Now I've been to LA many times...had amazing meals at some of the world's best restaurants, shopped in trendy stores, and enjoyed the nightlife in packed bars and clubs. But this trip was a little different...this trip was with my husband and two kids. In my own eyes, I am that "cool and trendy mom" who can take my boys shopping and to outside cafes for cocktails, but my kids are the normal "I'm bored" kind of kids, so none of that will be happening!
Here is a list of some of the kids' favorite locations that kept their attention and still had something for the adults:
1) The Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach
Located on the Pacific Coast Highway just north of The Santa Monica Pier, The Annenberg Community Beach House is a fun mix of ocean, sand, pool, and fitness (yes, I said it, fitness. There is a fitness room that overlooks the pool and ocean...not that I used it!). For just $24 for a family of four, we spent the whole day moving from the ocean to the pool and back again. There is also the Back on the Beach Cafe that has an amazing menu for the adults and kids alike.
This was definitely an adventure that exhausted the whole family!
2) Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
I have to say, I was a little leery when entering this museum with two young boys. I really thought that within minutes, they would be complaining, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the museum made the history and artifacts appealing to all ages. The mammal displays were eye catching and allowed the kids to tell stories about the many animals. The insect exhibit was understandably a "home run" with my boys. The fossil remains of the many prehistoric dinosaurs and current animals were abundant and in my kids' words, "very cool." The museum also incorporated a Discovery Center with many hands on exhibits for little hands. The biggest hit was a dinosaur "puzzle" where you had to put the T-Rex bones in place to recreate the giant.
3) El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
I can honestly say, it will be VERY hard to go see a movie in a regular theater! We took the boys to see Cars 2 in 3D at the El Capitan Theatre located on Hollywood Blvd. This Disney owned theater provided an old school feel with a modern twist...VIP passes! Let me tell you, this is the ONLY way to see a movie. For an extra expense, we had reserved seats in a sold out theater, walked up to a VIP concession stand and were each handed a Cars bucket filled with popcorn and a drink of our choice (even after our ice cream sundaes and milkshakes that we had at Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store located next door to the theater). For this particular showing, there was an added Cars 2 World Grand Prix outdoor attraction behind the theater. It was a mini amusement park dedicated to the adorable movie.
Like I said, it's going to be very hard to go see a movie in a regular theater!
What trip to the west coast would be complete without a visit to Disneyland?! This is the ultimate kids' attraction spot...not to mention my kids are now able to compare the two major Disney parks. Although I was not present for this trip (my husband and I took a mini vacation to Vegas for an adults only getaway...but that's another post altogether!), my kids were so excited to share with me their favorite parts of California's rendition of their favorite theme park. Despite the heat and long lines, the boys came home raving about such classics as Space Mountain and The Haunted Mansion, as well as the new The Little Mermaid-Ariel's Undersea Adventure in Disney California Adventure Park. My sister, the rookie babysitter, did an awesome job at exhausting the little buggers!
5) The Original Farmers Market and The Grove
The Farmers Market is an eclectic place full of every type of food imaginable...my favorite! The kids were able to get pizza and hot dogs, while we ate award winning Mexican food. And I can't leave out the beignets! Although I couldn't shop in the abundant mall in The Grove due to my husband's presence, the kids took a train ride around the vast mall. A definite must visit!
So, the next time you're in LA with your kids...or on an adults only trip...check out some of these amazing locations. Not to mention, they will all help to exhaust your kids and leave you happy!