30+ Fun Things to Do With Kids in California: Family-Friendly Attractions

Family-Friendly Things to Do in California

If you're looking for a unique kid-friendly experience in California, look no further. From outdoor adventures to hands-on science exhibits, there is no shortage of things to do in California with kids. Read on for exciting adventures to add to your itinerary to create lasting memories with your youngest explorers. 

Beach Day Fun

Little Girl Having Fun at Surfing Lessons at the Beach

When planning a day of beach fun with your kids in California, make sure to explore the diverse and exciting coastal activities available at popular destinations like Santa Monica Beach. The Santa Monica community is located just 15 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, and its beaches offer a perfect blend of sun, sand, and sea. Kids can frolic in the waves, build sandcastles, and even ride on the iconic Santa Monica Pier's Ferris Wheel.

For a more tranquil beach experience, head to Laguna Beach or to the Newport Beach area. These welcoming beaches provide a safe and relaxing environment for children to engage in various beach activities. Kids can explore tide pools, play beach volleyball, and enjoy picnics by the shore. 

Whether it's boogie boarding at Laguna Beach, taking surfing lessons at Newport Beach, or simply strolling along the sandy shores of Santa Monica Beach, California's beaches offer endless opportunities to bond and create lasting memories together.

Museum Exploration

Discovering various museums in California can be an enriching and interactive experience for children. 

  • The California Science Center in Los Angeles offers over 150 interactive exhibits for hands-on learning, including free admission to its permanent exhibits. 
  • The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, located in LA's Exposition Park neighborhood, is home to over 35 million specimens and showcases Earth's biodiversity through its exhibits. 
  • Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena spans nearly 3.5 acres, providing interactive environments that encourage learning through play for children. 
  • The Getty Museum is dedicated to preserving the artistic legacy and promoting visual arts in California. 
  • For a unique experience, Star Eco Station in Culver City combines an environmental science museum with a wildlife rescue center. The center houses endangered animals and offers educational programs. 

These museums offer a blend of education and entertainment, making them ideal destinations for exploring California's rich cultural and scientific activities.

Theme Park Adventures

California Has Lots of Amusement Parks to Visit

Explore the thrilling world of theme parks in California, where you can immerse yourself in enchanting lands, experience behind-the-scenes movie magic, and enjoy heart-pounding rides. Start your adventure at Legoland in Carlsbad, where you can marvel at Miniland's iconic landmarks, participate in Lego building workshops, and splash around in the water park.

Head to Universal Studios Hollywood for a glimpse into famous movie sets, exciting rides, and the enchanting Wizarding World of Harry Potter in LA's Universal City area. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park offers themed areas celebrating California's history, thrilling rides, and attractions that cater to all ages.

And if you're seeking the ultimate rollercoaster experience, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita is the place to be, boasting a variety of adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions that will leave you breathless. 

These California theme parks promise unforgettable experiences for those looking to create lasting memories together.

Train Rides

For those looking to add a unique twist to their outdoor adventures in California, exploring the state's diverse train rides offers a memorable and engaging experience for all ages.

In Mendocino County, the Skunk Train offers a historic steam train experience meandering through redwood forests and coastal landscapes. Head to Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains for a vintage steam train ride through redwood forests and to a historic beach boardwalk. Meanwhile, the Sacramento River Fox Train offers themed excursions, such as wine tasting, murder mystery dinners, and holiday train rides. 

Taking scenic drives or train rides is a great way to explore and experience some of California's top cities and most beautiful regions.

Wildlife Encounters

Little Girl Watching Elephants at the Zoo

Immerse yourself in intriguing wildlife encounters at various locations in California, where you can interact with diverse species and engage in educational experiences.

  • Safari West in Santa Rosa offers an immersive safari adventure with 900 animals from 90 species, allowing you to observe exotic animals up close. 
  • Explore interactive exhibits and diverse wildlife species at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. 
  • Oakland Zoo houses over 850 animals and actively participates in wildlife conservation efforts, providing insight into the importance of protecting endangered species. 
  • For a focus on marine life and conservation, visit Heal the Bay Aquarium in Santa Monica, where you can learn about 100+ local species and their ecosystems. 
  • Cabrillo Marine Aquarium showcases diverse ecosystems in LA's San Pedro neighborhood, including the largest collection of Southern California marine life. 

Explore these destinations to enrich your knowledge of wildlife and conservation in California.

Outdoor Adventures

California's outdoor adventures offer activities for children to enjoy together. Explore the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile scenic drive in Redwood National Park surrounded by towering redwood trees, or discover the Lassen Volcanic National Park, filled with clear mountain lakes and diverse hiking trails for all ages.

From winter snow sports to summer water activities, be sure to visit Lake Tahoe. And if you want more hiking or swimming, stroll along Crystal Cove State Park's three miles of coastline in Laguna Beach.

California's outdoor playground is vast and offers something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer the serene beauty of the redwood forests or the excitement of exploring diverse hiking trails, there is no shortage of adventures to partake in together.

Aquarium Visits

San Francisco Aquarium of the Bay Shark Tunnel

When visiting California with kids, you should include aquarium visits in your itinerary for an exciting and educational experience. Popular options include:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, which boasts a stunning 28-foot-high kelp forest exhibit that provides a mesmerizing glimpse into the underwater world
  • Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, where you can explore the largest collection of Southern California marine life
  • Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, which provides immersive habitats and educational experiences for visitors of all ages
  • Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, which has over 300 feet of tunnels where you can view sharks, skates, and other fish swimming overhead in the Under the Bay exhibit

These California aquariums offer a chance to see fascinating marine life up close and play an essential role in educating visitors about the wonders of the ocean.

Science Centers

After exploring some of the top hiking trails in California, kids are often curious about the wildlife they encounter and the natural world around them. Be sure to carve out some time for a visit to one of the various science centers in California to engage your kids in hands-on learning experiences and foster their curiosity.

The Exploratorium in San Fransisco offers more than 600 hands-on exhibits focusing on art, science, and human perception, promising an enriching experience for young minds. Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena spans nearly 3.5 acres of interactive environments, where children can learn through play and exploration.

In Sausalito, you can find The Bay Area Discovery Museum—geared specifically to the 10-and-under crowd and featuring interactive STEM-centered exhibits in an indoor-outdoor environment. The museum includes tide pools, 3D printers, daily drop-in activities, and more to cover a wide range of interests.

The Fleet Science Center & Planetarium in San Diego is part planetarium, part theater, and part hands-on museum, immersing visitors with IMAX experiences and tactile interactive exhibits. There are roughly a dozen exhibits, some permanent, others traveling, so there's always something new to explore.

Additionally, APEX in San Diego focuses on fundamental movement skills, promoting physical development while engaging children in a fun and active learning environment.

Prepare for a Whirlwind of Fun

Grab your sunscreen and prepare for a whirlwind of fun in California! If you're visiting or moving to California with kids, a treasure trove of adventures awaits you—from sandy shores to thrilling rides. So pack your bags, buckle up, and prepare to make memories that will last a lifetime. California is truly a playground for kids of all ages, where every moment is a golden opportunity waiting to be explored.

Want to live in California? Call The Brad Korb Real Estate Group with LA Homes at (818) 953-5300 to find your dream home.

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