Museums Offer Family-Friendly Holiday Events

Families looking for fun and educational activities during the holidays can check out the museums in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Los Angeles museums are inviting families to take in their exhibits and events during the holidays that include arts and crafts workshops, snow days and a Santa diver feeding aquarium animals.

MuseumLA.org, a collaboration of L.A.-area museums, provided the following information on family-oriented things to do and see. The organization also suggests that gift-givers consider museum memberships, which can include discounts for museum entry, meals and gift shop items. 

• Annenberg Space for Photography 
no strangers exhibition
Through Feb. 24 

Free admission with validated parking, the Photography Space’s current exhibit, no strangers, takes all ages on a trip to remote locations around the world to meet people whose rare cultures make them vastly different yet ultimately the same. A short documentary film is one of the Space’s main attractions. The Photography Space is a smart and meaningful experience for families, friends or a great date. Located in Century City, the Photography Space is walking distance to the Westfield Mall, restaurants, and the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel’s holiday skating rink. 

• Aquarium of the Pacific
Holiday Treats for the Animals
Dec. 1-2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 
General admission $25.95 adult (12+), $22.95 senior (62+), $14.95 child (3-11), and free for children under age 3 and aquarium members. 

In celebration of the holiday season, Santa diver will be delivering an ocean of gifts to the Aquarium of the Pacific’s penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, fish, and other animals. Guests can see Santa dive with sharks and watch the aquarium’s animals receive their special treats and enrichment gifts during the Holiday Treats for the Animals weekend. Families can enjoy holiday music, crafts, special presentations, unique photo opportunities, shopping, and more. The sea otter exhibit will be decked out for the “sea”son with frozen “fishmas” treats and a real snowman, and guests can watch the sea otters savor candy cane-shaped treats and gourmet lobster. Throughout the day Aquarium staff will give special gift delicacies to other marine animals as well.  

• California African American Museum
Target Sundays@CAAM
Celebrating Family, Community, and Culture
Dec. 2, Galleries open at 11 a.m., live program begins at 1 p.m.

Kick off the joyous Holiday Season “CAAM Style” with a variety of celebrations highlighting the traditions of Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah. Come for a full afternoon of family-friendly entertainment, buy gifts offered by on-site arts and crafts vendors, and experience performances hosted by actor Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter. Come play, experience, and create art in a workshop.

• Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Holiday Story Time: “A Visit From St. Nicholas”
Dec. 1510 a.m.–noon
Members $12, non-members $15, ages 3–12 (siblings age two and under are free), registration 626-405-2128

Get into the spirit of the season! Join us for a special reading of every child’s favorite holiday poem, Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (“‘Twas the night before Christmas”). One of the rarities in The Huntington’s holdings is a manuscript of the poem in Moore’s own hand. After the reading, kids can enjoy some festive crafts presented by Little Junebugs. Fee includes one accompanying adult. 

Holiday Music in the Gallery
Dec. 5, 2–3 p.m.

Dressed in elaborate period costumes, the a cappella group Vox Feminae will perform medieval and Renaissance works in an informal concert in the grand hallway of the Huntington Art Gallery. The program will include Gregorian chants, rarely heard medieval carols, Renaissance motets, and traditional carols from these periods.

• Paul Getty Museum

Getty Drawing Hour
Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and 16
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Museum Galleries, Getty Center

Enjoy the tradition of sketching from original works of art every first and third Sunday of the month during the Getty Drawing Hour. Artist Peter Zokosky provides general guidance; just bring your own drawing pads and pencils. All experience levels welcome; this program is free. Sign-up begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Information Desk.

Family Art Stops
Saturdays through April 27, 2013
2:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Museum Galleries, Getty Center

Get up close and personal with a single work of art at this half-hour, hands-on gallery experience geared for families with children ages 5 and up. Sign-up begins 30 minutes before the program at the Museum Information Desk. 

• Kidspace Children’s Museum

Snow Days
Dec. 26-Dec. 30, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 26 to Dec. 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 29 and 30

It will be snowing in Pasadena at Kidspace Children’s Museum during the annual Snow Days event from Dec. 26 to 30. Play in real snow, make snow angels and snowmen, learn how snow is formed in nature, and enjoy traditional winter crafts. Truckloads of real snow will be delivered, so break out your mittens, boots, and hat for a day of winter wonderland fun. Kidspace Snow Days are sponsored in part by The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Pasadena Water & Power.

Noon Year's Eve
Dec. 319:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ring in the “Noon” year at Kidspace with live music, streamers, sparkling cider, and a balloon drop as we celebrate the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. Arrive early to make party hats and noise makers, dance to music, and countdown to the “noon” year at noon. A special musical performance will begin at 11:30 a.m. A Kidspace tradition and a fun way to celebrate with young children! The balloon drop will occur at noon.

• Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Tuesday Matinees: Holiday
Dec. 11, 1 p.m. 
General admission $4, $2 seniors (62+) 

Starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, this film features the story of an unhappy heiress who falls in love with her stodgy sister’s freethinking fiancé.

