It’s tough to be the parent of a 9 to 12-year-old in Los Angeles. Easy distractions like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese no longer float their boat and their birthday wish lists are heavy on expensive electronics. Clothes-shopping becomes more difficult, they now have their own style ideas and chances are, they’re not the same as yours. And most L.A. area parents and their wallets are already familiar with our abundant bounty of amusement parks. Few of us have the resources to take our kids on a regular basis, nor would we want to. Here are a few suggestions that don’t rely on thrill rides and roller coasters.
14622 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA
Additional locations throughout LA & OC
Your tween may say they’re too old for childish games – but strap on a sensor, give them a “gun” and set them loose in a multi-story play area in the dark. Suddenly, it’s cool to be “it.” You might just want to play, too. Ultrazone has locations throughout LA and OC as well so wherever you are you can partake in the action.
Toyota Sports Center
555 N Nash St
El Segundo, CA 90245
Thanks to our famed Southern California weather, your kids are probably already experts on roller blades. But what about more traditional forms of skating? You know, the kind that used to require a frozen body of water. Outdoor rinks have become widespread each winter in the Southland. But ice skating is another year-round activity here. You just have to know where to go. The motto at Toyota Sports Center is “Skate Where the Pros Play,” and that’s a great selling point, as this is the complex where the L.A. Kings train. This 135,000 square foot facility is open to the public and boasts two ice rinks, an inline skating rink and a restaurant. If you’re looking for a great Orange County ice skating venue, check out Aliso Viejo Ice Palace.
Sherman Oaks Castle Park
4989 Sepulveda Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
As another classic activity that never goes out of style, most of the Southland’s mini golf courses have morphed into multi-faceted activity-plexes, so when the gang gets tired of hitting little balls into holes, they can move on to something else. Sherman Oaks Castle Park has an arcade, batting cages and more!
1701 Marine Ave.,
With a rock wall, ropes course and more, you can be sure that your tween will love the many offerings at Adventure Plex. The facility boasts so much fun packed inside 16,000 square feet that your kids might not ever want to leave. In addition to the rock wall where they can go rock climbing, there is a courtside cafe, reading corner, play structures and more. It’s a great place for them to let loose, get some exercise and burn off some of that energy!
Go Kart Racing
19038 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90248
This premier indoor go kart racing will leave your tween feeling energized! Whether they are a racing enthusiast or not, its regardless an exciting and fun activity. Conveniently located for residents of Long Beach, San Pedro, Redondo Beach, and West L.A., K1 Speed lets you compete against your friends or family or against other guests looking for the adrenaline action. Open 7 days a week.
189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Let’s face it: what tween doesn’t like to shop for new clothes, electronics or catch a movie. The Grove in West Hollywood offers all of that and more. Whether with parents or with friends, let your tween shop at Abercrombie & Fitch for new clothes, stop by the Apple Store for a new iPad or catch the latest flick. It’s a safe and fun environment to let your kids go off with friends for an afternoon or evening.
– Donna Schwartz Mills is the creator and blogger of SoCal Mom.