Summer Fun

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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Family Fun at the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach

During the summer 2016 Olympics, my daughters became huge fans of the Beach Volleyball games. The sport is fast paced and exciting, and we found ourselves following the U.S. women’s team closely, which made a recent weekend in July super-exciting for us. The Beach Volleyball World Series was in Long Beach and we got an up-close view of the games and some of the best players in the world. This...

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7 Great Water Sports for Kids

For some kids, choosing a water sport is a no-brainer. Synchronized swim, for instance, is a natural fit for 13-year-old Sophia Davison. “It joins two of my passions – speed swimming and gymnastics,” she says. Other kids might want to explore a little, and the L.A. area’s miles of coastline and nearby lakes make it easy. When my three kids were small, we started kayaking and picked up other water...

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Hitting the Beach for Summer Fun Hollywood Style

To many of us in and around Los Angeles, summer fun at the beach is an afterthought, only beckoning when the inland heat calls for relief. A friend from Studio City once referred to it as “the great A/C unit to the west.” Out-of-towners often accuse us of taking our 75 miles of Pacific coastline for granted. And they're right. I'm feeling especially salty at the moment because I recently...

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Wrightwood Ziplining and Our Leap of Love

We didn’t know my son Kaleb was scared of heights until we rode the Ferris wheel at California Adventure. When our pod started climbing and swaying, he threw himself on the floor and hid his head between his father’s knees. No amount of reassuring could get him to look around. When I learned about “Ziplines at Pacific Crest” in Wrightwood, I thought it would be the perfect place for him...

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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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Tween Time: The Summer of Love Turns 50

“The Summer of Love” – that watershed moment when the hippie youth culture became a potent force in American society – turns 50 this year. Music then, as now, was a cultural driving force. 1967 was the year the Beatles recorded “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the year of debut albums from The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Parents who want...

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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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Universal Amps Up It’s Harry Potter World Magic

Since it opened in 2016, throngs have flocked to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood to walk the streets of Hogsmeade, checking out the wands at Ollivanders, imbibing Butterbeer and taking a spin (or two) on the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride up at Hogwarts Castle. This summer, the park is brightening visitors’ evenings with “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle,” an electrifying light-projection experience....

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Splash, Sun and Summer Fun

Summer is in full swing. These great products will enhance your family’s fun in the sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Bridging the Summer Gap to Prevent Learning Loss

Now that the academic school year has ended, students are ready to enjoy summer and all of the fun that it promises. Beach days, family vacations, swimming pools and waterparks; activities that bring fun memories, social time with friends and a highly anticipated break from the classroom. Unfortunately, with all of the fun that summer has to offer, the gap between the end of one academic year and the beginning...

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la zoo creature camp out

Get Wild with L.A. Zoo’s Creature Camp Out for Families

“Have you ever wondered what happens at the Zoo when the last guest leaves?” As a mom who’s been there literally scores of times with my family, the answer is, "yes."  And you can now be a guest after the L.A. Zoo officially closes. The Zoo offers an overnight opportunity for families and you don't need to bring your own tent or food or electricity to do it. I’d heard of family classes, Zoo...

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July Fourth Parades Bring Summer Family Fun to L.A.

Independence Day is the most American of holidays, defined by its morning parades, afternoon barbecues and evening fireworks. While barbecues are as close as your own back yard and fireworks dot the Southern California skies, the old-fashioned July 4th parade is a bit more elusive. Here are four of the best. Spending July 4th at LAX usually isn’t a fun time. Spending it at the LAX Coastal Fourth of July...

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Six Tips for Making Summer Camp Worth It

Summer, at last, is here. And if your kids will be spending all or part of it at camp, it’s worth your time to help them get the most they can from the experience. “Invest in whatever program you have signed your kids up for,” says Janna Hawes, director of admissions at Clairbourn School in San Gabriel. With support from parents, campers can build new skills, make new friends and...

