Schools are out this week; here’s some free things to do to keep kids entertained

Thankful for the week off from school (maybe not), but not sure what to do? We’ve got you covered with kid-friendly locations right here in Long Beach to entertain—and even educate.

Long Beach’s Historic Ranchos

Rich in historical buildings and gardens, Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos showcase Long Beach’s agricultural and cultural past. Highlights at Rancho Los Cerritos include fruit orchards, a renovated native garden and an adobe structure. In addition to 4 acres of historic gardens, Rancho Los Alamitos is also home to a barnyard with horses, sheep, rabbits, and ducks.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Kids can feed the koi, and adults can enjoy the tranquil and inspiring garden. Make sure to check the website and reserve a spot for your free visit in advance.

Parks and playgrounds

Since 2016, the city has upgraded playgrounds around town with new equipment suited for a wider range of kids’ ages and abilities. Some standouts:

Recreation Park: check out the dinosaur-themed equipment and the sign language board.

Los Cerritos Park: kids can explore the woodland-themed playground, as well as climb, swing, spin and zipline on the structures.

Whaley Park: play with sound and lights on the brightly colored art, science and music inspired equipment.

Other highlights include Drake Park, Cherry Park, Veterans Park and C. David Molina Park.

Nature Walks

The Nature Center at El Dorado Park may be the most popular place to commune with flora and fauna locally, but nature walks extend from North Long Beach to Marine Stadium:

Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve 

Experience multiple habits, including coastal sage shrub and coastal marsh, as you wander the paths on the acre and a half of reserve landscaped with native plants. You can also observe marine life on the floating platforms.

Deforest Park and Wetlands

Enjoy and learn about the wetlands on nature trails and an elevated boardwalk in this nearly 35-acre park.

Los Cerritos Wetlands

Walk a roughly 2-mile path around a restored wetland habitat where you might encounter birds, rabbits, turtles, native plants–and even the occasional horseback rider. Access the path from either Del Amo Avenue near C. David Molina Park or Del Mar Avenue not far from Los Cerritos Park. Combine your nature walk with a playground visit, and you’ll have some happy, exhausted kids by the end of the day.

Make sure to check websites before you head out for open hours and in a few cases (El Dorado Nature Center and Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden) for parking fees.

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