How many times have we asked the question, “What should we do today?” With a teen and a (soon to be) ten year old in the house, the problem really isn’t coming up with an idea, it’s coming up with an idea that appeals to all ages. And, let’s get real, finding an activity that my teen will agree to is no easy feat.
That’s the great thing about Los Angeles, no matter who you’re traveling with, toddlers, teens, or both you’ll find activities for every age. Many of which will appeal to all ages at the same time!
From San Pedro on one end of LA County to Malibu on the other, here are 10 fun ideas for the entire family.
Point Fermin Park & The Korean Bell of Friendship
Point Fermin Park
You’ll find Point Fermin Park perched high above the ocean on the southernmost point of Los Angeles. The park offers sweeping ocean views, wide grassy areas for running free, trees for climbing, a playground, picnic areas, and a historic lighthouse and museum.
Take a stroll along the bluffs as we did, or bring a picnic and enjoy the view from one of the park’s many tables. If you keep your eyes open you just might see a dolphin.
Korean Bell of Friendship
Gifted to the people of Los Angeles in 1976 by the people of the Republic of Korea the Korean Bell of Friendship is located in Angels Gate Park, also known as the Korean-American Peace Park.
The Bell, one of the largest in the world, weighs 17 tons and is rung when struck from the outside by a wooden log. The Bell’s pagoda, sometimes referred to as the Friendship Belfry, was built onsite by craftsmen flown in from Korea.
The bell is rung each year on the Fourth of July, Korean Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and every September to celebrate Constitution week.
Point Fermin Park is located at 807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro. The lighthouse and museum are open Tuesday through Sunday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Admission is free.
Leo Carrillo State Park
Spend a glorious day out at Leo Carrillo State Park, which is located on the Pacific Coast Highway (HWY 1) in beautiful Malibu, California.
Activities at the park are many and include, exploring the tide pools, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing, and beach combing. There are also caves and reefs for exploring, hiking trails, picnic tables and camping.
We spent the majority of our time exploring Leo Carrillo’s tide pools. Among the many creatures we saw were striped shore crabs, a baby sea star, a sunburst anemone, a black sea hare (slug), mossy chiton, blue banded hermit crabs, and black tegula sea snails.
Leo Carrillo is located at 35000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu and is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. The entrance to the park is on the East side of the Pacific Coast Highway. There are bathrooms and pay showers on site. Camping is available via the Park’s online reservation system.
Parking Fees: All day – $12.00 per car, per day, 3 hours – $9.00 per car, 2 hours – $6.00 per car, 1 hour – $3.00 per car.
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The Skirball Cultural Center & Museum
The Skirball Cultural Center is home to one of the oldest and largest collections of Jewish cultural artifacts both in the United States and in the world. It is LA’s first Jewish museum, and it’s their mission to preserve and advance Jewish heritage in both social and cultural contexts.
What does that mean? It means that if you visit the Skirball you’ll be treated to some pretty amazing exhibits. Currently Jim Henson and his Muppets are featured, but with past and future topics ranging from street art in LA to supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg you’re sure to find something of interest for all ages.
The museum’s permanent collection displays Jewish artifacts, art and ceremonial objects from ancient to modern times and is both fascinating and at times heartbreaking.
If you have younger children, you won’t want to miss Noah’s Ark, a permanent installation and playground within the Skirball museum.
No matter your age, I guarantee you will be amazed when you step inside Noah’s Ark and are surrounded by the hundreds of amazing animal sculptures and puppets created from recycled materials and everyday objects. Activities inside the Ark include building an ark, conducting storms, and “feeding” the animals.
The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Parking is FREE on-site. The Skirball is open Tuesday – Friday, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm and Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Admission for adults is $12 General, $9 Seniors, Full-Time Students with ID, and Children over 12 and $7 for Children 2–12. FREE to all on Thursdays.
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The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Can you believe that at one time the bustling area that is now Museum Row was once the home of dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, and mammoths? It’s true! Of course that was 50,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years…
The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum offer a glimpse into what life was like in the LA basin long before people came along. You won’t see dinosaurs here, as they’d already been extinct for 65 million years when animals started becoming entrapped in the tar pits, but my kids still love to see the ongoing excavation pits, test their strength pulling the tar, and roam the museum’s gardens. Excavator tours are free with admission.
The La Brea Tar Pits & Museum are located at 5801 Wilshire Blvd. The Museum is open 9:30 am to 5:00 pm 360 days per year.
Basic admission for adults is $15, students and seniors $12, and children $7. Viewing the outside exhibits is free.
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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
They may not have dinosaurs at the Tar Pits, but don’t worry because the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has that covered, and so much more! In fact we spent the better part of a day here and still left without seeing everything this amazing institution has to offer.