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These Summer Activities Let Kids Hear Music – and Make Music

MakeMusicLA – taking place this year on Wednesday, June 21 – could be called a “people’s concert.” The area-wide event is part of an international day of music involving more than 100 countries. Among the free musical events taking place that day across Southern California, a good number will be family oriented and invite public participation. A talent show will be staged in Silver Lake’s Triangle Plaza, the Long Beach...

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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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“Play!” Exhibit at the Autry Promises Family Fun For Kids and Parents

The Autry Museum of the American West (www.theautry.org) is offering families a summer of play. On June 18, the museum unveils its latest exhibit, entitled “Play!” and designed to explore “the universal aspects of play while emphasizing the changing concepts of childhood and the social meanings of toys from the 19th -21st centuries.” What this really means is that you can see a fun selection of toys, games and other...

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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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los angeles attractions

Giving Kids a Strong Hold on Fitness

If monkeys had a playroom, it would be the Stronghold Climbing Gym in Downtown Los Angeles. Located in the historic building that once housed the California Edison Company’s Los Angeles #3 Steam Power Plant, in the Brewery Arts Complex, this state-of-the-art facility houses hundreds of opportunities to scale walls and find routes to the top, across and under various types of simulated climbing terrain. For those who climb, it seems...

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summer activities

Girls’ Yoga Line ivivva Celebrates Summer

It’s not even 9 a.m. on a recent cloudy Saturday, but scores of wide-awake teen and pre-teen girls make their way onto the Santa Monica pier for the ivivva Coast-to-Coast Summer Festival 2016. Enthusiastic fans of the company’s athletic gear, designed especially for girls like them, they are dressed in lavender festival tanks and yoga pants or shorts. They’re here to move, dance, celebrate the summer and check out ivivva’s...

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This Special-Needs Camp Hires Counselors On the Spectrum

All over Los Angeles this summer, high school and college students are earning money and gaining experience as camp counselors. When college student and L.A. resident Carter Theiro shows up for work each morning and joins 130 camp counselors at a South Los Angeles camp, he brings a unique perspective to the job. Theiro, 19 and a student at Los Angeles Valley College, is on the autism spectrum. This is his third year as...

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los angeles events

The Ford Theatre’s Fond Return

It’s a big new world at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (2580 Cahuenga Ave. East, L.A.; www.fordtheatres.org). The performance space has re-opened after a huge renovation, and that means Big World Fun is back after a year’s absence. While the Amphitheatre has seen major improvements, Big World Fun is sticking with tradition, introducing children to music and cultures from around the globe. This summer’s six sessions start July 23 with...

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los angeles attractions

Car Museums Worth the Drive

I guess it’s only appropriate that here in the traffic capital of the world we have two excellent museums dedicated to the evolution of the car. The irony, of course, is that while the Petersen Automotive Museum is only about 11 miles from the Automobile Driving Museum, it could take you more than an hour to get from one to the other. On the bright side, you’ll have lots of...

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los angeles attractions

4 Classic Carousels for L.A. Family Fun

Want to share an American history lesson with your kids this summer without dragging them to a state capital? Take them for a whirl on an antique carousel. “When you take your kids on a classic carousel they’ll learn lessons about our country that go beyond mere words. You are allowing them to physically experience history,” says Barbara Williams, who was manager of operations for the Santa Monica Pier Carousel...

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fun ideas for kids

Kid’s Clubs Turn L.A. Malls into Community Hangouts

There was a time when people went to “the mall” to shop for fun things to do in LA, and – if you were a tween – for a place to hang out with your friends. You could stroll (indoors) from store to store, and maybe hit the food court. That began to change when The Grove opened in L.A.’s Fairfax district in 2002. Featuring open space with fountains and...

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summer activities

Summer Fairs for LA Families

Summer fun isn’t really limited to summer in Southern California. Major League Baseball? Those games are played into October. And we watch movies outdoors and go to the beach all year. But one kind of fun only happens in the summer, even here – the county fair! Summer fair season moves up the coast from Orange County to Ventura before heading east to Pomona. The 126th OC Fair commences July 15...

