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mweschler Feb 12th, 2013 10:05 AM

Best CA attractions with kids?
We are hoping to travel to CA in June with 2 kids, ages 8 & 11. Will most likely be staying around the LA area. I'm sure we'll hit Disney, but what else would the kids find enjoyable? THANKS!

sf7307 Feb 12th, 2013 10:09 AM

In San Diego (which isn't that far from LA - 2 hours drive -- and even closer to Anaheim) --- SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, the Midway.

jamie99 Feb 12th, 2013 11:46 AM

If you want to visit Disney, stay in Anaheim, not LA, so you can walk to the park when it opens to enjoy the rides before it gets crowded later on. If you get a 3 day or more Parkhopper ticket, you get one Magic Morning (entry to the park one hour before opening time).

sf7307 gave you good advice about San Diego, although they renamed the Wild Animal Park the Safari Park.

Tomsd Feb 12th, 2013 12:39 PM

From Anaheim - you are about an hour + away from the Safari Park/nee - Wild Animal Park - our favortie. We also love the Zoo)(1/2 hour further) and if you decide you want to do both- you can get two day discount ticket. see:

They might also enjoy the Tide Pools at nearby Pt. Loma - and the small museums at the Cabrillo National Monument.

Surfergirl Feb 12th, 2013 12:47 PM

Would highly recommend the California Science Center in downtown (near $C) that has the Endevour Space Shuttle.


Free, but need to reserve. It might be fun, if you're on the westside, to take Metro -- the Expo line -- from Culver City directly to the Science Center.

Then hop back on and transfer to the red line. Get off at Union Station, look around, then head across the street to Olvera Street -- historic, fun, kids your age love it. Good place to have lunch as well.

You might also consider going to a Dodger game if they are in town. Nothing better than a baseful game and Dodger Dogs.

Amusement parks: Disneyland is a must. Your kids, if they like movies, will also probably like Universal Studios -- in addition to rides, you get to tour by tram the back lot of Universal. Sometimes seeing movies in action.

JulesK73 Feb 12th, 2013 03:07 PM

Your kids are the perfect age for the Page Museum & La Brea Tar Pits. Might be a great 1/2 day activity. Change it up from Disneyland.

Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits:

5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 934-PAGE (7243)

Open 9:30 am to 5 pm every day of the year, except July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & NY Day.

If you visit for 30 minutes to 1 hour:

Visit Project 23, where our excavators are working seven days a week!
Come inside the Page Museum to see what happens to the bones after we extract the fossils from the asphalt. Check out the paleontology in action inside the Fishbowl Lab, where staff and volunteers are cleaning and repairing new discoveries.
Experience exhibits such as the Dire Wolf wall, which contains 400 individual skulls found during Rancho La Brea excavations.
Take some of the wonder home and visit our Museum Store, located in the lobby of the Page Museum.

If you visit for 1 to 2 hours:

Explore plants from the last Ice Age in our Pleistocene Garden.
Discover what an actual excavation site looks like at Pit 91.
Come see the Columbian mammoth statues at our Lake Pit.
Stop by Project 23 to watch our excavators (and if you can't see them, you should be able to hear them chipping away!)
Visit the Page Museum to experience fully articulated fossil exhibits of Ice Age animals discovered during Rancho La Brea excavations.

If you visit for two or more hours:

Explore plants and flowers from the last Ice Age in our Pleistocene Garden.
Discover what an actual excavation site looks like at Pit 91.
Come see the Columbian mammoth statues at our Lake Pit.
Stop by Project 23 to watch our excavators (and if you can't see them, you should be able to hear them chipping away!)
Join our public Guided Tour of Hancock Park.
Join our public Guided Tour of the Page Museum.

easytraveler Feb 12th, 2013 03:40 PM

Boys or girls?

How much time?

For the LA area, generally Universal Studios, La Brea Tarpits in addition to Disneyland.

But San Diego really is great for kids that age. Besides the attractions mentioned, if you still have time: there's also Balboa Park with a number of small, fun museums: Automotive Museum, Model Railroad Museum, Air and Space Museum, Science Museum

Then there's Coronado Island if you want to just lie around on a sunny beach or do some water activities.

With kids, IMHO, you'll have a better time in San Diego than in LA. A lot more activities for kids.

5alive Feb 12th, 2013 04:54 PM

I think San Diego and Los Angeles are both great with kids. The one advantage SD has is that the sites Easy Traveler mentions are more compact.

I would stay near Disney at least the night before and the night after, and get early admission to the park with a Good Neighbor Hotel or an actual Disney property if you can afford that. It is just so much less stressful to get in before the crowds. Also, you can stay and watch the fireworks or the light show (depending on which park) and not feel grumpy about the drive afterward.

If you don't want to stay by Disney the whole time, then either go down to San Diego or up to Santa Monica or another LA beach hotel for the rest of your trip.

POlson Feb 12th, 2013 08:17 PM

LA has an amazing array of kid friendly adventures. My kids enjoy: LA Zoo, Kidspace near the Rose Bowl (when they were younger), Science Center (you can reserve free tickets for Endeavor shuttle viewing online in advance), Page Museum/LaBrea Tar Pits, Natural History Museum, Huntington Gardens (in particular the water garden and the rainforest, and the cactus garden), Travel Town (more when they were younger), Descanso Gardens (and the mini train). I understand the Peterson Automotive Museum is also quite popular but we haven't made it there yet. The Aquarium in Long Beach is good. The Santa Monica Pier is also fun for kids. We occasionally go to the Observatory but its been awhile (better for older kids).

You can also go on kid friendly hikes (Will Rogers State Park, Griffith Park/Mt. Hollywood), rent bikes at the beach, and enjoy the theme parks.

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