Health, Safety, Sleep, and more
- Tot Squad – These folks will help install your carseat/check your own installation/teach you to install your carseat, as well as professionally clean and repair strollers and carseats following the inevitable messes of childhood.
- SoCal Baby Wearers – Try out and be sure you are correctly using a baby carrier – so important for hands-free parenting! These folks are super supportive and highly informative about everything baby-wearing-related.
- Safely Ever After – Pattie Fitzgerald’s innovative, non-fearful safety programs for parents and children. Pattie blends her expertise as a certified prevention educator, speaker, author, and most importantly as a mom to instruct families everywhere on her effective strategies for keeping kids safe.
- No More Counting Sheep – My colleague Sasha Hawkes LMFT, sleep consultant extraordinaire.
- Santa Monica Dentistry for Children – My friend Dr. Jessie Schwartz and her colleague Dr. Ellen Stone started this wonderful pediatric dentistry practice. Your kids will walk away with clean teeth and a sugar free lollipop.
- StitchMD – Emergency medical attention for major and minor injuries and lacerations by accomplished Beverly Hills plastic surgeons.
- Los Angeles Birth Partners – A community center for new parents and parents to be.
- LA Doula Collective – Find the perfect doula (birth and labor attendant/assistant) to help you bring your baby into the world!
- Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy – Swim classes, water safety, and more for your little ones!
- Dolphinsgate Baby Aquatics – Good vibes, salt-water tropical pool, and gentle, intuitive swim lessons for baby and beyond.
- Swim To Me – Conrad is a local legend, and can transform just about any child into a swimmer.
- Baila Baila – Spanish language music, movement, arts/crafts, and more!
- Music Together – Developmentally appropriate music and rhythm classes for little ones. We love Marina Music Together!
- Moo Moo Musica – Music and movement fun for the whole family
- Beat Buds – Your kids will think they’re rock gods.
- Little Wing – Preschool music classes (age 3+) offered by the School of Rock
Concerts, Movies, and Events
- McCabe’s Kids Concerts – Monthly Sunday morning fun at this Santa Monica institution!
- Rina Rubenstein’s LA Culture Alert – Email Rina at CultureAlert@hotmail.com to be added to her monthly email blast filled with FREE cultural events across the LA area.
- Eat/See/Hear – LA’s premier outdoor movie, food truck, and live music event series.
- Monday Morning Mommy Movie at the Grove – Screaming, crying, and diaper changes are welcome at this family-friendly weekly first-run movie event at the Grove.
- Hidden Los Angeles – Sharing exciting events and opportunities around this incredible city. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
- Saturday Mornings at the Opera – Join LA Opera for family friendly arts events inspired by the current opera season.
- Zooga Yoga – Locations in Culver City and South Bay, with yoga and music classes for the whole family. Weekly RIE-inspired classes with Eileen O’Sullivan at the Culver City location as well.
- Yoga West – Kundalini yoga – Thursday 12pm Mommy and Me Yoga. Prenatal offerings as well.
- Happy Baby – Parent/baby yoga classes, mama workouts (babies welcome), and yoga/movement classes for toddlers and kids of all ages. El Segundo location.
- Moms at Om – Perinatal yoga and doula services by doula and yogini Keya Nkonoki.
Counseling, support, and parent education
- Well Baby Center – This Mar Vista community parenting center offers sliding scale psychotherapy, therapeutic parent-baby/toddler groups, in addition to parent/child yoga, parent/child music classes, and free play yard use every Thursday!
- MOMS Club – Find your local community of supportive moms for regular playdates, moms’ night out, classes, and more.
- Happy Baby – Offering regular parent support groups and educational events.
- Hari’s RIE studio – Established in 1990, Hari’s RIE studio offers parent child classes as well as educational workshops for those involved with young children from birth to three.
- Cassidy Preschool Parent-Toddler Classes – Support, connection, and enrichment for parents and their small children.
- BabyGroup – Provides guidance and insight to parents of infants and young children in a friendly and comfortable, supportive group environment. Founded in 1996, in Santa Monica, California, by noted child development specialist Donna Holloran.
