All kids love summertime, especially when it means time off of school, but sometimes the long, hot days can get boring for kids without plans. No problem. Los Angeles is full of opportunities during the warmer months, offering everything from various stage productions to special exhibits offered at certain museums to places where hiking has never been better. Oh, and the best part? All of these activities can be done for free. Consider the following five.
Culver City Public Theater (CCPT)
Braddock Drive at Motor Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232
A kid-oriented play called "The Golden Bird and the Prancing Princesses" is on the schedule for summer, 2015 (through Aug. 17) every Saturday and Sunday at noon at this venue's Children's Popcorn Theater. Admission is free and blankets, picnic fare, and lawn chairs are encouraged so you can comfortably sit under the stars to chow down while you enjoy this year's CCPT show, the 17th annual piece put on at this verdant venue run by exceptionally talented Angelenos.
5200 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Visiting this small Griffith Park-based attraction is big on any train lover's list. Admission to this themed outpost devoted to rail transportation is free and is packed with fun stuff like tours of vintage passenger cars and the chance to play with giant sets of wooden railways. The on-site gift shop is a train devotee's dream, filled with everything you can imagine that would add to any kid's interest in this mode of travel, up to and including the Thomas the Tank Engine educational toys. Also at this stop situated in the world's largest municipal park is the chance to ride a reproduction of an American classic train that has been given a mile-long set of tracks on which to roll. You'll pay for that last activity but the cost is only $2.75, and well worth shelling out for such a keen opportunity.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
If you ever wondered where astronauts went to the bathroom on the Endeavor, be sure to make a reservation (free, but necessary) to see the actual high tech toilet on board. This orbiter vehicle that completed more than two dozen missions is now permanently on display at the California Science Center, now the center of attention at a fascinating outpost that also contains a shark tank and a chicken hatchery, among hundreds of other science oriented exhibits.
California African American Museum
600 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Also located in Exhibition Park with the California Science Center, this admission-free museum is devoted to showing and telling the story of the African American's history and culture. Some exhibits are more enticing to youngsters than others here, with an exhibit called "Flash Tag" where a quartet of graffiti artists were invited to create a visual sensation using brushes and paint from a bottle instead of the typical spray paints the come in aerosol cans.
3200 Canyon Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Hiking is well worth the experiencing at a number of exceptional outdoor environments situated in Southern California. Bronson Canyon is a top bet for this kind of activity, especially so when done with kids in tow. Open from dawn until dusk, this area that inspired movie star Charles Bronson to change his last name attracts attention for its cool attributes. Among them are some super rugged terrain where many movies and television shows were set (think Westerns like 1939's "Zorro Rides Again" and science fiction like 1958's "The Return of Dracula"), and a cave or tunnel that runs through a hill (yes, that's the actual Batcave where Batman and Robin hung out during the classic '60s TV show). Holy awesomeness, Batman.
Related: Safe Summer Activities For Kids
for more features.