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special needs beach wheelchairs

Freewheeling At the Beach

A day at the beach is a quintessential SoCal summer family outing. And even if your child uses a wheelchair, you can hit the sand. Ashley Lyn Olson was paralyzed in a car accident at age 14, and has become a lifelong access advocate. In 2006, she launched wheelchairtraveling.com to encourage people in wheelchairs to “come access your world.” The northern California resident travels the globe and often hits the...

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A Luxury KOA Adventure in Ventura Ranch

Before children, camping was a dirty adventure. We slept on the ground with only a thin layer of stuffed polyester protecting our bodies from the rocks. We cooked on grills powered by fires we painstakingly built from twigs and newspapers. We brought our own toilet paper and peed in nature. After my first son was born, lack of sleep meant I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm for the great outdoors....

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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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positive parenting

Six Summer Essentials for Family Harmony

With a little advance planning, summer break with the kids at home does not have to be anxiety-filled. As the school year winds down, so do the hectic days of getting the kids dressed, getting lunches made and rushing out the door to make it before the first bell rings. Summer vacation gives parents and kids a respite from the demanding daily schedule. Oftentimes kids associate the end of the...

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summer activities

Party Time Together: Tips for Planning a Joint Birthday Party

The joys of summer are here. More sun, more free time and – for reasons all too familiar – more birthday parties. More and more, parents are sharing the load of party planning and saving some days of partygoing by arranging joint birthday parties. The practice is familiar to those of us with twins, but now pals at school and kids in the same playgroups with birthdays close together on...

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fun ideas for kids

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Camp Lunches

Camp time is here. You want your kids to be well nourished and enjoy their lunch, but kids often get bored with the food parents pack, and parents have a challenging time coming up with new lunch ideas. Kids enjoy camp lunches that have balance, variety and include surprise treats. The treats are small, but are delicious and hit the spot.   Here are five tips to help you build...

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summer activities

Ready For Summer With Pie

When strawberries come into season in the spring, at my house we start out by just bingeing on them plain – or with maybe a touch of whipped cream. Eventually, we get around to some shortcake. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections – with locations in L.A., Echo Park and at Grand Central Market downtown – offers a recipe for another strawberry classic, strawberry-rhubarb pie. “Kids love pies,” says the mom...

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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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family fun magazine

Swimsuit Shopping for Moms in LA

It's officially summer and the need for a swimsuit can no longer be ignored. Whether it’s an anniversary trip, beach day with the kids or a girls-only retreat, you may want to wear something new in the water. But for some Moms, the challenge of swimsuit shopping is one we'd rather avoid. Whether you struggle to find the right fit for your post-baby body or your focus on function has...

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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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Shakespeare Sighted on L.A. Stages This Summer

William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but the great playwright seems just as popular as ever. Whether you prefer Richard III to Henry V or Beatrice and Benedick to Romeo and Juliet, you’ll be able to spot his work on stages across L.A. this summer. Check each theater company’s website for specific performance information, and remember that these productions are not children’s plays, although children are welcome. Parental discretion is...

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los angeles events

Summer Concerts: Hear Music Here, There and Everywhere Around LA

During summer, music seems to be all around us in Southern California. As we seek out Los Angeles events, we have a wealth of family-friendly outdoor music series to attend, and some of them even are free! Here are some of the more notable places to hear music this summer. Warner Park For more than 40 years, The Valley Cultural Center has been presenting its free “Concerts on the Green.”...

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The Skirball’s New Show Is a Real Grand Slam

In 1835, the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson famously wrote, “in the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” This idea frequently has been paraphrased to “thoughts of baseball,” and this being the 21st century, extends to sports fans of both genders and all ages. The Skirball’s new exhibit “Chasing Dreams,” which runs April 7-Oct. 30, is designed to lure these baseball lovers, and quite possibly also...

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Meet L.A.’s Hummingbirds

Los Angeles is crammed with contradiction. We are plagued by some of the world’s ugliest traffic, yet Terry Masear, best-selling author of “Fastest Thing On Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood,” says we’re also home to more beautiful hummingbirds than any city on Earth. Angelenos’ increased sightings of these flying jewels are due in large part to the conservation efforts of hummingbird rehabbers like Masear. Locals who put up feeders for...

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