Family Fun

family travel

Family Travel: Ojai Rising

There’s something in the air in Ojai for family travel. Or, perhaps, in the earth. Whether it’s the sedative effect of spring’s sweet citrus harvest wafting over the breeze, the breathless awe of sunset’s famed “pink moment” against the Topa Topa Mountains, or the unseen pull of an actual electromagnetic vortex, Ojai has long drawn artists, spiritual seekers and those of us looking to escape L.A. for a spell. “When...

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L.A. Times Festival of Books: Book Some Time For A Literary Feast

The L.A. Times Festival of Books (events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks) April 21 and 22 is a utopia for book lovers. More than 150,000 folks annually flock to the free festival on the USC campus to listen to writers, meet authors and explore rows and rows of books. The Children’s Stage this year features authors Roda Ahmed (“Mae Among the Stars”), Danica McKellar (“Ten Magic Butterflies”), Junot Diaz (“Islandborn”) and Malcolm Mitchell (“The Magician’s...

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Jess Penner and her “Imagination”

With three solo albums, plus songwriting for TV shows, films and commercials, Jess Penner has had a busy career. She recently released her first children’s album, the enchanting eight-song CD “Imagination,” and offered some thoughts recently about her music and being a mom of three – two of them under 2. Was it an easy shift to making children’s music? Yes! I have always been very intentional about making music...

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disneyland

Disney Pixar Palooza

Cars Land, Toy Story Mania, Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage and A Bug’s Land are all part of Pixar’s footprint at Disneyland and California Adventure. Pixar Fest, opening April 13 and in play through Sept. 3, takes that one step farther. Fest features at Disneyland include “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” a fireworks show featuring Pixar characters, animated projections and music. During the “Pixar Play Parade,” populated with your...

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Rustle Up Some Family Fun

The Wild West is alive and well, at least in Old Newhall on the weekend of April 21-22. That’s when the free Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival (CowboyFestival.org) rides into William S. Hart Park, which is named for the actor/director from the genre’s silent era and is home to his historic mansion. From 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days, families can ride a mechanical bull or horse, try panning for gold or...

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A Handful of Ways to Help Out on Earth Day

Earth Day is officially April 22, but there are many opportunities this month to give something back to Mother Earth. The 29th Annual Great Los Angeles River CleanUp will be held from 9 a.m.-noon three consecutive Saturdays. Help tidy the upper river including the Sepulveda Basin/Balboa Sports Complex and Glendale Narrows Riverwalk April 14, the middle river near Los Feliz Boulevard at Bond Park and Marsh Park April 21 and...

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Mother Nature vs Materialism with Netiya

One recent morning, my 7-year-old daughter got dressed for school and announced that she was wearing all purple. “Purple shirt, purple pants, purple boots, purple socks, even purple underwear!” she proclaimed proudly. “That’s awesome, Ave!” I said. “Nicely done!” Then she said something that broke my heart a little: “Do you think anyone will make fun of me for wearing all purple?” Oh man, I thought. It’s happening. My self-confident,...

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disney's aulani

A Plunge Into Culture at Disney’s Aulani Resort

On a visit to an island, you expect to see lots of water. My family certainly did on a recent visit to Ko Olina, on the western side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. But during our stay at the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa, we were also surrounded by a dose of Hawaiian culture. In the Aulani’s Maka’ala (eyes wide open) lobby, we found floor-to-ceiling windows, polished wood and...

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Family Travel Tips: Hawaii Island-By-Island

The Hawaiian Islands are just one flight away and have so many things to do. Here are the island-by-island highlights. Hawaii Island You can enjoy free Polynesian dance performances on the streets, at libraries, shopping centers and even churches year round, and the world’s most recognized hula competition, the Merrie Monarch Festival (www.merriemonarch.com), takes place here. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is off limits to young children, but kids will enjoy...

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maui travel

Maui Three Ways: The Valley Isle in All Its Splendor

Every year, when we start thinking about where to go for our annual family getaway, my husband puts his vote in for his favorite spot: Maui. The Valley Isle is a great place for families, but Maui has a diverse landscape. The resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua to the west and Wailea to the south all offer gorgeous beaches and great swimming and snorkeling. The fun part is deciding...

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vacation cruise with kids

Cruising Out of L.A.

If you’re looking to take to the sea for your next  vacation cruise with kids, 2018 is the year to do it. A number of cruise lines have added new and renovated ships, expanded services for kids and unique fun just for families. Many of these ships depart from San Pedro’s World Cruise Center, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal at the Port of L.A. and the not-too-distant Port of San...

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Tween Time: A Historic Picture of L.A. History

When the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency commissioned Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco to create a mural for the city’s 1981 bicentennial, it obviously wasn’t counting on her unvarnished view of L.A. history. The agency ended the project when Carrasco wouldn’t remove 14 historical moments – including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots and the whitewashing of David Alfaro Siqueiros’s mural “América Tropical”...

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orlando family travel

The Magic of Orlando Stretches Beyond Disney

I’ve been visiting Orlando once or twice a year since my mother moved there 20 years ago, and while Walt Disney World held its magic during those early years – and then again when I became a mom, watching my little boy’s eyes light up with wonder – these days, my family and I rarely make it to the home of the Magic Kingdom. As L.A. residents, we’ve got Disneyland...

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Family Travel Products We Love

When your family is on the go, you’ll be ready to snack, sun (safely), play and give the kids a boost with these travel-friendly finds.

Quick Getaways: Adventure is just 2 Hours Away

Roar & Snore in San Diego If you’ve dreamed of getting snooze-close to elephants, giraffes, gazelles and antelopes but can’t swing a 22-hour flight to Africa, head down to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. The park’s Roar & Snore Safari features some exciting programs, including the Safari Sampler Sleepover and Happy Hoppers Sleepover. Happy Hoppers comes with a wild egg hunt, and Safari Sampler finds you on an...

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After the Wildfires, Show Ojai Some Love

Many SoCal residents who view it as a great nearby getaway breathed a sigh of relief when Ojai was saved from the Thomas fire. While the quaint downtown was spared, many locals lost their homes and businesses in blazes that scorched nearly 282,000 acres in Ojai and beyond. The community continues to welcome visitors back to their beautiful valley, and the hotels of Ojai have banded together to raise funds...

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Kids in Los Angeles

Early Easter Egg-citement for Kids in Los Angeles

With Easter arriving April 1 this year, the Easter Bunny and the egg hunts will be showing up in March. We’ve put together a sampling of great Easter-inspired events happening this month.   Kidspace Children’s Museum (www.kidspacemuseum.org) will devote two days to egg hunts this year. On March 24 and 31, children can search for candy-filled eggs in the museum’s Arroyo Adventure at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1, 2 and...

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L.A. museums

King Tut vs. Genghis Khan at L.A. Museums

Two historical figures of mythic proportions are visiting Southern California, and you can visit them at L.A. museums.   Find out what’s up with King Tut at the California Science Center (www.californiasciencecenter.org) when the “KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibit opens March 24. This massive new exhibit, which runs through Jan. 6, presents 150 real artifacts from King Tut’s tomb. This represents the largest assembly ever on public display...

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st. patrick's day in Los Angeles

Four Ways to Feel Irish for St. Patrick’s Day

There is more to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day than dressing in green and looking for shamrocks, and luckily we have four family-friendly events where you can get into the St. Paddy’s spirit.  On March 16, you can find Lucky the Leprechaun in Malibu Bluffs Park and join him in his search for his pot of gold. Leprechaun Gold Hunts will happen at 10 and 11:15 a.m., with sign-ups available at...

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john august

L.A. Parent Chat Room: Meet Screenwriter and Author John August

You may know L.A. local John August from his screenwriting credits, which include “Big Fish,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But, now he’s notched up a new credit: middle-grade novelist. “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire,” an engaging and exciting blend of magic, mayhem and mystery, introduces readers to 12-year-old Arlo, a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Col. Arlo soon makes friends and is invited to join...

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Outdoor Events in Los Angeles

Spring Into Nature

Celebrate the arrival of spring this month by celebrating the explosion of nature’s beauty that comes with it.   Learn about the wildlife living in urban L.A. at the Los Angeles Nature Fest taking place from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. March 17-18 at the Natural History Museum (www.nhm.org/naturefest). You can meet an opossum, observe a rattlesnake or look for birds, make some nature crafts and ask museum scientists and nature experts some...

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for tweens in LA

Tween Time: Shadow Magic

Technology has dramatically changed the way entertainment is created and consumed for tweens in LA. All of the high-tech wizardry, however, can make old-fashioned techniques seem unusual and even avant-garde. Shadow puppetry, for example, is a centuries-old art form that can still be used to create a magical experience for audiences. You might have seen the Catapult Shadow Dance Company when they were finalists on “America’s Got Talent.” This innovative...

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Los Angeles Nature Centers

Getting ‘Centered’ at L.A.’s Nature Centers

It has been one of those weeks of endless traffic, of arguing over screen time, of too much social media and disheartening news reports. So, on a crisp, clear Sunday, I head to Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena. It is a rare morning when I am alone, so I decide to scope out this location and its hikes to see if it would be a good place for my...

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County Library Users Get Free Film Access

The County of Los Angeles Public Library is now offering library card holders free access to Kanopy, a film streaming service with more than 30,000 titles. The Los Angeles Public library system acquired Kanopy early last year, making it possible for nearly every Angeleno to now have access to this service. Kanopy is an on-demand video platform that allows users to experience a curated collection of more than 30,000 films...

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MojaMoja Event Honoring will.i.am Provides STEAM Opportunities for Students

MojaMoja is celebrating a decade of music discovery and honoring pop and hip-hop icons at the Avalon Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 10. This year’s honorees are Prince’s band The Revolution, will.i.am and DJ crew The Beat Junkies. The annual MojaMoja Brunch & Benefit Concert raises awareness and funds for the MojaMoja Innovation Fund at Liberty Hill Foundation, which supports nonprofits such as this year's charity partner, the House of Blues Music...

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What’s New at Disneyland in 2018 Plus a Ticket Discount for SoCal Families

Disneyland visitors living in Southern California are in for a treat in 2018. Not only is Disney bringing a plethora of new experiences to the iconic theme park, but they’re also offering discounts for local L.A. families. The Southern California resident ticket offer provides flexible options for two or three days of magic and adventure at special prices. For a limited time, guests may select from these purchase options, which...

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cirque du soleil's luzia

Slipping into a Waking Dream of Mexico with Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia in SoCal

Our little entourage was tired from a day of school, work and after-school activities, but with tickets to see the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico,” we dug deep to find our second wind and rushed to the grand chapiteau.   One of the parking lots at Dodger Stadium, where “Luzia” runs through Feb. 11, has been transformed into a garden of sorts – from Blue...

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this is us

Mackenzie Hancsicsak of ‘This is Us’: Tackling Big Issues With Her TV Family

On a recent morning, sandwiched between a hair appointment, a Golden Globes gifting suite and a wardrobe fitting at Paramount Studios is Mackenzie Hancsicsak’s interview with me at the L.A. Parent office in Woodland Hills.   The 10-year-old has grown used to the schedule that her role as young Kate Pearson on the Screen Actors Guild Award-winning NBC series “This is Us” demands – and to navigating a range of emotional...

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Los Angeles children's music

Los Angeles Children’s Music: Get With The Not-Its

This year represents a big year for the Not-Its. Not only is the band working on its next album, but 2018 also marks the group’s 10th anniversary. Part of the vibrant Pacific Northwest children’s music scene that includes acts such as Casper Babypants and Recess Monkey, the Not-Its are coming to Southern California to perform a 2 p.m. show Feb. 11 at Torrance’s James Armstrong Theater. Tickets are $10-$20. The...

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Valentine's Day in Los Angeles

Make Some Hearts, Show Some Heart This Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles

Valentine’s Day may be Feb. 14, but, when it comes to family-friendly Valentine’s events, Feb. 11 is the big day. Families can head to the Norton Simon Museum (www.nortonsimon.org) in Pasadena and go on a “My Valentine Art Adventure Tour” from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Geared for families with kids ages 7-11, this workshop explores artwork that looks at love, family and friendship. Families can then create a valentine inspired by what...

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Los Angeles for Teens

Tween Time: Humor and Humanity Around Los Angeles for Teens

Arriving in Southern California this month are several thought-provoking theater productions just perfect for teens and tweens.  “Candide” comes to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion courtesy of the L.A. Opera (www.laopera.org). Leonard Bernstein composed the music for this colorful comic opera, and this production stars Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers” and “Frasier”) and two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole. Based on the novella by Voltaire, “Candide” (recommended for ages 10 and older) is...

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Los Angeles lunar new year celebration

Golden Dragons, Lion Dancers and the Year of the Dog

The Lunar New Year officially arrives Feb. 16. Here are a few notable events where families can help welcome the Year of the Dog.    Monterey Park’s Lunar New Year Festival, (www.montereypark.ca.gov) will fill five blocks of the city’s downtown area on Garvey Avenue between Ramona and Alhambra avenues from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Feb. 3 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 4. Kicking things off Saturday morning will be traditional New Year...

