The latest Disney-Pixar flick comes roaring into theaters this week with astoundingly rendered background art; themes of family, friendship, and overcoming fear, and starring roles for those kid-favorite critters, dinosaurs. Though largely aimed at a younger crowd, The Good Dinosaur is rated PG, and some themes and moments may be a little too intense for more sensitive viewers. Read on to find out if this film is appropriate for your family (and why it's worth seeing at Hollywood's El Capitan for folks in LA this holiday season).
In years past, Thanksgiving was all about cute mash-ups (remember Thanksgivvikuh?), Black Friday shopping, and outrage over Thursday-is-Not-Friday-But-the-Middle-of-a-Holiday sales. This year the competing holidays are safely tucked away in December, and many major retailers are promising to stay closed on Thursday. (You go, Costco, REI, and Barnes & Noble! As for the rest of you, time out with no pumpkin pie.)
We here are thankful for much, and hope you feel the same way. We're thankful for our beautiful climate, which lets us sled on the sand as easily as on the snow. We're grateful for the truly unique shows,spectacles, and experiences that come our way this time of year. We're grateful for the health and well-being of our loved ones, and we're grateful for you, our readers. Happy Thanksgiving, guys!
Keep reading for some of our best finds for fun this Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and, thankfully, Thanksgiving weekend...
Filling your house with family this week? Isn't it wonderful? And doesn't it make you just want to... get them all out of your house? We mean this, of course, in the nicest possible way. After all, this is sunny SoCal, and maybe your guests have traveled far to enjoy LA. Telling them where to go is just being a good host, right? Even if the family members in your home this Thursday are the same ones who are always there, knowing what's open could be invaluable—both for clearing the house to prepare the meal and for walking it off afterward. Our event calendar has the full listing of Thanksgiving day happenings, and our holiday guide has a few ideas, too; the suggestions below are 10 places you may not have realized have opening hours on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Rumor has it that in some parts of the country sledding involves getting cold and wet. How very... un-Californian. Oh, sure, there are places near LA to go sledding on snow if that's your thing, but we're raising California kids—and that means beach sledding. Every winter a few Los Angeles area beaches get their annual sand berms—intended as protection against winter storms and violent surf. Or so they say. The real purpose is clearly to lay the groundwork for the ultimate SoCal winter sport.
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it's a time for sharing with others, and for picking up the last minute items you need for dinner; why not do both by saying "meet me at Third and Fairfax" for the annual Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff at the Farmers Market? Each year, the bright red donation kettles take their places at our nation's storefronts. This drive for donations begins at The Farmers Market with a festive holiday event that includes a tree lighting ceremony, sing-alongs with the Claremont Carolers, and tributes to civic and community leaders. The U.S. Marine Corps collects for Toys for Tots, too.
So if Monday is for giving and Thursday is for gratitude, Friday must be for getting, right? Not necessarily. The Los Angeles County Arboretum has an “Escape from Black Friday” nature camp, and there is much to do on our calendar that does not involve shopping. Personally, in anticipation of El Niño relieving us from the drought, I’m going to be Singin’ in the Rain, but if you are looking for a kiddie movie, The Good Dinosauropens at the El Capitan this week. If you have tickets to the 7pm show on Wednesday you can also enjoy a free anniversary screening of Toy Story beforehand. The accompanying show celebrates 20 years of Pixar Animation.
We're fortunate in the Southland to have a wonderful variety of traditional holiday events each season; LA families can take in Christmas lights, boat parades, Nutcracker performances, and even outdoor ice skating rinks. But for the past three years our warm blooded kids have been able to experience something even more unusual—something, dare we say, completely different. Perhaps you've heard people talk about CHILL at the Queen Mary and can't quite work out what it is. Or maybe you think chill is something that can only be done with a board in hand. Either way, CHILL is a great reason for a family drive to Long Beach, where you can experience ice in ways you've probably never imagined.
As the saying goes, one thing they can’t make more of is land. It is sometimes hard to believe that Los Angeles was initially populated by people who wanted to grow things; they came for the oranges, stayed for the weather, and soon our rural western outpost became a city. Los Angeles is no longer the big suburb it was when I was growing up. I miss that old city but am perpetually grateful for all of the open land that we still have. Huge amounts of acreage have been donated or conserved. This means that on any given day our children can be surrounded by nature on public land that belongs to them and to us. We can leave the city behind to go picnicking, hiking or camping. We have beaches, deserts, the Santa Monica Mountains, and in Orange County the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks: 37,000 acres of permanently protected wilderness designated as national natural landmarks by the State of California and U.S. Department of Interior.
Must be the Santa Anas, because I'm sensing change in the wind. Harvest gold has given way to red and green; there's a serious CHILL in the air, and our kids are starting to tally up their naughty and nice scores. (Here are a few ways to help tip the scales in their favor.)
We're one week shy of T-Day, and we all know that turkey won't even be cold before we enter a non-stop marathon of holiday frenzy. But luckily, we get to put our own SoCal spin on things. We may do a few turns on the ice, but we'll follow up with a day atthe beach (and make sure to brag about it to our friends and family who are not so climatologically blessed).
Mommy Poppins is LA's favorite free online resource for parents and kids where you'll discover the inside skinny on where and what todo, see, learn, play, make, read, splash, eat, run amok, party and envy in the Los Angeles area with kids. We hope you like the site. Feel free to email us if you have any questions.