Weekend and holiday travel plans are already in the works and no matter what aged children you are traveling with, Santa Monica has plenty to do. Begin arranging your vacation with these suggestions on what to do with kids of any age.
ACTIVITIES FOR BABIES & TODDLERS
North Beach Playground
Frolic the day away at the North Beach Playground, a bright and colorful beachside park designed so that children can gain elevation and take in a picturesque view of the ocean. You’ll find playground favorites such as swings, slides and climbing activities, but this cutting-edge park also features sensory play elements focusing on touching, feeling and hearing. What’s more: North Beach Playground is universally accessible, meaning it offers more activities for children with disabilities including increased maneuvering space, barrier-free equipment and easy-access surfaces and pathways.
ACTIVITIES FOR GRADESCHOOLERS
Annenberg Community Beach House
For a full day of fun under the sun, the Annenberg Community Beach House, has it all: a sparkling marble-rimmed public swimming pool with hand-painted tile that welcomes swimmers all summer long, beach volleyball and soccer fields, stand-up paddleboards for rent, a Summer Game Room, a splash pad and a playground for the little ones and year-round cultural programs and community events. And that’s in addition to the simple things that make a day at the beach with the family so much easier and more enjoyable, like sunscreen, comfy seating options, shade, clean bathrooms, water fountains, sand toys and sports equipment that can be checked out. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at Back on the Beach Cafe, where kids can play in the sand next to your table. Or take a time-out from the sun and venture inside the community house to tour the exhibits by regional artists.
ACTIVITIES FOR TWEENS & TEENS
John Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College
Aspiring astronauts and space enthusiasts: Head over to the John Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College on select Friday nights to experience a truly stellar interactive show in an intimate, 50-seat, dome-shaped planetarium theater. The Night Sky Show at 7pm warms up with a weekly update on current events in space exploration, including a chance to ask questions. Then, the lights darken down and the night sky is illuminated. You may even find yourself whizzing through a black hole. Feeling voyeuristic? Attend an 8pm Feature Show or an occasional Special Observing Event, which kicks off in the planetarium, then moves outside where you can catch a glimpse of the moon, Saturn, Jupiter and more! It’s truly an out-of-this world experience. **The John Drescher Planetarium is temporarily closed.
Ready to experience the impossible right before your eyes? Think: a human levitating mid-air! That—and more—is in store at Magicopolis, a spectacular live theater brimming with comedy, magic, music, special effects, mind-reading and audience participation. Enter through a retro lobby with massive vintage magic posters. Before the curtain rises, adults can sip a beer or glass of wine at the magic bar as an illusionist performs up-close, sleight-of-hand tricks and kids are entertained by nonstop demonstrations at the magic shop. You may even brush shoulders with Sting, Jack Black, Adam Sandler or other celebrity regulars. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy an imagination-igniting, two-hour show in Magicopolis’ 150-seat theater. **Magicopolis is currently offering virtual programming only.
ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier has something for all ages: For babies and toddlers, there’s Wake Up with the Waves, a free interactive concert series, and the carousel; for grade schoolers, the aquarium; and for tweens and teens, the rides and games at Pacific Park.
Heal the Bay Aquarium
What’s a trip to the beach without a visit to an aquarium? Just below the Santa Monica Pier Carousel is the Heal the Bay Aquarium. With rotating exhibits, it’s the perfect place to learn about and observe the local marine life with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. Adults pay $5 to get in while kids under 12 are free, which makes it an affordable day of fun.