Sure it’s Southern California, where some people claim winter does not exist. Still, kids can feel cooped up this time of year. Here are 10 surefire ways the young ones can get their ya-yas out in L.A., even when the sun isn’t shining.
Nothing says family bonding like zipping down a glass slide on the side of a Downtown L.A. skyscraper. And with the Family FUNday package at OUE Skyspace Los Angeles (available Saturdays and Sundays to groups of four or more, kids 5-12 can ride the Skyslide as many times as they like. (It’s the only offer that includes unlimited rides.) The cost is $20 per person. And while the slide is open rain or shine, it's recommended to go when the skies are blue, the better to appreciate the jaw-dropping views from the 70th floor, before plunging to the 69th (633 W. 5th St. Suite 840, Downtown L.A., 213.894.9000).
Max Karaoke Studio - Downtown L.A.
Unscientific research reveals that approximately 85% of kids love karaoke. Let them find their inner Beyoncé at Max Karaoke Studio (333 S. Alameda St. #216, Downtown L.A., 213.620.1030). The happy hour special ($4 an hour per person from 1-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and $5 an hour per person from 1-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday) is hard to beat. And they have an extensive song list featuring both popular hits and Disney favorites. While all their locations welcome kids—with adult supervision of course—their Downtown L.A. location (their largest) offers the best selection in terms of room sizes.
Glowzone Los Angeles
When you get tired of mini golf at Glowzone (6051 De Soto Ave, Woodland Hills, 818.595.0000), the dimly lit, glow in the dark fun spot in Woodland Hills, you can head over to the rock wall. When you get tired of the rock wall, there are bumper cars, an overhead ropes course, and laser tag. The list goes on. The recent addition of a parents lounge means moms and dads can get a respite from the mayhem. But if the whole family wants in on the action, consider Family Night. For $49, the Wednesday night deal, offered 5-10 p.m, includes unlimited visits over the course of one hour to four attractions for a family of four, plus a large pizza.
Royce’s Arcade Warehouse
It’s easy to quickly drop $20 at the local arcade. Fortunately, Royce’s Arcade Warehouse (
21817-A Plummer St., Chatsworth, 818.850.9256) charges just $5 per person for unlimited play. The fine print is they are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 4-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s not just the kids’ thumbs and index fingers that will be getting a workout - Royce's has dozens of machines plugged in and ready for action, including arcade classics, pinball machines, Air Hockey, Skee-ball and basketball games.
MB2 Raceway - Sylmar
The Monday through Thursday special at MB2 Raceway (13943 Balboa Blvd., Sylmar, 866.986.7223) in Sylmar is a good reason to treat your kids to an afternoon of go-karting instead of the usual "do your homework" routine. Two races cost $30 instead of the usual $20 per race. If that doesn’t satisfy their need for speed, sign them up for Sunday Kids Karting Kamp and Race Academy. Designed for children ages 6 to 13, the camp will help them fine tune their skills. The $65 fee includes lunch, a souvenir t-shirt, and a minimum of three races.
Kidspace Children's Museum
The popular Kidspace Children's Museum (480 N. Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena, 626.449.9144) in Pasadena got even better with the addition of Arroyo Adventure. Highlights of the outdoor exhibition include Hawk’s Nest, a 20-foot climbing structure designed to mimic—you guessed it—a hawk’s nest; and Hidden Forts, an area where kids can work together to build fantastic forts and other structures. There is also a new Storyteller Studio inside the museum. These join longtime favorites like the Trike Track for pint-size speed demons and the Imagination Workshop for young creators. Note: Free Family Night is the first Tuesday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m.
Sand Sledding - Venice Beach
No boots or gloves are required for sand sledding in Venice Beach. Every winter, sand berms are constructed on the beach by Washington Boulevard to protect oceanfront property from storm damage. They make for some sweet little sledding hills, especially for the younger set. Buy or borrow an inexpensive plastic sled or boogie board. Flattened cardboard boxes also work in a pinch. It is helpful if a grown-up carves out a packed down path. That way the little ones can achieve maximum speed. Bonus: the kids will be good and wiped from all the trips up to go down.
The estimable five-story indoor climbing structure for school age kids at AdventurePlex (1701 Marine Ave, Manhattan Beach, 310.546.7708) might be the star of the show. But the great thing about this 16,000 square-foot venue, especially for parents who have little ones and big ones, is that it really does offer something for everyone. Toddler Town features a faux farm and market. There’s also a 3,400 square-foot sports court with six basketball hoops, a rock wall, and a ropes course. (There is a surcharge for each of these.) On Friday and Saturday evenings, for less than the price of a sitter, AdventurePlex will take your kid - assuming they're age 3 or older - for a few hours of solid play. They’ll even provide dinner. Just don’t be surprised when your kindergartner starts pestering you to schedule another date night.
The Coop South Bay
Indoor play spaces sometimes aren't the most appealing of environments, at least for adults. Maybe it has something to do with the Care Bear aesthetic and repeating loop of hokey kids music. Not so at The Coop (903 N. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach, 310.374.2667) in the South Bay. It’s actually kind of groovy. Kids dig the giant ball pit and light-up dance floor. Parents can read magazines or even knock out a little work in the adjacent party area while sipping a latte from neighboring Roman Aroma Café.
Gable House Bowl
What is it about kids and weekends? They seem to wake up earlier on days they don’t have school. There's no sleeping in, so why not take those Sunday early risers bowling. Gable House Bowl (22501 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, 310.378.2265), a circa 1950s alley with 40 lanes, offers a Sunday morning special from 7-11 a.m. It’s just $2.50 per person per game, with additional fee for shoe rental. And they’ve got the special bumpers—rails that keep the ball out of the gutter—to help the toddlers score some strikes.