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A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

The spookiest time of year at the happiest place on Earth is the period between September 7 and October 31, when the Disneyland Parks receive a haunting makeover (check dates as they change annually). Celebrating Halloween at Disneyland is a must-do experience for young and old.

Visiting Disneyland at Halloween can be an incredible experience but also takes some planning and preparation. The tips in this guide will help you create a magical trip for your whole family.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Plan your dates wisely


By very careful planning, we were able to avoid the bulk of the crowds who head to Disneyland to celebrate the holiday season.

Check the following before booking your trip:

*US school holiday dates
*Australian school holiday dates (there are a lot of Australians who make the trek each year!)
*Annual Pass Blockout Dates (obviously it’s good to go when annual pass holders can’t!). Check them here.
*The busiest days according to the previous year on a calendar such as this. Weekends are always the busiest so I suggest avoiding them

Book a hotel near the park

Grand Californian Hotel

We always book a very budget hotel that is extremely close to the park. Our previous trips we stayed at the Grand Legacy At The Park, which is across the road from Disneyland and is extremely convenient, and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (pictured), which has an entrance inside the Disneyland California Adventure Park. If you can afford the splurge, the Grand Californian is our number 1 pick.

A full review of the Grand Legacy At The Park can be found here.

Pack wisely

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

My daughter is too big for a stroller, so I took a large shoulder bag to put in water, food and small purchases and keep my hands free. I have also used a backpack in the past. Clothes-wise, mornings and evenings can be cool at this time of year while the middle can be super warm.

We were comfortable in shorts and tees during the day and added a light jumper/sweater for the mornings/evenings. Shoes are so important at Disneyland when you’re walking 22K steps a day: go for comfort! My daughter and I wore extremely comfortable sneakers ever day.

If your kid fits into a stroller then by all means take one or hire one from the parks. I saw kids who were aged seven in them being pushed around, so there’s no shame in it if it’s what you need to do to get the kids through the long days without tears.

Download the Disneyland App

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

It’s invaluable for planning your day – character meet-and-greet times and locations, show times, ride wait times, view and make dining reservations, see your Disney PhotoPass pics, and even buy your park tickets app. Plus it’s a must-have if you’re planning on upgrading your ticket to include a Maxpass (more on the Maxpass below).

Get more info on the Disneyland App and download it here.

Purchase Maxpass

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California
Upgrading our passes with a Maxpass (they cost $10 per person, per day) was the best decision we made. Maxpass does two things:

1. Provides digital FASTPASS to rides (A FASTPASS lets you take a ticket with a specific time printed on it so you can return to the ride at a later time and skip the queue.)
2. Provides access to download all PhotoPass images taken by Disneyland photographers each day.

If you like to get lots of photos taken then the Maxpass is fantastic value for the photos alone. While you can still get FASTPASS without a Maxpass, it does require walking a lot more all over the park to get the paper ticket from the machine and then return again later. A Maxpass lets you book your FASTPASS selections on your phone from anywhere in the park. It was a game changer for us.

Only one member of your party needs to purchase the Maxpass if photos are your goal rather than digital FASTPASSES.

Plan your Disney days

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

I’m a big believer in schedules, particularly at Disneyland where timing is important. I created a spreadsheet in advance and researched the events that would be taking place each day, such as parades, fireworks, shows, character meet-and-greets, tree lightings and so forth, to slot them into the time we had at the parks.

I also booked in dining, especially character dining, 60 days in advance when the bookings opened. Spots are limited so I suggest setting a calendar alert 60 days out and booking in everything. You can always cancel it later if you change your mind.

Go early!

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Not a morning person? Your experience at Disneyland will be vastly improved if you are! Mornings are the best for rides as it’s when the parks are quietest, so check the daily park opening hours (they cary day-to-day) and arrive each morning at least half an hour beforehand to be one of the first few people inside the park when it officially opens.

Being early means you will have a good few hours with basically no queues for rides as a result, and can then use the Maxpass to schedule the top rides for throughout the day to get them in several times.

Take a break for lunch in the middle of the day to early afternoon, and then enjoy the special Halloween entertainment.

Check out the Halloween decorations

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Disneyland features hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins, plus a gigantic Mickey head pumpkin that’s a popular backdrop for photos. There is also a traditional Dia de los Muertos skeleton display near the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Disney California Adventure Park is haunted by Oogie Boogie’s oversized shadow looming over the Main Entrance, and the Headless Horseman Statue on Buena Vista Street.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Bats swarm the Carthay Circle Bell Tower, Disney Junior star Vampirina make her debut appearance and Coco fans can visit Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Gardens Park for free crafts, mask colouring, taking photos with the special angel wing photo walls and recording family memories. Learn about Dia de los Muertos and catch the free show “A Musical Celebration of Coco”.

Take a spooky ride

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

In Disneyland, stroll through New Orleans Square, where you can meet Jack Skellington and Sally, on your way to the Haunted Mansion Holiday, a ride overlay that runs from Halloween till the end of the Holiday period. The Haunted Mansion is taken over by the cast Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, including Jack Skellington.

Space Mountain has been given a terrifying makeover during this period to become Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, where phantoms haunt the riders brave enough to take flight.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

In Disney California Adventure Park, Cars Land has been given a fun facelift, including the characters in “car-tumes” and a Halloween-spin on Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween and Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree.

Guardians of the Galaxy has been transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark especially for the season, too.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

If you get time, check out the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel, which is decorated spookily for the holidays with a pumpkin patch built out of cereal treats, 200 pounds of icing, 100 pounds of chocolate and 300 pounds of fondant. In the centre of the delicious display sits an Oogie Boogie pumpkin that is over four feet tall.

