(credit: Kidspace Museum)

(credit: Kidspace Museum)

East of downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley encompasses 31 cities and five unincorporated areas. The area is equal parts history and intrigue, with a number of family-friendly historical districts, parks and museums that are fun for all. Here are just a few.

(credit: Kidspace Museum)

(credit: Kidspace Museum)

Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 North Arroyo Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 449-9144

If you’re children love to learn, bringing them to The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena will arouse their curiosity. The Kidspace Children’s museum helps instill a love for learning because it inspires kids and teaches them through creative, open-ended play. The museum includes exhibits and programs in the arts, sciences and humanities, as well as school and group programs, parent programs and birthday parties.

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-4290

As the Spanish word for rest, “Descano” is the perfect name to these gardens. Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge is most definitely a restful environment. Encompassing 150 acres, it’s filled with gardens, woodlands and chaparral where families can watch birds, take a tram tour, ride the “Enchanted Railroad,” and tour the Japanese Tea House and Japanese Gardens. Self-guided and group tours are available, as are group tours and school programs. Descanso Gardens also hosts a wide variety of seasonal events, fairs and classes for the whole family.

Frank G. Bonelli Regional County Park
120 Via Verde
San Dimas, CA 91773
(909) 599-8411

This regional park in San Dimas occupies approximately 3 square miles and includes a swim beach, hiking areas, RV parking, boat launching areas, hot tubs, golf course, picnic areas and more. Families can hike along the trails, fish, bird-watch, swim, enjoy their personal boats, jet-ski or and picnic at this historic park.

Raging Waters
111 Raging Waters Drive
San Dimas, CA 91773
(909) 802-2200

Located in San Dimas – 21 miles East of Pasadena, Raging Waters is the largest water park in California, with 36 rides and attractions on 50 acres. The park’s attractions include wild rides and slides for adults and older children, as well as slides and tamer water “adventures” for smaller kids. Additionally, the park rents out “beachside” cabanas where families can lounge, eat and enjoy their days together. Tickets can be purchased at a discount online.

Old Town Pasadena
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 356-9725

Including more than 22 blocks of restored historic buildings that now house shops, restaurants, movie theaters, businesses and residences, Old Town Pasadena is a must visit for families. Its main “drag” is Colorado Avenue, which is best known as the main stage for the annual Tournament of Roses parade. Admittedly, Old Town Pasadena will mostly be interesting to the parents, but kids have to eat at some point right? And family-friendly fare is available at eateries like Bucca di Beppo, The Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rockets, and Subway, as well as Baskin Robbins, Jamba Juice, Pinkberry, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Starbucks. Walking tours are also available.

– Jennifer Vides writes the blog JenniferVides.com.