Favorite Places to Take Your Little Kids in Los Angeles

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Living in Los Angeles, I know how lucky I am to be a mom in a city with great weather 95% of the time. And with great weather come lots of cool places to visit that are mostly outdoors. I posted these a while ago but many of you are new to reading so I wanted to revisit for any end-of-summer adventures you may be planning since these are still our faves. So here are my favorite family friendly places to visit in Los Angeles for those of you who live here or are planning a visit.

1. LACMA & The La Brea Tar Pits. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a great spot to visit for way more than art. Since it is in our neighborhood we’ve really gotten the chance to experience its full potential. You can grab a yummy latte or pastry at Coffee & Milk to drink while you watch your kids run around in the noodles. The noodles is actually an art installation that you can walk through and play in and everyone, young and old, loves to play hide and seek and take selfies in it. I have a taken a series of photos with Charlie in the noodles since our first visit there when he was around 18 months old, and with Calvin since he was in my belly, and shared them on instagram with the hashtag #charlielovestheyellownoodles so I could compare all of them over the years (or as long as instagram and hashtags are in existence).  This is definitely my kids’ favorite spot at LACMA.

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LACMA has an amazing program called NEXGEN, where kids are allowed to become members for free, and one adult is free with their membership as well, so we can basically go see any exhibit or activity that isn’t in a limited run (where you need to buy a special ticket). The LACMA campus is adjacent to the famed La Brea Tar Pits, so we walk through those to chat with the mammoths on our way to the museum. Charlie also loves to “climb the tree” and “roll down the big hill.” Basically there are about 50 kinds of fun in one spot, depending on his mood that day.

I love to visit the Children’s Art Room, where you can paint and make messes and someone else cleans it up! Because I have a car-obsessed 4-year-old boy, we also visit the Metropolis II exhibit by Chris Burden (it’s like a matchbox car city on steroids that runs for an hour on and then an hour off on the weekends and is impressive even to grown ups).  We walk under what Charlie calls “the big rock” but everyone else calls Levitated Mass (I call it the Pisa of LA because tourists are constantly taking photos of themselves “holding up” the rock. Do it at your own risk of looking like a total tourist. But I did it in Pisa, and I’m sure the locals there think that’s lame too, so no judgement…) We also did a family photoshoot there just before I got pregnant with Calvin since it is one of our favorite places.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

A visit to LACMA is never complete without a visit to the “pretty lights.” We like to play hide-and-seek and take photos, and if you have the chance to see it at night it is breathtaking (but we’re rarely out after dark with the kids – it’s the plight of parents everywhere). And then we hop across the street to have lunch at one of the many yummy food trucks parked along Wilshire Blvd before we walk home. The LACMA Cafe is also really good for lunch.

2. The Original Farmer’s Market & The Grove. I recommend that anyone visiting LA go to the Original LA Farmer’s Market. (It is over 75 years old!) You will find every kind of food represented. (Our favorites are Loteria, Charlie’s, and The French Crepe Company, but there are so many great spots.) It’s loud enough that your kids won’t bother anyone, and everyone can order food from wherever they want and then sit cafeteria style at one of the outdoor tables. There are also souvenir shops, coffee spots, and great people watching. Oh, and two beer & wine bars. Then walk next door to The Grove. The kids will love the Dylan’s Candy and the American Girl store, and if you go to the third floor of Barnes & Noble there is a children’s play area with lots of toys and books perfect for younger kids. Another huge hit with the kiddos—the koi fish pond with dancing fountains. There’s also a movie theater if you want to catch a movie.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

3. Griffith Park. Griffith Park is great in general. You can hike, picnic, and play. But if you have kids, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is a must-visit if you’re in the area. It was built in 1926, and Walt Disney used to visit with his daughters and was inspired to build Disneyland.

A little boy with his father rides the merry go roundFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Both girls and boys will love the Travel Town Museum, located in Griffith Park. See retired train cars and engines, and you can even climb on a couple. There is a train ride and a museum. Oh, and it’s free (you can make entrance donations). It is perfect for both short or long visits, and is close enough to both the zoo and the merry-go-round that you could do them all in the same visit. We also frequently visit and love the LA Zoo, but if you’re visiting from a city that has its own zoo, you can skip it. (It isn’t the most impressive zoo I’ve ever been to.) But if you’d like to visit a zoo it is a fun place to spend an afternoon.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Finally, the gem of Griffith Park is the Griffith Park Observatory. The kids will love exploring and learning about space, there’s a planetarium show and one viewing a day is for kids 4 and under, and the views are hard to beat. The on-site cafe is great for lunch as well. There are also some great hiking trails that start/end at the Observatory. Even if you don’t want to do a full hike with little ones, they will love exploring a bit of the trail.

4. The Calfornia Science Center. A huge gem in the city is the California Science Center. With so much to do for kids of all ages, you could literally spend all day there if you want to. And the best part — it’s free! You do need $10 cash to park in the adjacent lots, but that’s nothing compared to what you get during your visit. There is just about every kind of activity you can think of related to science: from the human body to bugs, to sea life (with an aquarium), space, and of course, it is the home of the Endeavor. Definitely worth a visit.

