Thursday, December 24, 2015

Must-Do With the Kids: L.A. County Holiday Celebration Tonight!

It's that amazing music-filled, dance-filled gorgeous Los Angeles tradition that will be filling up your Facebook feed tonight as Angelenos from all over L.A. County descend on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the Emmy Award-winning 56th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration!

Doors open today at 2:30 p.m. for the absolutely free concert that runs from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. downtown.

Be sure to get there early, as hundreds of people line up to catch the colorful and talented acts.

Tonight's lineup of L.A. County artists includes Invertigo Dance Theatre, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Citrus Singers, the Colburn Children's Choir and Young Men's Ensemble and many more!

Cas Anvar ("Olympus"), Marisa Ramirez ("Blue Bloods") and Brian White ("Scandal") will host!

And if you can't make it for the live performances, the celebration will be live streamed at and will also air on PBS SoCal.


The L.A. County Holiday Celebration

Thursday, Dec. 24 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
• Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
• Entertainment on The Music Center plaza for those waiting in line begins at 12:30 p.m.
• Patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour performance.
• A live broadcast of the show airs from 3 p.m.  6 p.m. on PBS SoCal.
• Live streaming at

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Information hotline: (213) 972-3099 or

FREE; no reservations or tickets to the show; first come, first seated

FREE in The Music Center parking garage

Monday, December 21, 2015

Countdown to Noon Year's Eve at Discovery Cube Los Angeles + *Giveaway*

For L.A. parents ready to ring in 2016 with the kiddos—that is, without keeping them up 'til midnight (or even 9 p.m. to catch the East Coast version), Discovery Cube Los Angeles is rocking Noon Year's Eve on December 30 and 31!

Will is gonna go crazy when he finds out that the celebration involves superheroes! In fact, families are encouraged to come in superhero costumes and join in the awesome superhero dance party while making superhero masks! Watch out for a baby Batman is all I'm saying!

Other activities include:
  • Countdowns & Balloon Drops (12pm and 2pm)
  • Ginger Ale Toasts
  • Green Screen Photo Booth Pictures
  • Hats and Horns to help celebrate the new year!
Remember to stop by on December 30 or 31, and watch the ball drop at 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. and toast the New Year with kid-friendly ginger ale!


The Discovery Cube LA Mom Ambassadors are giving away 1 Annual Family Membership to Discovery Cube.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below:
 photo 44a57a0b-2f87-4389-8d77-c587a2c2ea4f.png

11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through January 3, 2016. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Image via Discovery Cube LA

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Must-Do With the Kids: LA Zoo Lights + *Giveaway*

L.A. Zoo Lights run through January 3, 2016
UPDATE: Congrats to Kayley, who won the 4 tickets to LA Zoo Lights! Please email me at, and I will send them your way!

Stop what you're doing right now, and plan a family trip to see the LA Zoo Lights!

The holiday attraction, which runs now through January 3, 2016, is fabulous fun for the whole family.

CC and I went on opening night, and there was literally a line around the side of the zoo. It is a super-popular event, so be sure and grab tickets soon—or enter my giveaway below!

Walking into the Los Angeles Zoo at night is absolutely magical. CC and I had never seen the zoo this late, and it felt that much more special to see one of our favorite LA attractions after dark.

The thousands upon thousands of LED lights were gorgeous, and I heard someone say they were even more spectacular than last year. (This was our first year to attend.)

LA Zoo Lights is open every night, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Sundays and Dec. 21 and 23.

CC and I at the LA Zoo Lights
From glittering light tunnels to clever light displays in the animal habitats to 3-D projections of animals, the presentation is vast and thrilling. Expect to see animated monkeys, a 130-foot coiled and glowing snake and a hillside of snowboarding lighted lizards. (Keep in mind, though, that many of the real animals are sleeping, so you will definitely run into a "Quiet Zone" or two.)

Flamingo lights at the LA Zoo
We even stopped by Reindeer Village, which was all decked out in colorful lights and featured a few reindeer to boot!

Reindeer Village
Don't forget to stop by Reindeer Romp and meet Velvet and his reindeer friends.

Reindeer at the Los Angeles Zoo
Special nights during LA Zoo Lights include Holiday Happy Hour on December 10 (tickets: $75). Grown-up guests can enjoy holiday cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer along with VIP tickets.

