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Old Apr 6, 11, 9:51 pm   #1
 
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Entertaining a 6 year old boy for 3 days in LA

My mother organized a trip to LA/Disneyland in April for my son's birthday and I am going with them. Unfortunately, she has had some health issues and spending a full day at Disneyland at this time doesn't seem like a wise idea (truth be told he wasn't really excited about Disneyland as he is focused on Legoland in May). We will stay in Beverly Hills and my mother will shop. Renting a car is not an option, as my mother doesn't trust me to drive in LA . I don't mind as she is the worst back seat driver even though she hasn't driven in almost 40 years! Neither my son nor I are interested in shopping so I am wondering what we can do (we are happy to take cabs). I have looked at the other threads on this forum and also on the web but haven't found anything that sounds terribly exciting, other than the Whale Watching excursions which sound great.

He loves trains and aviation, and I think I will definitely take him to Union Station. He loves to "joy ride" on trains. Is there are particular route we should take that is scenic?

Also, are there any bowling alleys or fun movie theaters in Beverly Hills?

Finally, is Santa Monica Pier "worth it"? In other words, is it a lot like Pier 39 in SF? If yes, we will skip it.

Thankfully he's an easygoing kid, and he will probably be happy just to be in another city, but I would like to make this trip special for him.

I appreciate your input.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 10:00 pm   #2
 
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Since he likes airplanes you could take him to the air museum at Santa Monica airport. My father in law used to be a volunteer there. My daughter used to go there with him when she was a kid and love it.
The peer is not far from there, so you could stop there and check it out. If he doesn't like the peer then there is always the beach right there.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 10:02 pm   #3
 
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He would probably enjoy La Brea Tar Pits. It's not that far from Beverly Hills.
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Old Apr 6, 11, 10:24 pm   #4
 
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For trains, you could visit Travel Town at Griffith Park, it's near the LA Zoo.
http://traveltown.org/visitor.shtml
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Old Apr 7, 11, 12:24 am   #5
 
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Any 6 year-old who isn't excited about Disneyland obviously doesn't know what they're missing. And it sounds like he'd be a convert the second he saw the train station just as you enter the park.

For bowling alleys and movie theaters, I think Hollywood is what you're looking for. They have a fun Lucky Strike, along with the world famous El Capitan (which always shows family movies) and Chinese theaters.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 12:29 am   #6
 
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A great train option if you want to joy ride - go to Union Station and take the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego. Frequently service (approx hourly during the day), great views as significant sections of it run along the coast, the trains are bi-level so you can sit high, plus you can do a quick trip into San Diego while here.

Santa Monica Pier - worth going to. They have a small amusement park on the pier, and it's fun to walk out and watch people fish and do other things. Also, it's right on the beach, so you can visit the beaches of Southern California.

The Venice boardwalk might be a good option too.

Travel Town would also be good for a kid who likes trains.

Universal Studios is another option.

Note that if you do go to Disneyland, your mother can get a wheelchair. Most rides are accessible for people in a wheelchair, especially since it sounds like moving from chair to rides wouldn't be an issue at all.

FYI, if you want to same some money on getting around, there are a few good options providing east-west service from Beverly Hills, as the taxi trips wouldn't be cheap. Depending on where you are, you would likely want to use the 4/704 on Santa Monica Blvd, or the 20/720 on Wilshire Blvd, which both provide frequent service into downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 4:13 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by janehoya View Post
Renting a car is not an option ... (we are happy to take cabs).
just keep in mind that cabs from BH to anywhere will cost a lot of money. each way to santa monica will run in excess of $30, and the ride down to disneyland could easily exceed $100.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 7:35 am   #8
 
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The California Science Center in Exposition Park seemed generally aimed at younger people. Lots of hands-on exhibits. An IMAX theatre, with 3-D shows (at least at times), is next door. There is a similar museum, and theatre, in San Diego's Balboa Park. Metrolink trains (http://www.metrolinktrains.com/) are less expensive than those of Amtrak, and are just as nice for short trips, though the number of trips is limited on weekends. I'd consider a trip up to Oxnard or south to Oceanside, or even, for more of the trip outside of urban areas, out to the desert at Lancaster. A day-trip out to the Channel Islands from Oxnard or Ventura (I think Island Packers is still the concessionaire) would be fun, though not cheap. You can get to Union Station via subway or light rail from many locations (another train!).

Would he be interested in a studio tour? Or a TV show taping? Universal Studios has, I believe, a short studio tour as part of its theme park, but the better studio tours per se are Warner Brothers and Sony (formerly MGM). Not cheap.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 9:51 am   #9
 
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I can't imagine not going to Disneyland with a 6 year old.
I think you should go to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach--it is an amazing aquarium for all ages & he will get to pet a shark! If he is into ships you could go to the Queen Mary which is right there too. Also, he is the perfect age for Legoland which I think is one of the nicest theme parks out there for kids. I guess you could take a train there--it's kind of halfway between LA and San Diego.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 10:21 am   #10
 
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My cousins recently visited with their 6 year old twins and 9 year old son. They went down to Disneyland and had a great time. Here are a few other things they seemed to enjoy...

