- Runyon Canyon Park2001 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CArecommended Runyon Canyon ParkWhere can you find all the pretentious workout types who don’t go to the gym in Hollywood? Well obviously they are all here at Runyon Canyon (at the same time) doing a workout of either ... read morejogging/climbing/hiking or whatever. I decided to go hike here with a friend last week and it was a great lil hike/workout, except for the fact that there was like a thousand other people doing the same thing. AT THE SAME TIME! Regardless I still enjoyed it. PRO TIP #1: Parking is a PITA and make sure you don’t park in a spot which has public parking until 7pm and permit only afterwards! So Runyon has 3 routes from the bottom that you can head up. The right side leads to the “stairs”, the middle path leads up a paved maintenance road, and the left side climbs up to the ridge and allows you to stroll along the ridge crest to the back of the park. PRO TIP #2: I didn’t see any restrooms, but there are a lot of shrubs =X All of these areas are decent. But most people seem to stroll up the path or the stairs and then down the other side. I found it much nice to climb the stairs and then clamber up to the ridge from the back of the park. Definitely a fun fun time. If you time this at or close to sunset, you will get some awesome photos that are difficult to get in most of LA. It also presents a great view of the LA Basin lights at night. PRO TIP #3: There is a doggie park at the main entrance from Fuller Ave. Next to the entrance is a private vendor selling things like water and energy bars. Be ready for a stinky walk to the entrance. A lot of dogs have decided to urinate or defecate near the entrance from Fuller. Unfortunately not all of their owners will pick up the scat. Overall though this is a fun way to see a big chunk of LA and it can be a great date destination for something a little bit outside of the norm. Imagine taking a picnic up to the ridgeline to watch the sunset or something similar. Hope you like this place too…Schel
Great spot to take kids to see a view of los angeles and to get some exercise at the same time. Its a short hike with a few ascents or descents depending on which way you go. But even the lil ones will forge ahead and enjoy the sceneic vistas...
- Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, California 90027, USArecommended Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical GardensWell the LA Zoo is IMHO the 3rd best zoo in So Cal. Then again if there was another major zoo in So Cal then this would likely rank 4th on the list! The first two are obvious I think, the SD Zoo and ... read morethe SD Zoo Wild Animal Park. Well The LA Zoo has some interesting things and the price is right for sure. At the gate or online: Adults - $16 Seniors - $13 Children - $11 PRO TIP #1: I can't more highly suggest that you buy your tix online and avoid the line. It WILL save you 30-60 minutes alone. Well the parking here is free and not that far from the gate either. So make sure you have your hiking/walking shoes on as its never ending around the whole park. There is an aquarium just inside the gate with a sea lion, well worth stopping for as my munchkin just stopped and stared for 10 minutes at least... She especially loved it swimming upside down. Right after that we got to see the alligator and meerkats! So we then went down to the tram booth and got tram tickets allowing both of us to ride around the perimeter of the park all day for $6. Not that bad of a deal. The munchkin and I started off next to the Rhino/Bear area and then proceeded to the tigers, monkeys, elephants (which weren't out and about) very disappointing there for sure, then on to the Giraffes, Apes, Birds, and a few more types of monkeys. We followed that up with a trip to see the jaguar, a bunch of birds, some Yak like looken creature or two (one may have been a super hairy short snouted anteater, lol). We then hopped back onto the tram and ended up with the kimono dragon, followed up by the wallaby's and koala bear. PRO TIP #2: Buy your tickets in conjunction with tickets for the Aquarium of the Pacific and save 20% off of the combined ticket price. Mix in a couple of trips to the playground (yeah they have one), stopping for shaved ice (read snow cone not really shaved ice), and a burger break per the munchkins request at the Mahale Café. I will have a separate review for it as well. Overall the zoo was very disappointing to me. They had only one of each animal that we say for the most part. When you go to the zoo, you anticipate seeing 2-3 of everything but over half of the animals that I named, they only had one of each =( I think these creatures must be very very sad. No one to play with or just hangout with. PRO TIP #3: Bring a cooler with drinks, grub, etc. you can bring any food water etc you want in. Otherwise you will pay $4.25 for a liter bottle of water... A lot of the features of the zoo were outdated and needed the little things taken care of. A fresh coat of paint, a sunshade, upgraded plexiglass, new tram roof's/pull vehicles, etc. This whole place is seeking to separate you from your cash, and they cant keep the basics up. Its very disappointing. PRO TIP #4: Wear a hat and bring sunscreen, this is super important! Overall my daughter would rate it as a 5 star since she was in love with all of the animals. I give it a 2 weighing in what a Zoo could and should be. I have been to about 10 Zoos and honestly the LA zoo is no better than third from the bottom, at best. It is however worth the trip for your kid to see a lot of exotic creatures very cheap. I know that I will be back, most likely again this year.Schel
