News and information about L.A.’s theme parks, zoos and aquariums.

Theme Parks, Zoos & Aquariums

disneyland

Light Parade Returns to Disneyland’s Main Street

In 1972, Disneyland debuted an evening attraction that became an icon of the amusement park’s experience. “The Main Street Electrical Parade” entertained more than 75 million guests during its original run, which ended in 1996. The parade continued at California Adventure from 2001-2010 and – during the 45 years since it first stepped off – there have been Electrical Parades at Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort...

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Celebrating Human Abilities at Aquarium of the Pacific

What does a celebration of the artistic talents of people with disabilities have to do with taking care of the world’s oceans? Plenty, says Peter Martineau, marketing events manager at Aquarium of the Pacific, which will host its 14th annual Festival of Human Abilities this month. “The aquarium has always wanted to include as many people from as many backgrounds as possible,” says Martineau, pointing out that the aquarium’s mission...

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New Experiences At the Santa Barbara Zoo

Anyone can visit the Santa Barbara Zoo, but how about getting a chance to paint with an elephant or a porcupine, hand-feed a giraffe or meet the latest newborn critter in the zoo nursery? All of these VIP experiences and more are now possible thanks to a slew of new, exclusive packages just launched by the SB Zoo on IfOnly, a marketplace for experiences that support charitable causes.

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Cool Movie Memorabilia And Where To Find It

  For film lovers, there is always something fascinating about seeing things that were part of their favorite films. Two new exhibits, one temporary and the other permanent, have recently opened in Los Angeles, allowing fans to glimpse props that were part of some very popular motion pictures. Earlier this year, Universal Studios (100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City; $99-$110 adults, $93-$104 ages 3-9) presented “From Coraline to Kubo: A...

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New Year's Eve for kids

Seven Spots To Ring In 2017 With Kids

When children want something, they typically want it “now!” This impatience can come in handy on New Year’s Eve, when Southern California hosts several early celebrations just for kids. Children most impatient to celebrate the new year should visit Zimmer Children’s Museum (6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100, L.A.; www.zimmermuseum.org) Dec. 30 for a New Year’s Eve Eve Party that will last from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Revelers can make their own party...

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Light Up Your Winter at These Family Venues

The L.A. Zoo Lights, which USA Today named one of the “Best Zoo Lights” of 2015, return to dazzle you this holiday season. Visitors can wander around an illuminated winter wonderland filled with sparkling snowflakes, twinkling tunnels and a musical light-and-water show. Because this is the zoo, there will be animals, but not like the ones you are accustomed to. There will be animated snakes, monkeys, elephants and other creatures,...

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An Environmentally Strong September

The weekend of Sept. 16-18 offers three different opportunities to help make our planet a little bit better. The L.A. Convention Center (1201 S. Figueroa St.) will “go green” from noon-6 p.m. Sept. 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 17 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 18 when the annual Green Festival Expo returns. Find out how you can help win the climate-change battle through hands-on demos, expert speakers and panel discussions. Expo-goers...

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Celebrate Sharks, Crawfish and Frogs with Art, Food and Fun

An interesting array of aquatic creatures will be in the spotlight this August. Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon (Shoreline Village Drive and Linden Avenue) will see an influx of mini-crustaceans when the 23rd annual Crawfish Festival returns from noon-10 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7. Festivalgoers can feast on this Louisiana delicacy while enjoying Bayou-inspired attractions including an Orleans Second Line Parade, carnival games, live music, a Karaoke Lounge, dancing and a...

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L.A. Nature Pass Gives All-in-One for Zoo, Museum and Aquarium Fun

The Aquarium of the Pacific, the Natural History Museum and the L.A. Zoo have partnered to create the Nature Pass, a one-of-a-kind ticket package that offers discounted admission to these three local institutions. With a Nature Pass, families can save money while learning about animals that existed in the past and those that live today – on land, in water and in the air. You can see the Zoo’s cute...

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At 75, Knott’s Berry Farm Calico Ghost Town Makes the Old New Again

A rickety ride is revamped, a ghost town comes alive and a restaurant gets a bar at Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm has something both old and new this summer. Now through Sept. 5, the amusement park is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Ghost Town with new experiences that take you back in time and thrust you into the future. Called Ghost Town Alive!, the new interactive experience...

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Don’t Take Oceans for Granted

The United Nations recognized World Oceans Day, June 8, as a good opportunity to honor oceans around the globe and focus more awareness on their importance for the Earth’s environment. “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” is the all-too-true motto for the tribute. In Southern California, The Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; www.aquariumofpacific.org) will offer activities from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. that will focus on ocean pollution and climate change, and the Aquarium’s newly opened exhibit “Vanishing Animals” shines a spotlight on preservation issues. Admission is $29.95 adults, $17.95 ages 3-11. Visit...

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Frozen Will Heat Up California Adventure This Summer

The Frozen phenomena reaches a new level when “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” premieres in Disney’s California Adventure May 27. This stage version of the blockbuster film will, naturally, include songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the dynamic duo who wrote the movie’s music. The show has been adapted by four-time Tony nominee Chad Beguelin and is directed by Broadway vet Liesl Tommy. The musical will be a...

