mcfam's Passport


Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14, '16

Icon_pictureBeen to 821 Attractions
Icon_star735 Reviews
Icon_star1454 First to Review
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About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
Point Magu State Beach
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:

Baby & Toddler activities in Los Angeles & Orange County, CA

Looking for a fun activity to do with your baby or toddler?  The Southern California area is chock full of great places to visit that bring fun, excitement and interaction for babies and toddlers.Photo by: flickr: mil8


Crystal Springs Dr.
Los Angeles, California

Free parking and the close proximity to the LA Zoo make stopping for a gentle pony ride a great outing.


5200 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, California

Trains to climb on, explore and ride on make this a great place to visit in Griffith Park.


5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, California

A great place to introduce young ones to animals. An animal-themed park is ready for little legs to run and play at.


2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles, California

The Noah's Ark exhibit offers hands on interaction with an amazing display of art. Make reservations for this exhibit.

reviewed on: September 29 2010

"Noah's Ark"
I took my 4 kids on a field trip to this great museum today in the hills of LA.  They loved the Noah's Ark exhibit with it's MANY hands on activities.  My 9 and 8 year old moved all the levers that made the storm sounds, turned the neck of the giraffe and played next to my 1 and 4 year old at the little ark replica with the miniature animals.  I was impressed with the wide variety of interactive play, things to climb on, and the pure art of creating beautiful animals out of recycled materials.  

The group rate was a reasonable price for an excellent museum and the crowds were just right.  Lots of young toddlers and preschoolers were playing in the ark, but because everyone is given a time to enter the ark (with a 2 hour limit) the play stations were always free for my kids to enjoy.

The story time was fun, although geared a bit low for my 4th and 2nd grader.  However, they didn't complain at all and thoroughly enjoyed being read to "IF You Give a Pig a Party"

After our time in the ark, we wandered through the other exhibits of the museum.  I was quite nervous as I led my young crowd through the glassed in exhibits of Jewish artifacts, art and clothing.  Several docents watched my little group carefully and I wasn't sure that taking my kids through was viewed as "acceptable".  However, we found a little "study room" off of the replica of a tabernacle that had children's books to read and a puzzle and I realized that, yes, my children were welcome, as long as they stayed on their best behavior.  I found it worth it to expose them to some Jewish history and culture, and I found myself enjoying it as well.

When we got home, my kids begged me to take them back to the ark for next week's field trip.  It was a success and I hope we can go again soon!


100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, California

Large floor to ceiling tanks, hanging life-sized whales, and touch tanks will make this aquarium very enjoyable for toddlers, babies and parents.

reviewed on: June 08 2010

"Seal friend"
We spent a lot of time in the seal tunnel which is near the back of the aquarium.  My youngest son at the time was 3 and he was carrying a bag of goldfish in his hand.  One seal spotted him and came nose to nose with my son.  They stared at each other and then proceeded to play with each other as much as they could with big plate glass separating them.  We were all giggling with the fun of the experience.
Lesson is: bring a bag of snacks and spend some time in the seal tunnel!


1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California

The Children's Garden is the perfect place for young ones to toddle around, touch and play with water and explore nature. The rest of the Gardens are exceedingly beautiful and a great place to take a stroll with a baby.

reviewed on: June 16 2010

"Spectacular gardens"
The Children's Garden is a must see when visiting the Huntington Library with small children.  My son could not get enough of opening and closing a little blue door that led to an arbor of grapevines, just tall enough for little ones to walk through.  It was as if the garden was made just for him with things he loved to discover and interact with.

Our other favorite part of this place was the Japanese Gardens.  The bridges were impressive (a favorite of my boys') and the plants and flowers spectacular.  

We wandered much farther "below" in the gardens, as everything slopes downhill from the entrance and found quiet ponds, solitary paths and sloping lawns.  I wanted to spend the rest of the day relaxing on the grass and studying the leaves on the trees.  But my youngsters pressed me on to see the fish swimming in the ponds, and then it was time to go home.


