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La Brea Tar Pits, an ice age fossil site in the heart of Los Angeles.
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The 30 best things to do in Los Angeles with kids

From Griffith Park to the Natural History Museum, these are the top spots for families in LA

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La Brea Tar Pits, an ice age fossil site in the heart of Los Angeles.
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There are so many kid-friendly places to see in Los Angeles, where do you begin? As the second-largest urban region in the United States, LA offers families more activities and adventures than many small countries, but that doesn’t mean they are all worth the time.

Sure, you could spend a week at Disneyland, but that’s not really what the city is all about. Take some pointers from the locals and see Los Angeles County as they do: Full of vibrant cultural opportunities, art, amazing outdoor spaces, and yes, even public transportation.

The weather in LA also means that a family vacation is worth the trek at any time of year. The city is a dream for kiddos who love to run and play outside in the sunshine. And even in places that are designed for kids—like Griffith Park or the children’s garden at the Huntington Library—adults will find plenty to pique their interest.

Whether you’re age two or 62, behold, the 30 best destinations in Los Angeles for families and kids.

Traveling to other cities with your kiddos? Don’t miss Curbed’s maps of the best family activities in Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, and New York City.

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Descanso Gardens

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Full of lily ponds, roses, and leafy trees, Descanso Gardens lets kids roam free and explore the natural world. 

Don't miss the Enchanted Railroad, daily story times, and the family-friendly concerts in the summer.

A post shared by kaori (@bellysesame) on

Kidspace Children's Museum

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With 3.5 acres of interactive exhibits including an indoor imagination workshop, an ant colony climbing structure, and an interactive greenhouse, the Kidspace Children's Museum is one of the top destinations for LA kiddos. 

Don't miss the outdoor Arroyo Adventure area, where children can learn about ecosytems by climbing a giant hawk's nest, building dams, and exploring a mud kitchen. 

Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes, towel, and water shoes; things can get messy.

A post shared by @bigbr0wnd0g on

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

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Hop on the free shuttle from the Gold Line and head to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden for gorgeous mini-hikes and a variety of hands-on activities.

Kids will love the roaming peacocks, bookworms story time, and the family adventure classes offered monthly.

Griffith Park

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Griffith Park has something for everyone, whether it's hiking to the Hollywood Sign, exploring the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, searching the sky at the Griffith Observatory, or taking a ride on the historic merry-go-round. But one of our favorite things to do is to take the kids to the Griffith Park Pony Rides, where for $5 a ride, children can choose from slow, medium, or fast ponies.

Griffith Park also boasts three different train rides: a larger locomotive operated at the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, a smaller train rolling out of the Travel Town railroad, and the L.A. Zoo Choo Choo train. 

Pro tip: Local parents flock to Trails Cafe for picnic-style seating in the shade and plenty of pastries and sandwiches.

Children line up behind a telescope. There is a child looking through one eye through the lens of the telescope. Shutterstock

TreePeople

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Located on 45 acres of Goldwater Canyon Park in the Santa Monica mountains, TreePeople offers nature trails and experiential education with the goal of teaching kids environmental stewardship. 

Daily admission is free, but check the website for special events like moonlight hikes, group dog walks, and native plant classes.

A post shared by TreePeople (@treepeoplela) on

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

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The Huntington consists of an extensive library of rare books, three separate art galleries, and a botanical garden that covers more than 120 acres. Kids will love exploring the desert, Japanese, rose, and Chinese gardens.

A conservatory provides middle-school-age students exhibits on botany, but for the little ones (2 to 7 years old), the Helen and Peter Bing Children's Garden is not to miss. 

Children can splash in the water, explore a fog grotto, climb through a prism tunnel, and even dance in a circular rainbow room.

Pro tip: Bring a swimsuit or change of clothes to take advantage of all the fun.

El Capitan Theatre

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Families love the old El Capitan Theatre, a glittering example of cinema that opened in 1926 on Hollywood Boulevard. 

Beyond hosting "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for parents with toddlers, the Disney-operated theater also adds something extra to any film experience. Expect to see familiar characters, live singing, and the delighted faces of children as streamers and confetti fall from the ceiling.

