With no snow likely in the forecast, Thanksgiving time in Los Angeles with the kids means lots of turkey and lots of outdoor activities to help handle the digestion process. From exploring the lures of local lakes and the mighty Pacific to learning about the particulars of the space shuttle Endeavor, there is plenty to look forward to beyond a formal meal with your clan. The following are five of the best ways to keep all members of your family entertained while being otherwise occupied during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Echo Park Lake
751 Echo Park Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Pack a picnic and grab your clan for an afternoon at the new and vastly improved Echo Park Lake. This time-honored family fun spot reopened this past summer after being restored to its former glory, which means that all of the walking paths leading to and around this highly diverse recreation area are ready and waiting to be explored without fear of tripping on discarded debris or fighting your way through overgrown plants. In fact, you’ll soon get a clear view the Lady of the Lake, a statue who looms over the north end of the lake, able to be examined up close and personal during a gondola ride before or after you eat. As for another water adventure in this revamped water arena that was treated to a $45 million overhaul, rent one of the iconic pedal boats that have been floating around these parts for decades.
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
A day at the beach is always on order in Los Angeles, not only because of our temperate climate but also because there is always a slew of fun things to do with the family at the edge of the Pacific. Santa Monica offers a plethora of activities at its world-famous pier, site of the storied 1922 carousel used in a number of movies like “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Also on hand as part of what’s now called Pacific Park are carnival games, bumper cars and a huge ferris wheel, the latter made famous due to the fact that this is the world’s only solar-powered ride of its kind.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(323) 724-3623 www.californiasciencenter.org
More than 100 interactive exhibits at the California Science Center, the West Coast’s largest hands-on museum of its kind, should be enough of a lure. However, the fact that this is the place where the Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final stop will get the whole family raring to visit. Also on hand is Los Angeles’ largest IMAX theater screen (it’s seven stories high) and so many other options that you’ll need to pick and choose what to see in one day and then plan another adventure during your next outing with the whole family.
Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 449-9144 www.kidspacemuseum.org
In Pasadena right next to the Rosebowl is a place where families enjoy every holiday weekend with their younger offspring. Called Kidspace Children’s Museum, this four-acre wonderland is ideal for parents and children between the ages of one and 10 to engage together in some two dozen interactive exhibits while getting in some learning along the way. For instance, at Bugsy’s Diner, insects are the subject of choice as families learn about what bugs eat and can get their hands on the recipes to feed them. Meanwhile, outside at the Kidspace Gardens, a member of the museum’s team is on hand to teach you how to create a scientific drawing amongst the bees and butterflies while the Hedge Maze is an amusingly confusing place to get lost and found while learning about indigenous floral and fauna as you all find your way through this very green labyrinth.
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
The whole gang won’t be able to resist a visit to Universal Studios if only to experience the behind-the-scenes action on the scene at this celebrated spot. Its globally renowned tour, taken via an open-air tram, will have you tooling around in style to all of the places where movies and television shows have been made since 1915, all the while being informed about what you’re seeing by funny man Jimmy Fallon. Also on hand at Universal are some of the most imaginative shows and super spectacular rides around, rivaling other area theme parks that require driving out of the city to experience. Universal’s fun doesn’t stop inside the park as at its entrance is CityWalk, a supreme collection of shops, restaurants and movie theaters to keep your entire family busy from early in the day to late at night.