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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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.
Under the Sea – A large indoor playground complete with mazes, a bounce house, cars, slides, and a healthy dose of chaos.
A Magic Forest – A lovely Waldorf-inspired indoor play space with Groundworks coffee espresso drinks at the ready for little explorers’ tired and thirsty parents. They offer music and other types of classes as well.
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!
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.