Take your kids to one of these great Los Angeles museums for some learning and family fun at the same time!
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
The California Science Center has a fantastic new Ecosystems exhibit, which, like all its other cool exhibits, is hands-on, with tons of “manipulatives” for the kids. It also offers some interesting science for the parents.
The California Science Center is open daily from 10am until 5pm, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to the museum is always free, but traveling exhibits may have entry fees. There is ample parking in paid lots nearby, as well as some street parking.
Discovery Science Center
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
The Discovery Science Center is totally worth the drive to get to play Dino Quest with the kids, an interactive scavenger hunt with information about dinosaurs cleverly disguised as an adventure. Plus there are hundreds of hands-on science demos for the kids to play with, and different traveling exhibits, like the popular Sesame Street Presents: The Body.
The Discovery Science Center is open from 10am – 5pm Mondays – Saturdays, and on Sundays from 11am – 5pm, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission prices: Adults $12.95, Kids 3 – 17 $9.95, kids under 2 are free. Dino Quest is available for an additional fee. There is ample parking onsite for $4 cash per car.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Getty Center has become an iconic LA spot since it opened in 1997, and even though it wasn’t designed for children specifically, it’s a great setting to introduce kids to fine art, since the galleries are big and the collection is wonderful. There is a family art room, where kids can make art projects based on various items from the collection, and the docents are all very helpful. The food is delicious and the grounds are beautiful for walking around, as well. There’s even a picnic spot by the tram entrance.
The Getty is open Tuesdays – Fridays and Sundays from 10am – 5:30pm, Saturdays from 10am – 9pm, and closed Mondays, and on January 1, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Admission is always free for everyone. Parking costs $15 per car, except after 5pm on Fridays, when it is free.
480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
Kidspace museum is a very cool, hands-on play place for kids. There are climbing towers, a bug café, and over 2 acres of outdoor space for exploring. It’s such a beautiful setting, parents are sure to enjoy themselves as well. The human café offers a nice variety including some healthy choices.
Kidspace Museum is open September –May: Tuesdays – Fridays 9:30am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 5pm – closed Mondays. In June, July and August, the museum is open 7 days a week, Mondays – Fridays 9:30am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 5pm. Kidspace museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and select Saturdays in the fall due to UCLA football being played at the Rose Bowl. Admission is free for families on the first Tuesday of every month (except September) from 4pm – 8pm.
Admission prices: Adults $10, Children 1-18 $10, Children under 1 year old are free. There is ample free parking in the surrounding Rose Bowl parking lots.
Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
The Natural History Museum is one of the best places to take the family in LA. The famous dioramas, seen in countless movies, TV shows and music videos, are so familiar – I never get tired of them, even though they are starting to show their age a little bit. July 2010 marked the opening of the Mammals, a gleaming new interactive exhibit, and July 2011 is when the new Dinosaur Hall will open.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is open every day from 9:30am until 5pm, except New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission for adults is $9, children 13 – 17 $6.50, children 5 – 12 $2, and children under 4 are free. And admission is free for everyone on the first Tuesday of the month. There is ample parking in nearby lots for a fee, and there’s some street parking available as well.
Page Museum/La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Page Museum is where you can see evidence of Los Angeles’ Ice Age past. While the museum is small, it’s still a fun place to take the family. Where else can you actually watch scientists cleaning fossilized bones taken from the nearby tar pits? Or for that matter, where else can you see the primordial ooze oozing right up out of the ground? It’s a uniquely LA experience. But watch where you step.
The Page Museum is open 9:30am – 5pm daily, with the exception of New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission prices: Adults $7, Children 13 – 17 $4.50, Children 5 – 12 $2.00, Children under 5 free. Admission is free for everyone on the first Tuesday of the month. Parking is available in lots nearby or there’s metered parking on the streets surrounding the museum.
6505 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Zimmer has great interactive exhibits, geared mostly toward younger children, including the super popular water table. Plus it’s open Sundays, which is often when families can spend time together.
The Zimmer Museum is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 12:30pm – 5pm, Wednesdays from 10am – 5pm, and Fridays from 10am – 12:30pm, and is closed Mondays, Saturdays and most Jewish and National holidays. Admission prices: Adults $8, children 3 – 12 $5, children under 2 Free, Grandparents free when accompanied by a grandchild. Parking: when available, parking is free in the west parking structure; otherwise, use street parking.