Okay, I know Long Beach winter isn’t nearly as harsh as a lot of other states, but it’s still cold to us! It’s easy to stay bundled up inside, but when the kiddos are full of pent up energy, it’s time to get them outdoors. But where to go when it’s chilly, it gets dark early, and a lot of us are low on motivation? Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Rancho los Alamitos
If you’ve never been, this is an amazing place to let the kids run around. There are farm animals, a “secret” garden, and tons of space to play. They have a parking lot onsite, and admission and parking are free. The rancho is open Wednesday-Sunday from 12:30-4:30 pm. Reservations are recommended but not required. Be sure to check their website before visiting because they occasionally have events and will close the rancho to the public.
Photo via IG: rancho_los_alamitos // Website: www.rancholosalamitos.com
The Ropes Park
This has been our bread and butter this winter. The park is right on the beach and as my kids get older (4 and 6), some of the other parks aren’t as exciting to them. This park is more like a ninja warrior training course, and it’s great for getting out energy. The park is located on the sand at Junipero, and there are bathrooms located there as well. Grab something to eat from Saltwater deck to make an afternoon out of it. Enjoy your quiet evening when you get home and the kids crash early from exhaustion!
El Dorado Park West
Take the fam on a kid-friendly hike at El Dorado Park. There’s a paved quarter mile trail for the very little ones, and also a 1 mile trail and a 2 mile trail. The 1 and 2 mile trails are still mostly flat and easy to navigate. You CAN bring a stroller but it’s difficult with the smaller strollers. When mine were very young, we used to bring the jogging stroller for when they got too tired to walk. Parking is between $5-8 depending on the day, but admission to the trails themselves is free. There’s a nature center at the trail head which has a lot of touch-and-feel nature items, as well as some pretty cool bugs, small animals, and learning activities. Bathrooms are located inside here as well.
Photo via: californiabeaches.com // Website: www.longbeach.gov/park
The Long Beach Aquarium
Another one of our favorites! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t have an aquarium pass, it is SO worth it. It’s $159/year for 2 adults and all of their children. It sounds expensive up front, but we go here at least twice a month for a family outing. It’s big enough that the kids can get some exercise, there’s a great outside area with several touch tanks, and the climbing equipment outside was recently re-opened. Pro tip: go in the afternoon because it’s way less crowded, especially in the winter. We’ve gone a few times around 430 and we almost had the place to ourselves!
Photo via IG: Aquariumpacific // Website: www.aquariumofpacific.org
Local Harvest Farmer’s Market
The Bixby Park Local Harvest Farmers Market is another winter classic. They are open Tuesday from 3-7pm and Saturdays from 9am-2pm. We stock up on produce, grab some hot food (my kids like the teriyaki stix chicken), and after we’re done eating, the kids play at the Bixby Park playground. The fruit and veggies there are super affordable, fresh, and locally grown. Bonus is that the kids behave better on my “errand” when they’re also getting yummy food and an opportunity to play at the park after!
Photo via IG: localharvestfarmersmarket // Website: www.facebook.com/Local-Harvest-Farmers-Markets