While in LA, I had the same issue as San Francisco- what to do with a toddler? Travel is increasingly less about what I want to do, but what will Adelaide enjoy. A large majority of the kid friendly activities I’ve found are still a bit too mature for Adelaide. I would say most things are best for the 3+ crowd, and there’s not a lot tailored to the 1.5 year old kid. I’ve searched for the city’s best playgrounds along our travels only to get there and realized they’re wayyy too advanced for Adelaide.
Jon and I joke that Adelaide’s favorite thing to do is anything that we do. She wants to unlock doors, cut food, push a stroller (with a purse over her arm), pat her doll baby’s back. So when my searches came up with a place called Pretend City, I was intrigued. It was an hour drive outside the city, so I was really hesitant. I know LA is known for bad traffic, and Adelaide is known for hating the car. I decided to take the risks and got us packed for the trip.
And ohmygosh, was it worth it! This place was seriously amazing. It’s one massive space divided into 17 sections. You see the grocery store when you walk in, complete with registers and conveyor belts and a bakery and fresh and frozen foods section. Seriously amazing.
All throughout there were “roads” with stop lights and parking spots and all kinds of vehicles. There were police cars and fire trucks and pickup trucks.
This garden was a very cool sensory experience. The mulch was some sort of rubber, and Adelaide loved digging for the vegetables. She doesn’t typically like sandboxes (you know, because you get dirty) but this was right up her alley.
The ATM was probably her favorite part of all of Pretend City. When you go in you got a “time card” you could punch at the various “jobs” and then take it to the ATM and actual play money would shoot out. Adelaide LOVED this.
Her other favorite thing was probably the sound board. There was a stage with lots of costumes and instruments, but Adelaide enjoyed the sound board far more. It controlled the lights on the stage and the music would change with the different buttons. Definitely a hit.
They had a house with everything mini sized, but Adelaide became a bit obsessed with trying to wash her hands (the sink didn’t actually work) and she was really frustrated because it LOOKED like a real sink.
You know, just filling up the tank.
And then reading some x-rays.
And then throwing some lunch together at the cafe.
This was the “marina” where you could go “fishing” with the magnetic fishing poles and you could also create your own boat and take it down the course. For a water lover like Adelaide, I was shocked that she wasn’t overly obsessive with this area. There was also a library and an art studio and a post office. Too many things to see in one day. If I lived close to one of these I would seriously go once a week. I’m so glad I decided to take her because we both had such a fun day. And she even napped in the car.