Even if it isnt the best zoo around, it is very cheap and fun to see some exotic animals. =)
- Aquarium of the Pacific100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802-8126recommended Aquarium of the PacificSo what does my daughter live for? That is easy, coming to a place like this and petting the sharks, rays, jellyfish, and whatever else she can get her lil paws on. Or perhaps just snap a picture ... read moreof... PRO TIP #1: Buy your tickets online and skip the line! I think its cheaper too! This place has it all literally; poisonous frogs from South America to jelly fish (like 10+ varieties); sharks to neon unknowns; sea dragons to lorakeets (yes I know it's a bird). Heck they even have some zoo animals there. You can observe and participate in feeding frenzies or watch a tank cleaning. Want to see a short flick on sea life or how about a sit down theater movie on it? It's all there. PRO TIP #2: Bring food and drinks with you, the food and drink choices here are not only expensive but not very tasty =X I have eaten at the upstairs cafeteria, I choose to avoid that place like the plague now. The food is just sitting under heat lamps half the time and dried out dogs or burgers or colder fries are just not good... especially at stadium type rates... They treat you like a total captive audience here. crazy stuff! PRO TIP #3: Bring pennies and quarters to start a lil collecting thing for your kids... its cheap and provides great memories to review regularly for the kids! The exhibits are a lot of fun to wander around in with the kids or even just as an adult to see sea creatures you wouldnt otherwise view. I am always caught off guard by something new or missed on a previous trip. Some absolutely stunning creatures live here; from the grotesque and odd to the beautiful and deadly. PRO TIP #4: bring a change of clothes so your kid can play in the water park area near the shark tank... dont forget that your guidebook can be used to emboss stamps around the facility kinda like a treasure hunt. My daughter loves this like no other thing here... save the gift shop, petting zones, etc... PRO TIP #5: enjoy the lighthouse and the park looking at the queen mary afterwards... its a great way to round out your day...Schel
Just about the best place for kids in LA/OCrecommended Aquarium of the PacificThe 4-D shows at the Aquarium of the Pacific are great - I saw a really cute one here about a lost turtle (perfect for kids!). The touch tanks are really cool as well, and they have a huge variety of ... read moresea life that they do a great job of presenting. When you go outside, make sure to buy seeds for the parakeets that you can feed in their habitat.Erin K
If you're willing to drive a little to Long Beach, this aquarium is worth the trip.
recommended Seal Beach Municipal PierWell what happens when you are taking a nice Saturday evening stroll along the pier? Obviously someone is bound to get in a verbal spat or fight to provide you with entertainment. This is exactly what ... read morehappened last Saturday while I'm on a date no less! Regardless, this was a fantastic place to take a sunset stroll. A great view of the Long Beach harbor as well as Catalina on a clear day provide for a memorable experience. We were also able to watch several fishermen reeling in their catches and see some of what they were catching. I have no idea why, but that is always entertaining. This is an older wooden pier. The decking is made out of beam planking and has large steel screws holding the planks in place. The piers are also made out of wood and sleeved in a rubber or plastic coating that prevents the piers from being destroyed by Mother Nature as easily as unprotected wood would be. There are also lots of mussels on each pier! There is also a sign to let you know that you can't pick or eat those mussels. At the end of the pier is a fully enclosed Ruby's diner. So it may be fun to shooby dooby out here for a sunset and a burger with a shake sometime. Lots of free and cheap paid parking close by as well. The pier has a number of benches strewn about its length as well as a working dock on the southern side allowing crews from who knows where to embark/disembark from their trips and/or tasks. But a great spot for a date, or just a fun place to take the rugrats! Pro Tip: Bring a jacket in the car in case it's windy, overcast, cold, etc. You may just save yourself some big bucks by doing that!Schel
Another great location to spend an afternoon at the beach with a number of nearby shops and restaurants.