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Los Angeles black history month events

Six Ways to Celebrate African American History Month

February is African American History Month. Here are six of our favorite ways to celebrate:   At 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3, Children’s Book World (www.childrensbookworld.com) in West L.A. welcomes storyteller Michael D. McCarty for a free storytelling session with tales reflecting African American history. Kids will be tapping their toes while learning about jazz and African American composers at the free story time and dance party at John C. Fremont Branch...

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center theatre group

Center Theatre Group Chooses August Wilson Monologue Finalists

Center Theatre Group has selected 12 local high school students to participate in the regional finals for the 2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) to be held March 5 at the Mark Taper Forum.  This is the seventh year Center Theatre Group is hosting the Southern California component of the national monologue competition. The program is designed to inspire and educate Los Angeles youth using monologues from August Wilson’s “American...

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Los Angeles Museums

Enjoy a Day of Free Culture

Thirteen is the lucky number this month for those who like to visit Los Angeles museums. Jan. 28 marks the 13th annual Museums Free-For-All, a day where more than 30 Southern California cultural institutions welcome the public to visit free of charge.   Take this opportunity to go to one of your family’s favorite museums or check out someplace new. Participating museums go from A (Annenberg Space for Photography) to Z...

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Aladdin at the Pantages: A Magical Visit to Agrabah

As I waited for the curtain to go up on opening night of “Aladdin” at the Pantages Theater, I couldn’t help but wonder how the story would fare without the magic of Gilbert Gottfried, the late Robin Williams and Disney animation. I didn’t even have to wait until intermission for my answer: Delightfully. I’ve never seen a standing ovation before the end of a performance, but Michael James Scott’s Genie...

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kids movies

Bears, Rabbits and Neanderthals are Coming to SoCal Cinemas

The holiday-movie season is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate and wait for fresh family movies to come out in the spring. There are several kid-friendly movies scheduled for release before then.  The first arrival of the New Year will be “Paddington 2” Jan. 12. The PG-rated sequel to the “beary” popular 2014 live-action/CGI animated comedy picks up where the first film left off, with Paddington bear living with the Brown family. The story finds the cute...

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family fun in los angeles

A Trifecta of Disney Fun

There is a triple of dose of Disney excitement to be enjoyed this January. Arriving in town Jan. 10 will be “Aladdin,” which materializes at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater (6233 Hollywood Blvd.) through March 31. Created by award-winning talent, including Alan Menken (“Newsies”), Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Tim Rice (“The Lion King”), this Broadway smash features songs from the beloved Disney movie as well as new tunes written...

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Where to Have a Wheel Interesting Time

Whether you are a fan of small cars or big trucks, gear up for fun this month. The Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; www.petersen.org) offers a new exhibit that spotlights a unique area of the auto world – kids’ race cars. “Sidewalk Speedsters: The Grown-Up World of Children’s Cars” features a cool lineup of child-size competitive cars. Although these cars might have started off as toys, they have...

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millennial dad

Surprises Behind the Orange Curtain: Good Coffee and Gated Adventure Parks in the OC

This month’s column is an exploration of Bizarro World. I’m talking about that other dimension just south of the Habra-Mirada Line: Orange County. Although the OC is just a 30-minute drive from LAX (traffic permitting), we Angelenos tend to look down on the suburban sprawl just south of us. Perhaps the annual trip to Disneyland or Laguna Beach is the only time you venture behind the “orange curtain,” but I’ve...

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Lauren Potter Stars in Short Film About Acting and Disabilities

Actors face many challenges, including seemingly endless strings of auditions that may or may not pay off. A new short film starring Lauren Potter, the scrappy cheerleader from “Glee,” spotlights what that can look like for actors with disabilities. Called “Headshot,” the 5-minute film was produced in partnership with AbilityFirst, a nonprofit dedicated to looking beyond disabilities and expanding possibilities. The film was directed by Eva Ye and in the...

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rose parade

You Can Still Smell the Roses

Going to see the Tournament of Roses Parade is a memorable – and daunting – experience. To get a curbside view, you must arrive before dawn, if not earlier. If you want a reserved seat, tickets cost $55-$100 and you have to snag them before they sell out. (By the way, tickets for the 2019 parade will be available at www.sharpseating.com Feb. 1.)   However, you can get a great view of the floats without the fuss by visiting “Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats.” After the parade...

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NYE Parties for Kids in Los Angeles

A Countdown of New Year’s Countdowns

We will start our New Year’s countdown at five with this list – which is chronological, not a ranking.  5. The Santa Monica Playhouse (1211 4th St., Santa Monica; www.santamonicaplayhouse.com) is presenting its annual (but new each year) New Year’s Eve Musical Revue at 7 p.m. Dec. 30 and 6 p.m. Dec. 31. For $39.50-$59.50 adults, $19.50-$39.50 children, guests can enjoy a buffet dinner, a light-hearted musical production, noisemakers, streamers and...

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Playa Del Carmen

Family Travel: Magical Mahekal in Playa Del Carmen

There are places in the streets of modern-day Playa del Carmen, along the Caribbean shoreline in Mexico, where it is possible for families to take a step away from the bumping music and partiers and into the richness of Mayan history. There are quiet cobblestone paths and white-sand beaches that pave the way from layers of aquamarine ocean to jungles thick with the same sounds of birdsong and chatter familiar...

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kids outdoors

The Art of Getting the Kids Outdoors in the Los Angeles Area

Our family is very fortunate in having cousin Hannah, the matriarch of the family, turn 92 recently.  Hannah’s four children are now in their 60s and her grandchildren are now having children. Our littlest cousin and her newest great granddaughter, Sloan, was just born a few months ago.  One of the mantras that Hannah has always told each of us as we began having children was that whenever our children...

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snow in los angeles

Snow Will Blanket Los Angeles This Month

Southern California is known as the land of sun, but in December we import a little snow. If you are looking to have a blast of wintry fun, there are plenty of places to have a (snow)ball.   Just a mile or so away from Dodger Stadium, where the boys of summer play, you can play winter games at Snow Day L.A. (The Old Lodge, 2002 Stadium Way, L.A; www.snowdayla.com) from...

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los angeles theme parks

The Holidays Take Over Local Theme Parks

Is a theme-park visit on your holiday to-do list? Here is a peek at some of the ways the parks will be celebrating the season.    Disneyland and California Adventure (1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim; www.disneyland.com) both have special attractions through Jan. 7. Among Disneyland’s highlights are the colorful “A Christmas Fantasy” parade and the “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show – with its lovely snowfall finale. “World of Color –...

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family fun los angeles

All Aboard the Christmas Express

While it is well known that Santa Claus travels by sleigh, you might have second thoughts given all of the train-related events occurring this month.   The Fillmore & Western Railway Co. (351 Santa Clara St., Fillmore; www.fwry.com) has four Christmas train options on its December schedule. Hop aboard the Christmas Tree Train and take a ride with Santa to pick out a pre-cut tree, dine with Santa on the aptly named Dinner with Santa...

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theater in los angeles

The Many Spirits of Holiday Theater

When the winter holiday season makes its annual visit, you can expect to find Sugar Plum Fairies and Scrooge on many Los Angeles stages. This year brings more than a dozen productions of “The Nutcracker” and a handful of “A Christmas Carols.” However, there is also a nice variety of theatrical options if you are looking for something beyond Tiny Tim and Tchaikovsky.   Beauties and Beasts  Two of this season’s most popular characters, in fact, are Beauty and the Beast, with three different incarnations of this favorite fairy tale...

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la families

Wilmington’s Wild Winter Weekend

If you are looking to pack as many winter holiday happenings as you can into one geographically compact weekend, visit the Wilmington/San Pedro area the first weekend of December.   For those who like their Christmas with a dash of history, Wilmington hosts a pair of yuletide events Dec. 2 and 3 that offer a glimpse into Christmas past. A Victorian Christmas Celebration will be happening at the Banning Museum (401 E. M St.;...

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Harry Potter World Brings the Christmas Magic

Let’s face it, theme-park tickets don’t come cheap in these parts. Even the most frugal outing can cost several hundred dollars for a family of three or four, so you want to make those visits count. The winter holidays offer the best return on that investment, and the debut of “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” makes that especially true at Universal Studios Hollywood this year. It’s a...

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fall camping los angeles

Fall Camping at El Capitan

For Angelenos, camping in the fall is an opportunity to cozy up to nature after the crowds have gone back to their grind. November is our family favorite and this year, Park Rangers Tony Annia and Rick Humphrey from El Capitan State Beach, or “El Cap” as locals refer to it, gave us some advice on how to make the most of our annual trip there. Keep things simple during...

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kid-friendly beaches

Best Kid Friendly Beaches Along the Highway 1 Discovery Route

In our land of endless summer, fall is a great time to hit the beach with the family. Pack up the sunscreen and head to one of these beaches along the North Coast of the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route, (H1DR). Each beach community has something unique to offer. Ragged Point Beach:  Ragged Point Beach is a remote beach that is just waiting to be discovered. The steep but short...

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kid-friendly winter sports

10 Winter Sports for California Families

Most of us think of our SoCal home as an oasis of beaches, palm trees and sunshine. But there are plenty of winter sports available in the L.A. area – or not too far afield. From the time my three kids were tots, we went sledding in Frasier Park and skiing in Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain. As my kids got older, mountain resorts became our winter playgrounds for snowshoeing,...

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new kids movies

Coming Attractions: Four and a Half Films for Families

The holidays are always a prime time for family films, and this year is no exception. The first to reach cinemas will be “Coco,” which arrives Nov. 22. Full of music, humor and magical adventure, this new Pixar animated movie tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel, who wants to be a musician despite his family’s ban on music. Finding himself in The Land of the Dead, Miguel meets his deceased...

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holiday events in LA

Brighten Up Your Holiday Season with Light Shows

Lovers of holiday light shows can find electrifying experiences at the L.A. Zoo and Descanso Gardens this season.   Illuminating L.A. nights from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 17-22 and Nov. 24-Jan. 7 (closed Dec. 24-25) will be L.A. Zoo Lights (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoolights.org). Since its 2014 debut, this light display has earned nationwide attention and is listed as one of the “Best Zoo Lights 2016” in the USA Today's Readers'...

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dance in los angeles

Visit Many Worlds of Dance This Month

November kicks off “Nutcracker” season, but the month also offers some interesting dance performances that are free of Sugar Plum Fairies. Dance in Los Angeles revs up and gives fans of artistic movement a plethora of choices to experience in different areas in Southern California. One comes from Momix, one of America’s preeminent modern dance companies. Known for nontraditional choreography, Momix performances include props, projections, acrobatics, costumes and mime. They...

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agents of discovery

Agents of Discovery Partners for SoCal Explorer Campaign

Nothing captures the imagination like a good mystery, so if you’re looking for ways to get your kids off the couch, consider your local parks—with a twist. As part of the SoCal Explorer Campaign, 20 Southern California parks have teamed up with Agents of Discovery, an educational technology platform, to create mobile reality games aimed at getting kids 15 and younger excited about exploring the outdoors. The campaign, which will...

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hamilton in los angeles

Tween Time: Hamilton vs. ‘Spamilton’

“Hamilton’s” time at the Pantages comes to an end Dec. 30, so if you haven’t yet seen it (or seen it multiple times), don’t procrastinate. “Hamilton,” recommended for ages 12 and older, has become a cultural phenomenon, and most people now know about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterful musical depiction of Alexander Hamilton’s life story via rap, pop, hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway music. The Pantages holds a lottery for $10 tickets...

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theatrical performances in LA

Classic Children’s Stories Reimagined for the Stage

Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Willy Wonka, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz – these well-known characters from childhood will find their stories re-imagined in intriguing ways this month.   Imago Theatre stages its highly original version of “Beauty and the Beast,” offering “La Belle, Lost in the World of the Automaton” at 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Valley Performing Arts Center (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; www.valleyperformingartscenter.org). Filled...

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mt wilson observatory

Happy Anniversary Hubble: Mt. Wilson Observatory Celebrates 100 Years of Space Exploration

One hundred years ago, on Nov. 1, 1917, Edwin Hubble used a 100-inch telescope to prove that the universe not only stretched beyond the Milky Way, but that it is expanding. The mighty Hooker telescope was named after the Los Angeles businessman John D. Hooker, who wanted his name attached to the largest telescope ever built. The telescope held this distinction until 1949 and was later instrumental in the discovery...

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events for dogs in la

Welcome to the Dog Days of October

Events for dogs are running wild this month. On Oct. 21, Best Friends Animal Society will host its “Strut Your Mutt” fundraiser in Exposition Park. Participants can choose a short or longer walk, and humans and canines can enjoy a craft tent and the “Bobbing for Biscuits” competition. To “strut your mutt,” sign up online (for $15) or at the park (for $20). Funds raised will support BFAS and other...

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L.A. Neighborhoods

7th Annual Found L.A.: Exploring L.A. Neighborhoods

L.A. County is a mammoth of a place, with some 10 million people and counting. It is made up of more than 4,084 square miles of hills, valleys and highways. With its multitude of L.A. neighborhoods and famous and obscure sites, getting to know – really know –  this place can take a lifetime. If you and your family are ready to sink into the folds of the real L.A.,...