Then there's Family New Year's Eve (tickets: $65 for adults and $40 for kids), which offers admission to LA Zoo Lights on December 31, a dinner buffet, carousel ride, crafts, a DJ dance party, cash bar and a champagne toast at 9 p.m. as the ball drops in Times Square.

Whatever you plan to do this holiday season, don't miss the LA Zoo Lights!

LA Zoo Lights (runs through January 3, except December 24-25)
6 p.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Sundays and Dec. 21 and 23.
5333 Zoo Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: $13/$16 (adults weekdays/weekends); $11/$14 (children weekdays/weekends); children under 2 are free

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away 4 tickets to the LA Zoo Lights, courtesy of the Los Angeles Zoo!

To enter, leave a comment below, telling me your favorite part of the LA Zoo.

For more chances to win, share this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook. I'm at @la_story on Twitter and here on Facebook.

Just be sure to leave extra comments telling me you did so. 

Good luck, and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 14!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Getting Hands-on at the 'Science of Gingerbread' Exhibit

Guess who met up with Santa at Discovery Cube Los Angeles?
Christmas and all of its accompanying holiday fun could not get started fast enough this year! So the kiddos and I could not wait to deliver CC's gingerbread house creation to Discovery Cube Los Angeles' annual "Science of Gingerbread" competition—and check out the rest of the exhibit as well!

CC enters her creation!
After dropping off her gingerbread masterpiece, we went inside to check out all of the new, hands-on features that are part of the "Science of Gingerbread" exhibit, which runs through Jan. 3, 2016, at Discovery Cube LA.

First, we met up with Santa (pictured up top). I was so excited that Will was OK with sitting on Santa's lap. He can sometimes be wary of sitting on anyone's lap—including his parents'—so this was a big success.

Then we saw a gorgeous display of gingerbread houses that had been entered into the competition. People got so creative! Loved the oversized marshmallow pigs. We'll have to try those next year.

The kids also indulged in a little cookie decorating. (The next sessions will come this weekend.) Somehow they both managed to cover their faces in frosting, but hey, it was fun for them to pick the color of icing and sprinkles for their cookies, so why not?

CC and Will could not resist the Gingerbread Derby, which invites kids build their own race cars out of fun, edible materials like graham crackers, jelly beans, mints (for wheels) and gummy bears. Will, who has a total sweet tooth like his mom (ahem), basically just wanted to eat it until he realized that his car could actually move—and raced really well on the exhibit ramp.

CC and Will build their gingerbread race cars.
While this was our last activity for the day, there were plenty of other fun holiday-themed activities for kids to do.

They can also learn about chemistry in the kitchen—which ingredients dissolve more easily in water? There's also the Gingerbread Spice and Build a House Learning Stations and the Science of Snow Stage Show. Take a pic with Santa this weekend or between Dec. 19-24.

CC and Will show off—and start eating—their gingerbread cars.

We had a fantastic time, and the kiddos are already asking to go back!

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
The Science of Gingerbread (November 27-January 3)
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through January 3. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Singin' in the Rain Room at LACMA

Will and I in the "Rain Room" at LACMA
Tonight Will asked about "Rain Room." We were going through some of the videos on my phone, and he asked to see the one where he's walking through a room full of falling water but not getting wet.

Obviously, the LACMA exhibit we visited the weekend before Thanksgiving made quite an impression!

If you're an Angeleno and haven't yet snagged tickets to the popular exhibit, you'd better hurry! When we visited in mid-November, I was told that tickets were sold out into February. And the exhibit ends on March 6, 2016. (LACMA has included special extended weekend hours.)

"Rain Room," from Random International, is truly a marvel, and both Will and I were fascinated. You can literally walk under what seem like a million sprinklers, and not get wet. That is, unless you start running, and slip and fall, which is what Will did. (He got a little too excited.) Move slowly, and keep in mind that you're essentially walking over slick drains.

Besides, you'll want to take it all in. After all, because the tickets are timed, you should enjoy your 15 minutes to the fullest.

Visit for more information on "Rain Room" ticketing.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 323 857-6010

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Finds: Vicks Sweet Dreams Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier

Cold and flu season has definitely arrived -- parents and kids have been out sick at work and school -- but a great way to keep nighttime less congested is with the Vicks Sweet Dreams Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier (SRP: $59.99).