- The Pump Station – A breastfeeding support and new parent resource center that educates, guides, and encourages new parents as they learn to care for their newborns. Our programs begin with outstanding prenatal breastfeeding and baby care classes offered in Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Hollywood/Beverly Hills, and the San Fernando Valley. For nursing moms, our IBCLC licensed lactation consultants provide breastfeeding support on an individual and small group basis.
Museums and Adventures
- Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Museum – A permanent, award-winning children’s and family destination where kids can play, climb, build, explore, make believe, and make friends–all while exploring a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark, filled to the rafters with whimsical animals made from surprising and whimsical found materials. Schedule a timed entry for your visit, and hit the rooftop archeological dig while you’re there. Weekend family art projects are also offered regularly.
- The Natural History Museum and California ScienCenter – A fabulous scientific double header museum day is in store for you, and right off a Metro stop as well. In the springtime, the NHM offers Natural History Museum First Fridays, staying open late and featuring live music, drinks, and food trucks. They have a similar FREE summer nights in the garden program as well.
- Zimmer Children’s Museum – Located near museum row, the Zimmer features hands-on exhibits for children 0-8, as well as classes and other family activities. (UPDATE: Currently being relocated to the Santa Monica Place Mall, effective November 2018!)
- Long Beach Aquarium/Aquarium of the Pacific – Although it’s a commitment to get to the aquarium from west LA, it’s well worth it, with stunning marine displays and touch tanks for little fingers.
- Cabrillo Marine Aquarium – If Long Beach is too far, head down to San Pedro for this family-friendly, earth-conscious little gem.
- Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier – If San Pedro is still too far, take a short walk off a long pier, literally, and head down into this fantastic kid-friendly conservancy aquarium. Touch tanks, a puppet theater, regular opportunities to help feed the residents, and more, all with the added bonus of knowing you’re helping preserve the fragile ecosystem of the Santa Monica Bay. Plus, stop upstairs for a ride on the historic Santa Monica Pier Carousel, and maybe even grab an old-time ice cream or cherry phosphate at Soda Jerks!
- Santa Monica Airport – Visit the Museum of Flying! Watch the planes take off and land! Put your kids in an actual plane! Play on the playground/dog park, then cap it all off with lunch at the Spitfire Grill.
- Museum Row on Miracle Mile – Potentially, you could visit five awesome and kid-friendly museums in one day: LACMA, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits, and the Petersen Automotive Museum. There are often food trucks parked on Wilshire Boulevard, and LACMA’s restaurants are fantastic. Or, pack a picnic and dine on the fabulous lawn spanning between LACMA and the Tar Pits.
- The Getty Center and Getty Villa – They’re free. They’re beautiful. The food is good. What more could you want?
- Discovery Cube Los Angeles – Awesome children’s science center and the first major museum in the San Fernando Valley. Additional location in Orange County.
- Kidspace – Pasadena’s premiere kids’ museum!
Indoor Playgrounds/Get Your Wiggles Out
- Under the Sea – A large indoor playground complete with mazes, a bounce house, cars, slides, and a healthy dose of chaos.
- My Gym – A national chain of studios offering developmentally appropriate gym classes, drop in play, and parents’ nights out.
- Big and Tiny – An on-demand co-working site with childcare!
- Wild Child Gym – A nature-inspired play space that offers classes, free play, parents’ nights out, and more.
- Dan the Man’s SuperKids – Fun and engaging gymnastics classes for kids age 1-12. They even offer a parents’ night out for kids age 3 and up!
- Kidville – Music & dance, art, and an indoor playground, plus classes and other family friendly offerings.
- Adventureplex Toddler Town – Part of Manhattan Beach’s larger AdventurePlex facility (with rock climbing walls, classes, camps, and other fitness type programs), toddler town is just for the tykes, a play zone where kids can get their hands “dirty” down on The Farm; shop for fresh fruits and vegetables in The Market; and explore all the amenities inside The Beach House – each specially designed to make learning healthy habits fun!
- We Rock the Spectrum – A nurturing, and fun kids’ gym environment to foster learning, exploration and sensory-safe experiences for ALL kids.