Did you know that skateboarding was invented in LA? So was the electric guitar! You can learn all about the City of Angels and its unique contributions to culture at the permanent exhibition: Becoming LA.
We loved the recent temporary Tattoo exhibition, which traces the history of inking skin over 5000 years. Did you know the black and grey style originated here in East LA?
Younger kids will love the discovery center, the mammal halls, and roaming the museum’s gorgeous gardens.
The Natural History Museum is located at 900 W Exposition Blvd. The Museum is open 9:30 am to 5:00 pm 360 days per year. Basic admission for adults is $15, students and seniors $12, and children $7.
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California Science Center
Young and old will enjoy a visit to the California Science Center where touching and interaction are a welcome and necessary part of any visit. From The Space Shuttle Endeavour to under the sea ecosystems, and the human body, there is no shortage of things to see and do.
King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will be on display at the Science Center through January 2019 before it embarks on a ten city world tour. Many never before seen artifacts are on display including a bed, larger than life statues, and funerary jars. Children under 10 may not appreciate 3000 year old golden sandals, but I sure did!
The California Science Center is located at 700 W Exposition Blvd. The museum is open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 7 days a week 362 days per year.
Admission to the Science Center is free, however certain exhibits are timed and ticketed.
The Expo Line
Both the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science center can be reached via the Expo Line, a newly operating commuter train, which runs east/west from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Pier.
Exit at the Vermont Station for both museums, as well as many other nearby areas of interest. Check the Metro website for timetables, fare information and routes.
Swan Boats on Echo Park Lake & The Echo Park Time Travel Mart
The kids were very excited about our visit to Echo Park Lake, where our main goal was the Lake’s swan pedal boats. We took turns waiting in the line, while the rest of the group passed the time walking the lake path and watching the turtles and other wildlife in the park.
Recently upgraded to include shade canopies, these brand new swan boats can hold from 2 – 5 guests. The kids really wanted to pedal, so we sat happily shaded in the back enjoying the fountain and city views while they did all the work.
The swan boats are open 7 days a week 9:00 am – Sunset. Adutls are $11 and children (17 years and under) $6 for a one hour rental.
Echo Park Time Travel Mart
With a motto like Wherever you are, we’re already then, how could we resist a visit to The Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers? Inside we found fun from every era, past, present and future including, dinosaur eggs, robot milk, t-shirts, and so much more.
All proceeds help support the free programs at 826LA a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative writing skills.
The Time Travel Mart is located at 1714 W Sunset Blvd., LA. The Mart is open Monday – Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
Stair Walk in Silver Lake
LA wasn’t always the car town it is now, and at one time public transportation was the primary mode of travel. People used an extensive network of staircases to get from their hillside homes to their transit stops. These days they are used primarily for urban hikes and exercise and a climb to the top will grant you fabulous views of the city.
Because these staircases are located within residential neighborhoods, they are often hidden from view, so finding them can be a challenge, but don’t worry I’ve got you covered.
This activity is best suited to those 10 and up. The Hidden Staircases walk begins at the Micheltorena Stairs across the street from Alfred Coffee. You’ll find the route we took here: The Hidden Staircases of Silver Lake.
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Chocolate Tea & Lawn Games at the Huntington Langham Hotel
The Sunday Chocolate tea at the Huntington Langham is a real treat! You’ll know you’re in the right place when you smell the chocolate.
In addition to chocolate you’ll be treated to traditional tea sandwiches, scones and cream, and bottomless champagne. Oh, and yes multiple tea selections are available as well. Kids will love the specially made children’s tea sandwiches with kid friendly toppings.
Work off all that chocolate playing lawn games in the Horseshoe Garden including, croquet, frisbee golf, and badminton.
The Huntington Langham is located at 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena. Tea service is held everyday of the week, however the Chocolate Tea is only held on Sundays. Reservations are required.
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The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
A library, science museums, and acres of unique and beautiful botanical gardens, including a fabulous children’s garden, make The Huntington a wonderful place for the entire family.
The exhibit showcasing a selection of the Huntington’s collection of original books, documents and letters was a favorite of mine. Especially interesting to me were Jack London’s draft of White fang, Henry VIII’s document concerning Luther and a collection of Shakespeare’s works.
If you have young children the Huntington Children’s garden is the place for you! It’s a magical spot with plenty to explore including water play, magnetic sand, tunnels, a playhouse, and volcan. When visiting this garden a change of clothing might not be a bad idea!
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The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino
The Huntington is open Wednesday – Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission for Adults is $25 on weekdays, and $29 on weekends. Seniors (65+) and students are $21 on weekdays, and $24 on weekends. Youth (4-11) are $13, and children under 4 are free.
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