No matter how much there is to do at LAX Airport, it can be difficult to entertain kids while on a layover. If you have more than a few hours to wait, do not just sit around the airport and watch people walk by. Get out in the beautiful LA weather where it is almost always sunny, and the average daily temperature is in the 70s.
Whether you want to visit an animal park, theme park, or learn some things at the local museum, you can find it all in Los Angeles near LAX Airport. The city is bursting with culture, arts, and beaches as well as plenty of shopping and dining spots. But be sure to drop off your suitcases at a luggage storage facility near LAX first.
Los Angeles Zoo
In Griffith Park, you can see over 2,200 animals of 270 species on 133 acres at the Los Angeles Zoo. From alligators to zebras, they have it all from A to Z and they even have a garden with over 7,000 plants. The Rainforest exhibit has cool animals like jaguars, tamarins, boa constrictors, piranhas, and even a bird-eating spider.
The Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains is a favorite for kids as is the Elephants of Asia exhibit. But the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles (LAIR) is the most popular with their scorpions, poison dart frogs, tortoises, lizards, and snakes. Don’t forget to stop and get some unique souvenirs at the gift shop!
Aquarium of the Pacific
If you want to see some marine animals and thousands of fishes, the Aquarium of the Pacific has that covered. They have over 11,000 animals in 500 different species in their aquariums ranging from 5,000 to 350,000 gallons. The three permanent exhibits feature the Northern Pacific, Tropical Pacific, and Southern California Baja.
Explorer’s Cove is a popular exhibit with the Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest. The 150 sharks are fun to watch, and they have some mild-mannered sharks like epaulet and bamboo sharks in the touch pools. They also have a penguin habitat where you can see the Magellanic penguins with an underwater crawl space.
Disneyland is known as the happiest place on earth for a reason. There is so much to do, you may forget to go back to the airport to catch your flight! There are nine different theme lands in the park of over 100 acres. Main Street, USA is one of the most popular because of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, theater, and train.
Fantasyland is also popular with Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and dozens of rides. Adventureland boasts Indiana Jones and the Jungle Cruise. Mickey’s Toontown is a favorite with the little ones where they can see the characters. But don’t miss Tomorrowland, Star Wars, Critter Country, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square.
Go to Jurassic World, see Harry Potter, and hit the Transformers 3D ride at Universal Studios. This is more than a theme park because they have studios you can tour and other fun activities you cannot do in other theme parks. Visit Super Silly Fun Land to ride the Silly Swirly Ride or take off in the Flight of the Hippogriff.
See exciting stunt shows, get some thrills on some of the crazy coasters, and visit Bart and the other Simpsons at the Kwik-E-Mart. King Kong and Revenge of the Mummy rides are seriously fun and don’t forget WaterWorld and the Animal Actors shows.
World of Illusions
This place is actually several attractions in one. The Museum of Illusions is a perfect place for selfies and unique photos with 3D artworks that make you part of the action. Pose on the edge of a skyscraper, steal treasure from a dragon, and walk the red carpet with famous directors, actors, and musicians.
Visit the Giant’s House to see what it is like to be the size of a bug. They have the largest can of soda and the biggest pair of shoes as well as some other weird items. Some say the best part is the Upside Down House where everything really is upside down except you. Or maybe you are the one who is upside down.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Ripley was a funny guy who grew up in Santa Rosa and liked to travel the world. But he also liked collecting strange and unique items from wherever he went. Although he is no longer around, he left his collection to the public to be discovered in more than 30 Ripley’s Believe it or Not attractions around the world.
His complete collection features over 20,000 photos, 30,000 artifacts, and a variety of odd and mind-boggling things to see. Some of the most interesting oddities include a violin made of matchsticks, a one-eyed dog, shrunken heads, and a prehistoric cave bear skeleton. And the souvenirs at the gift shop are pretty cool too.
Kidspace Children’s Museum
Just like the name says, the Kidspace Children’s Museum is made for kids. But adults love it too. They have all sorts of awesome exhibits and interactive fun that lets your kids get hands-on with whatever they want. The Arroyo Adventure is a fun place for the kids to play in a mini version of the LA Arroyo.
Storyteller Studio involves everyone in art, storytelling, and dramatic play where they can explore their artistic side. The Physics Forest has 12 interactive physics projects where they can learn about flora and fauna. Other fun exhibits include Imagination Workshop, I-Play Zone, The Dig, Trike Tracks, and a Wildlife Pond.
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
This unique museum is based around a group of tar pits where you and the kids can see thousands of fossils, microfossils, and skeletons of animals and insects as well as leaves, seeds, and even pollen. Some of the preserved bones and wood are over 38,000 years old like the Columbian Mammoth and saber-toothed tigers.
Be sure to take an excavator tour to see some of the newest items because they are still finding things every day. You may be there to witness them making a new discovery! See the Titans of the Ice Age 3D at the theater to learn more about the lives of some of the animals and insects found in these tar pits.
While you are in LA, stop at one of the family-friendly eateries for some food. Philippe the Original, Carney’s, Pink’s Hot Dogs, and In-N-Out Burger are some good choices. But do not forget to stop and get your luggage before heading back to LAX Airport!