- Apex – Indoor kids’ gym that challenges kids physically to improve body awareness and build self-confidence.
Children’s Book Stores
- Children’s Book World – A full service children’s bookshop in West Los Angeles stocking over 79,000 titles for children, parents, teachers, and collectors.
- Books and Cookies – Books. And cookies. Two of my favorite things. They also offer kid friendly classes, concerts, and other events.
- Small World Books – While not exclusively a children’s book store, Small World is a book lover’s book store with an excellent curated children’s section. Your receipt gets you 10% off at the adjacent Sidewalk Cafe.
- The Huntington Beach Adventure Playground – Holy cats, is this place cool! Rock climbing, zip lines, stand up rafting, mud slides, and more unstructured free outdoor play! It’s best suited to kids 5-12, but kids as young as 3-4 will have a blast; they’ll just require more of your eyes and hands on supervision. The cost of admission is $3 per child (cash or check), and adults are free. (Additional location in Irvine)
- LA Nature Kids – “Kids belong in Nature. This is where we play, feel, smell, touch, think, reflect, observe and learn at our best because all our senses are awake and alert in the wild. Our goal is to make some space in our children lives for free, unstructured play in Nature.” Nature field trip based preschool, summer camps, and outings!
- BeePlanet – Explore, play, and learn with your family using art, music, nature, storytelling, sports, make believe, waterplay and more!
- G-Team Kids’ Adventures – Hiking, plant identification, beach safety, & more
- Underwood Family Farms – Fruit picking, little red wagons, a petting zoo, and more. Bring your sunscreen and the whole family for a day of fun.
- Stoneview Nature Center – Pick figs, grapes, and lemonade berries at this 5-acre park in Culver City, organized by the revolutionary Fallen Fruit collective. Check out Fallen Fruit’s first public fruit park, Del Aire Fruit Park in El Segundo as well.
- Huntington Gardens – Spend a day in the beautiful grounds of the Huntington Library and Gardens. Stay for tea!
- Star Education – Visit the inspiring Eco Station, an environmental science museum, an exotic wildlife rescue center, and a haven for endangered and illegally-trafficked exotic animals. They also offer after school programs, camps, and more.
- Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook – Take in breathtaking views, hike through restored native habitat, and enjoy a state of the art visitor center at your stunning new urban park, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Hike up the epic stairs or take the switchbacks to get to the top.
- Take a hike! – No, really. There are some great hikes in and around LA. This article lists some great family friendly LA area hiking trails, and this one lists 10 fabulous short hikes in SoCal.
- Tinkergarten – Outdoor classes where kids learn through play. Many locations!
- reDiscover – reDiscover is a nexus for environmental sustainability and creativity using recycled materials. We achieve our mission and vision through strategic initiatives at our center with the reuse warehouse, gallery and event space, at schools and in the community.
- ArtZone – Kid-friendly art projects, a water play room, and activities galore!
- Rosie’s Girls – A camp for middle school girls that builds self-esteem, leadership, and physical confidence through exploration of the trades and other non-traditional activities.
Wet and Wild Fun for the Whole Family
- Wi Spa – This full-service Korean Spa was voted “Best Family Fun Spa – Los Angeles 2010.” According to their website, “Wi Spa is a family spa and welcomes guests of all ages.”
- Tongva Park – A wonderful oasis right by the 3rd street promenade, Santa Monica Pier, and Santa Monica Place mall. With a spray ground, soft rubberized surfaces to jump on, fun slides, and climbing structures, this hidden treasure tucked away across from City Hall offers welcome relief from the hot summer sun!
- Annenberg Beach House – Even if you don’t get a coveted membership to the pool itself, the facilities surrounding the beach house include a splash pad, covered play areas, and a snack bar.
- Seaside Lagoon – This Redondo Beach King’s Pier throwback features a large saltwater lagoon that offers trained lifeguard supervision, a large sand area for sunbathing, children’s play equipment, snack bar facilities, and volleyball courts. There is also a grassed area and luau shelter for day and evening events.
- Virginia Avenue Park – This Santa Monica park offers awesome splash pad fun for those hot summer days!
- Stoner Park Pool – Splash pad fun!