301 South Euclid Avenue
La Habra, California

Dress up clothes, lots of things to touch and a little grocery shopping area provide great interaction for toddlers. A designated toddler play area room with stairs climbing into a tree, puzzles, books and ride on cars is great fun for toddlers.

reviewed on: June 02 2010

"Not just for toddlers"
I was afraid that this museum would be too young for my 7 and 9 year old to visit but I was pleasantly surprised by many of the exhibits and rooms.

On one visit there were displays and hands on experiments about the 5 senses.  The exhibits were simple enough to delight my 3 year old and detailed enough to teach my 9 year old something new.  The same was true later in the year when the same room hosted a display about the "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Ocean.  There was plenty of information about each country, volcanoes, and earthquakes.  It was like we took a trip around the world.

The "Natural History" room with taxidermied animals was also quite a great experience and offered many educational experiences.


1801 East Chestnut Avenue
Santa Ana, California

A small zoo that offers a petting zoo, barn animals, a train ride and lots of monkeys to visit.

reviewed on: June 16 2010

"Great for my preschoolers"
This has been a favorite zoo and playground for my preschool kids.  One of our favorite areas is the farm land towards the west of the zoo.  It's new and well designed with lots of cute farm animals.  A red barn and train sets the stage for a fun area.  Often docents are walking around with little creatures for kids to see and touch.  The train ride feels like a money trap to me, so we usually pass up that short trip.  But with a coupon, it can be a fun excursion.

Not to say that this zoo is not for older kids because there are plenty of animals to see, exhibits to learn from and activities for them to enjoy.  We just have really enjoyed it with our preschoolers.


1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, California

Lots of open space under ancient oaks and sycamores creates a beautiful setting for visiting with your young ones. A small zoo, train ride, pony rides, and ducks on a pond are some of the many activities here.

reviewed on: June 02 2010

When we drive through this park, we roll our windows down and keep a sharp lookout for the sights and sounds of the many peacocks that roam this area.  Usually we see one on our drive, and we have heard them squawk many times.  

My kids love riding the little railroad which parents can ride too.  It's a fun narrated ride through the park and you can learn the history of this 100+ year old park as you do.

Among the many things to do here, another favorite is exploring the many holes and spreading limbs of the great sycamore trees.  Many are climbable and the leaves are usually bigger than your head.  My kids hide in the holes created by wildfires that must have come through many years ago.  


29 Hubble
Irvine, California

This indoor museum is the perfect hands-on place for toddlers to explore. Kids can discover and learn about every day life and things that run a city through dress-up, play and interaction with exhibits that feature firefighters, grocery store, doctors and more.


Orange County Great Park
Irvine, California

The orange balloon is now a landmark in Orange County. Take a free ride on this very safe helium balloon, or enjoy the free carousel ride, playground and Farmer's Market (Sunday only for market) at this ever-growing Great Park.

reviewed on: June 10 2010

"Lofty view"
If you are ever in Orange County, you will most likely see this huge orange sphere high in the skies over the city of Irvine.  Don't just enjoy this odd shape, go to it and take a ride.  It's free, it's safe, it's fun.

I was quite happy to learn that the cage where the passengers are assembled for the flight in the balloon is a sturdy steel structure with enclosed sides and mesh netting above the rail.  I was so glad to realize my kids were going to be very safe.  After that, I enjoyed the softly moving ascent into the skies of Orange County and was amazed to see for miles.  The large acreage of the former El Toro Marine Base was below us and we could see the Great Park taking shape.

We can't wait to come back for a night flight.


18025 Bloomfield Ave
Cerritos, California

The Children's Section of this amazing library hosts a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, a T-Rex skeleton and a large tree. Enjoy cozying up with your little one to read picture books from the great selection on one of the many chairs or cushions.

reviewed on: February 18 2011

"Library love"
I think I could live in this library... or maybe visit it every day... or just wish that I could because I actually live too far away!  Let me just say again that I love this library!  

