Having two, young children myself I am always looking for something to do with them. Living in Southern California really is a great place to be when you have kids. Even if you’re just visiting, there are places you can take them that will make memories for a lifetime.
There are some places that are more costly than others. If you’re like me, you’re always looking for something cheap or even free! There are a lot of those around here, but sometimes you just need to splurge. Every place I’ve listed here I have visited and can personally recommend. Have Fun!
Without further delay, here are my top 10 sites divided into two groups. The first five are places where you will need to spend some money to get in; the rest is either free or cheap.
Top 5 “Costly” Places to Visit With Kids:
Disneyland – www.disneyland.com
This amusement park is unlike any other. It truly is a magical place full of imagination and detail. Walt Disney’s original creation is my personal favorite place to visit. It has something for everyone and many hidden gems. It is costly, and I would recommend getting a package deal if you are coming as a visit to Southern California.
Universal Studios Hollywood – www.universalstudioshollywood.com
Universal Studios can be a lot of fun. There isn’t as much to do for the real little ones, but it’s still a fun environment. They do have the Nickelodeon zone, which is cute, and some of the shows are good. You can look ahead of time and see if there is any taping of shows you can see. The tickets to see live tapings are usually free.
Legoland – www.legoland.com
Legoland is a really fun, cool place for younger kids. I would say after about age 11 or 12 the kids there would be too young for them. It is geared more toward younger children, which is nice. However, the lego cities that are built and attractions are really neat to see. It’s definitely worth a visit if you have younger children and are around the San Diego area.
Santa Barbara Zoo – www.santabarbarazoo.org
This is the zoo I prefer to go to instead of the L.A Zoo. It’s a hidden gem out here in California. It’s really not expensive at all, and the entire zoo takes about 2-3 hours to walk around. It’s in a beautiful location, right by the ocean, and the weather is always temperate. They have a little train you can purchase tickets for that will take you around the perimeter of the zoo. It really is a great family place.
The Aquarium of the Pacific – www.aquariumofpacific.org
One of Long Beach’s newest attractions. Nothing holds a candle to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but this one is really nice. Many different species of marine life are here and there is a lot to see.
Top 5 “Cheap or Free” Places to Visit With Kids:
The Getty Center – www.getty.edu
I love this museum! The center in L.A. is just phenomenal. It is free admission with a small price for parking only. There is so much to see here and it really can take a day to walk around. There is a children’s center there where kids can explore, but the best part is obviously the antiques and history there. I really can’t express how amazing this place is. I think everyone should visit here at least once.
Gull Wings Children’s Museum – www.gullwings.org
This is a really cute, not well-known museum. It’s located in Oxnard and is tiny, but full of fun things for the kids to do. It’s not expensive to get in, and the kids can easily spend a half a day playing there. They have birthday parties for a reasonable fee as well where you can have the run of the place for your own party.
Southern California Science Center – www.californiasciencecenter.org
This is another really fun museum for the entire family. It is free!! You can easily spend a day there. There are so many things to learn, manipulate, see, touch, etc. Also, there are gardens you can stroll around and the Natural History Museum is next door!
Fillmore Rail Station – www.fwry.com
The railroad station in Fillmore is another fun, little known treat. They have many options to ride the rail if you’d like (including Thomas the Tank Engine who comes once a year), and beautiful old locomotives to explore.
Venice Beach – www.venicebeach.com
The historic Venice Beach is always a fun place to visit in Southern California. Besides the obvious attraction of the beach itself, there are shops, musicians, art, restaurants, etc. Lots of fun people watching here too!
Enjoy your day exploring!