No one ever said having kids was cheap! But since the best things in life are free (or really, really cheap) having a blast with young kids in LA doesn’t have to break the bank. From meeting parrots to spelunking the bat cave, check out the top ten things to do in Los Angeles with young kids that won’t send you scurrying to the ATM.

1. Interact with Art at LACMA

Right in our home town is a world class museum that wants you to bring your kids so much that they created a fabulous program: with a free LACMA NexGen membership, kids get in free and they can each bring an adult with them. Pretty amazing deal, especially when you realize that at LACMA there are art exhibits that appeal to kids (mummies and rad modern art sculptures: we’re talking Michael Jackson and his monkey, art in an elevator and what many kids call the “playing in spaghetti” installation), there is also a painting studio in the Boone Gallery, and story times and tours several times a week. Did we mention that the tar pits are literally the museum’s back yard? Bring a change of play clothes and you can let them poke and play in the patches of tar that bubble up. If you can’t find street parking (it’s tough on weekends) you can always park in the underground lot and take a ride up on the glass elevator—just like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Miracle Mile

photo: Meghan Rose

  • 1. Interact with  Art at LACMA
  • 2. Head Down to Travel Town
  • 3. Send Out a Bat Signal at Bronson Canyon
  • 4. Explore the California Science Center
  • 5. Meet Wildlife at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
  • 6. Start Squawking at the Parrot Sanctuary
  • 7. See Stars at the Griffith Observatory
  • 8. Bring Your Bookworm to the Central Library
  • 9. Get Wet at the Annenberg Beach
  • 10. Meet the Rangers at a Nature Center

Did we miss a family favorite? Tell us below in the comments!

—Meghan Rose