Los Angeles may be more known to the world as the land of Hollywood, glamorous celebrities, the infamously cunning paparazzi, and the land of movies and music. However, you’ll be surprised at the number of attractions within the cityscape that are completely suitable for kids and their parents or grandparents.
Right in the midst of all the glitz and glamor, you’ll find fun and lively gems like theme parks and some old-school amusement centers. Of course, at this point, most people would be thinking of Disneyland and the Hollywood Walk of Fame… but really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll find a play space (and delicious food and drinks for everyone else) at the unsuspecting Giggle N’ Hugs; immersive playful exhibits and real-world action about global citizenship and world injustices at The Zimmer Children’s Museum; electric bike tours around Santa Monica and Venice Beach; and a fun day-out splashing around in the waves and cooling waters of Hermosa Beach located 30 minutes southwest of the main downtown LA area.
But frankly, who can leave the theme parks and amusement centers of Los Angeles out of the list when talking about the best family-friendly attractions in the City of Angels. Here, allow me to just skim the surface with just the top 5.
1. Griffith Park & Southern Railroad
4400 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Little boys… and little girls too, in fact… are naturally attracted to the chuggin’ trains and locomotives at The Griffith Park. The relaxing ambiance allows for easy cognizant tours while the little ones as families sign up for the gripping affordable rides. The friendly staff is always readily available at the well-kept as it remains open every day of the year except for major holidays like Christmas.
Just to be sure, visit their website or social media sites for the latest update or schedule. Visitors can enjoy the one-mile easy track along the bridge, into forested areas, and around the Old Western Town with the Southern Railroad, enjoy a mini 16″ train ride (twice for good measure) with Travel Town Railroad while exploring ancient cars and rolling stocks, or sign up for the limited number of Holiday Lights Train Ride which takes place at the end of every year.
Also be on the lookout for The Colonel Griffith Locomotive which was built by one of the world’s premier builders, The Freedom Train which is a streamliner built by the All American Streamliner Company of Los Angeles, The Stanley Diamond, Five-Seat Steel Coaches, or the Six-Seat Wood Gondolas. The last two were commonly used, back in the day, to carry bulk goods across the great continent of North America. Which is no mean feat considering the technology they were working with at the time.
2. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
You don’t need to know how Hermione used ‘Alohomora’ to unlock doors so that she can go sneaking around the great Hogwarts castle because you’ll get to ‘Accio’ your way around the theme park to enjoy the fantastic and magical rides. The wizarding world is located on the grounds of the world-renowned Universal Studios Hollywood and the dedicated Harry Potter franchise features daring heroes and dark villains that you’re already familiar with.
Apart from the rides, fans will get their fill of thrill by purchasing wands with magnetic sensors from Ollivander’s Wand Shop to perform popular Harry Potter spells around the theme park… like opening a box of candy without lifting a finger or unlocking a cabinet with a wave of the wand. Kids and adults alike will also be entertained by shows like The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, Ollivanders, Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally.
The theme park stays true to the Harry Potter stories while also helping non-fans enjoy the experience. The experience, however, will simply be more memorable for fans of the long-standing series.
3. Sherman Oaks Castle Park
1509, 4989 Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
If you’re feeling like batting a few rounds, playing some mini golf with your kids, or shooting at aliens in an arcade center, Sherman Oaks Castle Park might do the trick. A premier family entertainment center located in the heart of San Fernando Valley, it is a stellar example of how one location can meet the preferences of both adults and kids alike. While it is fun for the kids, it is also great for a night out as well. The affordable prices, coupled with its well-maintained, non-smoking environment, makes it a deal breaker when it comes to party locations.
Ordering some pizza, playing arcade games like pinball, and spending about an hour navigating a golf ball around 4 different mini golf courses at the park with your family and friends is a good way to spend the celebratory weekend. The park is open from 10 am to 11 pm from Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 12 am on Friday, 9 am to 12 am on Saturday and 9 am to 11 pm on Sunday so, give them a call to book a spot if you’re visiting in a large group.
4. Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355
Located approximately 45 minutes away from downtown Los Angeles, in Valencia, the 260-acre national theme park experienced a surge in popularity after it was bought over from Newhall Land and Farming Company which used to run it as Magic Mountain. The LA franchise of Six Flags firmly holds the record for having the world’s most roller coasters in an amusement park, with 19 of them open to visitors. The thrill rides have the capacity to draw more than 3 million visitors from all around North America. It, however, DID ride the roller coaster revolution of Magic Mountain that it bought over.
It gained further traction as an LA tourist magnet with the introduction of a gated water park called The Six Flags Hurricane Harbor which opened in 1995. The body slides, kiddie water play areas, lazy river, wave pool and tube slides proved hits with vacationing families. It offers season passes and combos that allow you unlimited admissions at an affordable rate. It also offers benefits like sale bonus items, discounts, and admissions into the Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park events held at the park.
5. Amazing Escape Room
16933 Parthenia St #100, North Hills, CA 91343
Always innovating and introducing new themed rooms and games into it, The Amazing Escape Room, located approximately a 35-minute charter bus ride from downtown Los Angeles, in North Hills, is the perfect place for corporate team-building events, birthday parties, and bachelor or bachelorette parties. You’ll be assigned to a group (if you don’t already have 10 to 12 people to form your own team of sleuths) so that the group can team up and work together to uncover clues located throughout the locked rooms to solve problems in an effort to code-crack their way out of the rooms.
Each of the rooms has its own theme and design so, even if you’ve been to the attraction before, there’s something new to try each time. Don’t worry if you find yourself running out of time because, from a distance (albeit with a camera), the Game Master may be kind enough to point you in the right direction if you’re stuck.
Springing Into Action For Summer Vacations
Now, with spring approaching, is THE time to get started with the hashing together of the field trip, summer outing, family vacation, group trip or corporate function. Don’t wait until the final curtain call to do the last minute planning, although Bus Charter LA CAN help with that as well – it is best to give yourself some leeway to give the trip some final touches instead letting things slide under the cracks or lost in the urgent shuffle.