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The Best Places To Bring Kids In L.A.

Photo by morgan.arnold via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Sometimes, you find yourself with a child on your hands. Maybe it's your child. Maybe it's your friend's child. Maybe it's some other child that we don't even know about. Regardless, should you wake up one morning with a small person to entertain, here are some things you can do with them that you may just find yourself enjoying as well.


Launched in 1979, this Pasadena museum is an epicenter for all things children. Geared towards kids ages 1 to 12, it boasts everything from an outdoor amphitheater and gardens, to towers that kids can climb and science and art workshops. Membership is available for $179 a month or $99 for six months, although non-members are welcome at all times as well.

Kidspace is located at 480 N Arroyo Boulevard, Pasadena, (626) 449-9144

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Sometimes you don't feel like dealing with the plastic toys and jungle gyms that go hand-in-hand with childhood. If that's the case, yet you still have a kid with you, perhaps you'd prefer to go somewhere that will allow you to stuff your face whilst simultaneously entertaining your charge. That place would be Duff's Cakemix, a Melrose Avenue bakery that allows patrons to decorate their own cakes. You can work with cakes of two different sizes or cupcakes, and groups of over six can make reservations.

Duff's Cakemix is located at 8302 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 323-650-5555


Photo by Atwater Village Newbie via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

If getting outdoors and into nature is what you're looking for, check out Franklin Canyon Park. Visitors can catch a show or bring a picnic to the Doheny Ranch and Amphitheater, or feed the ducks at the Heavenly Pond. And with file miles of hiking trails, there's plenty of opportunity to wear yourself—and your little ones—out. Located off Coldwater Canyon at Mulholland, it's a great place to escape the noise of city life.

Franklin Canyon Park is located in West Los Angeles


Everybody loves a cowboy, and you can be one for a brief moment in time up at Sunset Ranch in Griffith Park. They offer one- or two-hour guided tours on horseback, including evening rides, lunchtime rides to Viva Fresh Restaurant, and rides that end with a BBQ. Safety comes first here, so helmets are worn to prevent any injury to the dome, and ongoing lessons are also available. Prices for a one-time ride range from $40 to $100, and most go through the park.

Sunset Ranch is located at 3400 N. Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles, (323) 469-5450

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Having a child in tow is a great excuse to get your art on. After all, when else do you really make time to paint and craft? (OK, sometimes you do. But still.) Head over to Color Me Mine—which has studios throughout Southern California—where you can choose from pre-made pottery, paint it, and take it home with you. Your kid will have a great time with colors and getting creative, and you will go home with a new mug to replace the five that have cracks in them. Win-win.

Color Me Mine has locations throughout Southern California


This Eastside center is home to every kind of art imaginable. With programming that includes arts camps, concerts, and rotating exhibitions, it's the perfect place to bring your creatively inclined young one. Recent exhibitions have included performance art looking into countries of the future, and commentary on life as told by female street artists. Kids of all ages are welcome, and after school programs are available during the school year.

Eagle Rock Center For The Arts is located at 2225 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 226-1617


Photo by California CPA via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

We all know how much little kids like to pretend they’re train engineers. Travel Town takes this one step farther, by actually letting kids climb into classic steam engines. The park, located within Griffith Park, is free and open to the public. In addition to offering ample steam engines and trolleys to "drive," the park has numerous picnic benches and shade, making lunch easy to bring along. There are even some miniature streamer trains next door that you can ride around on! - Matthew Tinoco

Travel Town is located at 5200 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, 323-662-5874


The Old L.A. Zoo was abandoned in 1964 after the decision to build the current L.A. zoo was made. But much of the old zoo’s infrastructure remains in place, providing a great place for children to let out their inner gorilla. The zoo, located right in the middle of Griffith Park, is a short and easy hike from the parking lot, and has variety of old animal enclosures (all very much open and safe today) for children to play in and around. Bring a picnic lunch, there’s tons of open space around here! - Matthew Tinoco

The Old L.A. Zoo is located in Griffith Park