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New Attractions: Dinos, Dragons And Grunion, Oh My!

Some interesting creatures are appearing around Southern California beginning this May – dinosaurs in Griffith Park and sea dragons in Long Beach. Visitors will do double takes when they spot a Triceratops, a Stegosaurus and a Citipati at the L.A. Zoo (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoo.org/dinos). But these aren’t real, live prehistoric creatures. They’re amazing, life-size animatronic creations that are part of the “Dinosaurs: Unextinct At The L.A. Zoo” exhibit...

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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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Play Like a Ninja

LEGOLAND California Resort’s newest addition, NINJAGO World, opens May 5. Guests enter NINJAGO World, based on the popular Asian-inspired franchise, through a tall arch to begin their “ninja training.” LEGO building stations and other activities that test reflexes, balance and agility prep visitors for the park’s newest attraction, NINJAGO The Ride. The interactive 4D experience uses sensory technology, allowing ninjas-in-training to use their new skills by moving, flailing and waving...

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Celebrate Earth Day in L.A.

Environment, education, enjoyment and entertainment are a few of the “E” words that can be part of your Earth Day. The official date is April 22, but our world will be celebrated across Southern California throughout the month. Those looking for Earth Day entertainment can find it at a number of family-friendly festivals. And while these community events will be full of fun activities, don’t be surprised if you learn...

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Hogwarts castle, with a view of Flight of the Hippogriff, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster

Hangin’ In Harry Potter’s World

Universal Studios' new Hollywood attraction enchants with big adventure and small details. At last, Universal Studios has brought The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood. For families that have imagined what it might be like to crash through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 at King’s Cross Station and ride the Hogwarts Express into a world of magic, the April 7 opening is as eagerly anticipated as the...

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Have a Hippo Encounter at the L.A. Zoo

Kids love to perplex us with the oddest questions. If yours have ever asked you, “What do hippos eat for lunch?” you can show them – with a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo’s Hippo Encounter. Since February, the Zoo has invited small groups of visitors in for up-close noontime visits with Mara the hippo and her baby, Rosie, on weekends and holidays. If you think that sounds fun, check...

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Shamrockin’ and Egg Rollin’ In March

March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but in-between is a time for bunnies and leprechauns. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter occur this month, and each comes with a number of fun celebratory events. Looking for a pot of gold? Head to the Thousand Oaks Community Center (2525 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks; www.crpd.org) at 4 p.m. March 17 for the Leprechaun's Lucky Gold...

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Favorite Characters Will Be Found At Legoland

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

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Los Angeles events - Valentine's Day

A Dozen Valentine’s Day Ideas

Love is a many-splendored thing, and there are many splendid ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in L.A. Whether you are looking to field Cupid’s arrows as a family, or hoping for a little couple time, your heart’s desires are close at hand. Here are seven Los Angeles events to enjoy with kids, and five to take in without. Hearts and Flowers Family Style 1. Love in the Time of Kewpies If you’re...

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Our Top Picks for Family New Year’s Eve

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

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Los Angeles attraction - Universal Grinchmas

The Grinch Comes to Universal City

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk have decked the halls for a wintry calendar of cool holiday activities.

A very, merry “Grinchmas” returns to Universal Studios Hollywood as the Los Angeles attraction celebrates the Who-lidays with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Whos from the town of Who-ville.

“Grinchmas” runs the weekend of Dec. 12-13, then continues daily from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3. The Universal Plaza, an elaborate...

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

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

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Tree Makes Wishes Come True at CityWalk

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

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A Sneak Peek At Harry Potter’s Hollywood Home

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in the spring, and the resort is putting out a series of virtual tour videos to give wizards and muggles alike an advance look at the attraction. The first, debuted this week, is an insider’s look at the land hosted by the Hogwarts Express conductor. The video, which can be viewed at Universal Studios Hollywood’s newly launched “The...

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Zoo Holiday Lights Burn Brighter in 2015

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

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It’s Star Wars Season At Disneyland

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

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L.A. Winter Break Camps For Kids

The winter holidays bring plenty of cheer and fun ideas for kids, but also a two- or three-week break from school. Whether that has you scrambling for childcare, or just for a way to distract the kids from life’s many small screens, you are in luck. Because Los Angeles offers a flurry of winter camp possibilities that give kids a cool way to spend their vacation. And they’re not just...

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L.A. Zoo Offers New Family Classes

Have you ever wanted your family to explore the world of animals, learning about the many different ways they use their tails? Or how patterns on fur, feathers, scales and skin help animals avoid predators? Or why animals make their homes in unusual locations? Or which adaptations help certain animals survive extreme cold or heat? The L.A. Zoo introduces four programs to help children and their parents discover all this...

