This coming week has Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, so there’s tons of celebrating to do.  Not to mention that the kids are celebrating some time off school (9 days for LAUSD families – not that we’re counting…). So we turned the city upside down to find a range of cool ways to keep busy, from a wild west birthday to an early peek at a new movie.  There’s also cooking for kids, a meet the author, a cruise on the ocean, a trip back in time and even a chance to play detective with some very sharp sea creatures.  Still looking for things to do?  Check out our guide to keeping busy all Thanksgiving week long!

Americana Hanukkah 282

Griffith Park

Happy Birthday, Dear Wild West Museum…
The Autry is turning 25 years old (just like most of us, right?) with a birthday party honoring the American West. Kids can participate in a museum-wide scavenger hunt to find objects, take special tours and see Gene Autry movies – and of course there’s cake! Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Griffith Park. $4-$10. All ages. Event details.


An Icy New Sneak Peek Treat in Hollywood
For the winter holidays, Disney brings “Frozen”, the story of a kingdom stuck eternal winter forever to the El Capitan.  It’s opening here 5 days early, so you can be the first to see it -and the only ones to see the cool live pre-show and meet the stars of the movie (Anna and Elsa). Opens this weekend. Showtimes vary. Hollywood. $13-$26.  Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Pasadena Area

Chow Down on (Early) Cali Cuisine
Step back in time to cook up some authentic dishes from the days of the California missions.  When they cook it, they eat it, so it’s a history and healthy eating two-fer. Sat., 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. San Marino. $30-$35. Ages 7-12. Event details.


Put the Skates on and Slide with a Seal
Burbank is opening the city’s first-ever outdoor skating rink (called The Rink), this weekend, and while there will be holiday music and twinkling lights, the real draw here is the orange seals that help little skaters learn balance. Fri. – Sun. 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Burbank. $10.  Ages 3 and up. Event details.


A Once in a Thousand Lifetimes Hanukkah Celebration
This year, for the first (and last) time ever, Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, and the Skirball Cultural Center has your celebrating well in hand. So grab the kids and get ready to rock the turkey, with a side of latkes. Sun., 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. West LA. $10 adults, Free for kids under 12. All ages. Event details.


Being a Funny Writer is A Real Job
It’s time to “Meet the Author” Lin Oliver, who will talk about her popular books for kids – she’s best known for the series she writes with Henry Winkler (the Fonz, for those of us old enough to remember) that are perfect for reluctant reader boys.  Sat., 10:30 am – 1:30 pm. Northridge. Free. All ages. Event details.

Long Beach

Mini Sherlocks Play Shark Sleuth
Time to take out the deerstalker caps and magnifying glasses for a class at the Aquarium of the Pacific.  Little ones get a chance to do some real gumshoe work about the ocean’s most misunderstood predator – the shark. Sat., 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Long Beach. $40/adult & child pair. Ages 4-6. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Once Upon a Time in Los Angeles
It’s a day of Christmas cheer at the Homestead Museum as kids can celebrate the holidays with stories, crafts, songs, games while learning what LA was like way back when. Sat., 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. City of Industry. Free. Ages 4-8. Event details.

Dolphins and Whales and Seals, Oh My!
Kids, meet Shamu, Shamu meet the kids.  They’ll see plenty of local marine wildlife on this Marine Mammal cruise that gets everyone out and enjoying the ocean breezes.  Sun., 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Dana Point. $22-$35. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Tis’ the season when trees start lighting and rinks start icing over, so be sure to find out when you can see a tree or menorah lighting ceremony and which rinks are ready for skating!  What are you up to this weekend?

-Meghan Rose

Photo credits: eirikso via Creative Commons and Bebe Jacobs courtesy of the Skirball Cultural Center.