Raising children is no easy feat, but there are ways to make it fun when you’re connecting with other parents who are in the same boat. Luckily, there are tons of great places in Los Angeles to meet other parents, from parenting support groups to chance meetings at kid-friendly places where you are sure to bump into other parents. For the inside scoop on the best parent gathering places in Los Angeles, CBS got in touch with leading parenting expert Dr. Fran Walfish of Beverly Hills who was more than happy to share her thoughts on the subject.
The Early Childhood Parenting Center
1440 Harvard St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
www.ecpcla.org“My #1 best parent gathering place in Los Angeles is The Early Childhood Parenting Center (ECPC),” says Dr. Walfish. Founded more than 40 years ago, this parent gathering place originated the Mommy-and-Me format and offers different types of parenting groups that meet once a week to help promote parenting skills. The reason it’s the best is because ECPC is also a training center so the adults who work with the children are all graduate level M.A.s and Ph.D.s who provide the highest caliber emotional, psychological and behavioral child development care for the youngsters while the parents sit in a nearby circle and discuss mutual parenting and couples issues.
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
www.pacpark.comPacific Park is a family amusement park that sits above the Pacific Ocean at the Santa Monica Pier. It’s the only amusement park in LA without an admission fee to get in and includes almost everything you’d find at a typical amusement park including a roller coaster, a ferris wheel and carnival-style games. It’s the perfect place to meet other parents who value spending time with their kids in a fun atmosphere for both parent and child. “Chance meetings can happen anywhere. Often times, your children can be a vehicle for introduction at places like these,” says Dr. Walfish.
The Pump Station & Nurtury
2415 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
www.pumpstation.comAnother great parent gathering place Dr. Walfish highly recommends is the Pump Station in Santa Monica, which also has new locations in Hollywood and Westlake Village for new moms who live closer to those parts of Los Angeles. “This wonderful place for new parents offers education in breastfeeding, baby massage, Parent & Me classes and much more,” says Dr. Walfish. It is definitely an LA hotspot for hip new moms to gather and meet up in small groups while learning the basics of caring for the new baby.
Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.lazoo.orgAlmost every local parenting group will have gathered at the Los Angeles Zoo at some point in time. Most parents hardly go anywhere without their kids in tow, which makes the LA Zoo such a great place to gather with other parents. If you’re going to drag your kids along with you for the sole purpose of catching up with all of your other parent friends, at least take them somewhere you know they’ll enjoy.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
www.aquariumofpacific.orgAnother great place in Los Angeles to gather with fellow parents is Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. You can explore the deep blue sea with your young ones while meeting all of the other parents who are gathered there together for the sake of their children. The best part about this parent gathering place is that it offers a combo ticket deal for parents and children to visit both the Aquarium and the LA Zoo for one great price. It shouldn’t take much convincing to gather up all of the parents for a day out with the kids so you can all finally meet up and catch up on each other’s lives.
View Best Parent Gathering Places In Los Angeles in a full screen map