Family Attractions in Los Angeles

Initially Los Angeles doesn’t seem like a family town, with all of the movie stars, the rock musicians, the hustle and bustle of the movie industry executives but as is often the case, first impressions can be quite misleading. Los Angeles is actually loaded with things for families to explore together and wholesome fun can be had in the City of Angels.

Whether you’re simply looking for a good time that will give the little ones fond memories of if you’re out for some serious educational value, all of it can be found in Los Angeles. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find both ends of the spectrum in one location.

One great place to visit is Griffith Observatory. Almost as famous as the stars themselves, Griffith Observatory is an icon of Los Angeles and a national leader in astronomy. Resting on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, it’s visible from many parts of the city and is therefore pretty hard to miss. One of the highlights of the Griffith Observatory is the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The new dome and the laser digital star projection system turns the 300 seat auditorium into an evening under the stars right before your very eyes. This amazing transformation then pulls the viewers along through cosmic exploration and discovery. Centered in the Universe and Water is Life are the current shows being featured, check the website for times and ticket prices. Another presentation that must be seen is the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, which gives guests the fascinating history of the Griffith Observatory from its origination through the restoration from 2002 to 2006. Among the regular exhibits are the Wilder Hall of the Eye, the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky, Cosmic Connection and Gunther Depths of Space. Even the outside of the Observatory is worth a second look as exhibits and features around the building are designed to inform and excite interest in the solar system we live in.

If you’ve got one of those kids who is just fascinated by prehistoric creatures, or if you’re still captivated by the giant animals, then the Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits is something that can’t be missed. Located in the heart of Los Angeles in what used to be a tar pit, the Page Museum is one of the world’s most famous fossil locations. Here the largest and most diverse display of plants and animals in the world was discovered. Most of the artifacts found are from the last ice age, about 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. The era saw saber-toothed cats and wooly mammoths roaming the area and many examples of each have been found in the more than 100 tar pits within the 23 acre park. Pit 91 was excavated with the others in the early 1900’s but was reopened in 1969 and continued to be a popular tourist spot ever since. Fossils go from the pit to the Paleontology Laboratory where the public is invited to view the objects being cleaned, identified, and labeled.  Currently the pit is closed but docent led tours will take you through the area for viewing and fossils as well as life-size replicas are on display.

MarilynCreative Commons License photo credit: coconut wireless

Marilyn Monroe look alike character at Universal Studios Hollywood

Okay, so the science part is fun and educational but no trip to Hollywood would be complete without some sort of movie tie in. And there’s just nothing like Universal Studios Hollywood for a family fun day at the movies. Universal Studios does not offer the back lot tours of the old days, but there is a studio tour available that will take you behind the scenes of many favorite movies and television series. You’ll also get loaded with tricks and tips used to make movies come to life. In addition there are some exciting rides and great shows based on favorite shows and characters. One of the new features and a surefire hit with kids is the mega-attraction based on the long running television series, The Simpsons. Shrek 4-D is another guaranteed hit with the little ones as the characters almost come to life. For a little more excitement, the Revenge of the Mummy thrill coaster or the Jurassic Park 80 foot raft plunge will get your heart racing. Finally, take the family through City Walk where they can enjoy a great dinner at a family friendly restaurant, spend hours shopping for just the right souvenir, listen to concerts from hot new bands, or if you’ve got time away from the kids, check out the happening night spots geared to adults. Oh, and did I forget to mention that you can catch a movie or two as well.

Robin Williams nel Walk of FameCreative Commons License photo credit: Tanzen80

Robin Williams star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Haven’t had your fill of the movie industry yet?  Well, that’s understandable because no trip to Los Angeles is complete without at least a little walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Designed as a tribute to over 2000 artists who have made significant contributions to film, ratio, television and theater. In 1960 Joanne Woodward was the first star to be immortalized on the walk and the list of notable and famous people honored has just continued to grow. Currently the walk is run by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who annually reviews the list of applicants and selects the next year’s inductees.

As long as you’re out and about on Hollywood Boulevard, a stop at Grauman’s Chinese Theater seems in order.  Grauman’s tribute to the stars is much more personal as the honoree is asked to place handprints, footprints, or even paw prints in concrete, forever leaving their mark on the world. Be sure to turn your head upward, as Grauman’s theater itself is quite a spectacle to behold. More than 75 years of history are caught inside this awesome building.

We have only just scratched the surface of things to do in the Los Angeles area. There are more museums, tourist traps, child oriented excursions, and parks to visit. And on top of that there is the ocean with all of the excitement and fun that a family can have by just spending a day at the beach.  Los Angeles may be a Mecca for the star struck or the wanna-bes, but it can also be a great place to take a family and learn about the history of this famous town.