The inside of a theater. There is a box office structure in the center. The walls are ornately decorated with mosaics and tile-work. There are movie posters hanging in lit frames on the walls. Shutterstock

Time Travel Mart

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Older kids will get a kick out of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a time travel-themed retail store with the slogan, "Whenever you are, we're already then." 

Run by 826, the founders of the Superhero Supply store in Brooklyn and the Pirate Supply Company in San Francisco, the Echo Park version sells humorous gifts from the past, present, and future. 

The front of the store boasts its quirky collection, while the back houses the nonprofit tutoring center where 20 to 30 students receive instruction each day.

Echo Park Lake

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Located in central Los Angeles with a stunning view of Downtown, Echo Park Lake is a favorite destination for strolling, fishing, and picnicking. But the best part is the pedal boats available for rent. 

For just $6 per kid and $11 per adult, you can paddle around the lake for up to an hour.

A body of blue-green water surrounded by trails and palm trees Shutterstock

Los Angeles State Historic Park

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After being closed for more than three years, this Chinatown park has reopened with a whole new look. Families will love the new perks of a $20 million renovation: A pleasant pedestrian walkway, picnic areas, wetlands, a public fruit orchard, and an elevated lookout point.

Even better, the park’s also added a ranger station and a welcome center with the always-important bathrooms.

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

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The world’s most famous ice age fossil site is conveniently located in LA’s Miracle Mile district. 

Kids can take an excavator tour of the tar pits to see what the scientists are digging up, then head into the museum for exhibits on the Ice Age or a 3D film showing how animals become trapped in tar. 

There’s also a fossil lab where budding scientists can see what happens after fossils are extracted from the tar. Pack a picnic and have lunch in the park surrounding the museum, right in the middle of all the tar pit action.

In the foreground is a body of water with sculptures of elephants at the edge. In the distance are palm trees and a large building. Shutterstock

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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As the best art museum for kids in the Los Angeles area, LACMA delivers on top-notch art in a family-friendly environment. 

Start in the spacious modern art galleries on the second floor of the Ahmanson building, burn off energy in the LACMA sculpture garden, see the illuminating Urban Light sculpture, and don't miss the Boone Children's Gallery for painting and story time.

A group of children sit around a large table with various arts and crafts materials on the table. LACMA

Grand Park

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Located in Downtown Los Angeles, between the Music Center and City Hall, the 12-acre Grand Park is an urban oasis complete with fountains, tons of green space and drought-tolerant landscaping, and bright pink benches. 

Kids will love the splash pad and the whimsical playground (closer to City Hall) that looks like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

A child in a colorful outfit is doing a handstand in the foreground in shallow water. In the distance is a fountain and many children standing in and around the fountain. There are buildings and trees behind the fountain. Courtesy of Grand Park

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

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The birthplace of Los Angeles is full of activities for the whole family. Take a stroll down colorful Olvera Street (and grab some churros); take a step back in time at LA’s oldest home, the Avila Adobe; visit the old Plaza Firehouse. Conveniently located across the street from Union Station, the historic site also hosts frequent kid-friendly events, from live music to dance performances to the annual Las Posadas festival every December.

Angels Flight Railway

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If you have kids who love old-timey transit, it doesn’t get any better than Angels Flight—a tiny railway that climbs up and down Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles.

The two train cars are 116 years old and are an essential part of a Grand Central Market visit. The short ride costs $1 each way, or 50 cents with a TAP card.

The Los Angeles Public Library

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Book lovers beware: You might want to stay in the children's section of the Downtown public library forever. Wander among the stacks, enjoy the rich wood shelves, gawk at the colorful California history murals, or opt for one of the many story times. 

Older kids will like the computer zone and the young adult section that contains a well-curated list of recommendations.

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles

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Sometimes kids just want to ride in an elevator, and there’s no better place to do it than at this Downtown LA hotel. The spherical, glass-walled elevators scurry up and down the building’s exterior, providing a thrilling view of the city’s skyline. The hotel’s space station-like interior is also fun to explore.

A glass-walled building made up of multiple connected spherical towers Shutterstock

The Last Bookstore

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As California's largest used and new book and record store, the two-story Last Bookstore is part Harry Potter wonderland and part artist loft. 

Hit the kids section on the first floor and then take a stroll through the "Labyrinth" on the second floor, a quirky area with used books organized by color and a very photographable book tunnel.

