From Santa Monica to Culver City, the Westside offers lots of fun activities for families – and that doesn’t even include the beach.
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
You can’t miss that iconic Ferris wheel – and neither should the kiddos. Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is a fun and affordable family-friendly outing that also boasts a roller coaster, games, tyke-sized rides as well as all the cotton candy and funnel cakes you can eat. With a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean and steps from the beach, the park is a must-do for parents and kids. Added bonus: The restrooms on the Pier were recently voted among the Top 10 in the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
The views. The architecture. The gardens. And, of course, the art. Sitting atop a gorgeous hill just west of the 405, The Getty Center gives visitors a glimpse of sprawling Los Angeles and beyond. But it’s the welcoming family-friendliness and the plentiful programs for children that really make this museum accessible and special. This summer, the Getty is offering free Family Fun days, when kids can participate in drawing workshops, garden concerts and explorations of the grounds. There’s also a Family Room, complete with an oversized illuminated manuscript and a wall of mirrors.
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Noah’s Ark is just the beginning of what the Skirball Cultural Center has to offer families. From Family Amphitheatre performances that include wildlife displays and a Chinese Lion Dance to archaeology adventures, this vibrant museum offers a sampling of so many world cultures. And through the first week of September, parents and kids can visit the Drop-in Art Studio, where they can create new work from recycled materials.
Culver Ice Arena
4545 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230
With summertime finally heating up Los Angeles, this could be the coolest place on the Westside. Literally. Founded in the 1980s, Culver Ice Arena has its own retro charm. Yes, it’s a little worn around the edges, but it’s still an inviting scene for kids of all ages. The ice skating rink is open year round and sports all sorts of Mommy/Daddy & Me, figure skating and ice hockey classes. There’s even an evening skate Thursday through Sunday nights for the bigger kids – or Dad, who might want to practice his hat trick.
Laura Clark is the founder and editor of L.A. Story.