Sun, surf, fresh produce, charming beach communities… there’s plenty to love about Southern California. Add to the list the fact that it’s kid friendly and you’ve got an excellent family vacation destination. Here are my top five picks for kid friendly activities (that adults will like, too) in Southern California. I’ve left out the obvious choices, Disneyland and SeaWorld, since I assume all parents know about them already.
LaBrea Tar Pits/Page Museum, Los Angeles
I have fond memories of visiting the La Break tar pits when I was a kid. Located in the heart of Los Angeles (on La Brea Blvd), the La Brea tar pits are large areas in which tar has seeped up through the ground for tens of thousands of years. During this time, animals that became trapped in the tar were preserved, leaving us with perfect skeletons. The Page Museum, located adjacent to the tar pits,has interactive exhibits about the history of the tar pits and the animal bones that have been found in them.
San Diego Zoo/Safari Park
One of the largest and most famous zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo has plenty to offer animal lovers of all ages. Safari Park is an adventure and exploration park that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. There are various safaris to choose from, including cart safaris, where you ride around and look at animals (mimicking a true African safari), or ropes courses that will test your athletic skill and bravery. The San Diego Zoo is located in the northern part of Balboa Park.
Balboa Park, San Diego
A 1,200-acre urban cultural park, Balboa Park has something for everyone. Kids will especially enjoy the San Diego Natural History Museum , featuring detailed animal exhibits that are sure to captivate. Young aviators and astronauts will also love the San Diego Air and Space Museum. There is just so much to see and do at Balboa Park. My advice is to visit the website before you go, and have your kids help plan the visit.
ZumaCounty Beach, Malibu
The beautiful Zuma Beach is popular with surfers and families. It’s a great place to unwind for the afternoon after all that sightseeing you’ve been doing. Pack some towels, a picnic and enjoy the beauty of Malibu.
Santa Monica Beach
There is plenty to do for kids of all ages in the Santa Monica Beach area. The Pier is known for its amusement park. When you’re done there, take a stroll along the 3rd Street Promenade and do a little shopping, enjoy the street performers, and grab a bite to eat in a kid friendly restaurant.
Photo: Amy Wiener
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