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There are so many family-friendly things to do in Riverside, that you may have to consider the city of Riverside for your next vacation. It’s an ideal destination if you’re looking for a place to explore that is rich with history, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for children of all ages, and it’s not too far away from Los Angeles.

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Kiddos 101 is one of the many fun things to do in Riverside with kids

Kiddos 101 (photo courtesy of Denise Cortes of Pearmama)

Mission Inn Museum
3696 Main St.
Riverside, CA 92501

The Mission Inn Museum features exhibits related to the history of the famous Mission Inn. Families can take a 75-minute tour which includes the Museum as well as parts of the Inn that the general public isn’t usually able to see. The Mission Inn was first an adobe boarding house back in 1876; today it is an AAA four Diamond Historic site. The Museum’s exhibits are related to the aviation and citrus industries, the California Missions,   and much more. (Advance reservations are recommended; information about dates, times, and admission fees are available online).

Heritage House
8193 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA 92504

A visit to Heritage House will give families a sense of what life was like more than a century ago. This Victorian-style home was built in 1891. Keep in mind that Heritage House has limited hours. It is closed during the months of July and August. Families can visit Friday through Sunday, from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Van Buren Drive-In Theatre
3035 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, CA 92503

Yes, drive-in theatres still exist. The Van Buren Drive-in Theatre first opened in 1964 on the site of a former orange ranch. Tickets are $1 for children ages 5-9, and $9 for those 10 and older, and all admission prices are for double-features. Check the website for some tips on how to best enjoy your drive-in experience. All movies are shown in the evening, and the drive-in is open seven days a week. During the day, the Drive-In is the site of a swap meet (open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm).

California Citrus State Historic Park
9400 Dufferin Ave., Riverside, CA 92504

A visit to the California Citrus State Historic Park will provide families with an understanding of the citrus industry and its influence on our state. Once you arrive at this open-air museum, you’ll find a replica of a roadside fruit-stand. The Park is a “living historical museum,” with citrus groves still producing oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. There’s also a Visitor’s Center as well as plenty of picnic spots available too. Free, guided “Tour and Taste” experiences are offered Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. They are led by volunteer-docents and are first-come, first-served.

Kiddos 101
5225 Canyon Crest Dr. Ste. 23, Riverside, CA 92507

Kiddos 101 is an indoor play place designed for children (age 6 and younger). The facility is about 2,000-square feet and is designed with two main areas — one for those ages 6 weeks to 2 years old and another for children 2-6 years of age. The facility is described as an “indoor museum-style activity center,” and your children will find lots to do and try here. They are open seven days a week; information on pricing is available online.

Fox Performing Arts Center
3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501

The Riverside Theater originally opened in 1929, and was the location for the first public screening of Gone With the Wind. The Theater closed in 2007 for a three-year renovation. Families can enjoy a variety of live performances at the Fox Performing Arts Center. Upcoming family-friendly shows include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in October and The Nutcracker in December. 

UCR/California Museum of Photography
3824 Main St., Riverside, CA 92501

For those with an interest in photography, make sure to visit the California Museum of Photography. Through its exhibits, the Museum takes a closer look at photography, individual expression, and society at large. In its permanent collection, you’ll find examples of how photographic methods have changed and evolved over the years. In fact, the Museum currently possesses 10,000 cameras, viewing devices, and related photographic equipment. It is considered to be one of the most complete “public camera collections in the western states.” The Museum also has a collection of over 20,000 images, some dating back to the 1800’s. (Admission is $3 for visitors 13 and older, and children 12 and younger are free).

GLO Mini Golf
1299 Galleria at Tyler St. E106, Riverside, CA 92503

It’s miniature golf like you’ve never played it before. You’ll feel like you’re taking an around-the-world trip as you navigate through the indoor, glow-in-the-dark course. You’ll see the “Eiffel Tower,” “Great Wall of China,” and more as you play through 27 holes. You can even play with 3D glasses if you’d like. In addition, you’ll find over 30 arcade games as well as an Xbox Gaming Room within this 15,000 square-foot space.

March Field Air Museum
22550 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, CA 92518

Families can learn about the history of aviation when they visit the March Field Air Museum. You’ll find over 70 aircraft and more than 30,000 artifacts on display, some of which date back to World War I. While some sections of the Museum follow the “look-don’t touch” rule, there is a special interactive section where kids can have a chance to get hands-on and pretend they are a pilot. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sundays 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $10 for visitors 12 and older, $5 for children ages 5-11, and free for children 4 and younger.

