Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Lights at Candy Cane Lane

Ever since we moved to the South Bay, we’ve made it an annual tradition to visit Candy Cane Lane, also known as Sleepy Hollow.  If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a neighborhood in South Torrance known for their spectacular light decorations.  And it really is spectacular, bringing crowds from all over Los Angeles.  It is one of the largest light displays in the country.  Most of the homes go all out. Enjoy the sights as you stroll through the streets and crowds of people.  You’ll also encounter many vendors selling hot chocolate, popcorn, homemade goodies and even churros.  If you choose to drive through, be prepared for lots of car traffic.  Bring the entire family and enjoy the holiday spirit!

Know before you go:
Location: Torrance, 90505
Enter from Pacific Coast Highway @ Robert St. or Calle Mayor @ Carlow St and follow the signs
Lights run approximately from Dec 1st – Jan 1st from 6p-10p
Come early to avoid crowds and find parking.  Here’s a tip, park near Seaside Elementary School.
Bring small bills for drinks and snacks.
Be prepared for long lines and crowds.

No public restrooms!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Legoland Hotel

Thinking about taking the family to Legoland?  Consider staying at the Legoland Hotel.  We recently spent the weekend at Legoland for my son’s 4th birthday and debated whether or not to splurge on a room at the Legoland Hotel.  We had heard mixed reviews on it but decided to book 1 night since our son is currently really into Legos.  The kids loved it.  Enter the elevator and the party begins!  The rooms have a separate area for the kids including a bunk bed and TV as well as some Lego pieces to play with.  You’ll also find a treasure chest that you must answer questions to in order to open.  A few of the positive points here are breakfast included in the price, several play areas in the lobby (though this can get pretty crowded), convenience of being right next to the entrance to the park, and there’s also a pool with a shallow wading area with oversized Legos for the little ones to build with.  Aside from that I’m not sure we would stay here again.  Obviously if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, you probably won’t get it here as you’ll be hearing kids running up and down the halls.  But this was something we wanted our kids to get to experience at least once and since it was for a special occasion we figured why not.
Know before you go:
Parking for the park is included in your room cost.
Guests have early access to the park, generally 30 minutes before doors open to the public.

About the business:
5885 The Crossings Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
(877) 534-6526

Friday, September 2, 2016

Things to do Labor Weekend around Los Angeles

Here's a short list of some exciting events happening around Los Angeles this weekend.

Los Angeles Fleet Week
Friday – Monday September 2-5
8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Port of Los Angeles, 100 Swinford St., San Pedro, Ca
Free Admission
LA Fleet Week™ 2016 is a celebration of our U.S. armed forces at the nation’s #1 port, our very own Port of Los Angeles. The four-day festival hosts active military ships along the LA Waterfront and feature public ship tours, military equipment demos, live entertainment, educational activities and more

Fiesta Hermosa
Saturday - Monday September 3 - 5
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Downtown Hermosa Beach Hermosa Ave. between Pier Ave. and Pier Plaza,
Free Admission.
A Hermosa Beach Labor Day tradition for over 40 years, the Fiesta has been called “Southern California’s largest arts & craft fair” with around 300 artisans showcasing their work. Performers will play on several stages. There will be a large food court and a charity Beer & Wine Garden. Youngsters (3-10) will love the fun-packed Kiddie Carnival while moms will welcome the “tranquil zone” at the Fiesta Siesta

Farmer Days
Friday - Sunday September 3 - 5
10:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Kidspace Children’s Museum 
480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
$13; Kids under 1 are free
Spend Labor Day weekend at Kidspace and harvest some farm-style fun at Kidspace. Find out why worms are important for the food we eat. Make some music by making your own harmonica and big some farm animals. From 11:30-2:30 p.m. each day, there will be a petting zoo 

Hot Wheels Garage
Saturday September 3
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
$10 donation requested for adults; free for children.
Automobile Driving Museum
610 Lairport Street, El Segundo
The Automobile Driving Museum showcases dazzling displays of life-size cars and numerous Hot Wheels® tracks and cars to race with. A face painter and balloon artist will also be on hand for the kids’ amusement and everyone can enjoy something at the ADM’s Ice Cream Station ice cream parlor. At each event the museum supports a children’s charity; if you donate new toys, children’s books, or stuffed animals, you’ll receive a free raffle ticket to the drawing for some really cool Hot Wheels® toys

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Alondra Park Splash Pad

We discovered a very cool and rather popular splash pad this weekend in the South Bay.  There are tons of spouts, water features, and fountains with fairly strong water pressure.  The water is chlorinated and the place kept very clean.  Come early as it does get crowded on the weekends.  Also the hours are broken up into roughly 2 hour sessions with a 30 minute closure in between for maintenance.  The area is gated but beyond the gates are a skate park, playground, aquatic center and golf course.  I can’t speak much to these other amenities as we came specifically for the splash pad which was definitely a hit with my kids.