1. They stayed over near Hollywood and we spent one day just walking around that area. They enjoyed all the characters in front of Mann's Chinese Theater. To us adults the guy dressed as Yoda may seem a little odd - but worth a few bucks for the pictures. Also did Madame Tussauds and the Guinness World of Records Museum. After that went to the Disney Soda Fountain for hot dogs and ice cream. Seemed to be an entertaining day for the kids.

2. Did a long walk down the Venice and Santa Monica beach area. Granted, most of our time was spent chasing after them as they ran off after birds or decided to pick up various trash. But again, it seemed to do the trick (which for my cousins is occupying three high energy kids).

3. We also caught a Sunday afternoon performance at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.. Had heard about it from a friend - was actually pretty cool.

Also a shame you are not here in May (sounds like you are going to SD then). The Pasadena Model Railroad Club is having several open houses - they operate one of the largest HO scale model railroads in the world.

Last edited by dbuckho; Apr 7, 11 at 10:36 am..
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Old Apr 7, 11, 6:26 pm   #11
 
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Show your mother any review or travel guide about LA and they will probably all mention that a rental car is a must. I would personally not enjoy taking public transit with a 6 year old and my mother in tow around LA for any length of time especially for 3 days.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 8:29 pm   #12
 
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If you are in town on a Sunday, you might combine your visit to Traveltown with a visit to Los Angeles Live Steamers Rail Museum just a few hundred yards down the road where your kiddo will likely have a chance to ride a miniature steam train.

Griffith Park (home of both of the above) also has a great historic carousel, the LA Zoo, the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, pony rides, the Griffith Observatory, and the famous Hollywood sign... Giving one plenty for a 6 y.o., although having a car is necessary to access much of it.
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Old Apr 9, 11, 12:23 am   #13
 
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I want to thank you all for taking time to post a reply to my question.

My husband is in agreement with those of you who feel that Disneyland is a must for a 6 year old visiting LA, so off to Disneyland we go. Oddly enough my mother who is definitely a "shop-till-you-drop" type also insisted that we take my son, and claims that she will just sit on benches for long stretches. This should be interesting.

We are going to be there Monday till Thursday and will definitely visit a few of the places mentioned by posters.

I'll be sure to post to this thread upon our return.
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Old Apr 9, 11, 12:44 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Uh Clem View Post
He would probably enjoy La Brea Tar Pits. It's not that far from Beverly Hills.
Definitely do the tar pits. This is a great place for kids. I took my niece and nephew there they were 5 and 2 at the time and they loved it. We spent a good portion of a day there. 6 is not too old.

Also I would get the car if you can. It's so much easier to get around LA especially from Bev Hills if you have a car.

For a six year old you can go to the Santa Monica Pier they have some fun rides for younger kids. It was about the perfect level for my 5 year old niece and she is a mature 5. You could drop mom off at the 3rd street promenade and take the boy to the pier for a few hours - play on the rides get some junk food walk on the beach that sort of thing. Also the new santa monica place at the end of the promenade would be nice for mom. Lots of shops and open air cafes where she can sit and rest periodically. This is very close to the pier you could walk from there.

In Bev Hills you are near hollywood you can go to the walk of the stars and get his picture taken with "spiderman" and also go to the wax museum that is fun for kids we took the N&N there as well and it worked well.
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Old Apr 9, 11, 1:03 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janehoya View Post
My husband is in agreement with those of you who feel that Disneyland is a must for a 6 year old visiting LA, so off to Disneyland we go. Oddly enough my mother who is definitely a "shop-till-you-drop" type also insisted that we take my son, and claims that she will just sit on benches for long stretches. This should be interesting.
A couple tips on Disneyland for your situation:
1. If your mother is having health issues stop by City Hall (Disneyland, left side after passing under the train), or Guest Services (DCA, left side after entering the park), and explain the issues she is having. They can provide assistance and recommendations as appropriate.
2. While at City Hall or Guest Relations, be sure to get a 1st visit pin for your son (I'm assuming that is the case), and a birthday pin (cast members will be saying Happy Birthday to your son all day long).
3. Sitting on benches is actually quite practical at Disneyland (and to a slightly lesser extend DCA), as Disneyland is based on a hub design, both in general and each area, so you and your son can do multiple rides while your mother sits on a bench in the middle of each area.
4. Take advantage of fast passes as much as you can. A few important things on fast passes: only the start time of the pass matters, you can use it after the end time of the fast pass, you can get a new fast pass either at the start time of the previous one you have or 2 hours after, and both parks are separate in terms of this rule (you can get one at DCA when you just got one at Disneyland). Space Mountain is generally a good one to get early, as is Splash Mountain on a hot day, as those will run out (or in the case of Splash, be after the most effective time of use).
5. If you want to see World of Color at DCA, you need a ticket to see it from the front (a special fast pass, doesn't count in terms of holding fast passes from above). Be sure to plan on getting that fairly early (specific timing depends on which show you want to see, if the first one, the earlier the better). That or make a dining package reservation.
6. If you want to have a sit down dinner in Disneyland or DCA, it is generally best to make reservations in advance, but that depends on how busy the park is.

Most importantly, have fun.
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