Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Perfect Destinations for the Unplanned Family Afternoon

Most parents who live in Los Angeles have taken their kids to the Los Angeles County of Art Museum  to see a special exhibit, the Page Museum to look at the automated replica of the sabertooth tiger, and the Tarpits to gaze at the burbling tar. Larchmont and Hancock Park parents, however, should know that a lazy afternoon in the LACMA/Tarpits/Page environs can be a spontaneous family adventure that can be replayed several times a year.

It’s easy to sign your kids up to be NexGen members of the Art Museum. That means that they can attend anytime they want and since they must be accompanied by an adult, one parent will get in free with them. On any given day there are several exhibits to skip through, not to mention the sculpture garden outside. My eight-year-old, Murphy won’t let us leave until he has painted several paintings at The Boone Children’s Gallery. In fact, we have amassed so many artworks painted with the Chinese and Korean brush technique that we now use them for wrapping paper.

These days, LACMA almost always has an interactive installation that children can run around. The street lamps out front are a permanent favorite. But recently, our sons chased each other through an installation of hanging yellow spaghetti-like tubes.

The centerpiece of any visit to this Miracle Mile consortium of family entertainment is the Plaza Cafe, where my eight and twelve year olds get gourmet gumi bears that they claim to be the best on the planet.

After that, we traditionally visit the Tarpits and stomp through the Page. Exhibits there don’t change very often, but watching the scientists in the fishbowl lab dusting off the bones of the Zed — the most intact Columbian Mamouth ever found — and the bones of smaller varmints, never gets old. Family memberships at the Page are reasonable and include The Natural History Museum downtown. Don’t forget your strip of four instant pictures taken in the booth at the end of the exhibit.

The most time-honored tradition of the lazy afternoon around the Page, is rolling down the hills outside. We always carve out a good half-hour for this bit of foolery. I even bring a book and sit on a bench while the kids knock themselves out. Sometimes they don’t have any energy left to climb all over the huge stone sloths near the art museum, act out a play in the amphitheater, or visit Pit 91 where they can watch ongoing excavations of pre-historic animal bones.

But often, they still do!

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Brett Paesel is the author of the LA Times bestseller, ”Mommies Who Drink”. and the blog,”Last of the Bohemians” as well as the fictional blog, ”Meagan Mcphee A.D. (after divorce)”. She has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous national magazines. Brett has also developed shows for HBO, ABC, Fox, Comedy Central, WB, Lifetime, and Nick at Nite.

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