Whether your kids are between camp sessions (in which case: yikes!) or you’re just looking for something a little different to do on the weekend, we’ve got you covered. From a slime show at Kidspace to an epic tug-of-war at the beach, here are 17 fun and family-friendly events you don’t want to miss this July.

1. Check Out LA's Newest Kid's Museum

Mathew Tucciarone for Cayton Children's Museum

Hooray! The colorful and fun-filled 21,000-square-feet Cayton Children’s Museum has officially opened on the third floor of Santa Monica Place. Kids can scramble their way through the Courage Climber, a mesh web of ropes suspended from the ceiling; jump into To the Rescue!, a sea-like ball pit with a recycled Coast Guard rescue boat; marvel at the All Systems Go! Ball Machine, a Rube-Goldberg-inspired interactive exhibit; and so much more. Tickets are $14, and the museum will be open Mon.–Sat., 10a.m.-7p.m., and Sun., 12p.m.-7p.m. 

395 Santa Monica Pl. 
Santa Monica
Online: caytonmuseum.org

2. Have Some "Big World Fun"

Throughout July, Ford Theatres will be hosting its Big World Fun concert series, hour-long music and dance performances for children ages 4 to 12. This year's shows include a celebration of samba (and rumba and bamba), and an African dance and drum session. Performances start at 10a.m., but come early for crafts on the plaza. Tickets for adults are $5; kids 12 and under are free. 

2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East
Online: fordtheatres.org

3. Visit the Moon


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon with APOLLO 11: The Immersive Live Show, playing at the Rose Bowl from Jul. 5-29. It's a groundbreaking original story performed by a full cast and presented in the spectacular LUNAR DOME with 40,000 square feet of video projections. This truly immersive experience takes you on an unforgettable journey to the Moon. Tickets start at $21 (with special promotions).  

1001 Rose Bowl Dr.
Online: rosebowlstadium.com

4. Attend Free Rehearsals at the Bowl

Take advantage of LA’s best-kept secret: taking in the world-class sounds at the Hollywood Bowl for free! Starting in July, some morning rehearsals are open to the public. Call ahead for the latest information—you may even be able to snag a rehearsal performance of Into the Woods or Jurassic Park: The Concert!

2301 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: hollywoodbowl.com

5. Dance, Sing-Along & Laugh at Skirball

Ben Gibbs

Family Amphitheater Performances at Skirball Cultural Center kick off in July, with a Free to Be Theme inspired by the museum's latest exhibitions (including Black Is Beautiful and Fearless Fashion). The upbeat and inspiring performances will take place on Sat. and Sun., at 12p.m. and 2p.m. Expect everything from Afro-Cuban and hip-hop dance lessons to a hilarious sketch comedy musical. 

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Los Angeles
Online: skirball.org

6. Discover Shakespeare in the Park

Sun., Jul. 14 is Family Night at the Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival from the Independent Shakespeare Co. There will be free Shakespeare crafts and activities, plus a special Drag Queen Story Time featuring a children’s version of Twelfth Night. That same play will be performed at 7p.m. at the old Griffith Park Zoo. 

4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
Los Angeles
Online: iscla.org

7. Celebrate Kidspace's Birthday

Kidspace Museum

Kidspace Children's museum (one of our faves) is turning the big 4-0 and celebrating with 40 Days of Fun!, starting Jul. 6. Over the coming, they'll have different themes (from Slime Time and Bubbles) and accompanying "random acts of fun" (like bubble dance parties and slime-the-staff show). For two days (Jul. 13 and 14), there will even be a Birthday Bash with classic party games, a confetti blast and more. 

480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Online: kidspacemuseum.org

8. Explore the Natural History Museum at Night

Get outside and enjoy the evening breeze with Summer Nights in the Gardens, a celebration of all things summer in the enchanting Nature Gardens at NHM on Jul. 12. Spend your Friday night sipping a botanical-infused cocktail, exploring the museum's backyard and participating in nature-inspired take-home activities. 

900 W. Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: NHM.org

9. Sleep at the Zoo

Shannan Rouss

Get some shut-eye alongside your favorite animals with the Los Angeles Zoo's sleepover program. (During July, campouts occur on the 6th, 20th and 27th.) The experience includes guided evening and morning tours of the zoo, interactive programs, a nighttime snack and live animal presentations. 

5333 Zoo Dr.
Los Angeles
Online: lazoo.org

10. Go an a Creature Crawl

SoCal Museums is putting on a summer Creature Crawl, an activity that lets kids explore the many museums that currently have animal-themed exhibitions. Little ones can collect puzzle pieces at each of the five museums (including the Natural History Museum, Getty and Skirball Cultural Center) and use them to create a mythical beast to design and color. Upload kids' creations to SoCal Museums' site and win prizes at the end of the summer!

Online: socalmuseums.org

11. Enjoy a Sunset Picnic & Party

Zahed Ahmad via Unsplash

Pack your favorite picnic dinner, grab your friends and family and head over to the Annenberg Beach House for its annual Community Picnic on Jul. 18. There will be games, crafts, snacks and an epic tug-o-war, along with story time with Santa Monica’s mayor.

415 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Santa Monica
Online: annenbergbeachhouse.com

12. Watch a Movie at the Beach

You can put Dockweiler Beach's under-the-stars screenings at at the top of your list of outdoor movies happening this summer. On Fri. nights in July, they'll be showing The Lego Batman Movie, Smallfoot and more. Gourmet food trucks arrive 6p.m. and the flick begins at 8p.m.

Dockweiler Youth Center
12505 Vista del Mar
Playa del Rey, CA
Online: beaches.lacounty.gov

13. Get Your Groove On

Check out KCRW's outdoor concert summer series, with July events happening at the Hammer Museum and in Chinatown. It’s a great way to hear music, get some culture, maybe explore a different part of the city and sneak in some family bonding time. 

Online: summernights.kcrw.com

14. Cheer on a Dragon Boat Race

Joits via flickr

On July 13th and 14th, make your way to Echo Park Lake for the 39th Lotus Festival. This year's host country is The Royal Kingdom of Thailand. There will be a tea house, beer garden, dragon boat races, children's zone, tons of boutique and food vendors, artisan art and plenty of entertainment.

Echo Park Lake
751 Echo Park Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: laparks.org/lotusfestival

15. See a Play in the Round

Check out Theatricum Botanicum's a Creative PlayGround on Jul. 20, when actors will perform "in the round" (with kids on the stage) three stories by Hans Christian Andersen: The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes andThe Swineherd. All of Creative PlayGround’s pieces have been developed to be suitable for children from 1-11 years of age. 

1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. 
Topanga, CA
Online: theatricum.com

16. Build a Sand Castle

Margaret River via flickr

Sat. Jul. 27 is Family Sandcastle Building Day at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. All you need to bring is your best sandcastle building tools, a little shovel and bucket, and your castle creativity to this fun beach event. The sand on Cabrillo Beach will be thoroughly wet down to prepare for sand construction; the rest is up to you!

3720 Stephen M. White Dr.,
San Pedro
Online: cabrillomarineaquarium.com

17. Shop for a Cause

On Jul. 27 and 28, stop by Kidz Con, a two-day interactive pop-up installation featuring the best in children’s fashion, toys, treats, activities and games. Except slime-making, face painting and, for little ones, a soft-play toddler area. Tickets start at $15 and proceeds from the event will benefit Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

1933 S. Broadway
Los Angeles
Online: kidz-con.com

—Shannan Rouss


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