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murals in los angeles

Murals in Los Angeles: Taking Art to the Streets with Kids

L.A. is a heavyweight contender in the battle to be the city with the most splendid street art on Earth. Venice, the San Fernando Valley and the Downtown Arts District are teeming with work by some of the world’s most famous muralists, and our area boasts a torrent of Technicolor innovations from local talent. City officials imposed a mural ban in the 1990s, but it was lifted in 2013, and...

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animation in los angeles

It’s Toon Time: Celebrations of Animation in Los Angeles

Some unique fun is on tap for families this month. Animation in Los Angeles is a thriving sector of the entertainment industry and you can celebrate it with your kids. Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills (media.paleycenter.org) unveils an exhibition saluting Cartoon Network’s first quarter century on Oct. 14. Called “Cartoon Network: 25 Years of Drawing on Creativity,” it offers visitors an in-depth sketch-to-screen look at the creative process...

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Big Draw Events Unite L.A. In Art

Get ready to put pencil, pen or crayon to paper because Big Draw LA is coming to town. Organized by local nonprofit Ryman Arts, the event celebrates the simple joy of drawing a picture and promotes inclusiveness through the diversity of its projects and participants. There will be related events around Southern California throughout October. The signature event, “Make Your Mark in the Park,” will take place Oct. 8 in...

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Your Boo! To-Do List of Halloween Haunts for Families

It seems like all of October is one big Halloween party. Throughout the month, there will be a wide range of events across Southern California where you can get into the Halloween spirit. These are some of our favorites (and you can find more in our Calendar in print and online). Eerie Experiments If your kids look great in a lab coat, head over to Discovery Cube Los Angeles (la.discoverycube.org)...

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we are savvy

Teens Showcase Their Savvy in New YouTube Red Series

When I was 11, there were few opportunities to peer into the lives of tweens outside of my immediate community. Today, tweens  have many chances to see how their peers around the world are living. These include a YouTube Red Original series called “We Are Savvy,” which aims to give tweens and teens a refreshing spin on girl culture. The cheeky magazine-style show set in three of the hosts’ bedrooms...

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haunted houses in los angeles

Halloween Fun for Tweens: Terror Time

For young kids, Halloween revolves around cute costumes and trick-or-treat candy. Teens’ interests often shift toward more frightful fun. With that in mind, here’s a guide to Southern California Halloween attractions that are a real scream. The Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com) in Long Beach is said to be haunted, making it spooky enough on an average day. Its Dark Harbor event Sept. 28-Nov. 1 intensifies the fright with menacing mazes and...

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pumpkin patch in los angeles

Which Patch Will You Pick?

It's Pumpkin patch in Los Angeles time in October, but sometimes you can’t find one when you need it. Here are four worthy destinations for pumpkin picking and seasonal excitement. Underwood Family Farms: The Underwood family’s 20th annual Fall Harvest Festival offers plenty of pumpkins, along with giant hay pyramids, a corn stalk labyrinth, the sling shot and corn cannon. Themes include Antique Tractor Weekend Oct. 14-15 and Wild West...

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touch a truck

Get Touchy with Trucks

Big vehicles and little kids just seem to go together, which explains the ongoing popularity of Southern California Children’s Museum’s Touch-A-Truck day. Now in its fifth year, this event gives children a chance to get a good close-up look at a variety of big vehicles – and climb into and explore them. Emergency vehicles, large trucks, recreational vehicles and other heavy machinery will be on display at Santa Anita Park...

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It’s Twinkle Time

  If you frequent children’s music shows around Southern California, then you probably have seen Twinkle Time. Known for their colorful, energetic performances, Twinkle and her band play several hundred times a year. The local singer also somehow found time to record a new album, “Just Dance,” which comes out this month.   The title track is one of the tracks powered with a big dance beat, but Twinkle says “Just...

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girls who code

Merging Two Kinds of Language: Literature and Coding

The front cover of the new Girls Who Code novel, “The Friendship Code,” showcases a familiar image of girl friendships: four tweens are hanging out in a bedroom, chatting it up and having fun.  While the room is decked out in purples and pinks, stars and fluffy pillows, crack open the book, and you’ll discover a story that’s far from stereotypically girly. The “gossip” these characters are dishing has to...

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Shop Talk: Get Things Moving

The new school year is here and it’s time to get busy (as if you weren’t already). These NAPPA award-winning products will help your kids stretch their bodies and brains, while you help them with time-management skills and keep them safe online.

beaches in los angeles

Be Part Of The Cleanup Community

If you head to the beach Sept. 16, leave the boogie board and sandcastle pail at home and bring your gloves and trash bags. It’s Coastal Cleanup Day.   Thousands of volunteers will pitch in and lend a hand at more than 50 L.A. County locations, from Malibu to San Pedro. Some events are community-based while others are organized by places such as the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org) and the Aquarium...

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Latino Art in Los Angeles

LA/LA Set Your Clocks to Museum Time

This autumn, the L.A. art world will be consumed with Getty-led initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art and Los Angeles. Exhibits, programs and events will take place in more than 70 Southern California arts institutions. It’s a mammoth multicultural, multimedia endeavor beginning with a launch party from noon-10 p.m. Sept. 14 in Grand Park. The day features music, dance, food trucks and giveaways,...

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kids club los angeles

Find Victory at Sea With Battleship Iowa’s Kids Club in Los Angeles

Is your child really interested in warships? Not just curious, but run-away-to-join-the-Navy interested? The Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro has just the right outlet for such eager-to-be sailors: a newly unveiled Victory’s Cadet Club, a kids club in Los Angeles! Named after the vessel’s World War II canine mascot, the club offers yearlong memberships for ages 6-12 and boasts a bevy of benefits, including tours, a hat and backpack,...

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rock climbing in los angeles

Getting a Strong Hold on Fitness and Fun

As I watch kids scramble up the bouldering walls at Stronghold Climbing Gym one recent morning, the words “no fear” come to mind. Up the sculpted gray walls they go, using the colorful hand- and footholds to stretch, push and pull their way to the top. The gym, located in Downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex and featured on this month’s cover of L.A. Parent, is pretty safety-forward, with plenty of...

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lisa loeb lullaby girl

EXCLUSIVE! First Listen to Lisa Loeb’s Lullaby Girl

We have the exclusive first listen to Lisa Loeb's soothing version of "Inchworm" from her forthcoming release, "Lullaby Girl," out Oct. 6. The album will be available for streaming exclusively on Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music, as well as for digital download or physical purchase through Amazon Music. Lullaby Girl offers fresh and dreamy arrangements of 13 classic songs from a variety of genres, with a world-class quartet led...

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Shop Talk: Back-to-School Fun and Games

A smooth transition back to school starts well before the first day. These NAPPA Award-winning games and gear will help you get ready for the upcoming school year at home, on the go and at school.

Progressive Santa Barbara Family Travel With Kids In Tow

I’ve always been a traveler, and before my kids were born my trips were often to exotic destinations such as Argentina and Peru. I valued the challenges of those kind of trips: Figuring out the transit system, running the exchange rate in my head and picking up key expressions in the native language. To do any of those things successfully felt like its own reward. But having two small children...

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Family Movie Review: Take the Leap!

Jumping into theaters Aug. 25 is “Leap!” This Weinstein Company animated film doesn’t feature talking animals or cars, and it doesn’t seem to have been created to spawn a series of sequels or a line of merchandise. This film was made just to be a movie, and there is a something greatly refreshing about that. A coming-of-age tale filled with comedy, adventure, music and dance, “Leap!” tells the story of...

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Budget Beach Getaways Near L.A.

If you’re like a lot of L.A. parents, the idea of a vacation with the family sounds amazing. The idea of going into debt to do it? Not so much. Maybe those dreams of a two-week stay in Hawaii have to be dashed, but don’t hit the snooze alarm. How about waking up to the idea of an inexpensive beach getaway? Here are five options, all within two hours of...

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What’s Bubbling Up at the Tar Pits

Young paleontology enthusiasts interested in visiting Los Angeles museums can dig up some interesting adventures at the La Brea Tar Pits this summer. Staff and volunteers at Pit 91 are focused on microfossils during their summer excavation work and will be recovering the bones of small birds, snakes and lizards. One of the Tar Pit’s original excavation locations, Pit 91 is open for public viewing Wed.-Sun. Visitors can also watch...

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The Late-Summer Family Movie Scene

By the time August rolls around, Hollywood typically has sent all of its blockbusters out to theaters. If you’ve seen “Despicable Me 3” and “Cars 3” three times each and are looking for new options, you’ll be happy to know that a few fresh family films are on deck. Those who went nuts over the 2014 animated comedy “The Nut Job” will be excited to find “The Nut Job 2:...

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A Mother-Daughter Trip To Hawaii

Ten years ago, my husband and I enjoyed post-wedding bliss on the island of Hawaii. I hadn’t been back since and booked a return trip on impulse, hoping we’d have family available to watch our 3-year-old twin boys. That would give Adriohn and me a chance to reminisce, and to enjoy some time with our 5-year-old daughter, Mirae. Our plans fell through and it turned into a girls’ trip. All...

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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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lost in oz

Amazon Prime Video’s “Lost in Oz” Debuts as Animated Series

Orbs, portals and ozonium exist in Amazon Prime Video’s newest release, an adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” Based on the “Oz” books by L. Frank Baum, “Lost in Oz,” is an animated series that expands on the Emmy-award winning Amazon Original special, “Lost in Oz: Extended Adventure.” The series features 13 half-hour episodes and gives little viewers a confident, STEM-loving, independent and quick-witted 12-year-old Dorothy Gale with dog Toto,...

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Lucky Diaz Shares L.A. Love on New Family Music CD

“Made In L.A.” is the perfect title for the latest CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Diaz, his wife Alisha “Lishy Lou” Gaddis and their group recorded the album here and invited local children’s musicians Mista Cookie Jar, Todd McHatton, Genevieve Goings and Andrew & Polly to join them on this 12-track set. Diaz describes this album as a love letter to Los Angeles and says he...

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Four Spots to See Free Family Music

For family music fans, August comes packed with wonderful free concerts. The Levitt Pavilions in Pasadena and Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park (www.levittla.org) are offering an impressive lineup of performers. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band will play L.A. Aug. 6 and Pasadena Aug. 10. Jazzy Ash celebrates her new album “Swing Set” on Aug. 13 in MacArthur Park, which will also welcome Birdie’s Playhouse Aug. 27. Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion,...

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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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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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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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knotts berry farm

Go Wild West in Calico at Knotts Berry Farm as Ghost Town Alive! Returns

Last year the newly renovated wooden rollercoaster, GhostRider, compelled me to drive to Buena Park for Knott’s Berry Farm’s 75th Anniversary celebration and the debut of its Ghost Town Alive! Experience. The interactive Wild West-themed improv show isn’t relegated to one stage. Instead, entering the town of Calico allows you to join a gang you choose and engage with the characters as if you and your kids are in a Back to...

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kidz bop kids

Kidz Bop Kids Talk Best Time Ever Tour and New Album ’35’

We caught up with the new kids on the block, Kidz Bop Kids that is. The kids performing your child's favorite pop songs for family consumption are currently on their Best Time Ever Tour. We had Instagram star Haileigh Vasquez interview them on their tour bus during the Los Angeles stop in June. The brand new group of kids, who started this year – Ahnya (12), Freddy (12), Julianna (12), Isaiah (10), Sierra...

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the COOP Woodland Hills

The COOP Woodland Hills Opens at The Village at Westfield Topanga

Parents looking for a place to cool off in the valley's hot summer weather just got a new place to tuck into. The COOP, a kids party and playspace, is now open at the Village at Westfield Topanga. The COOP is a fun indoor playground that offers an area for Moms to work with free wi-fi, but also has a number of different areas for kids of different ages. I was...

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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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The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music in Victoria and Vancouver

Ever since my daughters, Erin and Emily, were elementary-school age, they would spontaneously burst into songs from our family’s favorite movie, “The Sound of Music,” every time we were somewhere uniquely beautiful. The first time it happened, we were visiting the Vanderbilt Estate in Rhode Island. As we walked through the gorgeous flower beds and past the gazebos on the immense grounds, my girls started singing “You Are Sixteen Going...

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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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Los Angeles Events: Marvel Universe Life! Age of Heroes

It might be hard to imagine a time when you could only find Iron Man, Captain America and other Marvel superheroes in the pages of comic books. Today they can be found in movies, TV shows, computer games, merchandise of all types and Disneyland’s new “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” attraction. But this month, fans should get ready to encounter these superheroes in a whole new way. “Marvel...

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despicable me 3

Kids Movie Review: Despicable Me 3, the Goat and the Boat

“Is that the movie ‘fee-uh-ter’?” 3-year-old Dax asks as we approach the Tuck Room Tavern on Wilshire where iPic Theaters Westwood  is tucked right upstairs. “It’s a building, it’s not a movie place,” says Mirae. The sibling banter ended soon after as we approached the "Despicable Me 3" screening and Minion-themed breakfast party. There was a minion milling about, a photo booth with bananas, as well as actual breakfast. Kellogg’s Cereal,...

