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Los Angeles for Kids

The Best Things to do in LA with Kids

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Los Angeles may be better known for Hollywood glitz, crazy nightlife and out of control celebrities, but if I itemized every one, there are literally hundreds of things to do with kids in Los Angeles. Since a list that long would be very tedious, I've chosen the most popular or unique activities for children in LA and grouped them here by theme. A link from the heading will take you to a full page on that category. A link in the text will take you to more information on a specific activity or venue.

1. Los Angeles Theme Parks

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood
Photo © 2014 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

The Los Angeles area is theme park heaven for kids. Beyond Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, you have the family-friendly Knott's Berry Farm and the teen testing ground of Six Flags Magic Mountain, not to mention all the Los Angeles Area Water Parks.

2. Los Angeles Area Zoos and Aquariums

Aquarium of the Pacific
© 2005 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com

For animal and fish fans, the stars of the show are the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, but kids will also enjoy the smaller Santa Monica Pier Aquarium or Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro and the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park.

3. Top LA Museums for Kids

Quick Culture for Kids at LACMA
Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

Most of the major museums in Los Angeles have programs to make their content more accessible for children, but some are a more natural fit than others. You can't go wrong with the California Science Center or the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, both in Exposition Park. Kidspace Museum in Pasadena is a gem, and kids especially enjoy visiting the Petersen Automotive Museum with their dads. For art appreciation, try a Quick Culture children's tour of the LA County Museum of Art. Four the youngest kids, the Zimmer Children's Museum is the place to be.

4. Children's Entertainment

Bob Baker Marionette Theater Holiday Spectacular
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

The entertainment capital of the world has a wide variety of live entertainment especially for children. There are plays, puppet shows and comedy shows designed to appeal to kids from 2 to teen. Kids 10 and older may even be able to attend a children's TV show taping. See the Best Live Family Entertainment in LA.

5. Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory at Griffith Park in Los Angeles
Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

The City of Los Angeles is bisected by a mountain range. A couple of those mountain peaks are within the 4210 acres of Griffith Park. The many kid-friendly attractions in the park include the LA Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, the Autry Center for Western Heritage, Travel Town Train Museum, Pony Rides, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and plenty of opportunities for hiking and picnicking.

6. Outdoors with Kids in LA

Cruising out from Rainbow Harbor on the Aquarium of the Pacific Whale Watching Tour
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

The whole outdoors is your playground when vacationing with kids in Los Angeles. From a day at the beach to a hike in the local mountains, there is always plenty to do. Rent bikes, skates or a surrey to explore the beach path. Take a family adventure learning vacation and learn to surf or paddle board. A whale-watching tour is another good way to enjoy the outdoors and help your kids develop an appreciation for the environment.

7. American Girl Place

American Girl Place Cafe
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

OK, it's a girl thing, but watching your girls share tea with their (or borrowed) dolls at the American Girl Café is pretty precious. And then there's the shopping…

8. Knights and Pirates

Renaissance Faire Jr Knight
Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com

Kids can revel in their fascination with knights and pirates at permanent venues and multi-weekend events around Los Angeles. Medieval Times in Buena Park is the original dinner show jousting match between armored knights. The Pirate's Dinner Adventure follows the same structure with an interactive pirate-themed show. Annually, there are 11 weekends each spring when ye olde renaissance fairs and pirate festivals run back to back.

Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for the sword fights that will ensue at your house if you take your kids to watch live knights and pirates.

9. Take the Kids to a Ball Game

Los Angeles Dodgers
Photo by Harry How, Getty Images

Although we lack a professional football team, you can take the kids out to see the Dodgers or Angels play baseball, the Lakers or Clippers play basketball, the Galaxy play soccer, or the LA Kings play hockey. Regular cheap seats at a baseball game can be an inexpensive treat, or look for discount tickets for better seats at LA sporting events at Goldstar.com.

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