With lots of exciting attractions and sunny weather year round, Los Angeles is a great vacation destination for families. Where else can you step onto the set of your favorite movie, relax on a sun-kissed beach, and shop alongside celebs on Rodeo Drive? Here are some family-friendly places to visit and things to do on your next trip to Los Angeles.
1. Aquarium of the Pacific boasts more than 500 species in 19 major habitats highlighting the marine life of the Pacific Ocean. Explore sunny Southern California and Baja Pacific, the frigid waters of the North Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. The Southern California and Baja gallery showcases seals and sea lions in an up-close-and personal indoor/outdoor setting. The Northern Pacific gallery is home to puffins and other diving birds which nest overhead and "fly" underwater, while the sea otters frolic in a nearby habitat. The Tropical Reef Habitat, the aquarium's largest exhibit, introduces visitors to a coral lagoon with colorful fish, as well as sea horses, sea snakes and mysterious sea dragons.
2. The Sony Pictures Studios Tour offers a rare glimpse of old Hollywood's glory days and an insider's view of a state-of-the-art motion picture studio where movies like The Wizard of Oz, Spiderman, and Men in Black were filmed. Depending on availability, you may also get to visits the sets of shows such as "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune."
3. The Zimmer Children's Museum encourages interactive learning, creative self-expression, and imaginative play through "please touch" exhibits and art activities. Music Island introduces kids to music and lets them create a virtual drum loop and create their own original music. Western Wall recreates the Western Wall in Jerusalem (the Kotel) and invites visitors to share their hopes for the future. Discovery Airplane lets kids navigate a plane simulator as they fly over distant destinations like Israel, Mexico, and more.
4. The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana houses 120 exciting hands-on science exhibits on two floors, including Dynamic Earth, Techno Arts, Discovery Stadium and Quake Zone. Play a game of Virtual Volleyball, make music on a Laser Beam Harp, climb a Rock Wall, watch an indoor Geyser erupt, ride out an earthquake in the Shake Shack, and more. Visit the life-size dinosaur exhibit featuring an interactive walk-through Argentinosaur that explains life sciences. The center hosts BubbleFest in April, Spooky Science in October, and a new exhibit each summer.
5. Kidspace Children's Museum is an interactive indoor and outdoor learning center offering exhibits like Bugsy's Diner, where kids learn about mantids, cockroaches and more. Also, search for fossils in The Dig, create nature-inspired artwork in N'Art, or ride a tricycle through the Wisteria Courtyard.
6. Golf N' Stuff Family Fun Center offers four challenging miniature golf courses set against imaginative settings like a castle, a haunted house, an old western ghost town, a Californian mission, a tree house, and more. The park also offers exciting price including go-karts, bumper boats, bumper cars, and a kiddie train, plus arcade games and lazer tag.
7. Guinness World Records Museum in Hollywood chronicles record-breaking facts and feats ranging from the Largest Work of Art to the Lowest Limbo. You and your kids will experience racing at 240 mph in the world's fastest Formula One car and explore the world's most fascinating natural phenomena, human feats, animal acts, and more.
8. Wild Rivers Waterpark is Southern California's biggest waterpark with over 40 water buy and attractions. It's the perfect place to "chill out" with the kids after a long day in the California sun. If you dare, go to the top of the seven-story Wild Rivers Mountain. Relax on Explorers' Island with a lazy inner tube float down a warm river, refreshing spas, and scaled down amusement products and wading pools for little adventurers. Open late May through September.
9. The Hollywood Museum features 10,000 artifacts and articles from Hollywood's past, including Rocky's boxing gloves, Marilyn Monroe's dresses, Indiana Jones' whip, and more. Housed in the historic Max Factor building, the museum pays homage to Hollywood's Golden Era with a beautifully restored Art Deco exterior and opulent interiors. Newer additions to the museum include Nicole Kidman's costumes from Moulin Rouge and Paris Hilton's party dresses.
10. The Museum of Tolerance is a great way for older kids (some of the exhibits are recommended for 12+ and others are for all ages) to explore issues of prejudice and discrimination through hands-on exhibits and role playing. The Children of the Holocaust exhibit brings the Holocaust to live as visitors walk through a simulation with sound effects, photos, newscasts, and more. Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves celebrates the multicultural diversity of several notable Americans and encourages visitors to explore their own heritage.
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