Know before you go:
Hours: Daily 10a-7p (in 2 hours sessions, see photo)
Free to enter and free parking lot
No toys, food, drinks or pets allowed.
Swim diapers required for age 3 and under.
Adult supervision required.

About the business:
3353 Redondo Beach Blvd.
Lawndale, CA 90260

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seaside Lagoon

If you’ve got little ones that aren’t quite ready for the beach but you’d still like to be outdoors and sink your toes in some sand, opt for the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach.  It’s like being at the beach but in a more intimate, and less intimidating way.  This is an enclosed salt water lagoon right next to the beach staffed with trained lifeguards.  The areas are roped off with a shallow section for little kids and a deeper (8ft) section for swimmers.  In addition there are picnic tables (first come, first served), a playground, and a walk up window to Ruby’s restaurant.  Though it’s a little pricier than going to the beach, you get the peace of mind that your kids won’t be knocked down by a wave, or run off too far out of sight.  This would also be a great place to have a kids birthday party!

 Know before you go:
200 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Admission: Ages 17+ - $7
                     Ages 2-17  $6
Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Parking w/ validation $2 per hour, max $6 - Cash Only

More details at

Friday, August 5, 2016

Orange County Fair 2016

There’s still 2 weekends left to go to the Orange County Fair before it moves on.  Get your fix on classic fair foods plus the popular, over-the-top deep fried foods like twinkies and escargot and caviar.   Sounds weird but I’m sure it’s delicious! There are tons of rides and carnival games for the kids so be ready to spend some dough as most of the rides and games cost an average of $5!  When you’re ready to seek shelter from the heat, head into one of the air conditioned buildings and enjoy some art, fun exhibits, music and food demos.  There’s also a livestock area complete with barn animals, petting zoo, outdoor vegetable garden and even pig races.  There’s definitely plenty to do here for the whole family and you can easily spend an entire day. 

Know before you go:
88 Fair Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Admission: Ages 13-59 - $12
                     Ages 6-12 & 60+  $7
                     Sat & Sun from 10a-11a  Early bird - $3
Hours: Wed – Fri 12p - midnight
Sat & Sun 10a – midnight
Parking $10 Cash Only
Shuttle available on weekends from Experian parking lot.

More details at

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kidding Around Portland Oregon

We recently returned from a short trip to Portland, Oregon with the kiddos and were pleasantly surprised at how kid-friendly the city is. Below are some recommended highlights from our trip.  Though Portland is known to be a public transit and bike friendly town, we opted to rent a car given our little one’s needs.  However our adventures didn’t take us more than 10 miles outside of downtown. 

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – This is an awesome museum to introduce little minds to science and discovery.  Though a majority of the exhibits were too advanced for our 3 and 1 year old to properly engage, there is a large Science Playground upstairs specifically designed for ages 0-6.  My kids spent 1.5 hours here moving from the sand area to the water play area to the infant section, to the science lab where arts and crafts were offered.

1945 SE Water Ave
Hours 9:30-7p daily
Admission: Adults $14, Youth 3-13 $9.75
Parking $5

Powell’s City of Books Bookstore –  Take a break from all the sights and stop by the world’s largest bookstore with color coded “rooms”.  The children’s section is Rose and quite large.  They carry new and used books at bargain prices. 
store hours: 9am – 11pm daily

Washington Park Playground – We discovered this playground when searching for a place for the kids to burn some energy.  Our original plan to take them to  splash pad/fountain didn’t pan out as it was a pretty chilly afternoon.  This playground is apparently Portland’s largest play structure.  There’s slides, monkey bars, swings, bridges and ramps to keep them occupied and definitely worth a visit.  Washington Park is huge and worth exploring.  While here, make it a day and also enjoy the Zoo, Children’s Museum and Japanese Garden.

