Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Los Angeles
2022's Best Places for Kids in the Los Angeles area!
Every May and June, thousands of local parents, grandparents, and caregivers weigh in on their favorite local places to take kids. Typically, we showcase the Top 20 winners... but this year, in honor of KidsOutAndAbout.com's 21st birthday (we originally launched in June of 2001), we bring you the Los Angeles area's
TOP 21 Places to Take Kids!
Of course, there are literally hundreds of wonderful places to take your kids in our area, not just this year's winners! Get great ideas here! After you check out the list, make sure to find great things to do on our packed daily calendar, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter, and visit our Everything That's Free page for lots more ideas.
1. California Science Center
Embark on a journey of science learning and fun for everyone as you explore over 150 interactive exhibits in their galleries like Ecosystems featuring live animals in living habitats, including a 188,000 gallon kelp forest tank. Complete your visit by seeing Space Shuttle Endeavour in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. View the orbiter up close and discover the science behind this amazing vehicle. Admission to permanent exhibits is FREE. (Excludes IMAX and special paid exhibitions).
3. Kidspace Children's Museum
4. Griffith Park
With over 4,210 acres of both natural chapparal-covered terrain and landscaped parkland and picnic areas, Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas in the United States. Situated in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, the Park’s elevations range from 384 to 1,625 feet above see level. With an arid climate, the Park’s plant communities vary from coastal sage scrub, oak and walnut woodlands to riparian vegetation with trees in the Park’s deep canyons. The California native plants represented in Griffith Park include the California species of oak, walnut, lilac, mountain mahagony, sages, toyon, and sumac. Present, in small quantities, are the threatened species of manzanita and berberis.
5. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County protects over 35 million specimens, dating back 4.5 billion years. NHMLA tracks the Earth's biodiversity because knowing what is out there is the first step to conservation. The Museum is an authority on the "big picture" of the planet, the natural and the cultural world.
NHMLA is home to some of the first, best, and only specimens, exhibits, and experiences of their kind. Located in Exposition Park just minutes from L.A. Live in the heart of downtown L.A.
6. Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Discover more than 1,400 animals – many of them endangered – among immersive habitats and lush gardens that will transport you all over the globe. At the L.A. Zoo, fun comes naturally. Open daily except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
7. My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Los Angeles area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication.
8. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are an American professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the National League West division.
10. Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory is an icon of Los Angeles, a national leader in public astronomy, a beloved civic gathering place, and one of southern California's most popular attractions. The mission of Griffith Observatory is to inspire everyone to observe, ponder, and understand the sky. Admission to the Observatory building and grounds is FREE. There is a nominal charge to see shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
Griffith Observatory is owned and operated as a public service by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks. Griffith Observatory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Griffith Observatory’s exclusive fundraising, membership, and advocacy organization.
11. La Brea Tar Pits
Rancho La Brea is one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world.
12. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
The Arboretum is an 127-acre botanical garden and historical site located in what was the heart of Rancho Santa Anita in Arcadia. Our mission is to cultivate our natural, horticultural and historic resources for learning, enjoyment and inspiration. We strive to reflect Southern California’s distinct climate, community and openness to new ideas. In addition to concerts and tours, we offer activities and events that cater to every audience.
13. Universal Studios Hollywood
With thrilling theme park rides and shows, a real working movie studio and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk, Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family.
14. The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn rescues, rehabilitates and gives sanctuary to severely abused animals. Through interaction with our animals, children learn reverence for all life.
16. Descanso Gardens
Descanso Gardens is an urban retreat of year-round natural beauty, internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Visit for a stroll, a concert or a class — there are so many ways to explore.
18. El Capitan Theatre
Disney’s Home on Hollywood Boulevard
19. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Centrally located between the beach and downtown Los Angeles, LACMA features artwork covering the expanse of art history—from ancient times to the present—and the globe.
21. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Dive into the wet, wild world of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. At this 22-acre waterpark next door to Six Flags Magic Mountain, you'll splish-splash into a world of fun. Enjoy two of the tallest fully-enclosed speed slides in Southern California, a 1,300-foot river, a wave pool, an interactive lagoon and a kids' play area.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in three categories. Here were their choices.
Top Arts Educator: Music Rhapsody
The Music Rhapsody program, developed by internationally renowned music educator Lynn Kleiner, acknowledges and values the input and creativity of every child through an approach that emphasizes experience first and learning through play. Music Rhapsody offers seamless continuity with classes for 3 months to adults. Our classes are located at our classroom in Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach Parks & Rec, and in preschools & elementary schools throughout LA and Orange County.
Top Sports Educator: YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles is committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. This commitment ensures that every individual has access to essentials needed to learn, grow & thrive.
Top STEM Educator: Aquarium of the Pacific
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the interactive Shark Lagoon, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, the new Babies! exhibit, and Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities. The Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from toddlers to teens. Whale watching and Animal Encounters are offered daily with reservations.