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An Animal-Style Holiday Deal for Families

Animal-loving families will love the new two-day combo ticket offered by the L.A. Zoo and Aquarium of the Pacific this fall. Available October through December, the ticket includes admission to both Los Angeles attractions (on one day or separate days) for just $39 adults, $26 ages 11 and under. The deal comes just in time to give families a double holiday treat. In October, Boo at the L.A. Zoo offers...

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Our Favorite Halloween Happenings

Kids are doubly excited about Oct. 31 this year. Because Halloween falls on a Saturday, there’s no school to interfere with Halloween merriment. However, there also is no reason to wait until Oct. 31 to start your holiday festivities. Amusing Haunts Southern California amusement parks aren’t waiting to start their Halloween celebrations. At Disneyland (www.disneyland.com), Mickey’s Halloween Party begins on select nights starting Sept. 25 and concluding Oct. 31. This...

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Get Ready to Clean L.A. Beaches, Matey

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

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

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

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Meet a 750-pound Velociraptor at Universal Studios

The ferocious predatory Velociraptors that gained notoriety in the Jurassic Park movies and sprang to life in “Jurassic Park—The Ride” at Universal Studios Hollywood have now been unleashed in the park’s “Raptors Encounter” experience, allowing visitors to engage in a daring face-to-face standoff with these free-roaming carnivores. Tipping the scales at 750 pounds, towering 15 feet in height and 13 feet from tail to snout, the aggressive Cretaceous-era dinosaurs will...

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A Summer Of Jaguars, Jellies and Donuts

Some new attractions in captivity this summer are worth checking out. At the Aquarium of the Pacific (www.aquariumofpacific.org), you can explore the colorful, mysterious world of sea jellies (commonly known as jellyfish). These unusual creatures can exist with a heart or a brain. The aquarium is spotlighting these colorful gelatinous invertebrates in exhibits throughout its indoor galleries, so you can see all types of jellies and even get the chance...

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Prepare to Dive! Interactive 4D Ride Opens at Knott’s

Knott’s Berry Farm welcomes a new family attraction, an 18,040-square-foot 4D ride that is the first Los Angeles attractions of its kind. Voyage to the Iron Reef uses a 600-foot track and 11 screens to take riders on a cutting-edge, high-tech journey underneath the “Boardwalk” and into the deep sea. Riders will climb aboard four-person submarine-inspired vehicles, with glasses in hand, for a four-minute interactive adventure passing through underwater forests...

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Springfield Comes to Universal Studios Hollywood

The Simpsons' town of “Springfield” has officially opened at Universal Studios Hollywood near the theme park’s award-winning attraction, The Simpsons Ride. Fans can walk through the replicated town and experience landmarks such as Springfield Elementary School, Comic Book Guy’s Android’s Dungeon, the cooling towers of Mr. Burns’ Nuclear Power Plant, the Springfield Police Station, the Aztec Theater and the Kwik-E-Mart. The Springfield experience also features Moe’s Tavern, a Duff Brewery...

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Visit the LA Zoo for a Kindness Safari with KIND Snacks

Our friends at KIND make it a point to give back and demonstrate kindness in everything they do. On Saturday, May 16, from 11am to 4pm, local team members from KIND will be hosting a kindness safari for families at the LA Zoo (and in 18 other cities across the country). The event will provide visitors that day with the following: - A scavenger hunt booklet with interactive kindness activities inspired by...

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New Star Wars Display Unveiled at LEGOLAND

What’s 13 feet high, eight feet wide, weighs 1,900 pounds and is one of the newest Los Angeles attractions? If you guessed the new Death Star Model Display at LEGOLAND California Resort, you’re correct! Made with more than 500,000 LEGO bricks and unveiled in early March, this interactive display is the largest to be added to Star Wars Miniland, which first opened to guests in 2011. Patterned after the version...

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Zoo Outreach Program Makes Special-Needs Classrooms Go Wild

A classroom for students with mild, moderate and severe learning disabilities turned into a zoo for a day at Granada Hills Charter High School as the Los Angeles Zoo brought critters and crawlers with their Special Needs Education Outreach Program. Students with disabilities were able to interact with live animals while learning about their habitats from tactile biofacts. The trained zoo docents are certified in the handling of the animals...

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Megatron Rings In the New Year at Universal

Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the Lunar “Year of the Ram” Feb. 13-28 with a Mandarin-speaking MEGATRON character from “Transformers: The Ride-3D” and the blockbuster Transformers films. The celebration, one of several Los Angeles events marking the Chinese new year, will be held in the new Art Deco-inspired grand courtyard in Universal Plaza, at the heart of the theme park. The polygon-shaped piazza will display a dozen lampposts each featuring...

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The L.A. Zoo Will Glow For the Holidays

The holidays will be celebrated in a big way at the Los Angeles Zoo (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoo.org), which will host two separate seasonal attractions. For the first time, the park will illuminate the night with Zoo Lights, an electrical display of millions of lights that depict a colorful menagerie of zoo animals, some of the them doing kooky things. There will be a hippo driving on a freeway...

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