Meet the characters

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We love meeting the characters anyway, but they’re that little bit extra special when dressed in Halloween garb! We brought an autograph book with us (it’s a great ice breaker) and hunted down our faves throughout the day.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We especially loved Mickey and Minnie in their festive clothes (Minnie as a Candy Corn was our fave) and meeting Jack Skellington and Sally from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. You can locate the characters using the Disneyland app on your phone.

Eat all the food!

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California
The Disney Parks employ a wide variety of exceptional pastry chefs and confectioners, so I highly recommend trying some of their seasonal treats.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Both Disneyland parks features pumpkin spice Mickey Mouse beignets, festive candy apples, cookies, cake pops and more. Pick up a guide to the Halloween food available and where to find it when entering the park.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

The popcorn is a fave of ours (for some reason, it tastes really amazing!) and we love to pick up a holiday-themed or limited-edition popcorn bucket to take home as a souvenir.

Attend Mickey’s Halloween Party

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

This special event requires a seperate ticket and only runs on certain days throughout the Halloween period. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a popular event and I suggest booking tickets fairly soon after they go on sale, as it does book out.

At the party guests can meet rare characters, wear costumes that they are not usually allowed to wear, enjoy special entertainment and follow trick-or-treating trails.

On the evenings of the party, the park closes early to all guests who have not purchased a ticket to the party. Party-goes may enter the park up to three hours before the party begins, which is at either 6pm or 7pm. Our party started at 6pm and we were surprised that we were able to enter even earlier than 3pm, so it’s worth trying to enter as early as possible to make the most of the ticket.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Guests can now enter either park for the duration of the party period, but we chose to stay at Disneyland as there are no special festivities at Disney California Adventure during this time period.

Included in the party ticket is all Disney PhotoPass photos taken during the event and unlimited PhotoPass downloads for party photos for up to 45 days. Ask photographers to take Halloween Magic Shots for a bit of extra fun. Once the regular park guests leave the park, ride lines tend to be shorter than usual, and if you download the Disneyland app you will be able to take advantage of Disney MaxPass in either park in the three hours before the party starts – note however that during the actual party, the FASTPASS system does not run.

Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Dates And Times

September 19, 21, 24, 26, 28

October 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 31

For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday dates, the party hours are 6pm to 11pm. Friday hours are 7pm to midnight.

Get more info on tickets here.

Kicking off Mickey’s Halloween Party

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

When lining up for park entry guests are given a coloured wristband with the date and number of the party and a treat bag. Trick-or-treating doesn’t begin until the party starts, so stash the bag for later. You may bring your own bag if you prefer.

Guests without wristbands are ushered out of the park once the regular park hours come to a close, and wristbands are checked frequently throughout the event.

Mickey’s ToonTown Pre-Party

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Mickey’s Halloween Party kicks off at 5pm in ToonTown with three trick-or-treat stations and characters in costumes. I suggest lining up from 4:30pm to enter, hitting up one trick-or-treat trail if you absolutely must, then riding the rides with no lines and getting photos with the characters in special costumes.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

This is where we found Minnie in her Candy Corn costume. A big mistake most people seemed to make was spending the whole pre-party lining up at the trick-or-treat stations for candy that can be bought at a supermarket. I think the value in the party is the rides with no queues, special entertainment and characters in costumes, so we didn’t worry much about the candy. Also – if you trick-or-treat too soon, you’ll have very heavy bags to carry for the rest of the night

Wearing Costumes to Mickey’s Halloween Party

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Guest are allowed to wear costumes to the party that conform to their guidelines. We chose not to dress up and didn’t feel like we were in the minority, but it would have been fun to have a costume for the novelty of the occasion. Cheese decided to dress as Mulan for the party.

You can get the full list of guidelines here for wearing costumes at Disneyland.

Trick-Or-Treating

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We only did one trick-or-treating trail while in Toon Town because we were so busy doing everything else, but that one trail gave us more candy than we could eat. There is a mix of healthy treats like carrots, pretzels, apples and dried fruit as well as lots and lots of sugary candy. If you really want a lot of loot, trick-or-treat last thing at night when the lines are shortest.

Characters at Mickey’s Halloween Party

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Special characters come out for the Halloween party, including villains, who can be found at the Town Square. We spotted the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville, Maleficent, Hades and Gaston.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Around other parts of Town Square, Adventureland, Fantasy Faire, Critter Country, Pirate Wharf and Rancho del Zocalo you’ll also find characters such as Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Chip and Dale, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and rare Disney princesses. Rare jungle characters come out in Adventureland and you might find pirates like Captain Jack Sparrow on the Frontierland dock.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

In Tomorrowland, Pixar characters can be found at the dance party in Tomorrowland Terrace, and Star Wars characters are located in near a trick-or-treat trail.

What about the rides?

Wait times for rides are much shorter during the party and we jumped on several favourite rides a few times in a row with no queue at all. FASTPASS does not operate during the party however MaxPass works in the three hours before the party begins.

Entertainment at Mickey’s Halloween Party

The entertainment is a big part of what makes the party so special. Each party, the entertainment includes the Headless Horseman Rides Again Pre-Parade (10 mins before the parade starts), the Frightfully Fun Parade at 9pm and 10:35pm and Halloween Screams – A Villainous Surprise in the Skies Fireworks at 9:35pm. Each of these is only shown during the special Mickey’s Halloween Party event.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We also loved the Cadaver Dans who sing Halloween-themed songs while floating on the ghostly river on party nights, and there is a Pixar Pals Halloween Dance Party on during the party, too.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We watched the first parade from near the Partner Statue. In order to get a decent spot to see the parade we had to secure a spot and stay there from about 7:30pm. The first parade runs from It’s a Small World to the park entrance, then reverses the route for the second parade.