While that's certainly a mouthful, CC and Will love the one we have in their room. Usually, they're more than blase about the latest humidifier, but this one comes with a cool animal scene projector that lights up their ceiling as they fall asleep.

There are three different scenes to choose from -- an African safari, an underwater world and a starry night. That plus the cool mist and the option to insert Vicks VapoPads for added menthol vapors, and the humidifier becomes a real must-have.

I'm hoping this helps keep the kiddos sniffle-free through the winter. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Step-by-Step Gingerbread House for Discovery Cube Los Angeles Competition

We're entering the Science of Gingerbread competition at Discovery Cube Los Angeles!
While Thanksgiving might be tomorrow, we're already thinking ahead to Christmas, and you know what that means—gingerbread house time!

As you might have read in my previous post, Discovery Cube Los Angeles is celebrating its 9th annual Science of Gingerbread exhibit (November 27-January 3), which features a gingerbread competition.

And the best part? CC and I are entering!

We started today with an adorable gingerbread house kit from Dancing Deer Baking Co. What's awesome about this is that the box serves as its own support structure, so you don't have a house that looks like this (we tried!).

First, we laid out the basic ingredients: gingerbread cookies, super-sugary white icing, house frame and plate.

Step 1: Separate your basic ingredients.
Then, we scoured the cabinets looking for fun, colorful items that would give our gingerbread house some pizzazz! Think M&Ms, jelly beans, dried cranberries and even colored pasta.

Next, CC and I started decorating. I think her favorite part was giving the gingerbread people faces and personalities. One was Scaredy Sam, another Heart Person, and others were Uncle Yelli and Cute Person.

Don't forget to give your gingerbread people some personality!
After that, we added jelly beans as Christmas lights, M&Ms, pasta and cranberries as parts of the garden, and extra icing as snow on the roof and yard.

While this wasn't our first gingerbread creation, as I mentioned earlier, we still have a long way to go before we can consider ourselves gingerbread professionals. What I did love, though, was watching CC get so creative with our house.

It was her idea to draw a green string to hold jelly bean Christmas lights. She also used green fusilli as a small shrub. And those gingerbread people—the stories she told about them were so funny!

We had a great time decorating. In fact, it was a wonderful mother-daughter moment I'll always remember—even if I was a little Type A about the messy icing!

Don't forget to download the entry form and bring your fabulous gingerbread creation to Discovery Cube LA by November 29!

You'll see ours there!

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
The Science of Gingerbread (November 27-January 3)
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through January 3. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Coming Attraction: 'The Science of Gingerbread' at Discovery Cube Los Angeles

One of the things I love about Christmas is gingerbread! CC and I have decorated gingerbread houses and gingerbread men, and I'm so excited that Discovery Cube Los Angeles makes this awesome tradition a serious event.

The Science of Gingerbread exhibit kicks off on November 27 and runs all the way through January 3. And there are so many ways you can participate!

Besides learning about the science behind baking in the Kitchen Chemistry Learning Station or the Gingerbread Spices Learning Station, families can also take part in cookie decorating (and eating!), a gingerbread derby and check out the Science of Snow to boot (great for SoCal kids for sure)!

There's also the 9th annual Gingerbread Competition, where kids, adults, families and organizations can enter their super-festive creations for a chance to win. Print the official entry form here, and drop off your creation by Sunday, Nov. 29. (Entries will be judged on December 1-2, with the winner notified no later than December 11.)

While that sounds amazing, Santa will also be on hand at Discovery Cube LA for visits and Christmas present requests. His first appearance will be this weekend, Nov. 27-Nov. 29. After that, he will visit weekends in December and December 19-24.

Don't forget to decorate cookies that you can indulge in afterward! Check the Discovery Cube site for dates and times.

And keep in mind that tickets are only $10 for adults and kids through January 3, 2016!

Enjoy and hope to see you there!

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through January 3. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

To Do With the Kids: Rain Room at LACMA

Rain Room at LACMA (Photo credit: Instagram)

I remember hearing about the "Rain Room" exhibit when it was in New York a couple of years ago at the Museum of Modern Art. It was supposed to be amazing.

Then I saw the pictures.

The exhibit, from London-based artist collective Random International, looked downright magical. People walked fully clothed through a room literally dripping with water—without getting wet. The bright white light shining on everyone in the space made visitors look otherworldly.