- newport beach boardwalk901 South Coast Drive #170, Costa Mesa, CA, United Statesrecommended newport beach boardwalkThis is one of my favorite places to skate down, ride a bike at, or go hiking along. You have a great view of the beach/ocean the entire way. Its about 6 miles all told if you hop onto the streets to ... read morego down all the way to the wedge. There are a number of restaurants, shops, houses, volleyball games, etc along the way. It is a great place to people watch and enjoy a beautiful day at the beach without having to go deal with the sand or water (if the water is too cold). There are several playgrounds strewn throughout its length. The path is wide, usually sand free, and can lead to lots of fun :D The bad part is that this place is patrolled by NBPD. These guys are seriously underworked. If you are there on an off day (read weekday, or non summer weekend) be ready to deal with the jackwagons in the police dept. Last summer, I was skating (rollerblading) the boardwalk with my daughter in a jogging stroller. Literally there is not another person within a 1/4 mile in front of me. So I am cruising along and having fun. Well till NBPD no fun patrol shows up. Well the no fun allowed patrol shows up on their fancy big engined loud ATVs. One pulls me over (I kid you not) and the other goes up about 30 yds and puts his hand on his gun. So the cop is like do you know why I pulled you over. I am totally perplexed and dont ahve a clue and state as much. He responds in proper police collequilism, "Do you know how fast you were going?" I must have had an incredulous look on my face since all I could think but refrained from saying was "no officer, let me check the speedometer on my rollerblades." So you guys are so bored you are going to pull someone over for speeding on rollerblades?? Ok to continue on... I look at the officer and state, "I have absolutely no idea." He looks me in the eye and says do you know what what the speedlimit is. I go nope, I didnt even know there was a speedlimit on the boardwalk. He points down the path a ways to a sign which I cant read from where we are and says its "EIGHT". I think to myself ok... whats the big deal??? He then asks again, "Do you know how fast you were going?" I am thinking I must have been going 9 but I dont see a radar detector gun on his bike, so i doubt he really knows. Before I can process what to say, he goes you were going at least 15! THE HORROR!!! I was doing 15 in an 8 zone on rollerblades????? In my mind I start laughing uncontrollably. I had no idea I could go that fast on rollerblades. At least he didnt see the laughter in my eyes, as he proceeds to lecture me that I am putting my child in danger. This is classic since she is in a jogging stroller with metal struts all around her with a 5 point harness on so she cant fall out. The bored guy ends up "warning" me about speeding and races off to annoy some other nice person trying to enjoy the beautiful southern california beach. None the less... if not for the over zealous bored idiots in blue this would be an awesome 5* place to ride hike walk blade or just enjoy life. I suggest that you all go, it is a great way to spend the day.Schel
Great place to stroll and have an icecream with several piers shops sand and surf all to enjoy. Lots of plentiful parking and metered parking nearby.
- Irvine Regional Park1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CArecommended Irvine Regional ParkThis is a great place to take the kids to enjoy a breif respite from the daily grind. They have a lot of fun activities to do here. My daughter absolutely fell in love with the horse riding. Its ... read morecheap, but short. The smell is a bit noxious in the "stables" but the kids absolutely adore the rides. They have special saddles built to hold a kid properly in place. They do about 3-4 circuits of a 100 yd course so almost a 1/4 mile for about $4. Every kid who goes on it has a big grin from ear to ear. This kind of happiness is a Godsend for parents who want to treat their kids to something special. For the little tykes they have a pony walk at the same price where you can lead a pony around a shorter course a few times allowing the tot to sway with the movement. These are both great introductions to animals for kids. Then there is the Train! What kid doesnt like a choochoo train??? seriously, it is a universal love of almost all children. The whistles, the swaying cars, the scenery, tunnels, etc. It is a cornocopia of delights for the kids. The nice thing about this train is that they even have a roof, so you get shade!!! very very nice on a hot day. So some of the other general activities at this park would include boat rentals, volleyball courts, hiking, camping, playgrounds, softball/baseball diamonds, open grass fields... and!!! the OC Zoo. Talk about a power packed day for the kids. They can literally go on complete sensory overload here... and being the conniving parent that I can sometimes be... I tell my daughter to run as fast and far as she can and then run back... like 10 times }:D and then guess who falls asleep without a peep as fast as laying down in her bed MUHAHAHAHahahahahaha! The problems with this place essentially stem from the fact that they have limited parking, an expensive rental system for the nicer shelters (read roofed), and places with poison oak!!! so make sure you are careful whereever you let the kids roam!Schel
They have horse rides, a train ride, the OC zoo is here, paddleboats, running, biking, nature trails, etc. All kinds of great stuff!