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

Those who were planning to see the second parade set themselves up directly in front of the castle for the best fireworks views and projections on the castle – however from this position it’s difficult to see the parade.

Since we had a little one with us, seeing the second parade wasn’t an option so we had to find a spot where we could see both parade and fireworks. We chose a prime spot for the parade and then moved a few steps down to in front of the partner statue on the street, directly in front of the castle.

Both the parade and fireworks are incredible and well worth staying up late for!

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

A guide to celebrating Halloween at Disneyland California

We received Disneyland Park tickets courtesy of Disney. All opinions our own. We are life-long lovers of Disney.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip, USA

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip

The San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip down Highway 1 is an iconic drive through some of the most beautiful parts of California. Stretching 442 miles / 711 kms and taking around 8 to 9 hours non-stop to drive, the San Francisco to Los Angeles drive down Route 1 is scenic beyond belief. Voted as one of the Best American Road Trips by National Geographic, this is one of the most memorable road trips you can make.

Big Sur, California

While the fastest route to take between San Francisco and Los Angeles is the Interstate 5 Freeway (382 miles / 615 kms from Downtown LA to Downtown SF, taking approx 5.5 hours to 6 hours), if you have time to spend, I highly recommend taking the scenic LA to San Francisco road trip down Route 1 instead.

Please be aware that after the 2017 landslide there have been road closures on Highway 1 south of Big Sur / North of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse / San Simeon. The road is hopefully reopening in July 2018. Check here for updates and here for info on the detour.

Spending time in San Francisco? Check out things to do in San Francisco with kids here.

Have a few days sightseeing in LA? Check out things to do in Los Angeles with kids here.

Monterey

Monterey, California

This seaside town is famous for Cannery Row, the the waterfront street with now-defunct sardine canning factories, Fisherman’s Wharf, the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium and world-renowned PGA Golf Course at Pebble Beach.

We also enjoyed spotting sea lions basking on Del Monte Beach. If you have kids in tow, head to Dennis The Menace Playground, which features a maze and rock climbing wall.

Monterey, California

The scenic 17-Mile Drive to Pebble Beach is a great detour, with dramatic cliffs, the iconic Lone Cyprus and wildlife to see.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Get more info on Monterey Bay Aquarium here.

Get more info on the 17-Mile Drive here.

Find and compare hotels in Monterey here.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

One of our favourite little towns, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a must-visit on the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. Often called Carmel, the town was founded in 1902 and is known for it’s artistic history and beautiful scenery. I would say it’s also known for it’s storybook houses that I would love to retire to one day.

Carmel is very dog-friendly, and you’ll see dogs literally everywhere – on the beach in hotels, restaurants and shops.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We also enjoyed a visit to the Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also called the Carmel Mission. Built in 1797, the Mission is one o the best examples of Roman Catholic mission churches in California.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Take kids to the Cottage of Sweets, a traditional British-style sweets shop with homemade fudge and imported candies, and locally-owned Thinker Toys.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Sunset on the beach is a must in Carmel. It gets chilly, even in summer, so rug up.

Where to stay in Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We stayed at the Best Western Carmel’s Town House Lodge for the night, which had all the basics we needed.

Find and compare hotels in Carmel here.

Where to eat in Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at bustling Katy’s Place, delicious brunch and lunch at Carmel Belle, great coffee from Carmel Coffee House, upmarket dinner at Casanova (with kid-friendly options!), homestyle Italian food at Il Grillo and baked treats at Carmel Bakery (photo above).

Big Sur

Big Sur, California

The 90-mile stretch of redwood-trimmed coast between Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Simeon is where you’ll find Big Sur. The name Big Sur comes from the Spanish ““el sur grande” or Big South. The name refers to Big Sur’s location, 25 miles south of Monterey.

Big Sur, California

Bixby Bridge

Big Sur, California

The most instagrammable spot on the Big Sur coast, Bixby Bridge was built in 1932, 260 feet/79 metres above a canyon.

Pfieffer Beach and Keyhole Rock

Pfieffer Beach, Big Sur

A detour off the beaten path, but well-worth it, particularly at sunset. Pfieffer Beach is south of Big Sur Station, where Sycamore Canyon Creek meets the Pacific Ocean, framed by rocks at either end.

Keyhole Rock, Big Sur

While tidal pools can be fin to explore at low tide, and the north end of the beach has unique purple sand, the beach is renowned for Keyhole Rock, an incredible natural rock arch formation that waves and the last light of sunset pass through. It’s an incredible place to watch the sunset.

San Simeon

San Simeon, California

The town itself doesn’t offer much, with the main draw cards to the area being Hearst Castle and the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

A  National Historic Landmark, Hearst Castle was the private residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s. The lavish mansion is accessible by tour only. Advance bookings are highly recommended.

Get more info on visiting Hearst Castle here.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

San Simeon, California

Piedras Blancas is an excellent spot to observe the magnificent northern elephant seal. Spread over 6 miles of shoreline, the viewing areas provide access to the elephant seals as they bask on the shore at their land-based rookery. We saw literally hundreds of elephant seals when we visited. The elephant seal rookery was one of our favourite stops on the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip.

There is a free car park at the view area, which is open daily and is wheelchair / stroller accessible.

Where to stay in San Simeon

We stayed at the Days Inn San Simeon, which was basic but catered for all of our needs.

