Hollywood Sign/Griffith Park
We went to Lake Hollywood Park and took a picture of the Hollywood sign on our first day in Los Angeles. The park has a nice greenery area where the small kids can play and run around. There is also a playground located right next to it. If you want to take a photo closer to the Hollywood sign, you can drive all the way to the end and walk up as cars not permitted. Have someone drop you off and pick you up as there is no parking on this area. Then we went to eat at Rafi’s Place right after. If you are into Persian-Armenian food, Raffi’s Place offers an enormous, affordable plates. We went back to visit Griffith Observatory. There are coin-operated telescopes for the public to use including the Zeiss telescope which is intended mainly for nighttime viewing by the general public, commonly targeting the Moon, planets, and brightest showpiece objects of our galaxy. There are also three solar telescopes bring the Sun directly to visitors in the west rotunda of the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky. There are also exhibits as well as live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. P.S. Children under 5 are admitted ONLY to the first show each day (12:45 p.m. on weekdays, 10:45 a.m. on weekends). We did not know this so we were not able to see the show as it was too late when we got there. Griffith Observatory is a great spot to enjoy the spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. The admission to the building and grounds is always FREE. It is open Tuesday – Friday 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Mondays are closed.
For more information click here: http://www.griffithobservatory.org/visiting/admission.html
By the way, we stayed at Palmdale, California – so travel to Los Angeles downtown is about an hour drive.
Antelope Valley California Poppy
We visited the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve the next day. We were also planning to go to Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 on that same day as they are located close to each other but it was too windy so we opted out. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is beautiful. Make sure to visit this place if you are in Los Angeles in March/April. The wildflowers bloom generally occurs from mid-March through April, but varies widely each year. The peak viewing period is usually late March or early April.
LONG BEACH, California/AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC/The Queen Mary Hotel
We also had the pleasure to visit Aquarium of the Pacific at Long Beach, California. They have a large touch pool located on the first floor outside featuring bamboo sharks, epaulette sharks, fiddler rays, and cownose rays (YES – you can touch them with two fingers). They also have a bird aviary featuring Edward’s Lorikeet, penguin’s habitat, sea otter habitat, and amphibian’s exhibits. Probably my favorite parts are the sea jellies, sea anemones and the nearly three-foot-long day octopus.
For more information click here: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/visit
Descanso Garden/Kids Space Children Museum
If you are into garden, flowers, nature and plants, you would enjoy visiting Descanso garden. They have rose garden, Japanese garden, camellia collection, oak forest, ancient forest, California Natives,
center circle, oak woodland and nature’s table. Here is a list of the bloom times for certain plants or flowers: •JANUARY: Camellias, cherry trees and winter annuals
•FEBRUARY: Camellias, magnolias, cherry trees and daffodils
•MARCH: Tulips, camellias, irises, lilacs, cherry trees, clivia and daffodils
•APRIL: Azaleas, camellias, irises, lilacs, native plants and wildflowers, and wisteria
•MAY: Roses, azaleas, camellias, irises, wildflowers and California natives
•JUNE: Modern and heritage roses, and summer annuals
•JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER: Roses, summer annuals and perennials, crape myrtle, and cassia
•OCTOBER: Sasanqua camellias, roses and fall foliage
•NOVEMBER: Camellias, toyon berries, annuals, ginkgo and fall foliage
•DECEMBER: Camellias, toyon berries, annuals and ginkgo.
P.S. They have a small diesel train that adults and children can hop on and takes you to section of the Gardens near the Promenade. It is $3 per ride per person.
The other place that we wish we could have visited is the Kids Space Children Museum but we did not have enough time to do it. It is about 20-30 minute drive from Descanso Garden.
Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills/Mansion
If you are up for an upscale shopping center and residence area then you might want to visit these areas. We did not really spend that much time at Rodeo Drive and we basically just walked around the area and just look at couple of stores. I found a great website that offers more ideas and tips — click here to read more on that https://www.tripsavvy.com/rodeo-drive-guide-1474856
We also visited the Historic Doheny Greystone Estate which is owned by the City of Beverly Hills and is operated through the Department of Community Services. It is also one of Hollywood’s most filmed mansions. Visitors aren’t permitted inside this historical Beverly Hills mansion but everyone can roam the palatial estate freely. Click here to get more information: https://www.greystonemansion.org/
California Science Center/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)
The California Science Center is a great place to explore the science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and films. They also have a rose garden which features the colors red, pink, white, yellow and etc. It is really beautiful – both adults and young children will sure to enjoy. It is located behind the center. The best part is the free admission except for selected exhibits and IMAX shows. They also have discovery rooms designed for children under 7 years of age. The three year old twins enjoyed the discovery rooms. They provide a lot of hands-on experience from cutting toy vegetables and fruits, puzzles, pretend role-play, puppet shows, tree house, etc.
My boys love dinosaurs so Natural History Museum would have been perfect for them to visit. They also features exhibit such as butterfly pavilion, spider pavilion, African mammals, birds, gems and minerals, insect zoo, North American mammals, and so forth.