Finding common ground between your toddlers and older kids can sometimes be more challenging than finding the elusive Vaporeon in Pokemon GO. Thankfully, there are some places that entrance kids little and big equally. Spots with educational and fun activities that everyone in the family can actually agree on. And that’s nothing short of miraculous!
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Discovery Cube LA
If you’ve never been, this awesome museum is definitely worth a visit, siblings or not, but it’s the perfect place for an outing with kids of all ages because the entire museum can done in just a couple of hours, ensuring that you’ll make it home for your little one’s nap time without any complaints from the big kids. For your littlest explorers the Discovery Cube features a rotating exhibit made just for young visitors themed around popular characters and books. Previous themes have included Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Dora the Explorer. Each one is a completely hands-on interactive exhibit that’s perfect for the toddler and preschool set, but still fun enough to keep your big kid’s interest as well. While the rest of the museum skews a little older, little ones will still have a good time pushing buttons and watching videos on the interactive, science-based exhibits.
Quick Tip: While the museum does have it’s own Bean Sprouts Cafe serving up healthy, creative eats, like animal shaped sandwiches, pizza with organic toppings, and soups, salads and grown-up wraps, we recommend grabbing it to go or packing you own lunch and heading outside to the picnic tables. You can also hop over to the playground next door for a little all-ages playtime before you head home.
11800 Foothill Blvd.
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Zimmer Children’s Museum
This is another fabulous spot that can be fully explored and still get you home in time for your younger one’s nap. While this museum definitely skews on the young side, you’ll still find plenty to keep kids entertained up to about age 8. Big kids will love putting on their own show in the pretend theater and playing with shadows in the light box room. Little ones will love the water table, and all ages have fun bouncing in the ball pit.
Quick Tip: If you have an overzealous water-lover, bring along an extra shirt in case they get a little wet splashing at the table. Pack a lunch and make a stop in the snack room before heading home, or leave the museum and check out some awesome eats close by.
6505 Wilshire Blvd.
photo: La Brea Tar Pits Page Museum
La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum
If there’s one thing all kids can agree on, it’s how amazing dinosaurs are. Though there aren’t any actual dino bones here, there are plenty of massive, Ice Age skeletons to excite everyone, especially the woolly mammoth. The circular layout of the museum makes it easy to explore without having to strap little ones into strollers. Don’t miss the botanical garden in the center courtyard.
Quick Tip: Pack a lunch and head outdoors to explore the gardens surrounding the museum. Big kids will love checking out the active digs, while little ones will have fun just running around the grassy garden. Adventurers big and small will love rolling down the hills. Again, pack a change of clothes or dress in old playclothes, since kids of all ages love picking up sticks and poking at the goopy (and clothes staining) tar that bubbles up.
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
photo: Gaby T. via Yelp
Seaside Lagoon at Redondo Beach
The beach is an LA summer staple, but it can be tricky to navigate when you are wrangling both waddlers and walkers. For a fun day at the beach that’s a little less stressful, hit this surf-free lagoon that’s fully loaded with a snack bar, playground, and lifeguards. The calm, no-wave lagoon is perfect for water newbies, but the beach also features water slides to please your bigger fish. And you can see them all at the same time! THe lagoon is open through Labor Day weekend.
200 Portofino Way
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Huntington Botanical Garden
Gardens are great for kids of all ages and the Huntington is no exception. The paths flat and wide so you can easily push your younger botanists in a stroller, but there is also plenty of safe open space to let them roam alongside their bigger sibs as they explore and learn about the flora. Check the website for days that host Japanese tea pouring ceremonies or music in the Chinese Gardens, for an extra treat.
Quick Tip: Head to the Children’s Garden first, that way little ones can burn off some energy playing and will be more willing to chill out for a stroller ride through the other gardens after. Make sure you bring a swimsuit or extra pairs of clothes, as all the kids will want to get wet discovering the sonic pool and fog grotto.
1151 Oxford Rd.
photo: Meghan Rose
California Science Center
There’s a little something for everyone here, from baby on up to teens. The IMAX Theater is a big draw for older kids. The three Discovery Rooms are perfect destinations for the 6 and under crowd—they are filled with tons of hands-on experiments like a construction zone, a kitchen, a garden and even a kid-sized TV studio complete with costumes. You can trade off going to those spots and then everyone can play together in the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit and the fabulous Ecosystems exhibition where you can visit an icy land, go under the sea and even get grossed out in the rot room. Kids big and small love watching the chicks hatching and younger tots will watch with awe as daring big sibs ride the bike in the sky.
700 Exposition Park Blvd.
My Gym Siblings Class
Dragging a little one along to their bigger sister or brother’s classes is never fun for them, or you. Luckily there’s a class all of your tumbling gymnasts can take together while you breathe a momentary sigh of relief. My Gym locations across the city have Siblings Classes for kids ages 3 months to 9 years old. The classes offer challenges for all skill levels while encouraging kids to learn together and support one another.
Locations in the Valley, Westside, and South Bay
What are your favorite spots to visit when you’ve got to entertain kids with a range of ages? Share any we missed in the comments!