Find and compare hotels in San Simeon here.

Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo

Madonna Inn, California

We stopped at the family-owned Madonna Inn for lunch, but it’s an incredible spot to stay the night. The unique resort has been welcoming guests since 1958. The incredible interiors must be seen to be believed. We recommend dining at the Copper Cafe.

Get more info on the Madonna Inn here.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to see the 73-foot long blue whale skeleton, one of only five complete blue whale skeletons in the USA, or the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center for an interactive marine experience. Mission Santa Barbara, also known as Santa Barbara Mission, is also worth a visit. Walk down to Stearns Wharf and enjoy the seaside atmosphere.

Get more info on Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center here.

Get more info on Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History here.

Find and compare hotels in Santa Barbara here.

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

Malibu

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

While there are some beaches (and celebrities) in Malibu, I would suggest visiting the incredible Getty Villa art museum that is located in the area.

Get info on visiting the Getty Villa here.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier, LA

The iconic Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909, the first concrete pier on the USA West Coast. Ride the Santa Monica Pier Carousel built in 1939, take a spin on the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel, challenge each other to a game at Playland Arcade and don’t miss the gorgeous sunset.

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Get more info on visiting Santa Monica Pier here.

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip, USA

 

This blog post contains affiliate links. This means if you book a hotel through a link on this page, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my site!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids

 

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids, USA

The Louisiana city of New Orleans, nicknamed “The Big Easy”, is known as a decadent party town for adults. For families, on the surface New Orleans can seem pretty un-kid-friendly. While there aren’t playgrounds on every corner, there are, however a lot of fun and creative ways to entertain kids of all ages. We’ve found the best things to do in New Orleans with kids so you can take it easy and enjoy!

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids

Jackson Square

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

This square is located in the French Quarter, with gorgeous architecture on all sides. It’s ideally located near the famous Cafe Du Monde (for beignets) and the waterfront for strolling. It’s an oasis in the city with grassed areas for kids to run around, and musicians and artists edged around the square for additional entertainment. St Louis Cathedral looms over the square, creating a picturesque photo op.

New Orleans

Kids will also love wandering past (and even inside!) the many art galleries in the streets surrounding the square, particularly the Rodrigue Studio with his famous dogs.
700 Decatur St, New Orleans

The French Quarter

New Orleans
The stunning New Orleans architecture might not hold much interest for kids, but they will love the doors of many hues and will want to knock on them all!

New Orleans

There are lots of little speciality stores in the French Quarter that kids will love, including Sucre and Laura’s Candies, as well as stores where masks and mardi gras dress-ups can be purchased.

New Orleans

Audubon Nature Institute

New Orleans, USA

The Audubon Institute is home to numerous nature attractions in New Orleans. The best value is to buy an all inclusive experience ticket.
Online: auduboninstitute.org

All images courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Zoo

New Orleans, USA

As well as being home to animals from all around the world, the zoo houses a unique Louisiana Swamp Exhibit to give visitors a taste of local wildlife. Audubon Zoo is also home to cavies, a near-threatened species of rodent.
6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

New Orleans Aquarium, USA

See endangered African Blackfoot penguins, touch a stingray, feed a parakeet and watch giant sharks, tarpon and rays at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The aquarium also prepares rescued sea turtles for release in the wild – watch out for the turtles throughout the aquarium.
1 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org/aquarium

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

New Orleans, USA

The largest museum in North America devoted to inspects and butterflies, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, teaches kids everything they could possibly want to know about creepy crawlies and winged beauties. Watch a live show, wander through a Louisiana swamp, be “shrunk” to bug size and watch thousands of butterflies dance around
423 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org/insectarium

Louisiana Children’s Museum

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Enjoy the museum’s interactive exhibits like a room devoted to blowing bubbles.The trains and transport areas were also a hit for us. With 30,000 square feet of exhibits and programs kids of all ages will enjoy themselves.

420 Julia Street, New Orleans.
Online: lcm.org

New Orleans City Park

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
This 1,300 acre public park in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a short tram ride from the center of NOLA (which is a fun activity to do in itself). It’s the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited urban public park in the United States, and jam-packed with fun for kids and adults. A visit to City Park is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans
Online: neworleanscitypark.com

 

New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Gardens

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden holds more than 60 sculptures and is free to enter and wander around. The sculptures lie nestled among winding paths and a scenic lagoon inside New Orleans City Park.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/new-orleans-museum-of-art-and-sculpture-garden

Morning Call

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

This little cafe serving beignets and chocolate milk (plus cafe au lait for adults) is right next to a large playground and open 24 hours. How adorable is the free hat they give kids? Cash only.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/morning-call

Playgrounds

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.comCity Park features three playgrounds for kid of all ages.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/playgrounds

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The amusement park features 16 rides including the park’s 100-year-old namesake wooden carousel. The Carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check website for seasonal opening days and times.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/carousel-gardens

City Putt

City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s open all year-round.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/city-putt

Storyland

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Featuring 25 larger-than-life characters right out of popular children’s fairytales such as Peter Pan, Snow White and Cinderella. Kids can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/storyland

Train Garden

Kids and adults alike will marvel at the model of New Orleans in the early 19th Century  with replicas of streetcars and trains winding around it. 1300 feet of track carrying streetcars and trains like those that traveled the city in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, at 1/22 of their actual size.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/train-garden

Coming soon to City Park: Splash Park

Louis Armstrong Park

Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans
This 32-acre park in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, is just a few steps from the French Quarter. Louis Armstong Park honors the great jazz legend Louis Armstrong and features sculptures, duck ponds and plenty of green space for running around.
701 N Rampart St, New Orleans

Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans

Where to eat in New Orleans with kids

The Ruby Slipper

New Orleans
An award-winning cafe with three locations in New Orleans, The Ruby Slipper serves southern breakfast, brunch and lunch with New Orleans flair. We found them to be incredibly kid-friendly, as well as serving delicious food.
Online: therubyslippercafe.net

Mr. B’s Bistro

New Orleans
Serving up Louisiana food inspired by Creole and Cajun dishes, Mr. B’s Bistro is an iconic restaurant in the heart of New Orlean’s French Quarter. Proving that fine food and kids can sometimes mix, Br. B’s Bistro is incredibly kid-friendly, handing out colouring sheets and crayons and balloons to the junior diners.
201 Royal St, New Orleans
Online: mrbsbistro.com

Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

It’s just not a trip to New Orleans without a beignet from the famous Cafe Du Monde! Opened in 1862 as a coffee stand, Cafe Du Monde is a New Orleans institution serving up fresh beignets 24 hours a day, seven days week. A beignet is a French-style donut, covered in powdered sugar.
800 Decatur St, New Orleans
Online: cafedumonde.com

Getting around New Orleans with kids

Staying on the border of the French Quarter, we had an easy time getting around the historic area of New Orleans on foot. To reach City Park we took the tram, which left from right outside our hotel.

Where to stay in New Orleans with Kids

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

We enjoyed a fantastic stay at the Ritz-Carlton. The staff at this upmarket hotel could not have been more welcoming to us and the small one, even welcoming her with a gift of a plush Ritz-Carlton lion mascot. The hotel’s location was also superb. We were able to walk to every attraction in the city with the exception of City Park. We would absolutely stay here again.

921 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: ritzcarlton.com

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids, USA

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

LA Family Attractions: 16 Things To Do In Los Angeles With Kids

LA Family Attractions: Where To Take The Kids In Los Angeles

LA Family Attractions: 16 Things To Do In Los Angeles With Kids

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

Los Angeles is an incredible destination for a family holiday. We discovered world-class museums, theme parks and gardens during our stay that left us extremely impressed with that the city has to offer visitors of all ages and interests. Scroll down to find out our favourite LA family attractions, plus where to stay and eat with kids, and how to get around the city without losing your sanity.

Things to do in LA

J. Paul Getty Museum

Getty Center LA, USA

This is a must when visiting LA with kids. The J. Paul Getty Museum, usually just called “the Getty”, is one of the world’s largest art organisations. In Los Angeles, you can visit their two locations and collections: the Getty Center and Getty Villa. Both are incredible and I would suggest setting aside a day to explore each.

Getty Center

Getty Center LA, USA

Perched atop a hill with a stunning view over LA, the Getty Center is worth visiting to see it’s incredible architecture and gardens as well as their art collection.

Visit the Family Room with kids to explore art with hands-on activities such as mask-making, playing with camera lenses, creating a tube sculpture and decorating a giant illuminated manuscript.  .

Getty Center LA, USA

Or, use the Art Detective Cards to engage kids in art around the galleries and garden. There is even a free multimedia GettyGuide® Family Tour with stories, music, and sounds inspired by art available at the GettyGuide Desk in the Museum Entrance Hall.

Read more about our visit to the Getty Center here.

Entry into the Getty Center is free!

Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles
getty.edu

Getty Villa

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

Another must-visit in LA, the Getty Villa is a recreation of an ancient Roman country house, built in the 1970s and modelled after the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, which was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The villa is filled with artefacts and art works from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire, while the garden design reflects those found in ancient Roman homes including a herb garden, decorative fountains, arbors and reflecting ponds.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

We spent a peaceful few hours walking through the gardens and villa following the Art Detective Cards, which direct families to find art and solve a mystery while exploring the galleries, garden, and architecture.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

The interactive Family Forum room is a highlight of a visit to the Getty Villa with kids, as is the GettyGuide® Family Favorites multimedia tour designed especially for families.

Read more about our visit to the Getty Villa here.

Entry into the Getty Villa is free, but ticket reservations are required.

Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades
getty.edu

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

LACMA, LA, USA

The iconic Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles is a must-visit for any lover of art and design. Kids will love the two outdoor, large-scale installations, Urban Light and Levitated Mass, the Boone’s Children’s Gallery, free story time and family Sunday activities.

LACMA, LA, USA

Read more about our visit to LACMA here.

LACMA
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
lacma.org

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits, LA, USA

The La Brea Tar Pits and museum will educate and engage the whole family. Science-lovers of all ages will get a real kick out of visiting this incredible time capsule, where active tar pits are still being excavated and Ice Age fossils of long-extinct animals being still being discovered today.

We absolutely loved our visit to the La Brea Tar Pits and highly recommend it as one of the top LA family attractions.

La Brea Tar Pits, LA, USA

Read more about our visit to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum here.

La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
tarpits.org

Universal Studios Hollywood

Top Tips For Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park in the San Fernando Valley area of LA. It’s the original Universal Studios! The park is split into an upper and lower lot with rides and attractions, plus the original Back Lot Studio tour that is unique to Hollywood. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a stand out.

Top Tips For Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Get our tips on visiting Universal Studios Hollywood here.

Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
universalstudioshollywood.com

Griffith Park

Griffith Park, LA, USA

One of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas in the United States, Griffith Park sprawls over 4,210 acres featuring both natural terrain and landscaped parklands. There are plenty of walking trails in the park, as well as some prime attractions.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

A must for lovers of astronomy and space, the Griffith Observatory is perched high up in Griffith Park, offering visitors an excellent view of Los Angeles as well as the famous Hollywood Sign.