- Orange County Great ParkOrange County Great Park, Irvine, CArecommended Orange County Great ParkSo whatever happened to El Toro Air Station? Like some of you other Yelpers you may remember coming and watching the Blue Angels here as a kid. Let alone a million other awesome airplanes. I remember ... read moreseeing an F-17 from across the runway and all kinds of F-18s, F-14s, F-15s, F-16s etc. It was always an awesome event to go check out. Then the base got closed and all that fun and frivolity disappeared. :( Well fast forward 20 years and finally ETAS has been reborn. It is now the OC Great Park. Built on the old ETAS Tarmac and runways. The whole experience there is a free service paid for by our tax dollars so I would hope everyone would go at least once or twice. They have a huge number of great things happening here: The Great Park Carousel The Great Park Balloon Ride The Great Park Farmers Market The Great Park Playground The best part about this place is that it is all FREE! The Balloon Ride, the Carousel, check out sports equipment, the playground, etc. You do have to pay for the farmers market foods though... hey not everything in life is free so quit your bellyaching. They have a large FREE parking lot though. I can't more highly suggest taking advantage of your tax dollars than this. It's not often that a lot of us can get something back for all that we pay into the system. So when we can, we should! This is one of those super beneficial situations. My daughter absolutely loves everything about this whole place. From the misted playground with climbing rocks, to taking countless rides on the carousel, and the whole balloon encounter... awe inspiring for a munchkin. So please check it out sometime.Schel
This place is awesome and its totally free! A tethered balloon ride, a carousel, a playground, lots of picnic areas, and a farmers market on the weekends I believe.
- Balboa Fun Zone600 East Bay Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92661-1316recommended Balboa Fun ZoneWell... I remember this place from when I was a kid and am now taking my daughter here. The rides are the same and a blast for children without a doubt. The ferris wheel is fun for both young and old. ... read moreIf you want a unique date spot, bring a woman here for a ride on the ferris wheel and watch her eyes light up. Follow it up by a walk over to the pier or dinner in one of the many little restaurants (beachy or nicer, casual or fancy). The arcades are great, the candy store tasty, the prices touristy (well come on now it is a tourist trap), and the vibe is a fun/frivolous/exciting/etc. It is hard to have a bad time when you here to play, smile, laugh, and have fun. Since that is what 99.9% of the others are there for as well. Reasons why its not a more highly rated place; 1 the bathrooms are beyond nasty 2 parking is a nightmare 3 pricing is a bit to touristy (err progressive shall we say) 4 the bumper cars are not always working 5 its too small 6 it needs to be cleaned better and/or a new coat of paint on a number of buildings (this needs to happen regularly as they are by the ocean) None the less, my daughter and I still love to go here and enjoy it greatly everytime we do...Schel
fun lil place at the beach with a few carne rides..
commented on this trip
There is a ton of kids stuff. I will list a few of the kids things that I have done reviews on, but seriously its a never ending list. There is a top 100 list that I have seen. It also depends on your kid(s) age(s).
- California Science Center700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037recommended California Science CenterSoooo many cool exhibits interesting for all ages
- Universal Studios100 Universal City Plaza 5511-6, Hollywood, CA 91608recommended Universal StudiosA theme park just northwest of downtown LA or Hollywood, Universal Studios is pitched at the tweens & teens crowd, with special-effects shows, thrill rides and a tram tour of the working soundstage ... read morearea that all ages can get a kick out of. Stop by the Audiences Unlimited booth to get free tickets to live TV tapings.
- Santa Monica Pier321 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, United Statesrecommended Santa Monica PierThere is a lot to do here, everything you would expect from a carnival/boardwalk but located in one of my favorite cities ever. The most iconic, of course is the ferris wheel, so definitely do that if ... read moreyou're here -- you can get a great view of the whole coastline. You can also hang out on the beach, and walk up from the beach to Ocean Ave & the Third Street Promenade where there are lots of restaurants, shops, street performers and musicians.Traci
Great for kids and right on one of my favorite beaches!
- Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum6780 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028-4622recommended Ripley's Believe It Or Not MuseumInteresting exposition for all ages find coupon, feel like tickets are overpriced
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007recommended Natural History Museum of Los Angeles CountyThe dinosaur exhibits are great at the Natural History Museum, but I wasn't such a fan of some of the other wings (the bird exhibit was kind of weak). It's a decent museum but compared to the free ... read more(and fantastic) museums in DC...I've seen better.Erin K
Not the BEST Natural History museum I've been to - but the dinosaur exhibit is quite good.
- Griffith Observatory2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1255recommended Griffith ObservatoryI thought I'd seen some pretty amazing views of Los Angeles after all the hikes I'd been on, but the Griffith Observatory is now at the top of my list. You get a 360 degree view of the city next to an ... read moreabsolutely beautiful (make sure to bring your camera) building. The exhibits inside are informative and, best of all, free (except the planetarium shows), and you get to interact by touching pieces of meteorites, seeing how much you'd weigh on each planet, and more. Parking can be a bit of a feat, but there are people constantly coming and going, so if you drive to the top and circle around a few times you'll eventually get a spot.Erin K
There is a great little museum here that kids can enjoy, and they'd love the planetarium show!