Happy Birthday, Mr. President(s), and thanks for the long weekend! What will you do with your three days of family togetherness? We’ve got plenty of ideas, and in the spirit of the holiday, they all have a distinctly American approach.

img_7188photo: kids at CAAM by LeTania Kirkland Smith

George, Abe, Ron and William
Those are the 4 presidents born in February – George and Abe are easy, Ron is a local, but William? That’s William Henry Harrison, 9th president, first to die in office, and oldest elected president until this latest election. Now you know.

  1. Here comes the General! (That’s for the Hamilton fans.) To honor our first commander in chief, we have to choose something we all love. So we pick pie; cherry to be specific, to raise a fork to George Washington, or apple, because it’s “as American as” all get out. But if you’ve picky eaters, any flavor is acceptable. These are our favorite spots to pick up pies.
  1. For Abraham Lincoln, the early champion of the rights of all, who fought to free African Americans brought here in slavery, we recommend a visit to the California African American Museum. Exposition Park is a great place to spend the day and also visit the California Science Center or the Natural History Museum. Note: the museum is closed on Mondays, so make this visit on the weekend.
  1. For Reagan, we’ve got an obvious pick—spend President’s Day at our closest Presidential Library—the Reagan Library. With music, storytelling, history and food, there’s fun for people from all parties.
  1. Harrison’s nickname was “Tippecanoe”. You won’t need to “tip your canoe” when you go fishing at Troutdale, as the pond is stocked with trout and you fish from the shores.
  1. Pick a Patriotic day trip: we found six local adventures that will leave you saluting the red, white and blue.

4. Interact with Art at LACMAphoto: kids at LACMA by Meghan Rose

Get Historical
Our local forefathers (and mothers) leave us with a history that goes from covered wagon to space ships. Check out one of LA’s historical offerings.

  1. See how the Wild West was settled at the Autry Museum. California Continued is the newest permanent exhibit that is just what every parent loves: something that manages to be loads of fun, while teaching a few lessons along the way.
  1. Pop Quiz: What American President officially created NASA by signing the NASA Act into law?* At the California Science Center, kids can see a real space shuttle that was built right here in LA and learn all about space travel. (*Answer: Eisenhower.)
  1. Over at LACMA you can visit the Art of the America’s building (and all the other buildings, too) for free on this holiday Monday.
  1. Take part in Presidential arts and crafts on Sunday at the Zimmer Museum.
  1. It’s the USS IOWA’s 73rd Birthday with a free day long festival. Explore the history that the Battleship tour has to offer (at an additional price) or just enjoy the food, music and festivities by the boat.

tahoe_snowboardphoto: Erin Feher

From the Mountains to the Prairies to the Oceans
We’ve got all those things in LA, so take advantage of the extra day off to go explore our diverse natural landscapes. While the rest of the country is buried in snow, you can:

  1. Take a family walk in nature. Take ranger and docent led tours at Topanga Park or Descanso Gardens.
  1. Keep those oceans white with foam, not trash! Lend a hand at this month’s Heal the Bay beach clean up.
  1. Learn about what creatures live in our local cityscape, and what plants grow and thrive here. Our favorite spot that blends hands on learning with lots of fun is the Nature Labs at the Natural History Museum.
  1. The recent rains means the hills are green and the waterfalls flowing. Take a trek to where you can splash in some crystal clear falling water.
  1. From the mountains, comes the Air + Style event, where they bring the mountain, and the very American sport of snowboarding, to the city center.


websitebanners820x370-lasantaceciliaphoto: La Santa Cecilia

We Are a Melting Pot
The very nature of America is the way we welcome immigrants and blend new cultures and traditions into our beautiful mélange. So celebrate festivities and cultures of other people this weekend!

  1. Scotsfest brings the burr of the Highlands to the decks of the Queen Mary. Plus some kilts, sheep, haggis and more!
  1. The Shaolin Warriors demonstrate the history of over a thousand years of Chinese martial arts culture and show off amazingly athletic Kung Fu mastery. Get ready to enroll your kids in karate after watching this show!
  1. La Santa Cecilia is an LA based Mexican-American band who play a blend cumbia, bossa nova and boleros. They rock, and kids love ‘em.
  1. The easiest healthy kid approved food is hummus. Hands down. Now it’s time to introduce them to some other Middle Eastern delights at these restaurants that will quickly become family favorites.
  1. This land is our land (all of us!), but it started out their land. Take a trip to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center and Natural Area to see how the first settlers here lived in harmony with nature and each other.

How will you be spending the weekend with your kids? Tell us what’s on your long weekend to-do list in the comments below.

–Meghan Rose