It’s not often you get to encourage your kiddos to scream their hearts out, but we’ve found a place that’s loud and wild in all the best ways. We’re talking about roller derby, a sport you may not have seen live, but that you and the kids will love. So what if LA doesn’t have a football team? We’ve got the Derby Dolls, where lipstick and tackles go hand in hand.

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More Than Just A Pretty Face
As soon as you enter the Doll Factory (where the Dolls play) you and your kids will feel like rock stars. Leave your inner princess at the door and summon up the punk goddess; the atmosphere here is an edgy blend of girly and gritty.  Think pink meets skull & crossbones. The crowd is mixed, from young hipsters to cool parents with kids (yep, even babies attend brawls – wearing headphones to soften the noise).

Before you get your seat, a giant hot pink neon roller skate beckons you to enter the Doll Mall, which is a craft market that sells everything from funky printed knee pads to roller skate jewelry and hand-made hats. It all has an underground feel, like you stumbled down the rabbit hole to discover the Mad Hatter’s tea party, only Alice is wearing fishnets and tattoos with her cute pinafore.

Buy some snacks for the little ones and feel free to treat yourself to a grown-up drink before you head to the stadium. The viewing areas are divided into two sections: one half is standing room only, and the other is the VIP area with bleacher seating. The only difference is the price of the tix.  While you’ll still have an awesome view of the action no matter where you are, we recommend springing for the VIP tix when you have young kids – those little legs get tired of standing.

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photo credit: Rink R. via Yelp

The Crowd Goes Wild
The real excitement is when the game begins and the skates start burning around the banked track. These ladies are fierce. They zoom around at lightening speed, and not a girl among them flinches when she takes a hit to the ground – there’s no crying in roller derby! With team member names like Oblivienne Westwood and Darla Daredevil, you know these women are packed full of as much adrenaline as the sport demands. You and your brood will buzz with all the excitement in the crowd, from the wild cheering, to the referees animatedly blowing their whistles, to the cupcake intermission.  Don’t know how to play?  They’ll show you a cartoon at the beginning of the bout so you know your jammers from your blockers.  And keep those kiddos rowdy! The noisiest sections of the audience get tossed free tee-shirts. derbydollsontrack

photo credit: LA Derby Dolls Facebook Page

Grab Some Grub
If all that cheering has worked up some hunger, pop outside at half time to get a bite to eat. Several of the yummiest local food trucks are waiting for you, so ignore the late hour (half time is around 9 p.m.) and scarf down a taco or two. Don’t forget to get the kids a souvenir from the Doll’s Merch Booth, and if you’re feeling lucky you can purchase raffle tickets for a chance at prizes.

After munching, stroll back into the Doll Mall to catch some tunes. Live music is played at half time, like the awesome School of Rock, a band exclusively showcasing kids and teens. You’re little one will be in awe of the way these young people rock out, and you may be tempted to sign up your future musician in a School of Rock class.

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photo credit: Junior Derby Dolls Facebook Page

When all is said and done, your tuckered out tykes can meet their favorite skaters and take photos with them. But keep in mind, this is a late night of entertainment for little ones (while there is an occasional Sunday afternoon match, most bouts begin at 8 p.m. and end at 10 p.m.). But it’s worth it when they fall asleep in the car with roller derby dreams.

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photo credit: Junior Derby Dolls Facebook Page

But if the late hour isn’t meshing with your kiddo’s schedule, fear not: there’s a kids team.  Junior Derby Dolls is for fearless 7 to 17 year olds. They mirror the Derby Dolls schedule, so when the Varsity Brawlers combat the Tough Cookies on a Saturday night, the mini Brawlers and tiny Cookies will compete on Sunday afternoon. You’ll get to root for gutsy girls as they whiz around the track. You can even sign up your rebel rouser if she gets the roller skating bug. It’s a great way to build friendships and support Girl Power in a setting that’s always PG. Games are 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, at the Doll Factory.  It’s a great (afternoon) intro to the sport.

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photo credit: Junior Derby Dolls Facebook Page

Check out the Derby Dolls and Junior Derby Dolls websites for calendars and tickets. Tickets to Derby Doll bouts are $15 for General Admission in advance, $18/adult and $10/kid at the door.  VIP tickets are $40.  Kids under 2 are free.  Parking is $10 across the street from the Doll Factory, at the Silverlake Medical Center.  A couple more things to keep in mind when bringing young ones:  there are no baby changing tables available, and you aren’t allowed to bring in outside food, so snack before coming, or enjoy those cupcakes!

The Doll Factory
1910 W Temple St.
Silverlake
Online: derbydolls.com

We hope you catch a match soon. Let us know what you think!

-Elena Wurlitzer