If you’re looking for a great family outing near Los Angeles, look no further than Long Beach! The coastal port city is home to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Museum of Latin American Art. There are plenty more things to do in Long Beach with kids including bike riding along the shoreline bike path or playing at the Aquatic Park.
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Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
The Aquarium of the Pacific is more than an aquarium. It is also the site of a variety of festivals and special programs held throughout the year. Daily, though, families will find more than 11,000 animal exhibits which represent about 500 different species, with many opportunities for kids to get up close and personal to a variety of marine life. The Aquarium focuses on three main regions of the Pacific Ocean. Outdoor exhibits include the Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest. There is also an onsite cafeteria-style eatery. A variety of admission ticket options are available, some of which combine the price of admission to the Aquarium and other sites such as the Los Angeles Zoo, the Queen Mary, and a whale watch cruise (learn about the cruises below). And don’t forget to check out the new Pacific Visions exhibit at the Aquarium, a 29,000-square-foot, two-story, sustainable structure housing a state-of-the-art immersive theater, exhibition space, and new live animal exhibits exploring humanity’s impact on the earth’s resources.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802
The Museum of Latin American Art is the only museum within the United States that is dedicated to both modern and contemporary Latin American art. Families will enjoy their permanent collection which includes more than 1,300 works of art, including sculpture, painting, photography, and video, all created by more than 350 Latin American artists from 20 Latin American countries. Admission is $10, and children under twelve are free. Additionally, the Museum offers free admission each Sunday.
401-435 Shoreline Village Dr., Long Beach, CA 90802
Shoreline Village has it all, in one charming setting. A variety of restaurants, specialty shops, and fun kid-friendly activities await you here. Whether you choose to rent a bicycle or take a tour on a Segway, go for a ride on the classic carousel, or play some arcade games, Shoreline Village offers entertainment for all the members of your family.
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Once a world-class, luxury ocean liner, the Queen Mary is now an event venue, floating hotel, and major tourist attraction. Today, families can opt for a unique staycation and/or participate in one of the various tours that are also offered. A variety of dining options await you, including The Promenade Cafe which offers plenty of family-friendly menu choices. The Queen Mary’s website even offers suggestions for your itinerary, depending on the length of time you wish to stay and explore.
El Dorado Nature Center
7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach, CA 90815
The El Dorado Nature Center include 105 acres that serve as a sanctuary for a variety of animal and plant life. Families can explore dirt trails, two lakes, and a stream. Kids will enjoy spotting ducks, squirrels, lizards, and birds. There is also a Visitor Center which includes historic displays and exhibits and a small gift shop as well. Vehicle entry fees vary depending on the day you visit (the Nature Center is closed on Mondays).
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at CSULB
1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840
This 1.3 acre garden is designed to be a source of serenity and peace for all who visit. Much of the garden is modeled after traditional gardens found in Japan. Children will enjoy wandering around and exploring among the many plants, flowers, and trees. There are Koi fish in the pond, and visitors can even obtain food at the garden and feed the Koi. Admission is free, and the Garden is closed each Monday and Saturday. Families are advised to check ahead before visiting, to make sure the Garden isn’t closed for maintenance.
Rancho Los Alamitos
6400 Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach, CA 90815
A visit to Rancho Los Alamitos is like taking a walk back through time. The Rancho is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes 7.5 acres. It is part of an ancestral village which is the place of origin for the native Gabrielino-Tongva people of the Los Angeles Basin. Families can explore the Rancho Center, the Ranch House (docent tours are offered but are not recommended for children under six), the gardens, barn area, and gift shop. The Rancho is open Wednesday through Sunday, but check ahead before visiting since the site does sometimes close for special events. Admission and parking are free.
Long Beach Museum of Art
2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90803
The Long Beach Museum of Art is described as a “community-based organization” that includes a permanent collection as well as changing exhibits. It’s a relatively small museum which makes it just the right size for many kids. Family art-making workshops are offered on select Sundays each month, which give children the opportunity to create their own art work inspired by the Museum’s exhibits. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students, and children under 12 are free. Free admission is offered each Friday as well.
Appian Way below 2nd St., Long Beach, CA 90803
Although it’s not a “real beach,” it’s still a spot many families enjoy in Long Beach. Mother’s Beach features a playground area, picnic facilities, and volleyball courts. Its gentle waves and shallow swimming space have given this special place the name “Mother’s Beach.”
2nd St (and 15 intersecting side streets), Long Beach, CA
This stretch of Long Beach is often described as having a charming, small-town feel to it. You’ll find restaurants, gift shops, and specialty shops, including large national chain stores as well as small independent stores. Perfect for a day of strolling, sight-seeing, browsing, and shopping.
Harbor Breeze Whale Watching Cruise through the Aquarium of the Pacific
Dock near the Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts boat tours with Harbor Breeze Cruises. Families can take a state of the art catamaran from the port next to the Aquarium to see endangered blue whales on their way to Costa Rica during the summer or gray whales as they head to Alaska November to April. Learn from Naturalists about the whales and their migration. Check the website for cruises, times, and ticket prices.
This post contains sponsored links to Neighborhoods.com, a full service brokerage and an easy to use online real estate resource that helps people find the perfect home as well as the ideal neighborhood.
Discosure: MomsLA was a guest of the Aquarium on a Harbor Beach Cruise for review purposes.