Winter Wonderfest at Discovery Cube LA (Ticket Giveaway!)

No snow in your town? Pay it a little visit at Discovery Cube of LA!

I’m back with another fun snow-related giveaway (read to the end to enter)! Discovery Cube of LA, that central location for science learning and fun at the Hansen Dam Recreational Center in the Valley, has Winter Wonderfest happening now through January 7. It’s an awesome time to visit the center with the kids on break and you looking for something to do with them, plus, snow!

My boys were born in West Hills and have lived their whole lives in the Valley or the Bubble, so needless to say they don’t get to see snow very often. Last winter we drove up to the mountains, intending to visit the tubing park, but we got stuck in traffic so we never got above the snow line. (Womp womp.)

That’s why I was super excited to learn that Discovery Cube is having this snow event so close to home. It’s hard to imagine lots of snow in a place that can be 70 degrees in late December, so your mileage may vary as to the actual amount of snow when you get there, but rest assured the staff at DCLA has prepared something super cool (get it?) for your kids.

Sledding ramp for the littles

Winter Wonderfest runs now through January 8, 2017, at both the Orange County and Los Angeles locations of Discovery Cube. This event offers kids the opportunity to learn the science behind sledding, weather, and how snow is formed through hands-on activities. There is a 75-foot long ramp for sliding down on inner tubes, a smaller ramp for real snow sledding, and a snow play area.

Like I said, my boys aren’t used to lots of snow, so they were excited by the exhibit here. My 9-year-old said his favorite part was the science, especially the Cloud in a Bottle. The “snow meets science” learning stations also include Animal Adaptations to the Cold and Three States of Water.

Also, hockey!

Of course, a day at Discovery Cube of Los Angeles also includes the rest of the center too. This is the third time my boys visited and the older one still loves the recycling game where you sort trash into its different types and compete against other kids.

Tickets for Winter Wonderfest are $7 and require admission to Discovery Cube ($12.95 for kids – and adults too for a limited time!). If you visit the center before January 1 you can also see the Science of Gingerbread exhibit, with hands-on activities. The winners of DCLA’s gingerbread creation contest are displayed throughout.

Winter Wonderfest
Discovery Cube
11800 Foothill Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91342
Visit website for tickets and more info

Flash giveaway! I’m giving away a 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Cube LA and Winter Wonderfest! Leave a comment on this post (not Facebook!) to enter by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, December 27. I will contact the winner early Wednesday morning, so you can visit DCLA and get your snow play in before the kids go back to school in January! Tickets will be held at will call under your name. Extra entry if you follow Agoura Hills Mom on Instagram or like my page on Facebook (just let me know in your comment).

Thank you to Discovery Cube for sponsoring this post and for the adorable photos of my imaginary little girls in the snow.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a great place to exploring the pier, where you can spend a whole day.


While your kids are still little and amazed by the world, while your underwater explorer still loves the mystery of the deep dark blue and its inhabitants, while your Earth-lover still wants to preserve our environment and learn about local plant and animal species, take them to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for a fun family day out. I visited recently as a guest of Mommy Poppins for their Best of LA awards event. (I didn’t win, but it was an honor just to be nominated. For real!)

santa monica pier aquarium snacks

Want some wolf eel with your coffee?

Yes, there is a bigger aquarium in greater Los Angeles, but this one is so close! And with the California Incline now open again, traffic isn’t as bad it has been the last year and a half. Take the 101 East to Las Virgenes, then turn right and head out to PCH. Take PCH to Ocean Ave, turn right and head down to Pico. Turn right there, and right on Appian Way. Park on the street or in the lot – either way you’ll pay about $12 for the whole day.


From there you’ll walk along the boardwalk, past the lemonade stand, and to Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is under the pier. It’s a small space and won’t take you long to walk through and explore, but if you have pre-schoolers they will likely spend plenty of time watching the sharks in the waist-high tank. No touching them!

Luckily, right across the room is a touch tank where curious kids can handle anemones, starfish, and more. There are displays of sea life everywhere—there are 100 species of plants and animals right there in the facility!


There’s a different focus or special event each day of the week. Children can help feed the sea stars Tuesdays and Fridays and 2:30PM, and watch staff feed the sharks on Sundays at 3:30. Older children can volunteer at the aquarium starting at age 15.



While you’re at the pier, head up the stairs or ramp to check out Pacific Park with its games and amusement park rides. Stop to watch trapeze artists in training at trapeze school. Enjoy local musicians performing right there on the pier. Grab a meal or a snack at the food court or one of the restaurants at either end.


And of course, remember to pack your beach stuff. A blanket, an umbrella, some sunscreen, and extra clothes for the kids who will run into the water no matter how many times they whine “But I hate the beach!” (Just my kids?)

santa monica pier aquarium pinterest

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk (under the pier)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tue-Fri 2pm – 5pm
Sat-Sun 12:30 – 5pm
Admission is free for kids 12 and under
Adults and kids 13 and up $5

Hansen Dam Aquatic Center

Hansen Dam Aquatic Center is an oasis in the San Fernando Valley.

hansen dam aquatic center water slide

While there is still a bit of summer left, I want to recommend the pool at Hansen Dam Aquatic Center. To get there we took the 101 to the 405 to the 118 to the 210 and exited on Foothill Blvd. That may seem like a long way to go for a swim, especially when we have Lindero Country Club right around the corner, but I took my kids to Discovery Cube Los Angeles for a day trip to check out the newest exhibits. It was a Tuesday when LAUSD was back in school and LVUSD wasn’t yet, so the center was not crowded and the kids blew through everything in 2 hours. Since we had time and I had packed our swim suits just in case, we went over to the pool.

hansen dam aquatic center pool

We haven’t explored the Hansen Dam Recreation Area at all, before or since having children, so our visit to the Hansen Dam Aquatic Center was a delightful surprise. The center is a giant – like enormous, endless – pool with 2 waterslides next to a big manmade lake. Admission for swimming is $1 per child and $3.50 for adults (which is actually kind of backwards in my opinion since I went in the water for all of 5 minutes and the kids spent an hour in it!).

hansen dam aquatic center child

There is a food truck on site for snacks and at that time there was also a nice lady with a little ice cream cart. There are plenty of restrooms, showers, and changing rooms, and you can even rent a shade tent to stay out of the sun. We got there at 4pm so I was able to set up my chair in the shade of a tree.

Swimming Lake

The pool is referred to as a “swimming lake” as opposed to the larger recreational lake behind it. It is surrounded by a sandy beach, and you walk into the pool just like into a lake, except the bottom is concrete like a pool. At one end are the two waterslides, which you access by walking through a giant curtain of water (I guess to rinse you off whether you like it or not). One waterslide is closed, and that’s the one I went on because the open one was not operational that day. The closed waterslide was rather terrifying for a second, since you can’t see which way you’re going. But the kids didn’t seem to mind and they went on it over and over again. You can’t wear a rash guard on the slide – the lifeguards made my boys take theirs off.

hansen dam aquatic center shade tents

Visit Soon!

The pool and waterslide are both open every day in the summer from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Starting September 6, they are only open Saturday and Sunday through September 25, and then they close for the season. But there are lots of other things to do at the recreation area so we will report back when we explore it some more!