El Dorado Park
7550 E. Spring Street
Long Beach, CA 90815
Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 to 4:00 pm, this kid sized train was restored by a father and son, Tony and Greg Ruvolo who continue operate it. The train tours a 1.5 mile route in El Dorado Park through a tunnel and grove of trees. Admission to the park is $7 and train rides are $2. To find the train, enter on Spring Street and follow the signs.
Aquarium of The Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
The aquarium is the fourth largest in the country, displaying over 11,000 animals in 50 exhibits. It’s easy to spend a day here, in fact, buying a membership might make sense so you can make several visits at your own pace. The Pacific Ocean is the aquarium’s theme and includes outdoor exhibits. There are special events every week like Shark Lagoon Nights and Saturday Family Fun. The restaurant, Café Scuba, has an extensive menu and ample seating. Full price admission is $12.95/child and $24.95/adult but it is very easy to find discounts and coupons, including on the aquarium website. Parking in the structure is $8 when you show an aquarium ticket stub.
4228 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
The owner of this Bixby Knolls establishment created Eat.Play.Grow. with the vision of a comfortable space where families could have lunch and relax while watching their children play. The kids get a spacious play area with toys and indoor play equipment. There is a boutique section with baby and kids products. Tables and chairs are set up outside the gated play area allowing parents to take advantage of the free wifi while keeping an eye on their kids. Eat.Play.Grow. has regular events like musical guests, bubble parties, and dance parties on Friday nights. Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00 pm.
3908 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
A creativity center and gallery aimed at children 18 months to 10 years. Classes are offered in four-week sessions and materials are included in the pricing which starts at $50. Open Studio sessions, starting at $10/hr (with monthly passes available) are scheduled throughout the week for drop-in and single session workshops are also offered. There is an adult seating area where parents can enjoy the complimentary tea, water and wi-fi while the Averyboo staff cleans up the mess.
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
Located on the campus of Cal State University Long Beach, this Japanese Garden is a hidden gem. The koi pond is a hit with the kids. Make sure you bring quarters to buy fish food and cups to hold it. The 1.3 acre garden is a good size to spend some time in the serenity and amble along the pathways over the bridges, checking out the pagodas and the Zen Rock Garden. Public hours: Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4:00pm, Tuesday through Friday from 8:00am to 3:30pm.