Los Angeles Kids
The Great Escape Club
3525 Glenhurst Ave., Atwater Village
This genius business bills itself as a "playspace and retreat." It's outfitted with a full, modern, and blessedly clean kids playspace that's supervised during open hours. While kids are playing, parents can drink tea and coffee in a parents-only room, plug in and handle emails in a workspace, or, best of all, sign up for massage and reiki treatments. While the concept works best during the week, this is also an excellent place to host a weekend birthday party.
506 N. Larchmont Blvd., Hancock Park
Snooknuk offers a little of everything for the kids—and you. For the kids: dance, music, art, story time, and even improv classes. Plus camps, themed parties, and a no-shoes play area. You can purchase day passes for the play area, or a membership plan. For the adults, there's the Snooknuk Café, which serves coffee, pastries, paninis, and salads—and is made complete with complementary WiFi.
Quinnie & B
1632 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
This brand-new, self-named "tiny toy shoppe" from the owners of nearby Thyme Café and Local Kitchen + Wine Bar is an undeniably adorable addition to Ocean Park. While it's not large, the selection is spot-on, with good birthday options for kids of all ages.
130 S. Barrington Pl., Brentwood
This ages-old toy shop in Brentwood Village is literally packed to the gills with all the classics, from Lego, to Bruder trucks. It's family-owned, old-school, and they happily gift-wrap, making it the perfect stop before a birthday party. There are plenty of small grab and go toys, too, to keep little ones occupied.
2710 Main St., Santa Monica
This is one of those spots that will make you believe that having kids doesn't always require a cacophony of brightly-colored plastic toys: Airy, and sparely stocked, Caro Bambino offers everything you'd want for a clean-lined, modern nursery—and nothing more. There are well-designed cribs, a smattering of wooden toys, and neutral-hued onesies.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., South Central
Since the early 1900s, L.A.'s Natural History Museum has been playing host to millions of artefacts from the past five or so billion years—and the collection keeps growing. (In 2011, they opened Dinosaur Hall.)
2800 E. Observatory Rd., Los Feliz
Griffith Park is one of those spots where you think you’ll spend an hour, and end up staying for the day. Complete with an observatory, a planetarium (there’s a live show every 60-90 minutes), loads of displays, and even more hiking (it sits on more than 3,000 acres, and offers 53 miles of trails), this draws a crowd from across the city. On weekends, it’s packed.
Rancho Sea Air
27335 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
This ranch, built in 1941 by famous horseman Egon Merz, was where Elizabeth Taylor trained for her role in National Velvet. Classes specializing in hunting, jumping, and dressage are available alongside general riding lessons. Rental stables may be available for longer stays if you have your own pony.
3400 N. Beachwood Dr., Hollywood
Sure, you can drive to the base of the Hollywood sign, but why not horseback ride around it instead? Located in Griffith Park, Sunset Ranch leads one- or two-hour trail rides, offering unparalleled vistas of Hollywood (and the sign). Kids, in particular, love this adventure.
La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd., West Hollywood
Pit 91—as it's known to the paleontologists—is still being excavated, and new fossils are continuously being discovered, preserved by the tar that they fell into eons ago. Some of the most impressive of these are on display at the Page Museum.
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