4001 SW Canyon Rd
Portland, OR 97221

Pumpkin Patch Farm at Sauvie Island – Summertime means berry season and we were lucky enough to catch the tail end of it during our visit.  My daughter loooooves berries so we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to take her to a u-pick farm so she could pick it herself off the tree, not that she’ll ever remember the experience.  This was one of two farms we looked into that still had a decent amount of self pick blueberries and blackberries so definitely call ahead or check out their website prior to going so you know what’s in season and available.  The berries we picked with super juicy and plump.  My son loved the many display tractors around the parking lot and wanted to climb on all of them.  There’s also a small barn with animals (none to pet) and a grocery store.  During the fall they have a corn maze and their namesake, a pumpkin patch.

Open daily 9a-6p
Blueberries ($2.00 lb). Thornless blackberries ($1.50lb).


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Waldorf Inspired Space

A Magic Forest is very different from your traditional indoor playground.  This space is tailored more for babies to aged pre-k due to its minimalist design and types of toys.  My 15 month old had a great time here recently for a private party.  What is most unique about this place is that all of their toys are handmade either from wood or natural fibers that don’t harbor germs.  And there are no large play structures, aside from a wooden house.  The theme here is Waldorf inspired and super cute.  There is a seating around for parents and light refreshments are also available.

Know before you go:
Most suitable for babies to Pre-k (my opinion)
Open play - $10, siblings $8, Adults free
M-F 9:30a-5p
Sat – Closed for private parties
Sun – 2p-5p

About the business:
A Magic Forest
12512 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bruder Toys Outlet Store

Do your kids love playing with new toys but you don’t have the budget for one?  Let their imagination flow at Bruder Toys headquarters in the Southbay.  They have a tiny showroom which carries discounted products.  Best of all there is a play room where kids can “test” out any of their toys one at a time.   If you’re not familiar with this brand, they are the maker of high quality, life-like toy vehicles ranging from dump trucks, construction vehicles, tractors…you name it, they probably have it.  But beware, once you take your kids here, they may not want to leave!  They do have a dedicated rack with opened items in excellent condition, previously used in trade shows, that are steeply discounted so you don’t have to leave empty handed.

Know before you go:
Showroom hours are M-F 9a-5p
Free parking available in their lot.

About the business:
Bruder Toys America, Inc.
4950 W 145th St
Hawthorne, CA 90250

Monday, June 6, 2016

Virginia Park Splash Pad

Splash pad
Our friends on the Westside have their son’s annual birthday party at the Virginia Park Splash Pad.  This year was no different and with summer approaching, it’s always a hit.  The splash pad area is fairly large with lots of spouts and several spinning water gun spouts as well.  Adjacent to it is a small community room that is available for rent (The Patio),  perfect for birthday parties.   Additionally there are two basketball courts, a Library (Pico Branch Library), 2 sand covered playgrounds, grassy areas for soccer and BBQ grills  Overall this is a great place to spend a few hours, and if you plan to be there on a Saturday be sure to enjoy some fresh good eats from the farmers market.
View of splash pad and "The Patio" space available for rent.

Know before you go:
Splash pad is only open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day 10a-6p
Saturday Farmers Market 8a-1p
Bring a towel and change of clothes.
Bring baby powder to dust off the sand from those wet feet.

About the business:
2200 Virginia Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Under the Sea Indoor Playground

Over the weekend we attended my niece’s birthday party at Under the Sea Indoor Playground located in the Mar Vista area. This was our first time here and the minute my son walked in he kicked off his shoes and ran to the play area.  Talk about a complete sensory overload, even for a parent.  There are so many play structures, bouncers, slides, ride on cars, balls, etc.  There’s also lots of random toys on the ground so tread carefully while avoiding being knocked over by kids running around. It took me a minute to look around and take everything in.  This is basically a large warehouse building with its walls playfully decorated with murals of the sea.  A quarter of it is dedicated to the birthday party space with bench seating and food/cake area plus two bathrooms.  The rest of the space is a ginormous playground and great for burning off energy.  They even had a non-enclosed baby area with smaller toys for the little ones.  My 1 year old didn’t care for this space as she’s more of a dare-devil and wanted to climb the larger structures.  There’s lots of padding and mats on the ground to keep the kids safe.  My niece’s 2 hour party included a visit from a mermaid as well as face painting both of which the kids loved.  Aside from hosting birthday parties on the weekends, they do offer open play during the week.

Know before you go:
Bring socks.  Everyone entering the play section must wear socks or you can simply observe from the bench area.
One of the two bathrooms does have a changing table.
Entrance is in the rear of the building.  Parking is in designated spaces and can be a challenge but there is also metered street parking.

About the business:
Open play is Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
$11/ child
Free/ adults
Membership also available

3871 Grand View Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066