Hello! My name is Sarah Penna and I live in the beautiful city of Los Angeles with my husband (Joe), our 2.5 year old son (Jonah) and our 7 year old mini-dachshund (Eddie). I’ve lived in LA since 2002 and am originally from Utah. We live on the West-side of LA, about 3 miles from the beach. I work as an executive in digital media content and talent and my husband is a director. I am very passionate about showing people sides of LA that they don’t expect–from our amazing nature, to wonderful museums to fantastic food scene. LA is massive and therefore has a lot to offer in the way of things to do with kids of all ages.
WAKE UP (6:30am): Jonah and I usually let Joe sleep in while we make our favorite breakfast: banana pancakes (1 banana, 2 eggs, some cinnamon and done.) Or, if we’re feeling up for it, we’ll go to one of our favorite restaurants like Rose Cafe (giant pancake from Rose Cafe pictured below). Bonus–they have free valet in the back!
8-8:30am: after breakfast we play around a little and then start getting ready for the day. Jonah likes to pick out his own tee shirts, we usually have to bribe him to change his pants, and then we’re ready to go.
9-9:30am: Get out the door! I love to adventure and one of our favorite places is the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach (pictured below). It’s about a 25 min drive on the weekends, plenty of parking ($8 in the structure) and lots to do around the area if you want to make a whole day of it. Check for special activities on the weekend that you go, we happened to be there on African American History Celebration Day. It was a blast! The Aquarium itself is huge so plan for at least 2 hours. They have sharks, turtles, jelly fish, seals and lots of opportunities to touch sea life. They also have different programs going on all day so grab a map before going in and plan your day or just wander around and see the awesome fish! One note: there aren’t a lot of good food options inside so pack plenty of healthy snacks.
In terms of gear, on longer outings like this, I like to take my Britax stroller that reclines so he can nap. I forgot it on this outing (you can see him in the UppaBaby G-Lite below) and he got very tired after the aquarium but before lunch and I wish he could have had a few moments to nap. But honestly, he’s never loved the stroller and I wind up using it for my backpack most of the time. Other than that, I bring a backpack with some changes of clothes, some snacks and his Munchkin 360 Cup.
We also love Travel Town in Griffith Park (pictured below). It’s FREE and we could spend all day there. It’s best to go on a day that’s not too hot because there isn’t much shade or inside space. You can pay $2.75 (under 18 months is free) to ride around on an actual train and it’s so worth it.
(Photo: Jonah playing around in Travel Town)
12pm: we decided to get lunch near the aquarium. There are a lot of chain restaurants like Chilis that I am not a fan of, but we found a Gladstones which is a local seafood chain with fresh food and lots of options. They were super kid friendly and instead of crayons had Wikki Stix, which provided Jonah with a ton of entertainment (see photo below). If we are not on an outing, we usually eat at home. Jonah loves Brazilian food (he’s half Brazilian) and so our go to is rice and beans.
1:30-4pm: Jonah still takes a really long nap! Once he’s up the day is mostly done, but if he wakes up a little earlier we like to head out to Groundworks for some afternoon treats. They have the best coffee and Jonah loves their Pumpkin Flax muffins.
DINNER – EVENING
5:30-6pm: dinner time! We usually don’t go out with him, but when we do we like the following places:
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