Los Angeles is sometimes touted as not especially child friendly, and looking around Rodeo Dr or the Sunset Strip, you might think that young Angelenos have been banished to a gingerbread cottage in the woods. In reality, LA offers a plethora of child-friendly attractions, from theme parks to interactive museums.
- Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
Ride the very vintage merry-go-round that inspired Walt to create the 'Happiest Place on Earth'.
- Southern Railroad
Ride tiny tracks in Griffith Park, where mini versions of vintage locomotives offer 1-mile joy rides through a leafy landscape.
- Santa Monica Pier
LA's best-loved ocean pier is home to a Ferris wheel, old-fashioned merry-go-round and aquarium to boot.
- Griffith Observatory
Watch eyes widen inside the world's top planetarium then scan the skies through a telescope.
- La Brea Tar Pits
Get up close and personal with curious prehistoric beasts, right beside an ancient death pit.
- California Science Center
Hands-on, high-tech exhibits exploring nature and technology, plus a real-deal NASA space shuttle and seven-story IMAX screen.
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
You'll find one of the world's most impressive dinosaur exhibits at LA's Natural History Museum, as well as creepy bugs and a dedicated Nature Lab.
- Zimmer Children’s Museum
Play instruments, fly planes and drive ambulances at this community-minded museum, specially designed for children aged eight and under.
- Museum of Tolerance
Explore the life of Anne Frank and the importance of compassion and cultural understanding at this interactive educational center.
- Kidspace Children’s Museum
Get wet and a just a little muddy at Pasadena's nature-driven museum, complete with educational gardens and water features.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
Hair-raising, adrenaline-searing roller coasters are the main drawcard at this massive Valley theme park.
- Hurricane Harbor
Magic Mountain's adjacent water park cools kids (and kids at heart) with its wave pool, 1300ft river and soaring, fully enclosed speed waterslides.
- Universal Studios Hollywood
Studio tours, live shows and theme-park rides keep the families coming to Universal Studios Hollywood.
- Sunset Ranch Hollywood
Explore LA's wilder side with a horseback tour through rugged Griffith Park.
For Coastal Fun
- Santa Monica
Fun-fair attractions, wide sweeps of golden sand and wade-friendly shallows beckon families at Santa Monica.
- Aquarium of the Pacific
Eye up strange creatures from the shallows and the deep at Long Beach's knockout aquarium, which also runs harbor cruises and seasonal whale-watching trips.
- Manhattan Beach
Long shallows and an aquarium with touch pool at the end of the pier.
- Cabrillo Beach
Tide pools, the choice of calmer waters and the nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium make this stretch of sand perfect for younger kids.
For Budding Artists
Need to Know
- Car Seats Children under the age of eight must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
- Discounts Most attractions offer discounted admission for children, though theme parks often charge full price for kids as young as 10.
- Strollers Generally not allowed on public buses unless they are folded.