Castle Park
3500 Polk St., Riverside, CA 92505

Castle Park is a popular amusement park that was founded in 1976. Families will find 35 rides and attractions here, as well as miniature golf courses, a video arcade, carnival games, a water playground, and more. Information about hours and admission are available online.

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center (JMDC)
7621 Granite Hills Dr., Riverside, CA 92509

Open six days a week (closed on Mondays), the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center offers free admission to a portion of the property including its 9-acres of botanical gardens — which include over ten dinosaur sculptures as well as a turtle pond. Admission to some exhibits and part of the museum is $9-15. Chiclren under 2 are free. Inside at the Museum, you’ll find one of the largest collections of Chinese Dinosaur Eggs on public display in North America as well as other fossils, rocks, and more. Additionally, the JMDC hosts field trips and special events throughout the year. (Tuesday through Saturday the JMDC is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, on Sunday the hours are 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm) 

The Cove Waterpark
4310 Camino Real, Riverside, CA 92509

When you need to cool off, head to The Cove. Kids (and adults) will enjoy the variety of water slides, spray features, and more at this popular spot. Among the attractions is the “Riptide Reef” which simulates a surfing experience. (Certain height restrictions do apply for certain attractions). For those wishing to dive, swim, and practice some aquatic exercises, there are facilities for that as well. Check the website for information about admission pricing. Parking is free. And remember to bring your own towels as The Cove does not provide any.

Riverside Metropolitan Museum
3580 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501

The Riverside Metropolitan Museum (RMM) houses more than 200,000 artifacts and archives about the history of Riverside. Exhibits are related to natural history, anthropology, and history. You’ll find fossils, rocks, Native American baskets, textiles, decorative arts, and much more here.  The Museum also hosts “Discovery Days” on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Activities are designed for children ages 3-10 ad include hands-on activities. Admission to the Museum is free (though $3 donations for each guest are appreciated).

Fairmount Park
2601 Fairmount Blvd., Riverside, CA 92501

At Fairmount Park, families can enjoy time outside in a very picturesque setting. It is the largest of Riverside’s many parks. The Park features tennis courts, a children’s playground, picnic facilities, lawn bowling green, rental pedal boats, lakes, and more. (Note — some visitors speak very highly of this park, while others believe it could be cleaner).

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
400 Central Ave., Riverside, CA 92507

There are many trails within the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park. Within the 1424-acre park, these trails connect with the surrounding communities. This means families can spend their time within the Park in many different ways. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are popular activities. And be sure to check out the Ameal Moore Nature Center while you’re there. The Nature Center offers exhibits, hands-on learning opportunities, nature walks, and more. Check the website for a map to plan your outing. Be sure to bring plenty of water, and be on the lookout for a variety of wildlife, including the Federally-listed endangered species, the Stephen’s Kangaroo Rat.

Riverside Art Museum
3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501

The Riverside Art Museum is housed in a building designed by architect Julia Morgan (the architect who designed the Hearst Castle). The permanent collection includes mixed media works, print works, and watercolors. The Museum also hosts a variety of classes and workshops (for children as well as adults). General admission is $5, children under 12 are free. The Museum is closed on Mondays.

Hangar Trampoline Parks
12125 Day St., Riverside, CA 92557

You’ll find plenty of ways to exercise at this indoor bounce facility. You’ll find wall-to-wall trampoline areas, an air bag pit, a trampoline runway, slam-dunk hoops, and more.  All ages are welcome here, and you’ll find a special kid’s area for younger bouncers. (The rule is if you can jump, you can come here). Check the website for information about pricing.

Hidden Valley Nature Center
11401 Arlington Ave., Riverside, CA 92505

The Hidden Valley Nature Center is located on 1500 acres and includes 25 miles of  hiking and equestrian trails. The Nature Center is open on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and includes a variety of interactive activities for children, including the chance to observe live animals. Families will also enjoy the pond and picnic area. A variety of educational activities are held throughout the year (including a Little Explorers program, summer camp, Friday Family nights, and the Junior Naturalist Program on Saturday mornings); check the website for details. And mark the calendar, the Hidden Valley Nature Center is hosting Archaeology Day on October 15th.

Rancho Jurupa Park
4800 Crestmore Rd., Riverside, CA 92509

Rancho Jurupa Park is a 200-acre area that offers much for families to do. you’ll find two lakes (perfect for fishing families), miniature golf, playgrounds,a splash pad, hiking and biking trails, and more. You can extend your visit by staying overnight (camping in tents or RVs or by renting a cabin).

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. 

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2 comments

    • Yvonne Condes 13 April, 2018 at 10:06 Reply

      Thank you for letting us know! Admission to a portion of the property is free and other areas there is a charge. We’ve corrected the post.

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