Now it's arrived in Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) through March 6, and CC and I have tickets to go on Saturday. Honestly, I can't wait!

(CC, for her part, can't imagine what fun walking through water can be if you're NOT going to get wet, but I'm sure she'll come around.)

"Rain Room," which was previously exhibited at London's Barbican Centre before visiting MOMA and now LACMA, is a kind of "art meets technology" installation in which a downpour of water falls everywhere around museumgoers—but not directly on them.

With incredible technology, the water stops whenever it detects a human body. (Just don't wear dark, shiny or reflective fabric. And if you bring the kiddos, make sure they walk slowly through the exhibit or they might get a little wet. Their quick movements are often difficult for the machines to detect, according to LACMA.)

And while the exhibit runs through March 6, 2016, call soon if you want to get tickets, which are timed, especially if you want to visit on a weekend. They're going quickly!

Visit for more information on "Rain Room" ticketing.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 323 857-6010

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Coming Attraction: 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' to Visit Discovery Cube Los Angeles

For kids who are digging "The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show," which debuted on Netflix last month (CC is one of them), then they'll definitely get excited about a fun event happening this weekend at Discovery Cube Los Angeles (and Orange County).

Here's the news from the show's creators, DreamWorks Animation:

Mr. Peabody & Sherman DreamWorks Animation Weekend
November 14 & 15, 2015
10AM – 5PM

Join us for a special weekend celebrating the recent launch of the hilarious brand new original series from DreamWorks Animation, The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. Mr. Peabody, the smartest dog in the world, and his boy Sherman host their very own zany late night talk show jam-packed with fun segments, cool characters, and memorable music numbers. All activities are inspired by the show and available at both Discovery Cube OC and Discovery Cube LA. 

  • Take part in animation workshops led by a DreamWorks animator
  • View special screenings of The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show
  • Take green screen pictures with your favorite characters
11800 Foothill Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91342

2500N Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Sounds like a fun day!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween, Mr. Bones!

CC gets ready to ride a pony at Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has an exciting, candy-filled yet super-safe night tonight.

Last weekend, we visited the newly relocated Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, which moved to Culver City from West Hollywood.

We love the pumpkin-filled patch, which also offers a bouncy pumpkin, a bouncy skeleton slide, a petting zoo and pony rides!

So fun! In fact, we visited three years ago, when Will was barely out of the womb!

While today is the last day to visit Mr. Bones, be sure to put it on the calendar for next year!

A baby goat sniffs Will's foot. To eat or not to eat?
I also tried out the new and free Instagram app, Boomerang, which makes short GIF-like videos of action. Check out this fun Boomerang of Will on the skeleton slide.
A video posted by Laura Clark / L.A. Story (@laura_clark) on

Enjoy your night!

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
West Los Angeles College Campus
10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

'ABC Monsters' + 'Houdini' NCircle Entertainment DVD Giveaway

Now this is a DVD pairing that's perfect for a preschooler and a little kid—Will and CC included!

"ABC Monsters: Meet the ABC Monsters" and "Houdini," new releases from NCircle Entertainment, are each fun for kids of different ages. While Will was a big fan of letters that could sing and chat with kids, CC was totally taken by the magic of a young illusionist named Harry.

The preschool-themed ABC Monsters are big, hairy and not at all scary. But they are on the run, and only brother-sister duo Alice and Brian alongside their fairy friend Cherry Berry can catch them. In "Meet the ABC Monsters" (SRP: $9.99), A, B, C and D leave the walls of Capital Castle in their separate episodes. Now what's scary about that is, if they go missing for longer than a day, then all the letters will disappear from every book in Capital Town. Oh no! So it's Alice, Brian and Cherry Berry's job to make sure the monsters are always back before sundown.

Whether one letter is taking a dip in the pool or another is going on an archery adventure, their shenanigans will definitely keep preschoolers entertained.

Will loved singing along to the cute songs and answering questions about what he was seeing onscreen. What I loved was that he was learning about letters and spelling in a fun and memorable way.

Older kids will really enjoy the magic of "Houdini" (SRP: $9.99). CC certainly did. From the charmingly retro look of the animation to the story of a young boy who lives and breathes magic and dreams of winning a huge competition in New York, there's lots to keep kids on the edge of their seats.

