Even though it is cold, it is getting gorgeous outside. Rose buds are starting to open, annuals are being planted, and trees are beginning to blossom. The vibrant mix of colors and scents are like a siren call, luring us to gardens and other botanical locations. The recent rain and our ever-present sun are coaxing beautiful blooms to make their appearance a little early. Whether you celebrate Easter or just want to go out and smell the flowers, there are many wonderful places to go for a little spring fling.
Los Angeles Zoo
Los Angeles, CA
Big Bunny's Spring Fling begins on April 6 and runs through April 8 at the Los Angeles Zoo. It is one of the more popular events at the zoo as it has so many fun activities for kids. From petting a bunny to planting a carrot and face painting, the trip would be worthwhile for these activities alone. However, the zoo has a lot of new attractions to offer. If you have not gone in a while, this weekend would be the perfect time to visit. The LAIR has just opened, which is the brand new reptile exhibit. There is a beautiful new carousel just above the LAIR which features many of the unique animals featured at the zoo—from a komodo dragon to a poison dart frog. Lastly, the stork has been busy making deliveries. Your kids will love to see Elka the baby orangutan and the baby tigers playing in their enclosures.
Los Angeles County Arboretum
On April 7th, the Los Angeles County Arboretum will be hosting an Egg Scramble and Egg-Expedition from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be a fun egg hunt for kids as well as other activities, refreshments, and prizes to enjoy. Once you are done with the festivities, be sure to walk around the 127 acres of beautiful grounds. The trumpet trees are in full bloom and are a must see with their vibrant hot-pink blossoms. Red silk-cotton trees are also an amazing image to behold, and the arboretum has the only two trees in the continental US outside of Florida. There is also the perennial garden which changes every season as well as the Garden for All Seasons that grows wildflowers, herbs, and vegetables. It is a great garden to explore with kids and talk about healthy eating habits. You can show kids the origins of the food that they eat. With many water features, historical buildings, and peacocks, the arboretum is a great spring destination.
Be sure to head up to Underwood Farms on April 7 or 8 to spend Easter on the farm! There will be an Easter egg hunt, face painting and tattoos, and more (tickets for purchase). In addition, there are other activities such as tractor-drawn wagon rides, animal shows, and a maze that is included with your admission. The Easter Bunny will be available for fun photo opportunities. While you are there, you can pick your own crops, which is always an exciting experience for children (and adults). The great thing is your kids might be more willing to try out the produce that they personally picked. Behold your child eating kale! The kids can also see farm animals up close and personal.
South Coast Botanic Garden
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
It's hard to believe that this verdant, fecund land was once a landfill. But the 87 acres that comprise the South Coast Botanic Garden is now filled with flowers, fruit trees, and water features. Right now, the fruit trees are blossoming. How interesting to show the kids the beginning of their favorite fruit! It is also a wonderful time to check out the rose garden with its 300 varieties of roses. To see a colorful and seasonal showing of flowers, the volunteer garden will not disappoint. The kids will also enjoy the Three Bears' House children's garden. To prepare for your visit, you can check out the garden's website and find what is currently in bloom. It might be fun for your child to find a specific plant such as the "pork and beans" plant or the "mickey mouse" plant. On the first Saturday of each month, the garden hosts a family picnic day. It is the only time you are invited to picnic on the grounds, so take advantage on April 7th.
Los Angeles Flower Market
Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Flower Market is the perfect place to go if you want to see wall-to-wall flowers. It is an amazing sight to see with every imaginable flower or plant, either cut or potted, on display and available for purchase. Spring is the perfect time to visit the flower market and get excited about the season. To make this visit educational, consider getting a floral guide book beforehand. A good one is The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers from Seed to Bloom. It has 500 full color photos, which makes it easier to identify the flowers. The vendors are generally very friendly and helpful if you have questions. To take the fun home with you, buy a bunch of beautiful cut flowers and make an arrangement together with your favorite finds. A yummy place to grab lunch (since the flower market usually closes at noon) is the Nickel Diner. The stuffed avocado with quinoa salad is healthy and delicious and makes up for the homemade donuts that are an essential part of the dining experience.
It is hard to believe there are just a few more weeks of summer, and then it is back to the daily hustle and bustle of school. Southern California has so many wonderful vacation spots that it would be easy to squeeze in several more excursion... read more
Watching fireworks sparkle in the sky makes us feel like children all over again. Something about the colorful lights, the explosive sounds splitting through the air, and the soft descent of the glittering firework dust until it dissipates into night... read more