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Bob Baker Marionettes Revisit a History of Family Fun

The Bob Baker Marionettes have been entertaining audiences for more than half a century at shows around Southern California and downtown in the Bob Baker Marionette Theater at 1345 W. 1st St. This year, the black clouds that have hung over the troupe’s future since the theater property was bought up several years ago seem to be lifting. Construction will soon begin on what is described as a “rejuvenated theater...

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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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hyperlinked

L2M Brings STEM to Life in YouTube Red’s Hyperlinked

Getting kids interested in STEM is going beyond the classroom. Instead of talking about careers in science, technology, engineering and math through parents and teachers, YouTube Red Originals is showing tweens how it’s done. The new show "Hyperlinked" launched in May and features tween music group L2M. The series follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. The mission of the website is to...

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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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3 New Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND this Summer

SoCal isn’t short on summer escapes or family fun, but LEGOLAND has some fun new reasons to consider a quick trip to Carlsbad. Opening June 30, the waterpark’s new Surfers’ Cove expansion will feature a 100-foot waterslide where six adventurous souls can hop on mats and race to the bottom. Riptide Racers juices up the competition with digital stopwatches that keep time over each slide, so there’s an undisputed winner...

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SoCal Theme Parks add to the Family Fun This Summer

With school out, it is a terrific time to find family fun. Do some day-tripping and head south down an Interstate for new attractions. Knott’s Berry Farm has expanded its Soak City Waterpark, which stays open through Labor Day. Orange County’s largest water park is debuting two slide towers – The Shore Break and The Wedge – that add seven new slides for aquatic thrill seekers to try. A trio of...

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inclusive

Find Sports for All at the Angel City Games

Asher Stewart likes to keep moving. He was born without a fibula (shin bone) in one leg and there was an issue with his other foot. Doctors thought it best to amputate part of the leg, and planned for the surgery to take place when he was a year old. “At 6 months, he was trying to walk,” says Asher’s father, John. “Nothing’s ever stopped him.” The Angel City Games...

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Toddle and Spin at Baby DJ School

For a unique musical experience, visit Baby DJ School in Santa Monica or West Hollywood. Run by enthusiastic teacher Anna Wallace (also known as “DJ Annie Wonder”), this isn’t your typical children’s music class with guitars, pianos and drums. Instead, kids ages 2 months to 5 years are introduced to faders, laptops, vinyl records, turntables and other DJ equipment. The 45-minute lessons also feature one-of-a-kind songs such as “Makin’ our...

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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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Tween Time: A Memorable Memory Play

“Memory 5D+” might sound like an app (with more appeal for the middle-aged than for tweens), but it couldn’t be more human. The production is a multimillion-dollar, multisensory theatrical experience featuring more than 35 Chinese musicians, dancers, acrobats and singers that will appeal to teens and tweens. The “Memory” in the show’s name refers to the traditional Chinese music and dance that form the core of this production. Musicians will...

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Geocaching With Kids for Outdoor Fun In L.A.

Armed with a modern-day treasure map (of the iPhone variety), my 4-year-old son and I beelined through the park, following the in-app compass to our destination. Ding! “You’re getting close!” the app encouraged. Our hearts were pounding as we arrived where X marked the spot. We frantically flipped over leaves, shuffled rocks and generally sleuthed around a bit, until … pay dirt! My son popped open a small Tupperware container...

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5 L.A. Museums You Can See For Free

Dodger Stadium and Disneyland are well known to most Southern Californians. But have you visited the Lummis Home or the Los Angeles Police Museum? This month, you have a great opportunity to discover them and many other great local spots for free. From noon-5 p.m. May 21, the Museums of the Arroyo hosts its annual MOTA Day, with free admission to museums in the group. Head to Highland Park and...

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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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Eats for Little Bellies – and You, Too

What are you feeding your family? It’s a question we all have to answer, and these new food options available in stores and online will make that a little easier.

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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Learning About Rancho History – and Service Dogs!

If your family is headed to one of the monthly Creation Station art workshops or other family events at Rancho Los Cerritos (4600 Virginia Rd., Long Beach; www.rancholoscerritos.org), keep an eye out for Marcia Harris and her canine companion. A longtime volunteer at the rancho, Harris also raises service dogs. Harris began volunteering at the rancho, an historic adobe house and surrounding property dedicated to inspiring curiosity about the past,...

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accessible los angeles

Out, About and Inclusive In L.A.

There was a time when “accessible” meant someone with a disability could get in the front door, and maybe up to the second floor – and after that they were on their own. These days, accessibility goes way beyond that, and many L.A. attractions are making it part of their mission. “Accessibility is more than just adding a ramp,” says Peter Martineau, marketing events manager at Aquarium of the Pacific...

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ben lee

Ben Lee’s New Release is Philosophical Family Fun

Ben Lee has made a lot of albums since recording his first songs as a teenager in Australia, but his most ambitious might be his latest – a children’s album entitled “Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam For The Whole Family.” These songs are thoughtful, educational and catchy. Lee hasn’t composed religious songs as much as songs about a religion. Several years ago, Lee, who now makes Los Angeles his...

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monster trucks movie

Making Play Hands-On with Monster Trucks Movie’s Special FX Coordinator Jim Schwalm

Monster trucks jump over highway railings in playrooms all too often, but seeing it on the big screen is a spectacle that piques a child's imagination. This and more mechanical feats can be seen in Paramount Pictures' "Monster Trucks" movie, which just released on BluRay and DVD this month. We recently sat down with Jim Schwalm, Special FX Coordinator for the film, and talked about how to make play more hands-on...

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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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L.A. Citizen Scientists Called on For City Nature Challenge

After launching the first-ever City Nature Challenge in 2016, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA) and San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences are hosting its second—and much larger—effort. This year’s City Nature Challenge will span 16 cities across the U.S. The multi-city event calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and science backgrounds to observe and submit pictures...

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Shop Talk: Sing Into Spring

Whether you’re on the road again or simply out and about more often, having new tunes can make the trip that much sweeter. Listening at home as a family is fun as well. Visit www.NAPPAawards.com for more reviews of children’s and parenting products.

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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los angeles events for tweens

Tween Time: Intriguing Exhibitions

Looking for an excuse to take your tween to a museum? Check out this trio of thought-provoking local exhibits. LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; www.lacma.org) is home to a fascinating retrospective on the visionary artist/educator László Moholy-Nagy. Walking through the galleries, you will be amazed at how many media Moholy-Nagy excelled in: painting, photography, sculpture, advertising and stage design. He was forward-thinking in his use of materials (such as Plexiglass)...

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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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Where to Roll With Easter Egg Hunts in Los Angeles

April is an “egg”-citing time for egg-hunt lovers and Easter Bunny enthusiasts. But with dozens of egg hunts happening, it can be hard to know which one to pick. We have selected a quartet of egg hunts that look to be “egg”-specially “eggs”-traordinary and egg-stra big on their egg counts. Easter On The Farm, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 1-17, Underwood Family Farms, 3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark; www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com. $6 Mon.-Fri.,...

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Autism’s First Film Fest Comes to L.A.

What would you do if someone offered you the use of a movie theater for a couple of days? If you’re Matt Asner, vice president of development for Autism Society of America, you put on a film festival. AutFest, the first film festival solely dedicated to the portrayal of autism in film and filmmakers on the spectrum, takes place April 22-23 at the AMC 30 in Orange. “I’ve always thought...

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pbs kids writing contest

Does Your Child Have The Write Stuff?

Do you have a child who loves to make up stories or draw illustrations? Stop the presses! The PBS Kids Writers Contest is back, and its April 30 deadline is approaching fast. Children in grades K-3 can submit original prose fiction or non-fiction or poetry that they have written and illustrated. First-, second- and third-place winners will be honored at each grade level, and every child who enters a submission...

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los angeles events

A Different Type Of World Series

  The Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening day isn’t until April 3, but you don’t need to wait until then to see major leaguers playing ball in Dodger Stadium. The fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic happens this spring, and the championship round takes place at Dodger Stadium, with semifinal games March 20-21 and the title game March 22. In this unique competition, teams composed of major league players from...

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quebec with kids

Bonjour: Visiting Quebec with Kids in Tow

It is Paris without the jarring jet lag, a European experience wrapped in the warmth of Canadian hospitality. And in little more than five hours, you and your family can be there. A vacation in Montreal and Quebec City, in the Canadian province of Quebec, is the stuff family-travel dreams are made of. There’s just enough of the exotic – French as the common language, centuries-old stone buildings lining narrow...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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Shop Talk: Game On!

Whether you want to head outdoors together or gather around the kitchen table, we found some award-winning products to help you rev up the fun! These are courtesy of the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA). For more information on NAPPA visit their website at www.NAPPAawards.com or follow them on social media at @NAPPAawards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

los angeles family event

For Junior Chefs and Flapjack Fans

Cooking shows featuring kids are all over television, including “MasterChef Junior,” “Chopped Junior” and “Kids Baking Championship.” So it’s not surprising that food festivals also are appealing to kids who love to cook. This month, the All-Star Chef Classic returns to L.A. Live (800 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A.) March 8-11. Besides its adult-focused lineup of “Master Chef Dinners” and “Grill & Chill” and “Southern Eats” strolling events, the Classic will...

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events in los angeles

Dive Deep Without Leaving Shore

Starting March 6, you will be able to have an underwater adventure at the Natural History Museum without leaving the museum, or even getting wet! Its newest attraction “theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience” is an immersive virtual reality installation unlike anything else you can see at the museum. Visitors will first enter a gallery lounge area and are introduced to VR technology and theBlu experience. Then they enter one of...

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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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invent it challenge

The Invent It Challenge Shows How Inventive Children Can Be

  Is your child a tinkerer, a dreamer, a builder and fount of ideas? Do they see a problem, whether it is a hole in a sock or a hole in the ozone, and want to find a solution for it? Then you should know about the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge. A partnership between Cricket Media and the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, this annual...

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Gathering for Good – and Baked Goods

“The great uniter of all people is food and social rights,” says Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants Co-Owner Zoe Nathan. The celebrated baker has teamed up with a group of women and top bakers and pastry chefs across Los Angeles to create Bake & Gather, a grassroots campaign to bring people together in a family-friendly, bake sale-inspired setting to raise funds for causes the community feels passionate about. The first...

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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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Your Family Can Feed a Giraffe a Snack

Put “feed a giraffe” on your bucket list – then check it right off by pitching in at one of the Los Angeles Zoo’s giraffe feedings. Just $5 gets you three acacia stems – one of the giraffe’s favorite foods, plucked fresh from the zoo landscaping – to feed to one of the zoo’s Masai giraffes. You’ll be so busy watching that 18-inch tongue stretch to collect acacia leaves and...

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february family friendly movies

February Film Feast for Families

Arriving this month are two non-Hollywood movies that should interest cinemaphiles young and old. One is a small Swiss animated film and the other is a big IMAX movie, but both celebrate the human condition in their own unique ways. “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” the IMAX movie, will debut at the California Science Center (700 Exposition Park, L.A.; www.californiasciencecenter.org) Feb. 17. Created by MacGillivray Freeman Films, a studio that...

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youtube red

YouTube Red Gets Original for Kids with 4 New Series

YouTube's subscription service YouTube Red is expanding its content offerings for kids in 2017. The $9.99-a-month service currently offers a music service, access to original series and movies and an uninterrupted experience across YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids. Just announced are four new original series for kids and teens this year. These new series will feature top creators: DanTDM , Joe and Cody of TheAtlanticCraft, popular tween music act L2M, and Fruit Ninja. This marks the first...

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move the world

Taking the Stage to Move the World

They learn to dance and they dance to create change. The L.A.-based participants in the nonprofit Move the World, most ages 9 to 21, create and perform original dance works that spotlight causes from the health of our oceans to homelessness among our youth. “I wanted to teach the kids not only to love performing, but for there to be a purpose behind it,” says Move the World Executive Director...

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Toys for Valentine’s Play

This Valentine’s Day, gather your family for some playtime with these award-winning products. It’ll show your kids just how precious you think they are, deepen your bonds and create lasting memories.

family travel

Reconnecting During Annual Snow Trip to Mammoth Mountain

It was 17 degrees with snow on the ground. My fingers were starting to hurt from the cold even though I had liners underneath my gloves, but I wasn’t about to head indoors. Numb fingers, who cares? I was with my daughters dancing to Flo Rida, Usher, Rihanna and Katy Perry mixed in with some old-school favs like Bon Jovi, Duran Duran and the Go’s Go’s. Friday night of New...

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yoga in la

Family Yoga Expands at One Down Dog

Yoga is a meditative practice that many use to find calm and inner peace. So, why not make it a family affair? One Down Dog is known for its family-oriented yoga classes and it is expanding. New kids' classes just launched. Having offered prenatal, baby and me, toddler and me, and family yoga classes for some time, kids' classes were a natural extension of the studio's growing clientele. "After having my son, I realized how...

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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

Oh, The Places You Can Explore For Free

The New Year begins with something that everyone can rally behind – free stuff! SoCal Museums is a group of museum professionals who want to raise public awareness about our local cultural institutions. On Jan. 29, everyone can benefit from this mission during Museum Free-For-All Day. Folks can check out more than 25 area museums without having to pay an admission fee. You can investigate the Old West at the...

