families throughout the region. Here is a bit of information on the...

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Highlights from D23 Expo 2015: The largest Disney Fan Event in the World

Fans from around the world came together Aug. 14-16 to celebrate 92 years of The Walt Disney Company. The latest films from Walt Disney Studios, merchandise from Disney Consumer Products, attractions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – and all things Disney you can think of – were showcased at D23 Expo 2015, held at the Anaheim Convention Center. A giant Buzz Lightyear balloon soaring outside the convention center to...

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The Crayons Come Home to LACMA

What would your child’s world look like if his crayons suddenly just quit, and he had to convince them to resume their colorful work? And what about those crayons that have gone astray, lost under the sofa or stuck in the dryer? Would your child go on a mission to rescue them? Your family can meet a man who has pondered these issues in depth when Drew Daywalt, who wrote...

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12-year-old Seeks Cystic Fibrosis Cure In Style

You could say that 12-year-old Grace Rose Bauer does everything in style, including trying to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Born in New Orleans and diagnosed with the disease as an infant, she moved with her family to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina. Bauer and her mom, Leah, who is a fashion designer, have hosted an annual fashion event to raise funds for cystic fibrosis awareness and research for the...

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Disney Devotees Will Flock To D23

Do you like to sing “Let It Go” – in 10 different languages? Can you name all of the current and former Disneyland rides? Do you daydream about Pixar’s next picture? Then the D23 Expo – 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 14-15 and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Anaheim Convention Center (800 W. Katella Ave.) is the second happiest place on Earth for you. This biennial extravaganza, one of...

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Mammoth Changes At The La Brea Tar Pits

Sometimes, what’s old can be made new again. This summer, the La Brea Tar Pits (www.tarpits.org) has premiered a new attraction that looks back to the ancient past. Titans of the Ice Age: The La Brea Story in 3D uses modern technology to take a look at Pleistocene era. Through state-of-the-art CGI animation, the movie brings to life this long-extinct world with splendid images from timeless places including Yellowstone National...

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Humpback Whales: Kid Critic Reviews!

In June, we partnered with MacGillivray Freeman Films and the California Science Center to offer an exclusive free screening of the IMAX film Humpback Whales 3D at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theater. The screening included a Q&A with the film’s Director Greg MacGillivray, and was moderated by NPR “Film Week” Critic, Claudia Puig. After the screening, kids between the ages of 5 and 15 were invited to submit a review of the film. Ten Kid Critic finalists were chosen, including one...

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Getting In Tune With Lisa Loeb

Music fans first became familiar with Lisa Loeb through her hit song, “Stay (I Missed You),” which premiered on the Reality Bites soundtrack. That tune marked the first time an unsigned act scored a number-one single, and its success helped Loeb garner a deal with a major label. Her Geffen Records debut, Tails, went gold, and her third album earned her a Grammy nomination. Besides music-making, Loeb has been involved...

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PHOTO BY PHOTOSTOCK

NBC4 Helps Clear the Shelters in August

If your family has been considering adopting a pet, now you’ve got one more reason to go ahead. NBC4 is urging viewers to help “Clear the Shelters” as part of a two-week campaign. The station will be working with animal shelters in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, which will offer a flat reduced adoption fee of $20 per pet on Aug. 15. NBC4 will air 30-minute...

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Get Giddy Over The Getty’s Garden Concerts

In what has become a Southern California August tradition, The Getty (1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A.; www.getty.edu) will host a great trio of free family music concerts. This year’s series of fun summer activities sets sail Aug. 1-2 with Jazzy Ash, celebrating the release of her new album, Bon Voyage. Although based in Orange County, Ash creates music infused with the spirit and sound of New Orleans. This musical gumbo...

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Ice Cream Month Isn’t Over at Baskin-Robbins

A Sweet Deal from Baskin-Robbins to end National Ice Cream Month July is National Ice Cream Month, and Baskin-Robbins (www.baskinrobbins.com) is wrapping it up by offering a cool discount. For one day only— on Friday, July 31— Baskin-Robbins is offering a 31percent discount on all ice cream sundaes at participating Baskin-Robbins locations in SoCal. Ice cream lovers can choose Classic Two-Scoop Sundaes, Brownie Sundaes, Banana Royale Sundaes, Classic Banana Splits...

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Enter the State Parks Young Artists Poster Contest

If you love taking your family outdoors for inspiration, you can’t do better than Southern California’s state parks. Have your kids turn that inspiration into artwork, and they could win a $50 Subway gift card and some cool State Parks swag. The California State Parks Foundation is looking for poster art that showcases why state parks are important to California kids. Entries into the Summer Youth Art Contest will be...

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New Tool Let’s Swimmers Know If Beach Water is Safe

The unusual rainstorm over the weekend means lots of water washing through L.A. storm drains and down to the ocean, where the bacteria and pollution the storm water brings with it makes the water unsafe for swimming. Currently, local health agencies use laboratory analyses of water samples collected at the beach to determine if it is safe for recreational use. Unfortunately, it takes 24-48 hours to collect the samples, transport...

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Summer Sessions, Fall Weekends Coming Up at Camp for Kids With Serious Illnesses

There are still a few summer sessions left at The Painted Turtle, which provides a year-round, life-changing environment full of enrichment and authentic camp experience for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The Painted Turtle supports children’s medical needs, inspires them to reach beyond their illnesses, and provides care, education and respite for their families. There will be a session for campers with liver disease and transplants, primary immune deficiency...

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Hundreds Get in Shape Through Free Cedars-Sinai Exercise in the Park Program

Every summer, hundreds of people participate in Cedars-Sinai’s free Exercise in the Park program led by health educators at two locations in underserved neighborhoods in the West Adams district. The workouts — a combination of stretching, calisthenics and dance moves — attract many regulars who have participated since the program started in 2012. They show up Mondays through Thursdays with bottled water, enthusiasm and commitment. One young mother, who works...

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