The Children's Section was a dream to discover.  An aquarium to greet you, books to walk through, very inviting tables and lights that just beg you to sit and read to your kids, and a large dinosaur skeleton to wow you in the center.  Many more features may certainly distract youngsters but my 8 and 10 year old were absorbed in their books.  This section of the library is set apart by walls and other sound proofing ways from the rest of the library which I really appreciate as a mother of loud boys.

I wandered through other parts of the library and thought eagerly about coming back without my youngsters so that I could pull up a comfy chair and sit a spell.  Everything is artistically presented, well lighted, and inviting.  It is absolutely beautiful.

The one downside of this library is that it would cost my family $100.00 for a year long library card because we are not residents, employees or students in Cerritos.  

We look forward to coming back on a sunny warm day to enjoy the fountain outside.  But on this cloudy day, we enjoyed walking through the Sculpture Garden near by.  It was beautiful as well!


Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

Visit this working farm for free at the Orange County Fairgrounds after noon on most days (check website for details) and introduce your little ones to pigs, sheep, and fresh growing vegetables.

reviewed on: June 09 2010

"Working farm"
This working farm in the heart of Orange County is a great place to show kids how things grow and how animals live.  The grounds are well kept and the animal pens are easy to see into.  In the spring, many animals have babies which is a delight to visit.  I couldn't resist showing my young boys (2,4) all the different vegetables and how they grew.  I wanted them to know that they didn't grow in the grocery store.  The barn is a fun place to visit and we saw 2 oxen get hooked up to their yoke, ready for plowing.

Be sure to note that the farm is closed to the general public on weekday mornings.  The farm is only open to registered groups.


Broadway St.
Laguna Beach, California

The beauty of this beach will delight most parents as little ones will enjoy digging in the sand. A small playground, boardwalk, and nearby shops and restaurants make this beach in Laguna the perfect outing.

reviewed on: June 07 2010

This beach has it all: clean sand, crystal clear water, playground, basketball courts, public bathroom, boardwalk, tide pools, and restaurants.  We love coming here and finding a spot along the sand and watching for dolphins surfing in the waves and pelicans diving for their meal.  

The tide pools are on the north side of the beach and are a bit of a walk from the playground, but there is a boardwalk that you can walk on for most of the way.  The bathrooms are next to the playground and on the north side of the beach near the tide pools.

Parking can be tricky at this beach.  There are meters on many of the local streets, or in small parking areas near the stores on Laguna Canyon Road.
We prefer to park in the parking garage on Glenneyre St. just south of Laguna Ave.  It is about a 10 minute walk from there to the beach.
It is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in the U.S. and we love it!


6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road
Anaheim, California

The unique thing about these nature trails for toddlers is the turtle shell, the nest, and the hollow log (all made from cement) that toddlers will enjoy exploring. The beauty of the oak trees and the stroller friendly trails makes it a beautiful and young kid friendly place.

reviewed on: February 25 2011

"Nature trails and a stream"
This little section of trails is located right in the heart of Orange County, surrounded by housing developments and businesses.  What a jewel of nature, preserved for us to enjoy.  Sometimes the "getting out to enjoy nature" takes work, but that effort is richly rewarded at this place.

My kids and I hiked the stream trail, past an amphitheater, a mine, and over 5 or 6 cute little bridges.  We saw ducks, woodpeckers and heard the rhythmic croaking of Pacific Tree Frogs.  The 1/4 mile nature trail (just up the stairs by the Nature Center) has a lot to offer kids.  My kids jumped in the broken "bird egg" and chirped like baby birds, crawled through the turtle shell and then pretended to be animals living in a hollowed log.  Interpretive signs helped me teach them a little history and nature as we wandered the trail.  A butterfly garden filled with large butterfly structures attracted my kid's attention for quite some time.  We loved our time in nature today!

Most of the trails and bridges are narrow and would most likely accommodate a small stroller or jogger.  However, the stream trail has many steps and would not work for a stroller.  Other trails are available but will not take you over the bridges that would be sure to entice most kids.  

The trails are well marked and lined with stones, but I saw many areas of poison oak off the trail.  In most cases it was far back from the trail, but is a good reason to stay out of the bushes here!


1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, California

This is a beautiful garden to visit with fish to feed!