What To Do with the Kids this Weekend: Free, Family-Friendly Fun in Los Angeles

If money were no object, parents would never run out of things to do with their kids. But if you can’t afford to hire the Wiggles to perform in your backyard, you’ll want to check out this list we put together for free, family-friendly fun in greater Los Angeles.

Topping the list is hitting the beach any time of year. But with so many beaches to choose from, which are more family-friendly?

“We love Zuma Beach in Malibu,” said Liz Mack, an Echo Park, California resident and mother of two boys. “It’s a little further than Santa Monica or Venice, but it’s got a family-friendly vibe and the water isn’t too far from the parking lot, which means it’s way easier for my kids to manage.”

What to bring: No trip to the beach is complete without some good music, so check out the Blueflame Slingshot Bluetooth Wireless Speaker. This cool-looking wireless speaker can sync with your smartphone, and it’s water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about drying off before turning it on.

For raw, natural beauty, don’t miss Topanga Canyon, which was recently voted the No. 1 park in Los Angeles by L.A. Weekly. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely hike, too, with an easy one-mile trail that won’t exhaust — or bore — the kiddos.

What to bring: If you’re planning on spending the day here, remember that nature doesn’t come with electrical outlets. Bring along a Mophie Powerstation, which can rapidly charge just about any device equipped with a USB charger, and you’ll never run out of juice.

The Space Shuttle Endeavor, housed near USC at the California Science Center, is truly one of the most spectacular sights in Southern California. Remember, reservations are necessary on the weekend.

“My husband loves to just go and stare at the shuttle,” said Mack. “But my kids are way more interested in checking out the space potty that’s on display there.”

What to bring: You’ll want a camera that can capture both the Endeavor’s grandeur and your kids as they run towards the space potty at 30 mph. The Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone is a good choice, with a 16-megapixel camera and super-fast auto focus feature that lets you take split-second shots.

On hot days, nothing beats a visit to one of L.A.’s many splash parks. The newest, Grand Park in downtown L.A. is a great stop for families looking to cool down. They’ve got dozens of bubbling fountains and a wading pool that’s no more than toe-deep.

What to bring: Sure, chilling out at a splash park is fun, but it’s a lot less fun when your smartphone goes for an impromptu swim. The LifeProof waterproof case keeps your phone connected and safe from splashes, spills, dunks and plunges.

Are your kids a little older, say, in the 10- to 14-year range?  How about expanding their minds at The Getty Museum?  It’s a world-class cultural institution that does an incredible job of catering to kids. The museum is always free — but parking is not. Go online first to get your free tickets, but expect to spend $15 for parking if you don’t take public transportation.

“The [Getty Center] Family Festivals are really great,” said Mack. “They pick a theme and then dedicate the whole day to storytelling, music, crafts and art on that theme.”

What to bring: With so much art around, you never know when inspiration might strike. Come prepared with the Crayola DigiTools Paint Pack, which turns any tablet into a virtual canvas – perfect for no-cleanup creativity.