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

Inside the Observatory you’ll find a wide variety of space and science-related displays. Look through telescopes, explore the hands-on exhibits (most feature dense text and aren’t overly suitable to younger kids), and be sure to catch a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

Read more about our visit to the Griffith Observatory here.

Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles
griffithobservatory.org

Griffith Merry-Go-Round

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

It might not look like much, a dilapidated merry-go-round that’s a a bit neglected and worse for wear, but the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is a special place for Disneyphiles. This carousel with peeling paint, in need of some serious restoration, was actually the inspiration behind Disneyland.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

Read more about visiting the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round here.

Hollywood sign

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

One of the most famous symbols in the world, the Hollywood sign was erected in 1923. While it’s visible from many places in Los Angeles, you can actually hike right up to it.

Get tips on hiking up close to the Hollywood sign here.

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

A 133-acre zoo located inside Griffith park, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens was founded in 1966. Inside the zoo you’ll find animals such as Bornean orangutans, Asian elephants, hippos, gorillas and chimpanzees. Kids will love petting farm animals in the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and running wild at the Neil Papiano Play Park that features animal-themed climbing sculptures, large play structures, a toddler area and water misters.  The play park was designed to be accessible to all children, including those with medical and physical challenges. If your kids want to see animals, then the zoo is an excellent choice of LA family attractions.

Photo by Matteo Ferrero on Unsplash

Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles
lazoo.org

Venice Beach

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

The people watching at Venice Beach makes it worth the visit alone! There is a boho vibe at Venice Beach, with a boardwalk full of funky shops, street performers and murals. We found a playground and skate park for kids to enjoy, and the Muscle Beach outdoor gym for us to watch the locals training to be musclemen like Arnie!

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier, LA

The iconic Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909, the first concrete pier on the USA West Coast. Ride the Santa Monica Pier Carousel built in 1939, take a spin on the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel, challenge each other to a game at Playland Arcade and don’t miss the gorgeous sunset.

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier A, Santa Monica
santamonicapier.org

The Original Farmers Market

LA Original Farmers Markets, USA

Enjoy food from over 100 gourmet grocers and restaurants at the Original Farmers Markets, an LA institution since 1934. We loved the open-air setting which made for low-key dining in a vibey atmosphere.

The Original Farmers Market
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
farmersmarketla.com

The Grove

The Grove, LA, USA

This famous outdoor mall is a must if you love to shop! The grove is packed with world-class shops, restaurants and entertainment, plus offering a bit of fun with old-fashioned trolley rides and dancing fountains.

The Grove, LA, USA

The American Girl Doll store was a fave for us. Our doll had her hair done and ears pierced in the salon.

The Grove
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles
thegrovela.com

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood, LA, USA

Movie buffs will want to visit the iconic Hollywood Boulevard, the famous strip lined with museums, theatres and 2,500 stars on the 18-block Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Wax Museum and Madame Tussauds Hollywood are both a fun way to spend a few hours “meeting” the stars, or you can see if your hands and feet match up with famous celebs’ in the TCL Chinese Theatre’s Forecourt to the Stars.

Hollywood, LA, USA

Catch a movie while you’re there! The TCL Chinese Theatre is home to one of the largest IMAX© auditoriums in the world, and the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held every year, plays live shows year-round.

El Capitan Theatre Soda Shop, Hollywood, LA, USA

Since we are Disney fans, we had to visit the El Capitan Theatre. Owned by the Walt Disney Company, the theatre shows Disney movies, often with great movie-themed exhibits. Attached to the theatre is the Disney Studio Store & Ghirardelli Soda Fountain, where you can try an incredible sundae and buy exclusive Disney pins and merchandise.

Hollywood, LA, USA

When we visited we were lucky enough to see the new Star Wars premiering, including a life-sized AT-AT Walker in the street.

Hollywood, LA, USA

The Hollywood & Highland Center is a great spot on the strip to eat and shop, and has fountains in the forecourt for kids to play in. There is also a great view of the Hollywood sign inside.

Hollywood, LA, USA

We found the strip to be quite seedy and filled with people who would try to give you something like a “free CD” and then ask for money for it, so keep your wits around you and your valuables close.

Hollywood, LA, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA)

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

The largest natural and historical museum in the western USA, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s collections include nearly 35 million specimens and artefacts from across 4.5 billion years of history.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

There is plenty for kids to do at the NHMLA, from multi-media stations where they can “excavate” their own fossils, to the Discovery Center featuring a fossil dig pit, live bugs and a daily dinosaur puppet show.

We were extremely impressed with the NHMLA and rate it as one of our fave LA family attractions.

Read more about our visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County here.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles
nhm.org

Disneyland and California Adventure Park

Disneyland California

An hours drive south of Los Angeles will bring you to Anaheim, and the original Disneyland theme park. Disneyland park opened in 1955 and still retains many of the original rides and much of the charm that it had upon opening. California Adventure Park opened across from Disneyland in 2001.

Disneyland via christineknight.me

I’m a massive Disney fan and my daughter is the same. It goes without saying that if you visit LA and even kind of like Disney, then you must, must, must visit Disneyland. It’s my number one choice of LA family attractions and the one that we re-visit over and over and over again.

We visited during last December, which was absolutely magical. Read about visiting Disneyland during the holidays here.

Get lots of tips on visiting both parks here.

How to get around LA

Hollywood, LA, USA

Driving is the easiest! If you hire a car and can put up with exhorbitant parking fees at the hotels, then I would advise driving as it’s simplly the easiest way to get everywhere.

