10 Fun L.A. Things to Do With Kids That Don't Suck For Grownups | Public Spectacle | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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10 Fun L.A. Things to Do With Kids That Don't Suck For Grownups

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Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 4:45 AM
click to enlarge The tween band Pretty Little Demons - ROB REGER
  • Rob Reger
  • The tween band Pretty Little Demons
Who's cool? Who still knows what's up? Not you. You used to rock and roll all night and party ev-er-ee day. Now you're home by eight o'clock on school nights, and weekends too. Because you've got kids. 

At least, that's how it feels during the dark moments. The moments in which you're alone and cringing in a hard plastic booth at a Chuck E. Cheese, counting the minutes before you can escape the animatronic caterwauling. The moments in which you find yourself at a Gymboree and realize that you paid good money to be surrounded by people you want nothing more than to strangle. The moments in which you strongly suspect that your childless friends whisper with pity about how much more interesting you used to be - in the time before.

But in the good moments - and admit it, there are plenty of them - your kids are fantastic. Their newness, their curiosity, their wonder, their total lack of been-there-done-that, and their especially useful insistence that you get your ass of the couch and go out and actually see this miraculous city we call home. 

Put down that leftover chicken nugget you were about to filch and get out on the town. There's plenty of fun to be had here - even before bedtime.  
  • Courtesy Northridge Skateland
Best Place To See If You've Still Got It: Skateland

Opened in January of 1958, Northridge Skateland is now one of L.A.'s last remaining roller rinks, outliving all of its competitors. And there's a reason: Old as it is, this place doesn't feel like a relic - it's sparklingly well-maintained, and of course, the fact that DJs always spin whatever is in the top 40 this week always makes it feel current. Fabulous lighting, lots of video games and a lazer maze give you everything you'd want from a roller rink experience.

Little kids will like:
Learning how to roller skate, and doing the hokey pokey.

Older kids will like:
Feeling like they're in a nightclub, complete with lights, music, and flirting.

Grownups will like:
A much-needed opportunity to burn off the calories accrued from all of those pilfered chicken nuggets. Of course, if you're going to be a dud about it, you can bring your laptop and use the rink's free wifi while the kids skate. Or if you just can't get enough, come back for the 18-and-over adult night on Sunday and skate to Old School jams.

But does it have booze?
Sorry, no dice.

18140 Parthenia St., Northridge. (818) 885-7655. skateland.net.

click to enlarge Penetrable in Neon Lime by Jesús Rafael Soto. - FLICKR/HARALD.BRENDEL
  • Flickr/harald.brendel
  • Penetrable in Neon Lime by Jesús Rafael Soto.

Best Place To Introduce Absolute Beginners To Art: LACMA

As if LACMA weren't kid-friendly enough with their Family Days and free admission NextGen program for kids, the installation of Chris Burden's Metropolis II, basically the world's best Erector set / building blocks / Hot Wheels city that buzzes and zips on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, clinched the deal.

Then there's Richard Serra's Band, an expansive ribbon of rusted metal that creates flowing spaces which simultaneously intimidate with their immensity and enchant with their intimacy. The waves of metal invite hide-and-go-seek, yet also provide parents with a perfect opportunity to cultivate a young child's "look but don't touch" museum manners in a low-stakes setting. Throw in a ride in Barbara Kruger's romper-room-sized elevator and maybe a side trip to the cafe for a pastry, and you will have decisively buried the myth that museums have to be "hands on" to be interesting to children.

Little kids will like:
The rain of rubber tubing that is Penetrable in Neon Lime by Jesús Rafael Soto.

Older kids will like:
Pretty much a lot of the same stuff grownups would like. 

Grownups will like:
How easy it is to get the kids enthused in a not precisely "for kids" setting. 

But does it have booze?
Quite so, and in grand style (with grand prices to match, but hey, it's art) at Ray's. Grownups can sit and sip on the patio within visual distance of Urban Light, while kids delight in weaving in and out of rows of lampposts.

5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. (323) 857-6000. 

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