Hauser & Wirth

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This recently opened, 116,000-square-foot complex in the Arts District is one of six Hauser & Wirth art centers located around the world devoted to contemporary art and modern masters. 

Kids and parents alike will enjoy the art and the amazing indoor and outdoor spaces, and the onsite restaurant is not only kid friendly, it also boasts 12 rare-breed chickens that are sure to delight the younger crowd. 

Not feeling a sit-down meal? Bring your own lunch and picnic in the garden.

A post shared by Terner (@terner_p) on

CicLAvia

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If you happen to be in Los Angeles during a CicLAvia event, drop everything and take the kiddos to this virbant car-free street festival. 

Working with the city, CicLAvia temporarily opens streets to all Angelenos to bike, walk, skate, dance, and play. Free to the public, it's a giant, family-friendly party that turns streets into parks. 

Check the website to find out when and where the next event will be held.

A street with multiple people riding bicycles. The street is lined with palm trees and shops. There is a person with rollerblades on amongst the bicycle riders. Rob Rovira/Flickr

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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This natural history museum impresses with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. But while the exhibits are stunning and the dinosaurs are massive, the museum also delivers on the little things, like tiny chairs for tiny people. 

Check out the rotating exhibits and don't miss the Nature Lab, a hands-on science lab with live animals and touchable specimens suitable for kiddos of all ages.

A child looks inside a large life-size diorama of bears in nature enclosed in glass. Shutterstock

California African American Museum

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Located on the eastern end of Exposition Park, near Downtown, the California African American Museum aims to showcase under-represented artists of color. Ever-changing exhibits give kids a taste of the arts, and a robust family program hosts mixed-media workshops for all ages on select weekends.

California Science Center

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Kids will like the IMAX theater and the rotating exhibits at the California Science Center, but the real draw is the space shuttle Endeavour on display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. 

The museum is in the process of building Endeavour a new home, but in the meantime you can still see the NASA shuttle that traveled to space 25 times between 1992 and 2011. 

Note that timed reservations are required to see Endeavour on weekends, holidays, and high attendance weeks.

A man, woman, and two small children look up at a large aircraft on display in a terminal with high ceilings. California Science Center

Tongva Park

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Santa Monica's $42.3 million Tongva Park opened in 2013 to rave reviews, especially given the 6.2 acre park's stunning transformation from parking lot to ideal outdoor space. 

Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the people behind New York's High Line, the park boasts 18-foot observation decks, winding walkways, rolling hills, and expansive lawns. 

Don't miss the playground and splash pad in the southeast quadrant of the park.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

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Run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay, this under-the-radar aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier is home to 100 species of marine animals and plants. 

Kids rave about the interactive exhibits, the mesmerizing "moon jellies," and watching aquarium staff feed the horn and swell sharks.

A post shared by Pam Spesak (@pam_spesak) on

Discovery Cube Los Angeles

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Originally built as an expansion of the much-loved, but long gone Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, this huge, kid-oriented science center finally opened in 2014. It features a wide array of regular exhibits and temporary exhibitions where young ones can take a virtual helicopter tour or hop aboard a Zamboni machine.

The expansive Hansen Dam Recreation Area next door is a great place for a post-visit picnic.

Aquarium of the Pacific

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With more than 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers way more than a few fish in a tank. Kids can get up close with a penguin, touch over 150 sharks in Shark Lagoon, and feed colorful birds in the Lorikeet forest.

Pro tip: Consider reserving a spot in the Animal Encounters to feed a sea lion or other creatures.

Battleship USS Iowa Museum

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As the West Coast’s only battleship open to the public, the USS Iowa Museum lets kids explore maritime history in an interactive way. Kid-friendly tours show all the exhibits on board, and a must-do scavenger hunt is a highlight.

Children's Book World

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Kids and adults alike will love this cozy book store with more than 80,000 titles and loads of interesting stuffed animals and educational toys. Find your way using the helpful age-appropriate sections and check the website for story hours.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

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This family-friendly marine life center isn’t as well known as the Aquarium of the Pacific, but it’s still got plenty to offer—starting with $5 admission for adults and $1 for children. The aquarium exclusively focuses on local marine life, and houses several exhibits on Southern California’s oceans in its Frank Gehry-designed building. Staff also offer free guided tidepool walks on weekends at nearby Cabrillo Beach.