And in this case, little Harry needs a real magician to guide him through his training. Enter the Great Tesla.

The well-known magician agrees to train Harry, with the help of Tesla's niece, Beth, and his robot assistant Amrold. Will Harry have what it takes? And what if a certain competitor has other plans?

"Houdini" is a riveting story and encourages kids to not only be creative but to also take risks, work hard and dream big to achieve their most heartfelt goals.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

I'm giving away one copy each of "ABC Monsters: Meet the ABC Monsters" and "Houdini"!

To enter, please:

Visit NCircle Entertainment and leave a comment below with your favorite DVD or franchise OR leave a comment about your favorite magic trick.

For more chances to win, follow me on Twitter and retweet this giveaway. I'm at @la_story. Or you can "Like" the L.A. Story Facebook page and share the giveaway.

Just be sure to leave extra comments telling me you did so. 

Good luck, and I will announce the winner on Wednesday, October 28!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Curious George + L.A. Kings = Serious Fun at Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Curious George at Discovery Cube Los Angeles
What better way to spend your birthday weekend than with that adorably curious monkey, Curious George?

That's exactly the kind of weekend Will had last week for his 3rd birthday! We made our way to the awesomely interactive Discovery Cube Los Angeles to check out its new small-child-friendly exhibit, Curious George: Let's Get Curious!, which runs through January 3, 2016.

CC and Will show some sibling love on the space rocket slide.
From rocket slides to wind power on the farm to mini golf greens, the Curious George exhibit offers lots of opportunities for kids to have fun exploring with their hands — and feet to boot.

Exploring wind power with Curious George.
Both Will and CC loved pretending they were in an apartment building, where they could play with a faux elevator and open mailbox doors to reveal fun photos and small dioramas inside.

What's in there?!
Wondering when Curious George himself will be on hand for kiddos? Here's the famous monkey's appearance schedule through January 3:

October: Every Saturday!
November: Every Saturday and Sunday!
December: Every Saturday and Sunday, as well as every day from December 19th – January 3rd!

Be sure to also check out the museum's Science of Hockey exhibit, created in association with the L.A. Kings. Every second Sunday of each month during hockey season will bring fun activities to Discovery Cube LA.

It's Bailey from the L.A. Kings!
While we were there last weekend, we got to meet up with Bailey the Lion, and Will got to play a little street hockey.

Not bad for a 3rd birthday weekend!

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Tickets: $10 for adults and kids through January 3, 2016. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post in my position as a #DiscoveryCubeMoms LA Ambassador. All opinions, however, are my own.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

'Boo at the L.A. Zoo' Scares Up Family-Friendly Halloween Fun

CC and Will get ready to see the animals at 'Boo at the L.A. Zoo.'
What better way to celebrate Halloween than with some spooky animal-tastic fun at the Los Angeles Zoo?!

"Boo at the L.A. Zoo" kicked off on October 1 and, for the first time, runs through the entire month of October (from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day).

This hippo is enjoying a Halloween-friendly treat. (Photo credit: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens)
From creepy-crawly caves that spotlight giant tarantulas (OK, so they're projections of tarantulas, but still super fun) at the Winnick Family Children's Zoo to a "Graveyard Safari" hay maze adventure to the "Boneyard" education station, families will enjoy the added Halloween-friendly festivities.

Kids are invited to dress up in costume as they check out pumpkin-carving demonstrations, "Professor Johnson, Organ Donor's Haunted Halloween Musical Review," featuring silly songs and sing-alongs, as well as enter costume contests.

Zoo educators are also on hand to teach kids about the slithery and winged creatures that call the zoo home. CC and Will got to check out a snake and a 2-pound but very strong owl.

The kiddos will be excited to see seasonal feedings of animals such as the black bear on October 17 and the tiger on October 18. On Halloween, the zoo will celebrate the one-year birthday of Rosie, the baby hippo. And trick-or-treating will take place on October 24, 25 in addition to the 31st.

And not only that, but themed crafts, storytelling, live music and strolling Halloween characters are also on the zoo menu. Everything is included in the price of admission.

So before the season's over, make your way over to "Boo at the L.A. Zoo."

"Boo at the L.A. Zoo"
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets: Adults ($20); Children 2-12 ($15); Children Under 2 (Free)


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