New play places, world-class kid-entrancing amusement parks, concert venues, eateries (with a heavy emphasis on sweeteries), animal cafes and playgrounds all popped up in unexpected places. These are our picks for the 25(!) best things to happen to Los Angeles in 2016, that made it an even more amazing place to raise kids.

City Atractions

It got easier to go to the beach, experience space and get a birds eye view of the city this year.

Expo Line to the Sea: Yes! You can now take the Metro all the way from downtown to the beach. While it’s a boon for commuters, it’s also a blast for parents, making the “getting there” half the fun of a day at the beach (plus no searching for parking or fighting traffic on the way home).

Ford Amphitheater Re-Opened: With the re-opening of the Ford came the re-institution of Summer Saturdays starting with Big World Fun—hands down our favorite kids music/theater/dance programming in the whole city.

Skyspace LA: Sweeping (swooping!) views from the highest vantage point in the city makes this a blast for kids without a fear of heights and out of town guests. And those with touchy tummies can still ogle the views from the observation decks.

The Orbit Pavilion at the Huntington: The Huntington manages to add new things that make it even more amazing each year. This art instillation is a delight to the eyes and ears; the NASA/JPL collaboration is a “soundscape” experience representing the movement of the International Space Station and satellites with sounds that represent the satellites missions.

photo: OUE Skyspace LA

What would you put on the top of your list of the best things to open in LA in 2016? Let us know in the comment section!

—Meghan Rose