LA does have a metro system so if you’re planning on using it, I would advise staying near one of the train stations. Get more info on the metro system here.

Uber is also very easy to use in LA. If you require a car seat, see here for info. We always travel with our own car booster seat.

Best Place To Stay In LA For Families

We stayed in two hotels:

The Hollywood Orchid Suites, directly behind Hollywood Boulevard, has a fantastic location and is excellent value. We had an apartment-sized suites featuring a full kitchen. We also received complimentary breakfast every day. A few steps outside of the hotel took us to the Highland Mall with plenty of restaurants and shops, and Hollywood Boulevard on the street parallel. The hotel staff were extremely warm and welcoming and we would happily stay again.

Hollywood Orchid Suites, LA, USA

Get more info on the Hollywood Orchid Suites here.

Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel is a budget hotel with a cool retro vibe and a nice-sized pool. The location is excellent for the Grove shopping center, Original Farmers Markets – both are within walking distance. We also walked to LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits from here. The Beverly Laurel was an adequate hotel but lacked the warmth and attention to detail of our other hotel and we wouldn’t stay again.

Beverly Laurel, Los Angeles

Get more info on the Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel here.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants Los Angeles

The Original Farmers Market

LA Original Farmers Markets, USA
A popular spot for locals and tourists alike since 1934, even the fussiest eater will find something they like from the 100 gourmet grocers and restaurants inside.
farmersmarketla.com

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop

El Capitan Theatre Soda Shop, Hollywood, LA, USA

Pricey but delicious old-fashioned sodas, ice cream sundaes and chocolate inside the Disney Studio Store. Located on Hollywood Boulevard inside the El Capitan Theatre, the soda fountain is a welcome haven from the busy boulevard outside.

Mel’s Drive In

Mel's Drive In, LA, USA
A retro-style diner featuring a wide menu of standard diner fare and jukeboxes at the tables. Mel’s has plenty of options for kids and adults.
melsdrive-in.com

California Pizza Kitchen

Hollywood, LA, USA
Who doesn’t love pizza? We frequented the CPK brand inside Highland Mall in Hollywood multiple times. They also do pasta and salad.
cpk.com

LA Family Attractions: Where To take The Kids In Los Angeles LA Family Attractions: Where To take The Kids In Los Angeles LA Family Attractions: Where To take The Kids In Los Angeles

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA)

The largest natural and historical museum in the western USA, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s collections include nearly 35 million specimens and artefacts from across 4.5 billion years of history.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

The NHMLA’s new dinosaur hall is incredible. Featuring more than 300 real fossils, 20 complete dinosaurs and ancient sea creatures, it’s an impressive collection – particularly the centrepiece exhibit of three T. rex skeletons shown at different ages. It’s the display of such in the world. Kids will enjoy the multi-media stations where they can “excavate” their own fossils and watch footage of a real dinosaur hunting expedition.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

 

Many of the dinosaurs were discovered by the Museum’s own in-house Dinosaur Institute.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

We also highly enjoyed the Hall of Gems and Minerals, which we looked at three times during our one visit. The diamonds are dazzling and gold nuggets entrancing!

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

While we also enjoyed the other sections of the Museum, including the Insect Zoo, North American mammals, African mammals and The Story of P-22, LA’s famous mountain lion who roams Griffith Park, the other big hit for us was the Discovery Center.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

The Discovery Center allows kids to get hands-on with science through various stations around the center. The Paleo Play Zone with its fossil dig pit was a particular favourite, as were the fossils in rocks, binoculars pointed outside and bug displays. The Museums also puts on a dinosaur show featuring large puppets.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles
nhm.org

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Griffith Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, USA

Griffith Observatory

A must for lovers of astronomy and space, the Griffith Observatory is perched high up in Griffith Park, offering visitors an excellent view of Los Angeles as well as the famous Hollywood Sign.

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

Griffith Observatory opened in May 1935, the third planetarium in the USA.

While admission to the Observatory and grounds is free, entry to the planetarium attracts a fee.

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

Inside the Observatory you’ll find a wide variety of space and science-related displays. Look through telescopes, explore the hands-on exhibits (most feature dense text and aren’t overly suitable to younger kids), and be sure to catch a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

We particularly enjoyed the lower level with plenty of information on the planets and scales to show us how much we would weigh if we were on the surface.

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA Griffith Observatory, LA, USA

 

Parking at the observatory can be tricky. Read up on how to get there and plan accordingly.

Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles
griffithobservatory.org

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round That Inspired Disneyland

The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round That Inspired Disneyland, LA, USA

The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round That Inspired Disneyland

It might not look like much, a dilapidated merry-go-round that’s a a bit neglected and worse for wear, but the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is a special place for Disneyphiles. This carousel with peeling paint, in need of some serious restoration, was actually the inspiration behind Disneyland.

You can find this old fashioned children’s ride is located in Griffith Park, in the Park Center between the Los Angeles Zoo and the Los Feliz park entrance. It’s been enjoyed by over five generations of Los Angleans, including the Walt Disney family.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

Local Los Feliz resident, Walt Disney, regularly brought his young children to the merry-go-round on weekends, while he would sit on the nearby benches and watch his kids enjoy the ride.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

It was while sitting on a bench watching the enjoyment had by families on the merry-go-round that Disney had the idea for Disneyland – a place for families to go and enjoy time together (the bench has been since been removed and placed behind a fence for preservation at the rear of the carousel). Disney’s dream came true on July 17, 1955, the day that Disneyland opened to the public.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round was built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company and brought to Griffith Park in 1937. It features 68 horses, carved with bridles and blankets. It is accompanied by a Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, playing over 1500 selections of marches and waltz music.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, LA, USA

The small carousel, which is tucked away into a quiet corner of the park, served as Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland. When his children were young, Walt, a Los Feliz denizen, took them to the merry-go-round on weekends. During one visit, while sitting on a bench watching his kids circle round and round, he was inspired to create a large scale gathering site that the whole family could enjoy. His dream was realized on July 17, 1955, when Disneyland opened to the public.