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la families

6 Free Workouts for L.A. Families

Whether your goals for 2017 involve a narrower waistline, speedier 5K or just a longer and happier life, they’ll be well served by getting out and getting active with your family. Though the Southland has no shortage of gym memberships and specialty fitness classes, it also offers plenty of free – and fun! – workouts you and your kids will love. This might sound great when the fresh calendar year...

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la events

Five Ways To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day off where you can also take time to give something back. Here are five events families can attend to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrate his impact on our nation. A Day of Service. MLK Day has also been designated as a Day of Service. The public is invited to White Point Nature Preserve (1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San...

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california farms

Find Big Family Fun on California Farms

When Erin Mahoney Harris became a mom 10 years ago, she found herself becoming more and more interested in where her family’s food came from. That led to a passion for gardening – a challenge in her urban L.A. environment. She and her growing family moved to Santa Monica, where Harris built up an extensive vegetable garden in containers and pots. And she began taking her family to visit local...

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family getaway

Family Getaway: A Picturesque Holiday Weekend in the Santa Ynez Valley

This is the first year that both my daughters are in college, which makes the holiday time even more special. I’ve been looking forward to having our house full again since move-in day in September, so when we realized midweek that all four of us were free for the weekend, we knew we wanted to go somewhere fun together. We didn’t want to drive too far and we wanted somewhere...

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rose parade 2017

See the Rose Parade 2017 From All Angles

The Tournament of Roses is an American institution that Southern California can claim as its own. But instead of New Year’s Day, this year’s Rose Parade will take place on Monday, Jan. 2 with the fitting theme of “Never On Sunday.” Founders decreed back in 1893 that the parade would never be staged on a Sunday (and it never has), because they feared the festivities might scare the horses hitched...

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holiday traditions

See Hanukkah In a New Light

“Can I have a cell phone for Hanukkah?” is not an uncommon phrase to hear in L.A. leading up to the Jewish Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is not one of the major Jewish holidays, nor does it have a history of gift giving associated with it. But, because it is typically in December near that other holiday – a magical time filled with music, twinkling lights, swirling snowflakes, flying reindeer...

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skiing with kids

First-Time Skiing Tips for Success

First time skiing with kids? Use these tips to have a great experience  An avid skier since I was a teen, I was eager to share my favorite winter sport with my three kids. Young adults now, each of my kids stepped into his or her first pair of skis by age 4. Our family ski trips are among our favorite memories: Snacking on Cheerios on chairlifts while watching skiers...

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holiday travel

The Great Wolf Lodge Gets Buried by Snow

When the leaves start falling in Autumn, turning the world into a basket of warm and wonderful colors, the Great Wolf Lodge also undergoes a dramatic transformation that shifts with the seasons. Santa arrives at the lodge’s lobby the Saturday after Thanksgiving, accompanied by the lodge wolves, Violet and Willey, driving behind his sled in their cool convertible. In the back of the lobby, the group comes upon a giant...

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family travel

Celebrate the Season in San Francisco

The City by the Bay offers merry fun that will revive your holiday spirit. The lead-up to the holidays can be an especially exhausting time for parents. It’s a special time, yes, but – let’s be honest here – it is difficult to embrace the magic of the season when you’re face-planting into bed every night. Perhaps it’s time to hit the pause button, pack up the kids and some...

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Ultimate Frisbee Gets New Name and More Fun

  In 2024, the Olympic Games might come to L.A. And one of the possible new additions to the roster of athletic events is Ultimate (originally called Ultimate Frisbee). That gives your kids plenty of time to jump on the Ultimate bandwagon – and Southern California Youth Ultimate (SCYU) is ready to help. “Now is the time, more than ever, for L.A. to take the lead on this new and...

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A Magical Winter Wonderland Comes to Westlake Village

If you’re looking for a charming winter wonderland for the whole family, the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village has snow, s’mores, cookies with Mrs. Clause and much more. The Four Seasons Westlake Village is one of my fav getaway spots. I have escaped work deadlines many times with my mom friends to find absolute tranquility and bliss in the hotel’s exquisite spa. I’ve enjoyed overnight stays here with my...

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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.

choir programs in la

Choir Programs Let Kids Sing a Song

Given the chance, most kids love to sing and lots of L.A. programs will help them tune in  As Artistic Director Misha Shtangrud plays the piano to start a rehearsal for MUSYCA Children’s Choir, he sings, “Hello everybody, yes indeed, let’s make music, yes indeed.” His young students joyfully sing along, clearly enjoying the upbeat music and seamlessly transitioning to “Do Re Mi” and “Seasons of Love.” The kids, ages...

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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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holiday traditions

Family Holiday Traditions Worth Sharing

Add any of these ideas from L.A. families to your seasonal celebration. When you roast a Thanksgiving turkey in my house, you have to use Grandad’s stuffing recipe. And all the up-and-coming young cooks in the family are pressed to take a good whiff of the stuffing so they can learn how much poultry seasoning to add. (Sniffing is the best way to tell.) Family and friends love my Christmas...

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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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5 Turkey Trots for Your Thanksgiving Day Exercise

Thanksgiving is known as a day to feast. But before pigging out on turkey, you might want to get a little exercise in – just to balance out your day. Across Southern California, there will be a number of “turkey trot” events Thanksgiving Day where you can work off some calories before adding more on. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, many of these events also raise money for charities. The...

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Shop Talk: What’s Cookin?

The holiday season is the perfect time to show off those culinary skills. Don't have any? Don't fret! Here are some tools and treats that will have you whipping up tasty goodness in no time.

snow activities in la

Snow, Ice, Chill This Winter for Kids of All Ages

When Southern Californians want to experience a blast of winter fun, they have a surprising number of options. One popular choice is heading to one of the outdoor ice rinks that pop up this time of year. For the 19th year, the Holiday Ice Rink returns to Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles (532 S. Olive St., L.A.; www.holidayicerinkdowntownla.com). Open from Nov. 10 through Jan. 18, this 7,200-square-foot rink presents...

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Make These Cute, Crafty Owls

As a parent and an art teacher, I permanently have my eyes on the lookout for materials that are fun, inexpensive and kid-friendly. Craft sticks have gotten on my radar lately, since you can buy them in so many lengths and widths, and since craft stores often sell so many fun wooden shapes with them. I love that they allow children to get the sense of building and creating something...

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7 Don’t-Miss Family Events For November

Here are our top picks for upcoming family fun in and around L.A. Plan ahead for maximum family fun. Hang Around With Spiders: You’ll be amazed by the tangled web in the Natural History Museum’s Spider Pavilion. (Happening Nov. 1) A Festival To Fall For: The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Autumn Festival spotlights the cultures of China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines through live performances, art and food. (Happening Nov....

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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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kids home

Shop Talk: Home Sweet Home

Creating that perfect living space is always a work in progress, but adding just a few things here and there can really turn a house into a home. For more product reviews, visit NAPPAawards.com

family recipes

Family Recipes: Pancakes On the House

Chef Kristina Mikyste of Doma Kitchen shares a fun dish you can top any way you like  Ricotta cheese is an unusual addition to pancakes, but it is similar to the farmers’ cheese Kristina Mikyste used growing up in Lithuania – in a family of chefs. Needless to say, the family did a lot of cooking. “Especially Sunday,” says Mikyste, “because it’s a family day, so we always cooked. It’s...

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girls dolls

L.A. Mom Designs Dolls Representing the Global Scene

You can learn a lot about a little girl by watching her play with dolls. Stacey McBride-Irby, a Gardena native, played out her love of fashion with Barbie dolls. That love never waned, and after earning a degree in fashion design from Los Angeles Trade-Tech College, she turned her childhood passion into a design career. McBride-Irby started as a design assistant for Barbie doll toy maker Mattel. “After an interview,...

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museums for kids in la

Enter the Wonderful World of Pixar

Dory, Sully, Buzz Lightyear and WALL•E are just some of the beloved characters in Pixar family films. Now you can explore the technology behind Pixar’s movie magic at a new exhibit, “The Science Behind Pixar,” making its West Coast premiere at the California Science Center, (700 Exposition Park Dr., L.A.; www.californiasciencecenter.org), one of many museums for kids in LA. “The Science Behind Pixar” offers a fascinating insider’s look at how...

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fun ideas for kids

Goodwill’s BOO-Tiques Scare up Deals for Halloween Costumes

The Halloween shopping season is underway at Goodwill Southern California’s 81 stores. The retailer brings back its popular Halloween BOO-Tiques, providing shoppers with everything Halloween. Goodwill Southern California’s Halloween BOO-Tiques have become known as one of Southern California’s most popular one-stop shops for finding deeply discounted Halloween costumes and accessories. Shopping at GSC’s Halloween BOO-Tiques, which feature Halloween-inspired costumes, make-up, home decorations and props, has become a big tradition among...

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things to do in la

October LEGO Fun For Families

LEGO lovers have two reasons to be excited about October. The month starts off with the LEGO Travel Adventure opening at Discovery Cube LA. (11800 Foothill Blvd., L.A.; www.discoverycube.com/la). In this hands-on exhibit running Oct. 1-Jan. 16, kids can suit up like a pilot, race-car driver or ship captain and explore the air, Earth or seas in specially designed LEGO vehicles. Through its interactive elements, the exhibit allows children to...

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community news

Art Lessons That Think Inside the Box

When a friend bemoaned the limited art instruction options for her son in their school and community, Lauren Perelmuter, founder of Art to Grow On Children’s Art Center, sent the boy a Frank Lloyd Wright lesson in a box. His mom was so thrilled that she brought the program into her second-grade classroom, and The Art Box Academy was born. Art to Grow On offers mobile art classes in schools,...

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positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Getting Some Headspace with a New App

Parents looking to give their kids a mindfulness boost – and get one for themselves – have a new option. This summer, the creators of the Headspace meditation app launched Headspace for Kids. Available to Headspace subscribers ($7.99-$12.95 per month), Headspace for Kids features meditations on five themes – calm, kindness, focus, sleep and waking up – for ages 5 and younger, 6-8 and 9-12. The meditations are designed for...

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positive parenting

Practice, Not Perfection: Mindfulness Meditation for Kids

Meditation is a simple tool that can help kids develop focus and feel more calm.  And it can be enjoyable. Parents can meditate with kids in playful ways that create safe space for emotions to surface and imaginations to be set free. But getting there takes some practice. Mindfulness practice and meditation are different for kids than for adults, but their purpose is the same: to build awareness by taking...

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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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fun ideas for kids

Angel City Derby Gets Girls into Four-Wheel Drive

It’s Saturday morning, and a couple dozen girls age 7-18 are skating around a Gardena warehouse on old-fashioned four-wheel skates. As their coach, Shilow “RegulateHer” Castro, shouts instructions, they pair up and practice nudging each other out of the oval track striped on the cement floor. The girls wear helmets, knee and elbow pads and wrist guards, which are standard for their sport: roller derby. Their team, Angel City Junior...

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positive parenting

On The Record: Becoming a Butterfly Parent

Rhinoceroses are strong, have endurance and thick skin. A rhino charges toward its goals and never stops until it gets there. As a child, my bedtime stories were not about princesses and unicorns. They were about living life like a rhinoceros and not a cow. When I became a mother and had little rhinos of my own, I naturally wanted the same for them – to be strong and determined....

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special needs

Sign-ups Open For The Miracle Project Fall Theater Classes

The Miracle Project – an innovative program that uses theater, music and movement to help individuals with autism and other disabilities build self-confidence, communication skills and friendships – is kicking off its fall schedule of courses in September. Space is limited, and early registration is strongly recommended. Several classes will be held Tuesdays at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts (9390 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; www.thewallis.org) from Sept....

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community news

Dongpo Kitchen Opens at Universal CityWalk

There's a new restaurant player in town at Universal CityWalk. Dongpo Kitchen, inspired by restaurant Meizhou Dongpo and its owners, Chef Mr. Wang and his wife Mrs. Liang, is serving up authentic Sichuan cuisine in the first-ever U.S. casual dining concept exclusively at the iconic open-air destination. Renowned for its Sichuan-style fusion of traditional and creative cooking, Meizhou Dongpo has  more than 100 locations across China. In 2008, the 20-year...

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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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fun ideas for kids

A Kiss of Creativity Comes to Encino

A new art studio that caters to kids opened this spring at Encino Town Center, teaching arts skills while allowing children’s self-directed creativity to flourish. Petit Bizoo, “a small kiss” in French, serves ages 4 and up, and offers mommy-and-me classes for toddlers and unique workshops for adult art lovers as well. “I want to teach art and awareness to families, schools, adults and children. [To show them] that art...

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los angeles things to do

Frozen Fruit Co Launches Flagship Soft Serve Store In Santa Monica

There is a new frozen dessert player in Santa Monica, one that aims to change your entire perception of what soft serve should taste like and be made of giving families in Los Angeles things to do. The recently opened Frozen Fruit Co makes an entirely new type of soft serve made just from fruit. Dairy free, vegan, paleo and only sweetened with natural fruit sugars, it’s designed to be...

