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Toddlers to Teens 10 Things to do in Los Angeles

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.

Point Fermin Historic Lighthouse

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.

Korean Bell of Friendship

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.

There are rocks and caves waiting to be explored at Leo Carrillo State park

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.

You might also be interested in: Tide Pools & More at Leo Carrillo State Park

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.

Surface Tension Street Art Exhibit at the Skirball

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.

Jewish Exhibit at the Skirball

Noah’s Ark

If you have younger children, you won’t want to miss Noah’s Ark, a permanent installation and playground within the Skirball museum.

Noah’s Ark at the Skirball

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. 

You might also be interested in: The J. Paul Getty Museums 

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 Outdoor Exhibits at The La Brea Tar Pits

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.

You might also be interested in: One Amazing Day in LA!

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.

Dinosaurs aplenty at the NHMLA

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.

Skateboarding was invented in 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?

Tattoo is just one of many temporary exhibits available at the NHMLA

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.

You might also be interested in: 11 Places To Get Your Culture Fix In Los Angeles

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.

Space Shuttle Endeavour

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 King Tut Exhibition

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.

The Expo Line runs east/west from Downton LA to the Beach

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

Swan Boats

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.

Echo Park Lake Swan Boats

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.

Wherever you are, we’re already then

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.

View of Downtown LA from Silver Lake

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.

You might also be interested in:
12 Things to do with Kids in LA’s Echo Park & Silver Lake Neighborhoods

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.

Chocolate Fountain

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.

You might also be interested in: Taste of Los Angeles

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 Chinese Garden at The Huntington

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!

The Children’s Garden at The Huntington

You might also be interested in: Tourist In My Own Town

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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