Read more about Griffith Park here.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Stepping Back In Time At The La Brea Tar Pits And Museum, LA, California

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Stepping Back In Time At The La Brea Tar Pits And Museum

The La Brea Tar Pits and museum were an unexpected delight that engaged the whole family, including the hard-to-please husband. Science-lovers of all ages will get a real kick out of visiting this incredible time capsule, where active tar pits are still in play and fossils being still being discovered and excavated.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Right in the centre of Los Angeles, the tar pits are an Ice Age fossil excavation site where natural asphalt has seeped up from the ground to form pits of tar where animals were trapped and died many centuries ago. The tar preserved the bones of the animals, resulting in one of the biggest collections of Ice Age fossils in the world.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

More than 3.5 million fossils have been discovered in the tar pits, including over 600 species of animals from snakes and sloths to mollusks, mammoths sabre-toothed cats and mountain lions.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Next to the actual tar pits is the George C. Page Museum, which is dedicated to researching the tar pits and displaying specimens from the animals that died there. The La Brea Tar Pits are a registered National Natural Landmark.

When visiting the La Brea Tar Pits, begin outside in the park where the actual tar pits are located. Pick up a map from the entrance and walk around the tar pits in order, reading about the animals that have been found in each pit.

We found it a fascinating journey back in time to a land of apex predators such as sabre toothed tigers. Walking around the pits we learned that 90% of the mammals found in the pits were carnivorous – the likely reason being a herbivore would wander in to a pit and get stuck. A carnivore would then spot the animal, assume they were easy pickings, and enter the pit to become stuck themselves.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Some of the tar pits are still active and you may see excavators at work when you visit.

Once the fossils have been excavated, they’re brought inside the museum. the best fossils are on display. Over 1 million Ice Age fossils, from 650 species, can be seen inside, from a Columbian Mammoth, excavated in 1914, to the tooth of a baby mouse.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Visitors can see paleontology in action in the lab in the centre of the museum, where fossils are being cleaned, studied and prepared for future exhibits. When we visited, paleontologists and volunteers were working on fossils of animals who had lived between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, excavated from Project 23 in the outside tar pits.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA

Kids in particular will enjoy the 15-minute multimedia performance that brings the Ice Age to life, and features a life-size saber-toothed cat puppet.

The museum is also home to a 3D cinema where visitors can watch entertaining shows on relevant subjects. When we visited, the show was “Titans of the Ice Age 3D”.

 

La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
tarpits.org

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Visiting The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Visiting LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

LACMA, LA, USA

The iconic Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles is a must-visit for any lover of art and design.

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, featuring an excellent collection of modern art including works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning and Joan Miró, plus collections of American and Latin American art, Asian art, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art, Islamic art, Decorative arts and design and photography.

LACMA, LA, USA

Outside, there is an outdoor sculpture garden and palm garden to enjoy

In front of the entrance to LACMA on Wilshire Boulevard you’ll find the famous Urban Light light installation, featuring 202 antique cast-iron street lights from various cities in and around LA. The lights turn on at night so be sure to visit during the day and evening for the full experience.

LACMA, LA, USA

At the rear of the gallery sits another large-scale installation, Levitated Mass. A 340-tonne boulder sits atop of a 456-foot-long trench allowing visitors to walk underneath.

LACMA, LA, USA

 

Kids are more than welcome at LACMA, they’re invited to participate in art making in the Boone’s Children’s Gallery, a free, creative space where visitors of all ages can explore painting. LACMA also offers Story Time in the Galleries, featuring folk-tales and stories aimed at engaging young children, every Friday at 2pm in the Korean art galleries adjacent to the Boone Children’s Gallery.

LACMA, LA, USA

Families can also enjoy Andell Family Sundays, a weekly event featuring artist-led workshops, family gallery tours and activities.

LACMA, LA, USA LACMA, LA, USA

LACMA
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Hours: Mon, Tue, Thur & Fri 11am-5pm. Sat & Sun 10am-5pm.
Children aged 17 and under are free (3-17 need a “free” ticket)
lacma.org

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Visiting The Getty Villa, Los Angeles

Getty Villa, LA, California, USA

An absolute must-visit in LA, the Getty Villa is a recreation of an ancient Roman country house, built in the 1970s and modelled after the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, which was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

The villa is filled with artefacts and art works from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire, while the garden design reflects those found in ancient Roman homes including a herb garden, decorative fountains, arbors and reflecting ponds.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

We spent a peaceful few hours walking through the gardens and villa following the Art Detective Cards, which direct families to find art and solve a mystery while exploring the galleries, garden, and architecture.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

The Family Forum is a highlight of a visit to the Getty Villa with kids. This interactive room brings ancient history to life with hands-on activities designed to encourage families to play and learn together. The Greek vase, how they were made, decorated and used, is the focal point of the Family Forum.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

Another free activity, the GettyGuide® Family Favorites multimedia tour lets kids discover the myths, legends and daily life of the ancient Greek and Romans.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

 

Admission to the Getty Villa is free but must be reserved prior to your visit.

Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades
getty.edu

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!