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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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fun things to do in la

A Brick-Tastic Time for LEGO Builders

Brick Fest Live isn’t a place where contractors compare building materials, it's the epitome of fun things to do in LA for builders of all ages. The building at Brick Fest Live involves the small plastic pieces commonly known as LEGOs. Fest-goers can race their custom-built LEGO cars in the Brick Fest Derby or play a game of mini-golf on the Brick-Links. They can showcase their LEGO video game skills,...

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fun ideas for kids

LA’s Great 8: Exceptional Outdoor Playgrounds

If you have grown tired of your usual haunts of fun ideas for kids and are looking to try more creative, unusual and adventurous playground options, you still have some summer vacation left to go exploring! Here are a few parks that stand out, including a couple of newly opened options to keep things fresh. Slip-Sliding Away While the recently opened South Park playground in Hermosa Beach (425 Valley Dr.)...

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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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parenting

Doc Talk: How to Handle the Heat Like a Pro

Whether your child is at the beach, on the ball field or just out playing in the park, heat-related illness is a danger this time of year. Parents often throw around the term “heat stroke,” but are usually using it incorrectly. There are many forms of heat-related illness. Heat Cramps/Edema/Syncope: It doesn’t have to be extraordinarily hot for children to develop cramps and muscle pain or swelling (edema) of the...

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Mystery Solved! If it weren’t for those meddling kids…

I just experienced the most spectacular date night out with friends unique to all the fun things to do in LA, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you about it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can tell you a little. Last month, my husband and I planned a “triple” date with friends and headed to the Westside to partake in Escape Key Entertainment’s interactive, live-action game. Up to six people...

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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 summer activities

Blackberry Crumble: A Sweet Taste of Childhood

Katie Shyne of Taste on Melrose shares fond memories and a Spiced Blackberry Crumble recipe. Doesn’t blackberry picking with your mom sound like a delicious way to spend a morning? Katie Shyne, executive pastry chef at Taste on Melrose, brings her childhood memory and a childhood favorite recipe to life in this Spiced Blackberry Crumble. “It’s one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a...

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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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community news

Community News: Getting In the Swing of Things

Imagine a picturesque Sunday morning. A cluster of fluffy cumulus clouds peppers a saturated blue sky as the vivid sun slowly stretches its legs across the horizon. The sounds of chirping birds and the click of a distant water sprinkler wallows in your ear. It’s as if Ansel Adams is supposed to capture this moment, but it’s only you and your seven iron as a ball rests 145 yards from...

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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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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 ideas for kids

Shop Talk: Summer Friendly Products for Your Family

Days are long and the kids are out of school. Make it a summer to remember with these products for outdoor fun ideas for kids.

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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summer activities

Stay Scholastic This Summer

  Since 2009, Scholastic has held its Summer Reading Challenge to keep kids excited about books. So far, kids have logged more than one billion reading minutes worldwide in the global online program. For this year summer’s program, the theme is “Be A Reading Superhero.” Besides logging their minutes online, kids will also get to unlock stories from authors who will reveal how they became reading superheroes.  As part of...

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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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family travel

Shop Talk: 6 Family Travel Must-Haves

Road trips, getaways, flights and daycations. Here are some fun finds for the family’s next vacation. For more product reviews, visit NAPPAawards.com. Wish You Were Here Share vacation highlights with friends by sending customized postcards with the Get Postly app ($1.99 per card, www.getpostly.com). Snap a picture with your phone, upload it to the app, write a message and send. Available for iOS and Android.        Sweet Dreams...

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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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family fun magazine

Picnic Perfection: Tips for Healthy, Safe and Delicious Meals On-The-Go

Whether you are headed to the zoo, a park, an amusement park or the beach, day trips provide excellent opportunities to spend time together, create memories and explore the areas surrounding Los Angeles.  These tips from our family fun magazine will keep you fed and maximize the fun. Bringing meals and snacks along for the ride will give you better control over food choices while helping to save money and...

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los angeles attractions

Great Wolf Lodge: A Den Away From Home

Our family got a chance to stay at one of the newest Los Angeles attractions, Great Wolf Lodge Resort and Indoor Water Park in Garden Grove this spring. This is the 13th GWL in the U.S., but the first in California. I had never heard of this family resort, but friends on the East Coast love having the option of an indoor water park in the middle of winter and let...

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Family Travel in Thailand, Costa Rica and Bermuda

Some vacations are packed with such unique cultural experiences and thrilling adventures that they change how you see the world. Sharing a home-cooked meal with a local family, learning about cultural customs and exploring a country’s natural attractions are enriching opportunities. Here are three destinations I think will help you create amazing family memories. Thailand You can learn a lot about Thailand by visiting Buddhist temples, royal palaces, vibrant street...

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activities for toddlers

Where to Find the Perfect Toy Truck Around LA

Hank is a 1-year-old gear jockey. He bounces with a kind of Strauss waltz-like ebullience when a wheel positions itself in his field of vision. I have no scientific data to back this up, but he seems to possess a nimble radar for all things automotive, almost like a shark sensing a floundering adolescent seal on a lazy current. Having witnessed my toddler son’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for all things with...

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MakersKit Opens First Retail Store on Melrose

Whether it's to save money, create a personalized gift or just for the fun of getting your hands dirty, DIY has gained buzz as the new thing to do. But being a “maker” doesn't always have to be an at-home experience. Case in point, MakersKit opened its first retail store on Melrose in L.A. April 10. MakersKit began as a way for co-founders Phillip Kuhn, Mike Stone and Jawn McQuade to share...

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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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The Wild West and the Round Table

Young adventurers can enjoy a pair of colorful, historical Los Angeles events this month – one celebrating the days of the Wild West, and the other a taste of Elizabethan England. The 23rd annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival will hitch up its wagons in William S. Hart Park (24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall; www.cowboyfestival.org) from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 23 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 24. This popular event gives visitors...

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toys

New York Toy Fair – Unplugged

I made my annual trek to New York in February to attend the Toy Industry of America’s Toy Fair, a trade show that features hundreds of thousands of new toys, games and novelties from more than 1,200 exhibitors. It was worth braving the record-low temps and snow flurries of Manhattan for a sneak peek at the products hitting stores this spring or fall. Drones, robots and toys with integrated apps...

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Milk + Bookies Story Time Fundraiser Adds Celeb Readers

Milk + Bookies' 7th Annual Story Time Celebration is gearing up with new celebrity faces and a new open-door policy. In previous years the celebration and its arts and crafts, costumed characters, yummy treats and celebrity readers (who have included Tiffani Thiessen, Jack Black and JJ Abrams) was only open to those working with the non-profit organization. This time Milk + Bookies is extending an invitation to all L.A.-area parents to celebrate...

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6 Local Gardens For Families to Explore

Spring is upon us, and it’s a great time to get out and remember why we like the sun. It makes good things grow. Big Garden On Campus That’s true even in some of our most urban spaces. At the southeast edge of the sprawling UCLA campus in Westwood, for instance, lies the UCLA Life Sciences Mathias Botanical Garden. Occupying more than seven acres in a natural ravine, the garden has...

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Hop To IHOP For Free Pancakes

Among March’s many holidays is National Pancake Day. It might not be the best known March holiday, but IHOP restaurants make it a special occasion for several reasons. On National Pancake Day, which this year is March 8, the popular restaurant chain offers customers a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. But IHOP is doing more than just dishing out free food. The promotion also helps raise awareness and funds...

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Four Great Family Bike Trails

If your family's spring break is a "staycation" this year, make your time feel like a bona-fide getaway by slowing down the pace and enjoying a bike ride. Many of us have developed an intense spin class or other stationary riding habit in our day-to-day, but forget that biking outside – just for family fun – can be delightful. "You see a place in a totally different way when you...

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Six Local Farms That Welcome Families

We live in a state that is blessed with a year-round growing season, but spring is undeniably the best time to visit many of California’s small farms. Even here bountiful SoCal, many farms are closed to the public during the winter, and the summer months can be too hot and dusty to make for a pleasant outing. Spring, on the other hand – when goats are kidding, sheep are lambing...

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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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enrichment - Music - ETYKids5

Shop Talk: Music 101

Whether you’re a music listener, novice player or skilled musician, these treasures will fit nicely into your repertoire.

Nature Connects at South Coast Botanic Garden

Something unusual has sprouted in the South Coast Botanic Garden: Flowers that seem larger than life. Explore farther and you will also find butterflies, rabbits and other creatures that look real and unreal. This is the extraordinary work of artist Sean Kenney, who creates unbelievable sculptures out of LEGOs. His award-winning exhibition, “Nature Connects,” which will be at the South Coast Botanic Garden (26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula; www.southcoastbotanicgarden.org)...

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Put A Little Adventure Into Your 2016

It's still early enough in the year to make plans for 2016. This month offers a couple of family-friendly Los Angeles events that could help you figure out what exciting things you could make happen this year. Looking for an interesting place to visit? The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show on Feb. 27-28 (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; www.travelshows.com/shows/los-angeles, $11-$16; free for...

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12 Great Books for Black History Month

Your child may be awash in historical stories of notable African- American heroes this Black History Month. We’d like to add to the conversation with our list of relatable stories that will help your child see themselves in children from different backgrounds. Here we present books that feature young characters of African descent, among others, and show them working together through fictional and a few lesser-known historical situations. This list...

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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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Spring Break Family Travel

These all-inclusive getaways make your vacation even more relaxing. One of the best features of family travel at an all-inclusive resort is that it’s easy to plan. Lodging, meals and entertainment are all in one place. And with many options for all ages and varying interests, family members can either do their own thing or play together. “All-inclusive resorts give us freedom from thinking about planning meals, activities, excursions and nightly...

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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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Free Visits To Our National Parks

On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act. This law had nothing to do with farm-to-table products, but instead created the National Park Service. At the time, there were only 35 national parks and monuments. Today the National Park Service has grown to include 409 sites that encompass more than 84 million acres of land. To salute its centennial, the NPS will offer 16...

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Driving, Dreaming and Daytime Napping in L.A.

How to waste gasoline in style while putting your baby to sleep I’m leaping over speed bumps, cruising the potholed boulevards and aimlessly wandering the canyon roads. I have no destination and am often jammed in a traffic-laden city artery, but I have not an ounce of road rage, lane pain or street defeat. No, I’m delighted, because Hank is still asleep in the back seat. When you have a...

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Santa Monica’s Pono Burger Receives Green Business Certification

Pono Burger in Santa Monica has been certified as a Green Business by the Santa Monica Green Business Certification Program (SMGBC), making it one of only 13 restaurants currently certified. Chef Makani of Pono Burger has always been a proponent of community, sourcing all of her ingredients locally and working directly with farmers. “What we take into our bodies becomes part of us. That’s why we source our ingredients from...

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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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fun ideas for kids

Great Cold-Weather Gear

Feeling that winter chill? Here are some finds that will keep you cozy as the temperature drops. For more product reviews, visit NAPPAawards.com.  

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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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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Holiday fun

Holiday Recipes From Milo and Olive

When Erin Eastland was moving to Southern California from New York in 2005, it didn’t take her long to figure out that she wanted to call Santa Monica home. It helped that she and her family scoped out the city on a Wednesday. “We came upon the farmers’ market and I was like, ‘We’re done,’” says the mom of two, who is now executive chef at Milo and Olive, a...

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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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Ski Vacations Get a Lift

Innovative ski and snowboard lessons and pampering services are giving families more quality time on and off the slopes this season. Check out these services, and make your next ski vacation easier to manage and more fun for all. New to snow sports? The annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in January (www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org) offers a lesson, rentals and lift ticket from $45. Terrain-Based Learning Learning to ski and snowboard...

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5 Baby Sleep Challenges During Holiday Travel

Traveling and parenting during the holidays can be strenuous enough without a baby. Add a little one to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster! Trying to get from one family get-together to the next can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep schedule, leading to less sleep for everyone in the family. Read on to learn how to tackle the most common travel-related baby sleep challenges including plane...

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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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Plant a Fall Fairy Patch

When Chris Young was growing up in Indiana, and later when he lived in New York City, there wasn’t much to do in the garden in the fall because freezing winter weather was on the way. But 10 years ago, he moved to balmy Los Angeles, where the shorter days and cooling temperatures of fall make it a great time to plant. The yard surrounding the Laurel Canyon home he...

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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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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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New Gluten-Free Breads at La Brea Bakery

Due to the large demand for gluten-free breads nowadays, La Brea Bakery (www.labreabakery.com) which first opened in Los Angeles 26 years ago, has recently introduced its own gluten-free breads. Best known for its artisan breads, La Brea Bakery was looking to offer customers something that was tasty and healthy, thus the creation of the new breads. To begin, the bakery is offering two classic flavors. The first is the White...

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Jack O’Lantern Spectacle On The Rise This October

Last year, the RISE Of The Jack O’Lanterns premiered at Descanso Gardens, creating a memorable wonderland of exquisitely carved pumpkins and placing it among families favorite Halloween Los Angeles events. The good news is that the Halloween spectacular is returning to Descanso Gardens, and the better news is that The RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns will also populate Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park with uniquely engraved gourds. These spectacular installations feature...