Descanso Gardens

Full of lily ponds, roses, and leafy trees, Descanso Gardens lets kids roam free and explore the natural world. 

Don't miss the Enchanted Railroad, daily story times, and the family-friendly concerts in the summer.

A post shared by kaori (@bellysesame) on

Kidspace Children's Museum

With 3.5 acres of interactive exhibits including an indoor imagination workshop, an ant colony climbing structure, and an interactive greenhouse, the Kidspace Children's Museum is one of the top destinations for LA kiddos. 

Don't miss the outdoor Arroyo Adventure area, where children can learn about ecosytems by climbing a giant hawk's nest, building dams, and exploring a mud kitchen. 

Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes, towel, and water shoes; things can get messy.

A post shared by @bigbr0wnd0g on

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Hop on the free shuttle from the Gold Line and head to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden for gorgeous mini-hikes and a variety of hands-on activities.

Kids will love the roaming peacocks, bookworms story time, and the family adventure classes offered monthly.

Griffith Park

Children line up behind a telescope. There is a child looking through one eye through the lens of the telescope. Shutterstock

Griffith Park has something for everyone, whether it's hiking to the Hollywood Sign, exploring the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, searching the sky at the Griffith Observatory, or taking a ride on the historic merry-go-round. But one of our favorite things to do is to take the kids to the Griffith Park Pony Rides, where for $5 a ride, children can choose from slow, medium, or fast ponies.

Griffith Park also boasts three different train rides: a larger locomotive operated at the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, a smaller train rolling out of the Travel Town railroad, and the L.A. Zoo Choo Choo train. 

Pro tip: Local parents flock to Trails Cafe for picnic-style seating in the shade and plenty of pastries and sandwiches.

Children line up behind a telescope. There is a child looking through one eye through the lens of the telescope. Shutterstock

TreePeople

Located on 45 acres of Goldwater Canyon Park in the Santa Monica mountains, TreePeople offers nature trails and experiential education with the goal of teaching kids environmental stewardship. 

Daily admission is free, but check the website for special events like moonlight hikes, group dog walks, and native plant classes.

A post shared by TreePeople (@treepeoplela) on

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington consists of an extensive library of rare books, three separate art galleries, and a botanical garden that covers more than 120 acres. Kids will love exploring the desert, Japanese, rose, and Chinese gardens.

A conservatory provides middle-school-age students exhibits on botany, but for the little ones (2 to 7 years old), the Helen and Peter Bing Children's Garden is not to miss. 

Children can splash in the water, explore a fog grotto, climb through a prism tunnel, and even dance in a circular rainbow room.

Pro tip: Bring a swimsuit or change of clothes to take advantage of all the fun.

El Capitan Theatre

The inside of a theater. There is a box office structure in the center. The walls are ornately decorated with mosaics and tile-work. There are movie posters hanging in lit frames on the walls. Shutterstock

Families love the old El Capitan Theatre, a glittering example of cinema that opened in 1926 on Hollywood Boulevard. 

Beyond hosting "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for parents with toddlers, the Disney-operated theater also adds something extra to any film experience. Expect to see familiar characters, live singing, and the delighted faces of children as streamers and confetti fall from the ceiling.

The inside of a theater. There is a box office structure in the center. The walls are ornately decorated with mosaics and tile-work. There are movie posters hanging in lit frames on the walls. Shutterstock

Time Travel Mart

Older kids will get a kick out of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a time travel-themed retail store with the slogan, "Whenever you are, we're already then." 

Run by 826, the founders of the Superhero Supply store in Brooklyn and the Pirate Supply Company in San Francisco, the Echo Park version sells humorous gifts from the past, present, and future. 

The front of the store boasts its quirky collection, while the back houses the nonprofit tutoring center where 20 to 30 students receive instruction each day.

Echo Park Lake

A body of blue-green water surrounded by trails and palm trees Shutterstock

Located in central Los Angeles with a stunning view of Downtown, Echo Park Lake is a favorite destination for strolling, fishing, and picnicking. But the best part is the pedal boats available for rent. 

For just $6 per kid and $11 per adult, you can paddle around the lake for up to an hour.

