Living in the dream factory is never more exciting than when it’s Oscar time (the Oscars take place this year on February 22). Hollywood Boulevard is closed, parties take over favorite restaurants, and viewing parties are where we’re at on Oscar Sunday.  While we don’t have an invitation to the Vanity Fair party for you, we do have something even better—three free ways to go behind the scenes of the Oscars that parents and kids will enjoy.

photo credit: Hollywood & Highland’s facebook page

See the Red Carpet: Yes, That Red Carpet.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are the Oscars.  It takes a lot of workers bees buzzing for weeks leading up to the ceremony to get everything in place.  And the night before the show it all has to come together.  So if you take the kids to Hollywood & Highland on Oscar Eve (Saturday, February 21), you can watch the last minute flurry.  Watch them roll out and tack down the red carpet.  Watch the lights get hung, the flowers and palm trees get rolled into place, and camera crews doing sound checks.  The golden man himself, guarding the doorway, is in place and all is in readiness for movie stars tomorrow.  Head up to the 3rd floor, where you get a birds eye view behind the scenes.  Then on Sunday, kids get a kick out of watching the arrivals on TV and knowing they were right there.

Need a snack?  Hard Rock Café is perfect family fun and lets you get a little rock and roll as well as movie star glamor this weekend, or for a sweet treat, there’s nothing sweeter than Sweet!

On Saturday, February 21 the Hollywood & Highland Center is open and accessible to the public (except the red carpet area where they’re setting up) from 10 a.m.–10 p.m.  It is closed to the public on Oscar Sunday.

Dolby Theater
Hollywood & Highland, Hollywood
Phone: 323-467-6412
Online: hollywoodandhighland.comFIDM Oscar

photo credit: FIDM

Visit the Costume Department: The FIDM Exhibit
The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit is the perfect way for mini-fashionistas to celebrate Oscar Weekend. Actually, it’s a fun exhibit for the whole family, since the costumes are from movies kids will recognize, too.  This year you can check out last year’s winner of Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby.  You can also see costumes from all of this year’s nominated films: Maleficent, Into the Woods, Mr. Turner, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inherent Vice.  In addition to seeing the wicked queens capes and horns and the fairy tale costumes from the Sondheim flick, kids will love seeing the costumes from The Boxtrolls, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Night at the Museum and X-Men.

While they dream super hero or fairy tale dreams, you can marvel over the tiny waists and beautiful gowns and do a little dreaming yourself. (Like dreaming that this is your closet… )

fidm_play2photo credit: Meghan Rose

When they get tired of looking-but-not-touching, right in front of the museum is a big grassy lawn where kids can run and play (and ride the brass dogs that dot the landscape).  Also sharing the square is an urban playground, complete with bouncy bugs, slides and shaded climbers.  Then a tiny walk up the street and everyone can be relaxing with wood-fired pizzas and perfectly sweet macaroons at Bottega Louie, a family favorite spot downtown.

The exhibit runs February 10-April 25, and the FIDM Museum is open Tuesday- Saturday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

FIDM Museum and Gallery
919 S. Grand Ave.,Downtown LA
Phone: 213-623-5821
Online: fidmmuseum.org/exhibitions/current

photo credit: Shoshana via Creative Commons

Go On Location: Paramount Ranch
Get out and celebrate what the Oscars are really about—making movies!  At Paramount Ranch you can take part in “Oscar Goes Outdoors,” a celebration of the Oscar nominated and award winning films connected to Hollywood’s movie mountains (the Santa Monica Mountains).  See where and how early Hollywood pioneer filmmakers transformed the SoCal mountains into Africa, China, Germany and even the South Seas.  There will be presentations, photo displays and more.

Today, kids can still play wild west with the amazing “ghost town” left behind from those movie frontier days.  Bring a picnic (and costumes) and after exploring, you can set up your own craft services and have a photo shoot that will make your kids feel like they’re in the movies.

photo credit: Meghan Rose

The celebration takes place from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, February 15.

Paramount Ranch
2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills
Phone: 805-370-2301
Online: nps.gov/paramountranch.htm

How do you celebrate the Oscars – in style, ignore ’em, or TV time?

-Meghan Rose