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.comFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely DayFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

We also love to visit the Natural History Museum, which is on the same campus (so you can walk over after visiting the Science Center without paying more for parking). But it isn’t free. If you’re local, I highly recommend a membership (it gets you into the Page Museum at the Tar Pits as well!). The dinos alone are worth a visit but there is a great butterfly pavillion (seasonal) and lots of other things to see as well (below).

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com

5. Santa Monica Pier/Beach. My last pick is a hard choice because there are a few great beach locations with piers (Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, etc.), but I chose the Santa Monica Pier because overall it offers the most bang for your buck. Plus, it is the closest to the other locations in Los Angeles, and if you want to make it a day, its proximity to the Annenberg Beach House is perfect (another great spot on a warm beach day). There are fun rides, decent food, and beautiful views. Fun for all ages.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

6. Santa Monica Airport

This place is a gem and so much fun for all of your plane-obsessed littles. You can park right next to the airport, walk up to the observation deck (just look for the elevator or stairs to take you up by the Typhoon restaurant), and watch small airplanes take off and land till your heart’s content. There are tables and chairs, so bring a lunch! Best of all, it is FREE and never crowded.

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com

What are your favorite places to visit in Los Angeles? You can follow me on instagram or snapchat (I’m chandrafredrick there) for peeks into our family adventures and see more favorites under the #OLDsfaveplacesinLA feed on instagram.

(photo credits: photos 1, 4 & 9 by Jennifer Roper, the rest by me, all property of Chandra Fredrick)

Amazing Moments With Dove

Amazing Moments with Dove | Oh Lovely Day #partner

Since everyone I know seems to be pregnant, getting engaged, or getting married right now (hello, baby and wedding season!), I have been reflecting on those amazing moments of my life. The last eight years have given me one proposal, one wedding, seven years of marriage, and the birth of three sweet sons — each moment involved a lot of time and planning and blood, sweat, and tears, but also lots of joy and love. Most of life’s amazing moments — those proposals, weddings, births — are the ones that make us sweat (figuratively and literally!)

amazing moments with Dove | Oh Lovely Day

That’s why I’ve partnered with Dove to share how we can embrace these amazing moments that make us sweat. If you haven’t seen the brand’s new Amazing Moments campaign, Dove puts its Clinical Protection Antiperspirant to the test during a real woman’s surprise proposal. And what happens in the film is pretty amazing. Too bad we can’t be as prepared for the tears as we can be for the sweating!

Some of life’s amazing moments are a total surprise. I’m someone who likes to be prepared for whatever those moments bring my way — from wedding planning and preparing for what I needed on my wedding day to registering for baby and packing my hospital bag. Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant is a must for every occasion. It has been tremendously helpful during my postpartum hot flashes and night sweats too (if you’ve been there, you know…) because it offers clinical-strength wetness protection and has ¼ moisturizers to care for skin.

How do you prepare for the amazing moments in life that make you sweat?
This post is sponsored by Simply Stylist and Dove but the experience and opinions are my own.

7 Tips for Dealing with Infant Acid Reflux and Our Experience with Reflux and Colic

Tips for dealing for infant reflux and colic from a mom who has been there - SO helpful. Lifesaving tips to get you through those really hard months of screaming and give both you and your baby much needed relief and sleep! a must pin!!

If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Instagram, you are probably well aware of our struggle with infant acid reflux with our third baby. It has been so so hard and I know that when I was in the thick of it I spent so much time online looking for answers. So I thought that if I shared our experience, the signs and symptoms that Quincy showed early on, and what ended up working for us that maybe I’ll help another exhausted momma out there googling for answers on her phone while she’s nursing like I did.Read More

An Ode to The Daddies

jonathan fredrick | father's day | Oh Lovely Day

Here’s to all the papas.

The ones who know how to pack lunches and wear the babies and lead the dance parties. Who take the kids to the park or museum or the zoo for the morning so the mommas can have a break. The daddies who take two kids in a stroller to the grocery store. The ones who change diapers and wipe butts. Who rock the colicky babies to sleep when the mommas can’t listen to any more crying. The ones who give baths and create adventures. The ones who teach the kids to sing James Taylor and John Denver and Queen and Michael Jackson. The ones who love the mommas even when the mommas aren’t so lovable. May you get a nap and 20 minutes in the bathroom without interruption. May you be allowed to watch at least the second half of game 7 in peace. And may the tantrums be minimal. Here’s to you.

And to the papa of my three beautiful boys. Thank you for being the best daddy I know. Because you do all of those things and more. So much more. We love and appreciate you every single day, even if we don’t always show it. I’m so glad you are my partner in parenthood, helping to remind me that every day is an adventure to enjoy. You help me a better mother and a better person. We all love you so much and are so so lucky to have you.

Happy Father’s Day.

fathers day

How did I ever get so lucky?