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Mendocino Farms Opens New Location At The Point In El Segundo

Mendocino Farms, Southern California’s sandwich destination with a mission of helping guests “Eat Happy,” opened its 11th restaurant, at 840 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 100, El Segundo, Sept. 5. Mendocino Farms features a dynamic chef-driven menu that changes with the seasons and offers guests a high-quality dining option at affordable prices in a warm, kid-friendly environment. A true neighborhood gathering place, the family-friendly space has a warm, spacious atmosphere with indoor...

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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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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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Great Weekend Getaways for Families

School is back in session, but the days are still long and sunny. With tourist season winding down, now is a great time to take a study break and enjoy a weekend family getaway. Wide-Open Spaces Drive just a couple hours east from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park, where you can escape the city lights and hike, bike and climb your way around almost 800,000 acres of unique...

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Places to Eat - Atticus Creamery & Pies

Pie À La Mode Near the Farmers Market

After L.A. Parent’s 35th Birthday Bash, held Aug. 2 at The Original Farmers Market, my co-workers and I decided to continue the celebration at Atticus Creamery & Pies, which opened its second L.A. location nearby at 6015 W. 3rd St. The family-owned shops offer natural, freshly made ice cream with unique flavors such as Salted Chocolate Bacon Brittle, Honey Honeycomb and Cereal & Milk. Their layered pies with flavors including...

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Your Family’s Summer Bucket List

We may already be getting bombarded with ads for back-to-school sales, and the days of summer seem to dwindle even as the mercury keeps rising, but there’s still time to squeeze in some serious summer activities that will make the family smile! From stargazing to seaside bonfires and muddy daredevil adventures, here are some uniquely SoCal opportunities to enjoy the last few weeks of vacation. Adventure at Club Mud Adventure...

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Wake Up: A Millennial Dad’s Guide to Los Angeles Coffee

I’m tired. My son, Hank, is now 10 months old and wakes up every morning at 5:30. I used to wake up at 8:30 a.m. Those days are over. Now my alarm clock is a howling cry from the next room. Now it’s all about this little angel – and yet all I can think about is the devil’s bean. And here’s the rest of my morning: a diaper change...

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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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things to do in L.A. - PINZ

PINZ Bowling Center To Debut Refurbished Lanes and Community Program

PINZ Bowling Center in Studio City will host a ceremonial “first bowl” to break the ribbon on a $250,000 revamp of its 32 lanes, and launch a new “Bowling Birthdays Are Best!” program to raise charitable contributions to benefit kids and families in the San Fernando Valley. The festivities, kicking off at 3 p.m. Aug. 5, will include civic and community leaders, Los Angeles police officers and firefighters, and an...

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11 Spots for Cool Summer Fun

It’s easy to get excited about summer and the promise the season holds for outdoor fun, but let’s face it, by July we’re all starting to wilt a little. When you and the kids find yourselves seeking relief from SoCal’s relentless sunshine, head to these shady, splashy and air-conditioned respites for fun summer activities. Hike to a Waterfall Shady hikes with running water are not easy to find during parched...

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Nintendo Debuts New Titles at E3

The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) team attended E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) June 16-18 at the L.A. Convention Center. At the gaming industry’s annual trade show, throngs of eager gamers get their first peek at thousands of new titles and technologies. We met with NAPPA favorite Nintendo, and learned about dozens of upcoming releases for the Wii and handheld 3DS. Here are a few that we’re super excited for this...

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Dodgers Make a New Pitch to Families and Fans

If I made a list of fun summer activities, watching a game at Dodger Stadium would be near the top. The smell of freshly cut grass, the cool air, the view of the mountains over the centerfield fence and the wafting aroma of Dodger Dogs all say “summer time” to me. The Dodgers hope they say the same to you. This season, the Dodgers have added a number of activities...

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Yoobi Opens First Retail Store in Arcadia

"You buy. Yoobi gives." Just 12 months ago, Yoobi, headquartered in El Segundo, launched its line of school, home and office supplies in all 1,800 Target stores. If you haven’t noticed the vibrant and colorful items in the school supplies aisle, you’re missing out. But Yoobi is more than just a school supplies brand; it values education and wants to give back to students and schools in need. The company...

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Summer Activities: It’s Pool Party Time!

Take advantage of the summer heat – and keep the party mess outdoors – by making your child’s next party a pool party. I've helped Los Angeles parents throw countless pool parties through my job as a professional mermaid and lifeguard. Here are some of my best tips for hosting poolside events for kids. Choose your theme and entertainment. Swimming mermaids and activity-leading pirates (which is our specialty at Sheroes...

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los angeles events humpback whales screening

Los Angeles Events: The Humpback Whales Kid Critics Challenge

Hosted by L.A. Parent, MacGillivray Freeman Films, and the California Science Center Calling all future film critics! Kids and their families are invited to join L.A. Parent, MacGillivray Freeman Films, and the California Science Center as we dive into the mysterious world of one of nature's most awe-inspiring marine mammals, the humpback whale. Come see an exclusive free screening, one of many Los Angeles events, of the IMAX film Humpback Whales 3D on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the California Science Center's IMAX Theater. Interactive family whale...

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With Disney’s Playmation, the Game Jumps Off the Screen

As a child, I would have never imagined play quite like this. As part of the digital generation, I am used to screen-based games that keep players in their seats. But a new gaming system called Playmation, unveiled by Disney Consumer Products in L.A. in early June, aims to get digital kids up and moving. Created in partnership with Hasbro, Playmation employs toys and wearable gear powered by smart technology...

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Mario Lopez Steps Up to the Plate and Encourages Families to Participate

Through July 24, families, players and fans have the chance to win a trip to the Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, PA by entering the Canon Little League Photo Contest. Dad and TV host Mario Lopez will be there to unveil the winning photos, which will be displayed in the World of Little League Museum. Lopez, a former little league player and huge baseball fan, calls the...

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fun summer activities Alex's Lemonade Stand

Make A Stand Against Childhood Cancers

The lemonade stand is something of an American institution and high on the list of  fun summer activities for many. All that’s required are some kids, a table, a handmade sign and a pitcher of lemonade. Who hasn’t passed by one? Maybe you even stopped and bought a glass. This month, there is a good reason to patronize a lemonade stand. From June 12-14, The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation hosts...

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Top Fun Summer Activities for Families

In Southern California, summer is hot. And dry. Fortunately, it isn’t boring. You can find plenty of fun summer activities – often free – and if you venture out after dark, you can beat the heat as well. Summer Music One enjoyable way to spend a summer night is to sit back and listen to music, and a number of communities and venues present free or low-cost music series. Burton...

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fun summer activities theatricum 2015

A Nest of Creativity in the Topanga Woods

Tucked away off of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Theatricum Botanicum is a bucolic oasis of artistic endeavors. Founded by actor Will Geer in the 1970s, it is home to fun summer activities including a repertory theater company, concerts, numerous classes and camps and, of particular interest for the L.A. Parent crowd, Family Fundays. For more than 20 years, Family Fundays has showcased children’s theater and music. The longstanding tradition continues this...

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Fun Summer Activities: Ford JAM Sessions

The Ford Amphitheatre is closed for major renovations, but that doesn’t mean you will have to miss out on fun summer activities like the Ford’s popular JAM Sessions. This year, the free, interactive experiences will take place in a variety of locations around Los Angeles: Old Town Newhall, Main Street between Market Street and 6th Avenue Lopez Adobe, 1100 Pico St., San Fernando Las Palmas Park, 505 S. Huntington St.,...

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summer activities kids bowl free

Beat the Heat With Bowling

Looking for summer activities that will keep you indoors when the mercury soars? For the eighth straight year, kids can bowl free during Kids Bowl Free. Children ages 15 and younger can sign up at www.kidsbowlfree.com, and they’ll be able to bowl two free games every day this summer at participating bowling centers. More than eight million kids have participated in this program Canoga Park’s Winnetka Bowl, Tarzana’s Corbin Bowling...

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Take A Cinematic Journey To Tomorrowland

There are several Disney films based on amusement park attractions – and several Disneyland attractions based on films. In the park’s Tomorrowland, movie-based rides include Star Tours, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. For the first time, Disney is giving an entire land – Tomorrowland – the cinematic treatment. And this leaves questions. With ride-based films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, it was easy to guess...

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Box Lunch

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mom packing picnic lunches in lacquer Japanese bento boxes. I loved having a variety of small bites compartmentalized and displayed neatly in front of me. On a recent visit with my family to Sushi Roku in Pasadena, I was delighted to discover their new Okosama (kids’) menu, featuring Japanese favorites in bento boxes for diners ages 10 and under. This top-rated...

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Three Great Multi-generation Vacations

As families plan their summer activities and vacations, more are packing for multiple generations. More than one third of families surveyed last year by AAA said they were planning to take a multigenerational trip in the next 12 months, and it is easy to see why. Bringing the grandparents and the kids offers a great chance to relax, reminisce and make memories. Choose a “group leader” from among the family...

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Los Angeles Events Big Sunday 2015

You Can Be A Big Part of Big Sunday

May Los Angeles events begin in a big way as Big Sunday Weekend takes place May 1-3. Now in its 17th year, Big Sunday ranks as one of the largest regional service events in the U.S. Last year, approximately 50,000 volunteers participated in more than 500 projects in more than 100 cities throughout California. This year offers another wide selection of projects that people, young and old, can be part...

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Farm Fresh for Families

Farm-to-table dining is now affordable and convenient for busy Los Angeles families. Mendocino Farms, founded by husband and wife team, Mario del Pero and Ellen Chen, offers organic, healthy and farm fresh sandwiches, entrée salads, soups and side salads using only the best locally sourced ingredients. Chef Partner Judy Han has crafted a menu based on traditional sandwiches with modern twists like the Pork Belly Banh Mi, the "Not So...

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fun ideas for kids free comics 2015

Get Yourself Some Free Comics May 2

Comic book lovers can enjoy some of their favorite things in life – for free – May 2 during Free Comic Book Day. Diamond Comic Distributors and The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund have teamed up with the literacy organization Every Child a Reader and The Children’s Book Council for this nationwide event full of fun ideas for kids. This feast for freebies features a dozen kid-friendly titles, including SpongeBob,...

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Circle of (Drought-Tolerant) Life

Twenty-five percent is a number that might have you thinking about your yard a little differently this year. That’s how much Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered urban areas in California to cut back their water use, inspiring visions of brown lawns and prickly cactus. Rachel Young wants to change that view. She is director of horticulture and garden operations at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada-Flintridge, where a new Center Circle...

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Crafting Community Builds Family Bonds and Fun Ideas For Kids

Karen Kimmel and Stacy Bernstein, founders of Crafting Community, are on a mission, a creative one. Their goal, “to cultivate immersive design experiences where families can play, grow and be together,” is the driving force behind their growing organization. On their website, www.craftingcommunity.com, Kimmel and Bernstein emphasize that “creativity is an essential tool for life and so we find ways to encourage and inspire the creative spirit through art, curated...

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Kids Can Rock Out With Hard Rock’s New Menu

Kids not only get a lesson in rock history while dining at Hard Rock Café, but also a lesson in healthy eating. The restaurant, known for its impressive display of rock memorabilia and music videos (and now fun ideas for kids), has launched a new kids’ menu that’s sure to be a hit with little rockers across the country. The “Roxtars” menu offers the usual kid fare – burgers, mac...

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Fun Ideas For Kids – Pizza Party Extraordinaire

CPK Made This Mom a Party Pooper No More I’ve got to be honest. Throwing birthday parties is a parental duty of which I’m not particularly fond. There’s so much pressure in the planning, the execution and the clean-up. So here’s my set of criteria for planning these annual events. The party must be: Not. At. My. House. Enjoyable for both children and parents Quick, easy and painless Affordable With...

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Holy Cow is Right!

Nestled out yonder in Santa Monica is Holy Cow BBQ, a new eatery specializing in good ol’ fashioned barbecue with a California flair. Founder and barbecue aficionado Rob Serritella, the guy responsible for Los Feliz eatery MESSHALL, opened this Texas roadhouse-style kitchen in late 2014. The farm-to-table restaurant seeks out local, organic, sustainable and natural foods (that’s the “California flair” part). Everything is carefully smoked, resulting in a menu filled...

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Plan a Tropical Family Spring Break

Three Fun Island Destinations Offer Fun Ideas for Kids With spring break around the corner, a tropical family getaway might sound like just the ticket. There are plenty of excellent options fun of fun ideas for kids, but the Hawaiian islands, Puerto Rico and Nassau, Bahamas, are especially great for parents with kids in tow. San Juan, Puerto Rico Puerto Rico has miles of white-sand beaches near a lush Caribbean rainforest,...

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Find New Snow Options For Families On Local Slopes

An increase in families skiing, women skiers and the use of technology on the slopes has prompted mountain resorts to breathe fresh air into snow sports lessons and slope-side activities. Mammoth Mountain, Eastern Sierras (10001 Minaret Road; 800-626-6684; www.mammothmountain.com; App: Mammoth Mountain) Heard the big news? The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area – owner of Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain – recently acquired Big Bear Mountain Resorts (Bear Mountain and Snow...

