For years, I have been in charge of making a summer schedule for my two boys. As a divorced dad, I am always looking for ways to keep my sons busy over summer break. In addition to planning regular trips to the library and the park, I try to include other adventurous day trips in the Los Angeles area.
Here is a list of some of my favorite spots:
1. The Huntington Library. I could spend the whole day looking at the Shakespeare collection at the Huntington Library. My kids could not. Walking through the gardens with the kids breaks up walking through the galleries. On the first Thursday of every month, admission is free. Unfortunately, tickets for July 3 are no longer available. If you plan of going on a free day, you still need tickets. Call 800-838-3006 to reserve tickets. Tickets for adults are $20 on weekdays, $23 on weekends. Tickets for children 5-11 are $8. Kids under 5 are free. One final note, I like to bring my own snacks and drinks on outings. The Huntington Library does not allow food or drinks on the grounds, but there is an eating area outside the grounds.
2. Aquarium of the Pacific. A trip to the aquarium can be a little pricey. Tickets are $28.95 for adults and $14.95 for children 3-11. Wienerschnitzel had discount tickets to the aquarium, $7 off for adults. If you are an AAA member, tickets are 25 percent off through Auto Club branches. The last time I went to the aquarium, my sons and I took the subway from Union Station. It travels through Compton, Watts and Long Beach, so getting to the aquarium was an adventure unto itself. The aquarium is great though. My boys love to pet the sharks and watch the scuba divers. They also love to eat at Bubba Gump’s for lunch.
3. Dollar movies. Regal Theaters has a great deal over the summer. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning they show movies for a dollar. The movies start at 10 and they fill up quickly. The movies are fairly recent releases too. The Croods, Turbo and The Lego Movie are some of the choices this summer. Bring your own snacks, but don’t tell anyone I told you to sneak in food to the movies.
4. The La Brea Tar Pits. Dinosaurs, sabre tooth tigers and mammoths used to roam Santa Monica Boulevard. Proof is in the tar pits. This is a great way to spend the day with the kiddos. The tar pits are free the first Tuesday of every month, except in July and August, so that kind of wipes out summer. Still, tickets aren’t too pricy, $12 for adults, $5 for kids 3-12 and children under 2 are free. Teachers with ID are also free, as are active military. Parking is $9. But get there early, the parking lot fills up fast. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is within walking distance and food trucks come to the tar pits Monday through Friday from around 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5. The Getty Center. Free admission, priceless works of art, stunning views of Los Angeles. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon with the kids. Even though admission is free to the Getty Center, parking is $15. It’s a small price to pay for a great day. There is a family room at the Getty Center, but there is usually a long line and the wait is not worth the experience. The room is small and not all that interactive. But if the wait is short, check it out. The last time I was there with my kids, we did the Art Detective Cards game. We had to search the grounds for different pieces of art. It was very fun and we took pictures of every one we found. There are also family festivals and garden concerts scheduled throughout the summer.
6. Olvera Street and Mr. Churro. This is another subway adventure that is a little safer than a trip through Watts and Compton. From the San Fernando Valley, we catch the subway in North Hollywood and take it to Union Station. Olvera Street is across the street from the station. Mr. Churro is on Olvera Street. What makes Mr. Churro special you ask? Cream and fruit-filled churros. They have caramel, custard and chocolate-filled churros. They have strawberry-filled churros. Plus Mr. Churro makes a pretty good taco.
7. County Line and Neptune’s Net. The beach is great for surfing and Neptune’s Net is one of the hidden gems in Southern California. Although I’ve heard it’s not so hidden these days. Still, it’s a great place to spend the day at the beach. It’s on the edge of Malibu at the Ventura County Line.
8. Marina Park in Ventura. Technically, this is not in LA, but it is my favorite place to take my boys during summertime. The park is right next to the beach. My kids can ride their Razors or bikes in the park and play in the sand and the waves on the same day. What makes Marina Park so appealing though is the San Salvador. It’s a ship in the sand that the kids can play on. It has a zip line for the kids to ride over the and. It also works as a pirate ship or whatever their imagination comes up with. The park also has picnic tables and barbecues. It makes for a nice day at the beach.
9. “Frozen” screenings: This is new and sounds like it would make a fun night. Twenty parks in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire will be showing “Frozen.”. The closest one to my neighborhood is in Woodland Hills on Aug. 23. There is a sing-along version at Whaley Park in Long Beach on June 30 and El Dorado Park West in Long Beach on Aug. 27. The first one was at Covina Park on June 17. The last one is at Mother’s Beach in Long Beach on Sept. 6.
Tim Haddock is a single dad living in Santa Clarita. He is the sports director at KHTS AM 1220 in Santa Clarita and is a freelance writer for the Ventura County Star and the Team USA website.