 

(Photos) top: Jennifer Roper, collage photos: Oh Lovely Day

A Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

Ah, sleep. That precious thing you totally take for granted before you have kids and then spend so much time focused on once you do. Getting the baby to fall asleep, bedtime routines, helping them sleep through the night — and once you finally get them sleeping you hope to catch some zzzz’s yourself. But nerves, anxiety, and worry plague most new parents at night, keeping some of us up when we could be resting. I remember often wishing I had a clone of myself that could keep vigil over my new baby to make sure he was ok during the night so I could have peace of mind and get some much needed sleep. Enter the Owlet Baby Monitor – it is an infant heart rate and oxygen monitor that watches over your baby at night giving you peace of mind and the ability to rest (finally!).

Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

The Owlet baby monitor is a smart sock you slip onto your baby (it comes in three sizes), that uses a technology called pulse oximetry that doctors have used for decades. It is connected via bluetooth to a dock station that will alert you if the oxygen or heart rate levels are off with both light and sound alarms. I can’t tell you how much I would have loved this as a new parent! But even now, with my third baby, I find it so helpful. Quincy had colic and reflux and doesn’t sleep as well at night. Because of his struggles in the beginning I always jumped up at the first noises he made, which is bad for both of us because it doesn’t give him a chance to learn to self soothe and it means I’m up constantly as well. But with the Owlet I know he’s fine and worry less, sleeping through his minor noises and only waking up if he cries to be fed, or if the alarm should go off (which it never has).

Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

You might wonder how I know it works if the alarm has never gone off for me. Head to the Owlet site and read the stories of other mothers who have used this product and did get an alert. Their testimonials are amazing! It’s one of those products that, once you have and use it, you’ll be wondering what you ever did without it — even if it isn’t your first baby. I’d highly recommend adding this to your registry (which you can do with sites like Babylist). Quincy doesn’t even notice he’s wearing it and I just swaddle him over top of the sock like I would otherwise.

Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

And exciting news for android users – they just released an android app today, so now iPhone and android users can both get alerts to their phones as well as the dock (great for when you’re getting a long overdue night out!) I really don’t think you can put a price tag on peace of mind and safety of your baby, or on sleep for that matter. But saving a little money never hurt either, am I right? So I’ve arranged for you to get a discount on your Owlet for a limited time only by clicking here. No coupon code needed — the link takes you to the Oh Lovely Day reader special automatically. You can thank me for all that extra sleep later 🙂

This post is sponsored by Owlet and contains affiliate links but the opinions are my own. 

Embracing Your Postpartum Body

Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby

It’s sooooo hard for most of us to like our bodies (or not totally hate our bodies) after we have a baby. Even those blessed with amazing genes and tiny postpartum bodies are probably not loving them right after having a baby. Things aren’t the same. You’re bloated, stretched, swollen, have stretch marks and varicose veins and loose skin and c-section scars and enormous nursing breasts with big nipples. New mom body is tough no matter who you are. You feel frumpy, not yourself, and completely undesirable. It’s hard to find things to wear that you feel good in. It’s hard to feel good about yourself.

It took me until my third postpartum body to finally accept it. To realize that this is part of the beauty of motherhood and that my body is like this because I have grown three beautiful boys inside of it. It has done amazing things. And it deserves to be embraced for that. When you look in the mirror and see your stretch marks and your soft round tummy, remind yourself of all of that before you start your inner self-hate.

Solly Baby asked me to be part of their SS16 Lookbook back when Quincy was first born to represent that early postpartum stage. I immediately said yes — it wasn’t until the night before when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I would be showing up super sleep deprived with a 10 day postpartum body and hair that was desperately in need of highlights. And then I reminded myself why they wanted me, why I looked like that, and that I needed to embrace it. So that when other women were looking at photos and saw a mom wearing a newborn in a wrap, they would see themselves. It’s ok to look like shit for a while you guys. Let’s allow ourselves time to look and feel like shit, and when we do, remember that it won’t last forever and that we look like that for a really good reason and that it is ok to just embrace it. On that note, here is me, 10 days postpartum (with professional hair, makeup, and styling, of course).

Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby

When I look at these photos now, 4 months later, I don’t see how much I don’t like my weird postpartum hair or my still swollen face or the body bulges as much as I see that teeny Quincy. My body is still not where I want it — colic, reflux, sleep deprivation, cutting diary but surviving on carbs and sugar, not being able to exercise yet due to the colic, reflux, and sleep deprivation have all kept me from making much progress — but it’s ok. I’ll get there. I’m in survival mode still. I’m doing my best. I was a home to that teeny baby and have nourished him to a whopping 17 pounds in those 4 short months. So I’m trying hard to not dislike myself or put too much pressure on myself. To be forgiving of myself. We’ve earned at least that, haven’t we? Big thanks to Solly Baby for asking me to do this and to Max Wanger for taking such sweet photos of Quincy and me. And to the whole team there for making me feel pretty and comfortable at a time where when I was so not feeling either one.

I’d love to see you embrace and share your own postpartum body photos proudly on instagram with the hashtag #embraceyourmombod and #battlefieldmotherhood. Let’s start a movement!

Photos: Max Wanger courtesy of Solly Baby / Dress: Madewell / Shoes: Bryr Clogs / Hair & Makeup: Shew Gal / Wrap & Swaddle: Solly Baby