A body of blue-green water surrounded by trails and palm trees Shutterstock

Los Angeles State Historic Park

After being closed for more than three years, this Chinatown park has reopened with a whole new look. Families will love the new perks of a $20 million renovation: A pleasant pedestrian walkway, picnic areas, wetlands, a public fruit orchard, and an elevated lookout point.

Even better, the park’s also added a ranger station and a welcome center with the always-important bathrooms.

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

In the foreground is a body of water with sculptures of elephants at the edge. In the distance are palm trees and a large building. Shutterstock

The world’s most famous ice age fossil site is conveniently located in LA’s Miracle Mile district. 

Kids can take an excavator tour of the tar pits to see what the scientists are digging up, then head into the museum for exhibits on the Ice Age or a 3D film showing how animals become trapped in tar. 

There’s also a fossil lab where budding scientists can see what happens after fossils are extracted from the tar. Pack a picnic and have lunch in the park surrounding the museum, right in the middle of all the tar pit action.

In the foreground is a body of water with sculptures of elephants at the edge. In the distance are palm trees and a large building. Shutterstock

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

A group of children sit around a large table with various arts and crafts materials on the table. LACMA

As the best art museum for kids in the Los Angeles area, LACMA delivers on top-notch art in a family-friendly environment. 

Start in the spacious modern art galleries on the second floor of the Ahmanson building, burn off energy in the LACMA sculpture garden, see the illuminating Urban Light sculpture, and don't miss the Boone Children's Gallery for painting and story time.

A group of children sit around a large table with various arts and crafts materials on the table. LACMA

Grand Park

A child in a colorful outfit is doing a handstand in the foreground in shallow water. In the distance is a fountain and many children standing in and around the fountain. There are buildings and trees behind the fountain. Courtesy of Grand Park

Located in Downtown Los Angeles, between the Music Center and City Hall, the 12-acre Grand Park is an urban oasis complete with fountains, tons of green space and drought-tolerant landscaping, and bright pink benches. 

Kids will love the splash pad and the whimsical playground (closer to City Hall) that looks like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

A child in a colorful outfit is doing a handstand in the foreground in shallow water. In the distance is a fountain and many children standing in and around the fountain. There are buildings and trees behind the fountain. Courtesy of Grand Park

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

The birthplace of Los Angeles is full of activities for the whole family. Take a stroll down colorful Olvera Street (and grab some churros); take a step back in time at LA’s oldest home, the Avila Adobe; visit the old Plaza Firehouse. Conveniently located across the street from Union Station, the historic site also hosts frequent kid-friendly events, from live music to dance performances to the annual Las Posadas festival every December.

Angels Flight Railway

If you have kids who love old-timey transit, it doesn’t get any better than Angels Flight—a tiny railway that climbs up and down Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles.

The two train cars are 116 years old and are an essential part of a Grand Central Market visit. The short ride costs $1 each way, or 50 cents with a TAP card.

The Los Angeles Public Library

Book lovers beware: You might want to stay in the children's section of the Downtown public library forever. Wander among the stacks, enjoy the rich wood shelves, gawk at the colorful California history murals, or opt for one of the many story times. 

Older kids will like the computer zone and the young adult section that contains a well-curated list of recommendations.

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles

A glass-walled building made up of multiple connected spherical towers Shutterstock

Sometimes kids just want to ride in an elevator, and there’s no better place to do it than at this Downtown LA hotel. The spherical, glass-walled elevators scurry up and down the building’s exterior, providing a thrilling view of the city’s skyline. The hotel’s space station-like interior is also fun to explore.

A glass-walled building made up of multiple connected spherical towers Shutterstock

The Last Bookstore

As California's largest used and new book and record store, the two-story Last Bookstore is part Harry Potter wonderland and part artist loft. 

Hit the kids section on the first floor and then take a stroll through the "Labyrinth" on the second floor, a quirky area with used books organized by color and a very photographable book tunnel.

Hauser & Wirth

This recently opened, 116,000-square-foot complex in the Arts District is one of six Hauser & Wirth art centers located around the world devoted to contemporary art and modern masters. 

Kids and parents alike will enjoy the art and the amazing indoor and outdoor spaces, and the onsite restaurant is not only kid friendly, it also boasts 12 rare-breed chickens that are sure to delight the younger crowd. 

