With Christmas break on its way, I’ve been asked more than once…”My kids are off, what fun ideas do you have?” Obviously we all need to get out and explore our cities, get out from in front of the screen. And in this day and age, that is no easy task. So here are a few of my ideas for fun in southern California.
Personally I have not attended L.A. Zoo Lights, but by all accounts it is a wonderful time. We recently visited the zoo and saw all the decorations going up. This year may be the year we take an evening stroll through the zoo. This event requires a seperate entrance fee and is held after normal zoo hours. All the animals, save reindeer and the reptiles in The Lair, are put away for the night. Music, hot chocolate, and beautiful light displays take center stage.
If you plan on heading out to the zoo, be sure to stop by the Americana at Brand for their beautiful Christmas tree and holiday decorations. There are plenty of dining options there from fast food to sit down restaraunts. You could always stop by Sprinkles for a sweet treat as well. My children love to visit the giant Barnes and Noble Bookstore too. We buy lots of books but let’s face it, a trip to the bookstore is still a treat and seldom done nowadays.
If getting outside is the goal, why not go for a hike? I love to get outside and away from our devices for family time too, and fall weather really lends itself to great day hiking conditions. You’d be surprised how many great trails are available in southern California. Seeing your city from a different perspective, above the chaos, really helps you appreciate what we have here. We enjoy bringing our dog along for the journey, but that does limit the trails available. Not all are dog friendly, so check it out before you go.
My kids used to complain about hiking but now they enjoy the time we have together. Try mixing up trails to keep it fun and interesting. The best part is we get time together, off our devices and some exercise as well. Just be sure to pack water and a snack or two to keep the kids from whining about being hungry.
Another option is to take in a museum or two. The Exposition Park area offers several great options. The Natural History Museum has a great collection of dinosaur bones to check out as well as an extensive selection of gems, minerals, and rocks. The newly developed outdoor area is a great place to have lunch as well.
If you want to follow that up with a visit to the California Science Center, the kids will enjoy the many hands on exhibits they have there. Or you could simply take in an educational, yet very cool, IMAX movie in 3-D no less. They have several viewing times one of the biggest screens I have ever seen. The space shuttle is also worth the additional fee if you have the time. Until you stand underneath it, it is hard to imagine just how big it is and even more impossible how it made it off the ground and out of our atmosphere.
This is just a start for those of you looking to do something fun with the kids. If you want to really make things interesting search the city without a car and take the Metro or Metrolink into Los Angeles. It’s a great way to get around and not have to really worry about directions. Union Station is beautiful sight at Christmas. They have a lovely tree in the main lobby. You can walk from there to Olvera Street, Chinatown, or Phillipe’s for a famous beef dip sandwich.
Have fun spending time together, ultimately that’s what the kids will remember. The memories are what they keep with them as they grow, not the corny souvenir that they grab at the gift shop. Those go in the trash as soon as they stop noticing them.