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Make a Point of Visiting Dana Point

Dana Point was a popular port for trading in the1800s. Today, the harbor is the hub for recreational activities, marine research and festivals. Family-friendly luxury resorts and close proximity to L.A. make Dana Point a relaxing weekend getaway. Eat The harbor-side Coffee Importers Scoop Deck & Deli (34531 Golden Lantern St.; 949-493-7773; www.coffeeimporters.com) has an extensive breakfast, lunch, snacks and smoothie menu for less than $10 per person. House-made granola,...

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Beyond the Beach In Carpinteria

While beautiful silky-sand beaches may be the primary reason for visiting Carpinteria, it’s also fun to explore the laid-back city’s parks, unpretentious downtown and seaside neighborhoods. The electric Seaside Shuttle costs 50 cents per ride, and makes a loop around town and to the Amtrak platform, offering a car-free option for your visit. Eat Show up at The Spot (389 Linden Ave.; 805-684-6311) in your bathing suit and flip-flops (or...

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Party-Time Treats

Food can be a fun part of any party, but can be a real headache if you’re the one doing the planning. Keep it simple (and fun for you) with these great recipes from Home & Family’s Tanya Memme. Tanya’s Birthday Party Popcorn! Everyone loves popcorn! Be a hero at your child’s next party with this!  It takes minutes to make, is easy on the wallet and kids love it....

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Play Date: Wild and Woolly Fun

In our urban jungle, there is plenty of wildlife of a more natural variety. If you and the kids are ready for a safari, check out these rescue and conservation centers for creatures both wet and dry. The mission of The Gentle Barn (15825 Sierra Hwy., Santa Clarita; 661-252-2440; www.gentlebarn.org) is “teaching people kindness and compassion to animals, each other and our planet” – a noble goal, to be sure....

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Ooh La La! Let’s Make Art in L.A.

Artist Hervḗ Tullet, bestselling author of “Press Here” (Chronicle Books, 2011) is coming to MOCA and LACMA this month to shake things up, squish stuff together and fire the imaginations of your children while promoting his latest interactive book, “Mix It Up!” Not familiar with these popular books or the creative mind behind them? Even this adult found it hard to resist the urge to tilt, turn and touch the...

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There’s More to These Playgrounds Than Meets The Eye

When you look at a playground, you might see swings or a jungle gym, but children with disabilities see a fun place that’s inaccessible, excluding them from opportunities to play. Unless, of course, they are visiting one of Shane’s Inspiration’s universally accessible playgrounds, created to bring together children – with disabilities and without – through play. You can find them as far away as Russia, Israel and Ecuador and as...

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Julian Is the Apple Of Our Eye

Autumn is prime time to visit Julian, an historic gold-mining town an hour east of San Diego that is home to numerous apple orchards. A handful of these are open to the public for apple and pumpkin picking. Eat Housed in a 1920s cottage, the family-owned and operated Julian Grille (2224 Main St.; 760-765-0036; www.juliangrille.com) has extensive lunch and dinner menus. Try the Reuben sandwich or the pecan-breaded chicken topped...

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Creation Classes and Workshops For Little ‘Makers’

The “maker” movement, a DIY wave that has swept the country, has plenty to offer kids and families. If your child loves to make art, repurpose used materials into new inventions, design robots, or build giant structures for the sole purpose of knocking them back down, here are some options that are sure to challenge and delight. What happens when you get a group of enterprising artists and environmental designers...

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Extracurricular Activities

No need to hit the classroom for a dose of learning. This month offers a host of events that offer a knowledge boost – and fun! For the 10th year, the Smithsonian is hosting Museum Day Live! On Sept. 27, museums across America – including the Zimmer Children’s Museum, the Grammy Museum, the California Science Center, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the...

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Making Nature Visits Easy in the Audubon Center

I often want to spend time outdoors with my son, to let him poke around the leaves, jump, run, climb and get dirty – but without the crowds and without a big production. One of my favorites spots in Los Angeles is the Audubon Center at Debs Park (4700 North Griffin Ave.; 323-221-2255; www.debspark.audubon.org). It is small enough that you can keep an eye on your child, and wild enough...

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Full-Time Fun In Half Moon Bay

Located along scenic Route 1 between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Half Moon Bay is a small coastal community set amidst redwood forests and agricultural fields, and also the oldest settlement in San Mateo. Eat No need to fork over big bucks for an amazing meal with ocean views. Open for lunch and dinner, Sam’s Chowder House (4210 N. Cabrillo Hwy.; 650-712-0245; www.samschowderhouse.com) is a great place...

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Where to Find L.A.’s Coolest Ice Cream and Gelato Shops

Considering our year-round sunny weather, it’s no wonder Los Angeles has a seemingly endless array of ice cream parlors, gelaterias and FroYo shops. If you’re ready to venture beyond the shop on the corner for something truly special, here are six spots that are absolutely worth a try. Scoops original location is on hip-as-can-be Heliotrope Drive (712 N., Heliotrope Dr., L.A.; 323-906-2649), where they dish up creative ice cream flavor...

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A Mom Reporter’s UCLA Daytrip

Los Angeles is composed of many interesting and unique neighborhoods. We decided to spend the day in Westwood, specifically at UCLA. We wanted to visit two interesting places that would have a lot of activities for our 3½-year-old son. In the morning, we went to the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden (100 Stein Plaza Driveway; 310-825-1260; www.botgard.ucla.edu). In the afternoon, we headed over to the Fowler Museum (UCLA North Campus,...

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Grown Up Tastes for Little Diners

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, known for its modern American comfort food, unique cocktails, premium whiskeys, and craft beers, launches a new children’s menu this month with slight variations on its grown up offerings. Younger diners can choose from favorites such as burgers, fried chicken, grilled BBQ chicken skewers, mac n’ cheese, cruller donuts, and root beer floats. All selections are served up the Plan Check way with distinctive renditions of...

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International Plates for Picky Palates

My child, once a baby who gummed anything I put in front of him, has become a quintessential picky toddler. Every suggestion is met with a cheerful, but firm, “No,” and I’ve watched his culinary world narrow into a rotating Lazy Susan of hot dogs, chicken fingers and fish sticks. This is something I swore I would never allow. Experts say to keep presenting toddlers with new foods, and not...

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Skiing and Splashing at Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is a privately owned lake with limited public access, but don’t let that stop you from visiting this beautiful hamlet in the San Bernardino National Forest. Plenty of family-friendly activities, an upscale, lakeside village and close proximity to L.A. make it a delightful weekend getaway with the kids. Eat Enjoy lake views while dining at the dockside Belgian Waffle Works (28200 CA Hwy. 189, Suite 150; 909-337-5222; www.belgianwaffle.com),...

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Telling Tales: Secrets For Sharing Your Story So Kids Will Listen

Once upon a time, when my little girl was 5, our family took a trip to Paris. While my husband was out handling the business part of our business vacation, Lauren and I went to visit the Louvre. It was a November weekday and the museum was wonderfully uncrowded – except for a large tour group from Japan blocking our view of the Mona Lisa. Determined that we would gaze...

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Seeing Stars: Where to Take In Views Of the Night Sky

When Angelenos talk about seeing “stars,” they often mean the type on the red carpet. But there’s not an actor or actress alive who can hold a candle to the magnificence of the night sky. The universe might not appear as sparkly and vast here as it does in less-populated areas, but there are still plenty of opportunities to gaze up in wonder at the constellations, planets and moons. The...

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Rustic Mountain Fun at June Lake

By Mimi Slawoff June Lake is small and rustic compared to posh neighbor Mammoth Mountain, but star-filled night skies, towering granite domes and four sparkling alpine lakes make this eastern Sierra town a gem. Eat In the Jones family since 1977, the homey Silver Lake Lodge and Cafe (6957 Highway 158; 760-648-7525; www.silverlakeresort.net) overlooks Silver Lake, a popular trout-fishing hole. The cozy diner, open for breakfast and lunch, serves big...

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Where to get Wet: Splash Pads, Fountains and Water Play

By Erin Mahoney Harris From squirting splash pads to burbling brooks, these Los Angeles parks, plazas and playgrounds offer refreshing relief on a hot day – and we’re sure to have plenty of those in store this summer. Downtown’s crown jewel, Grand Park (227 N. Spring St., Los Angeles; 213-972-8080; www.grandparkla.org), has proven a successful gathering spot for concerts, yoga classes and other community events. The highlight of the 12-acre...

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Museum Tips For Special-Needs Families1

Museum Tips For Special-Needs Families

Museums of all kinds can be great experiences for kids with special needs. A little planning and a few extra steps can make your visit great. by Julee Brooks For families of children with special needs, the thought of visiting a busy public space such as a museum might seem daunting. There are things, however, that families can do before, during and even after a visit to make it more...

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Let's Go Flying, Fishing

Flying, Fishing and Disc Golf in Wrightwood

Who needs snow? This year-round destination offers plenty of family adventures. by Mimi Slawoff Although best known for the skiing and snowboarding at Mountain High (www.mthigh.com), Wrightwood is a year-round destination with a variety of family-friendly adventures. Hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, ziplining and disc golf are among the fun things to do with kids in this small mountain town about a 90-minute drive from L.A. It doesn’t have a single...

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Quiet Ojai

Quiet Ojai Offers Laid-Back Fun Kids Will Love

Let's Go columnist Mimi Slawoff offers a guide to this quaint town that's just a short-and-pleasant drive away. by Mimi Slawoff Tucked away in a valley 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Ojai is easy to miss unless you know about it. With its farms, mom-and-pop boutiques, restaurants and inns – no two alike – this laid-back, picturesque town (population about 7,500) is well worth the pleasant drive. Downtown consists...

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Coffee With Kids In Sliver Lake

Visit this fun neighborhood with the kids for coffee, shopping, snacks and play. by Erin Mahoney Harris Silver Lake might have a reputation as a hipster haven, but it’s become increasingly welcoming to families with young children as well, particularly with the opening of the lovely Silver Lake Meadow and the proliferation of family-friendly boutiques, coffee houses and cafes. LAMILL Coffee Boutique (1636 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-663-4441; www.lamillcoffee.com) has been...

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Star Gaze

Star Gaze and Off Road In Borrego Springs

Enjoy desert excursions, karaoke, comfort food and other family fun just a three-hour drive away. by Mimi Slawoff Borrego Springs, in east San Diego County, is a quiet little town surrounded by the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. In place of fast food chains and big resorts, the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive, boasts mom-and-pop boutiques, art galleries and diners. Streetlight-free for miles, it is a Certified International Dark Sky...

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Desert and Hollywood Fun

Desert – and Hollywood – Fun In Palm Springs

Time travel to celebrity getaways, take a jeep into the desert and meet the local wildlife on this family getaway. by Mimi Slawoff In the desert about 110 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is the ancestral home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and its serenity was first discovered by Hollywood in the 1920s. It served as a rendezvous spot for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard....

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Escape the City in Big Bear

Escape the City In Big Bear Lake

There’s plenty of off-season family fun to be had at this snow and ski resort. It’s a rejuvenating retreat. by Mimi Slawoff On a drive to Big Bear Lake shortly after your ascent to the resort begins, the landscape changes dramatically from clogged freeways to mountain vistas, with whiff s of pine drifting in through open car windows. Fresh mountain air, year-round recreation and diverse culinary options are about a...

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Go Danish or Western

Go Danish or Western in the Santa Ynez Valley

From the quaint town of Solvang to the rustic trails near Alisal Guest Ranch, your family can have a world of fun. by Mimi Slawoff Located in northern Santa Barbara County, the Santa Ynez Valley contains six distinctive, rural communities with a total population of about 20,000. The most unique and picturesque is Solvang (Danish for “sunny field”), a Danish community. Only about 125 miles from L.A., it feels worlds...

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Hidden Beaches

Hidden Beaches, History and Family Fun in Oxnard and Ventura

Plan a day trip or weekend getaway filled with beaches, music, museums and sports the kids will love. Published: 08/05/2013 by Mimi Slawoff Situated between sultry Malibu and posh Santa Barbara, Ventura County is a rather underrated coastal and cultural destination. But sandy beaches, a plethora of recreational activities, year-round festivals and historic districts make Oxnard and Ventura an ideal family day trip or weekend getaway. Ventura is also the...

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Kayaking

Feeding Family Ties In San Diego

This nearby getaway destination offers the perfect combo of relaxation and family fun By Ron Epstein By the time our girls were each around 4 years old, we realized that they were pretty self-sufficient travelers – and that they enjoyed going places. So we bought them their own luggage, showed them how and what to pack, and let them choose things to do on long car drives or plane rides....

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A Local Crop of Kids’ Books

Shop these independent stores for personal recommendations and great family fun By Ronna Mandel If you only shop online, you’re missing out on input from some of our city’s most enthusiastic and knowledgeable kid-lit experts. To find bookstores that felt “just right” for this roundup, I channeled Goldilocks and made tracks for the independents – the magical, privately owned bookstores located throughout Los Angeles. Pages, A Bookstore: 904 Manhattan Ave.,...

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