Not feeling a sit-down meal? Bring your own lunch and picnic in the garden.

A post shared by Terner (@terner_p) on

CicLAvia

A street with multiple people riding bicycles. The street is lined with palm trees and shops. There is a person with rollerblades on amongst the bicycle riders. Rob Rovira/Flickr

If you happen to be in Los Angeles during a CicLAvia event, drop everything and take the kiddos to this virbant car-free street festival. 

Working with the city, CicLAvia temporarily opens streets to all Angelenos to bike, walk, skate, dance, and play. Free to the public, it's a giant, family-friendly party that turns streets into parks. 

Check the website to find out when and where the next event will be held.

A street with multiple people riding bicycles. The street is lined with palm trees and shops. There is a person with rollerblades on amongst the bicycle riders. Rob Rovira/Flickr

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

A child looks inside a large life-size diorama of bears in nature enclosed in glass. Shutterstock

This natural history museum impresses with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. But while the exhibits are stunning and the dinosaurs are massive, the museum also delivers on the little things, like tiny chairs for tiny people. 

Check out the rotating exhibits and don't miss the Nature Lab, a hands-on science lab with live animals and touchable specimens suitable for kiddos of all ages.

A child looks inside a large life-size diorama of bears in nature enclosed in glass. Shutterstock

California African American Museum

Located on the eastern end of Exposition Park, near Downtown, the California African American Museum aims to showcase under-represented artists of color. Ever-changing exhibits give kids a taste of the arts, and a robust family program hosts mixed-media workshops for all ages on select weekends.

California Science Center

A man, woman, and two small children look up at a large aircraft on display in a terminal with high ceilings. California Science Center

Kids will like the IMAX theater and the rotating exhibits at the California Science Center, but the real draw is the space shuttle Endeavour on display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. 

The museum is in the process of building Endeavour a new home, but in the meantime you can still see the NASA shuttle that traveled to space 25 times between 1992 and 2011. 

Note that timed reservations are required to see Endeavour on weekends, holidays, and high attendance weeks.

A man, woman, and two small children look up at a large aircraft on display in a terminal with high ceilings. California Science Center

Tongva Park

Santa Monica's $42.3 million Tongva Park opened in 2013 to rave reviews, especially given the 6.2 acre park's stunning transformation from parking lot to ideal outdoor space. 

Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the people behind New York's High Line, the park boasts 18-foot observation decks, winding walkways, rolling hills, and expansive lawns. 

Don't miss the playground and splash pad in the southeast quadrant of the park.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay, this under-the-radar aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier is home to 100 species of marine animals and plants. 

Kids rave about the interactive exhibits, the mesmerizing "moon jellies," and watching aquarium staff feed the horn and swell sharks.

A post shared by Pam Spesak (@pam_spesak) on

Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Originally built as an expansion of the much-loved, but long gone Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, this huge, kid-oriented science center finally opened in 2014. It features a wide array of regular exhibits and temporary exhibitions where young ones can take a virtual helicopter tour or hop aboard a Zamboni machine.

The expansive Hansen Dam Recreation Area next door is a great place for a post-visit picnic.

Aquarium of the Pacific

With more than 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers way more than a few fish in a tank. Kids can get up close with a penguin, touch over 150 sharks in Shark Lagoon, and feed colorful birds in the Lorikeet forest.

Pro tip: Consider reserving a spot in the Animal Encounters to feed a sea lion or other creatures.

Battleship USS Iowa Museum

As the West Coast’s only battleship open to the public, the USS Iowa Museum lets kids explore maritime history in an interactive way. Kid-friendly tours show all the exhibits on board, and a must-do scavenger hunt is a highlight.

Children's Book World

Kids and adults alike will love this cozy book store with more than 80,000 titles and loads of interesting stuffed animals and educational toys. Find your way using the helpful age-appropriate sections and check the website for story hours.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

This family-friendly marine life center isn’t as well known as the Aquarium of the Pacific, but it’s still got plenty to offer—starting with $5 admission for adults and $1 for children. The aquarium exclusively focuses on local marine life, and houses several exhibits on Southern California’s oceans in its Frank Gehry-designed building. Staff also offer free guided tidepool walks on weekends at nearby Cabrillo Beach.