Metropolis II – Extended Hours
Extended over holiday weekend, Dec. 27-30

Chris Burden's Metropolis II is an intense kinetic sculpture, modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city. Steel beams form an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of 18 roadways, including one six-lane freeway, and train tracks. Miniature cars speed through the city at 240-scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings. According to Burden, "The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st century city."

• Museum of Contemporary Art
Sunday Studio
Dec. 2, Jan. 6, 1 p.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Free, no reservations required

Spend time with your friends and family this holiday season at MOCA on the first Sundays of December and January for a social, open studio workshop. Explore Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void 1949–1962 and the permanent collection through conversation and careful looking, then experiment with your own ideas. We've got art materials appropriate for a range of ages and ability levels, including adults. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase from Lemonade Café at MOCA, and are welcome in the art-making area.

• Natural History Museum
Holiday Card and Ornament Making
Dec. 22, noon to 2 p.m.

Create your own holiday cards and personalized ornaments using a variety of shiny and bright materials. Radio Disney will also be on hand for holiday fun, dancing and prizes. Free with paid admission or NHM membership. Also enjoy free scavenger hunts throughout December. Complete the hunt in the galleries, then take it to the museum store for a prize.

• Norton Simon Museum
Stories in the Afternoon: Vincent van Gogh
Dec. 23, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

In conjunction with the special loan of Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait from 1889, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Norton Simon Museum presents this free, in-gallery program for children ages 4-8. Participants learn about Van Gogh’s life and technique, and then create a Van Gogh-inspired masterpiece, using twisting and spiraling lines for a fresh take on drawing.

• Pacific Asia Museum
Silk Road Story Time
Dec. 1, 10:30 a.m.

Tales of Indonesia – Join very special guest storyteller Lolo Santosa of Little Onion for stories in celebration of the exhibition Marking Transitions: Ceremonial Art in Indonesia followed by a fun craft and snacks for all ages. Sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia. Free and open to the public.

Jan. 5, 10:30 a.m.
Happy New Year! Celebrate the New Year with Sunny Stevenson as she shares favorite New Year’s tales from across Asia. Plus, make a fun craft and enjoy some Asian snacks. Free and open to the public.

• Reagan Library and Museum
An American Christmas
Through Jan. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day)
Regular museum admission rates apply.

Enjoy a tour through the winter wonderland featuring 25 trees decorated to celebrate the defining moments of America’s road to greatness, from the Revolutionary Era to today. Each tree reflects the life and times of American society and culture during each decade between 1700 and 2010 and beyond, thus tracing the evolution of America. Through the use of lights, ornaments and decorations, each tree becomes its own piece of magnificent art. Also on display will be a collection of beautiful hand-crafted menorahs that were given to President Reagan while in the White House.

Holiday on the Hill
Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $34.95 (children) - $59.95 (adult), Reservations are required and seating is limited. 805-577-4057.

Celebrate this magical season with your family and friends at the Reagan Library’s 5th Annual “Holiday on the Hill” event. This spectacular evening of wonderful holiday performers, magnificent music, and delectable gourmet food is a much anticipated gathering every year! Enjoy special performances by Oak Park High School, Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra, and other local groups and entertainment.

Ticket price includes tours of the Reagan Museum, Air Force One Pavilion, “An American Christmas” tree exhibit and “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
All Wrapped Up: The Art of Giving
Dec. 15, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
SBMA members $65, $75 non-members

This one-day workshop offers a unique art experience for children, ages 5 to 12, to gain inspiration from three original works of art in the Museum's collection and create handmade cards, prints, ornaments, and more. Students will draw, paint, print, collage, and sculpt artful gifts to share with friends and family. Workshop size is limited to 30 children grouped by age. At SBMA's Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, 1600 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara.

• Skirball Cultural Center
Americana Hanukkah
A Celebration of Freedom
Dec. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
General admission $10; $7 seniors and full-time students; free for Skirball members and children under 12. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Advance tickets: www.skirball.org or 877-SCC-4TIX

Celebrate freedom, justice, and democracy at the Skirball’s annual Hanukkah family festival. Families of all backgrounds welcome! This year, the festivities take inspiration from the exhibition Creating the United States and feature live performances by acclaimed puppeteer and storytelling troupe Story Pirates, catchy pop/rock band The Macaroons, and jazz ensemble The Marcus Shelby Quintet; art workshops in which kids and grown-ups alike can make their very own dreidels, Hanukkah lamps, and freedom pins; plus lots of great holiday bites, like potato chive latkes and apple pie-filled sufganiyot (jelly donuts).

Family Art Studio
Daily Dec. 18-30, except Dec.25

Drop in anytime during regular museum hours; last entry at 4:30 p.m. All ages welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult; No reservations required, included with museum admission

Be sure to stop by the Skirball’s art studio in November and December for an exciting array of creative projects! Facilitated by trained artists, the projects will incorporate a variety of recycled and repurposed materials— from cloth and canisters to widgets and wire—and focus on exploring, reimagining, celebrating, and enhancing the world around us.


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