Is it just us or did the holidays hit the bank hard this year? If you’re wondering where to take the kids this month after you (and your wallet) have time to recover, we’ve got you covered with free family events in January! (Remember Kidsguiders: While admission is always free, some events may have minimal costs for food, games, parking etc.)
Pageant of the Masters Casting Call
January 4-6: Do you enjoy art, theater and music? Have you ever thought about posing on a stage? Do you enjoy being in the spotlight? And can you stand still for 90 seconds? Perfect! You could be a volunteer cast-member in the 2019 Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The Pageant of the Masters is looking for men, women and children to volunteer for this summer’s show, “The Time Machine.” People of all sizes and ages are needed to be cast members in the world’s most famous presentation of tableaux vivants. No theater experience necessary. In addition to needing volunteers to pose in the pageant, volunteers are needed for positions in the wardrobe, make up, and headdress departments, as well as cast area coordinators and refreshment servers, among other positions. Volunteering for the Pageant is a great way to spend your summer and it is common to have several generations of the same family volunteering for different aspects of the show. Also, students can earn credit towards community service requirements. Casting call held Friday and Saturday, 7-9 p.m.; Sunday, 2-5 p.m.; at Irvine Bowl Park. Free.
Creation Station at Rancho Los Cerritos
January 5: Get creative with history! Using a wide variety of colorful materials, children can experiment with natural materials to create seasonal arts and crafts. This drop-in program takes place rain or shine. January’s theme, Winter Wonders, celebrates the season. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Free.
Girls in STEM Movie Night at Columbia Memorial Space Center
January 5: The Girls in STEM will be hosting movie night! Bring the whole family to this free event. Saturday, 5:30-8 p.m.
Bank of America Patrons Receive Free Admission to Museums
January 5-6: Bank of America is helping its customers become “cultured” through their program “Museums on Us,” giving bank cardholders free admission to cultural venues in Southern California. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. One free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institutions. Not to be combined with other offers. Check museums for hours of operation.
Museums include Autry National Center, DiscoveryCube OC, LACMA, The Living Desert, Museum of Latin American Art, Orange County Museum of Art, The Living Desert, and Skirball Cultural Center.
Dia de los Reyes at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
January 6: Experience this rich cultural tradition filled with live performances, fun activities, giveaways, and a special appearance from Los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings). Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. Free.
Nature Hike at Caspers Wilderness Park
January 6, 13, 20, and 27: Join the park ranger for a one-mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages. Free. Parking, $5. Sunday, 8-9:15 a.m. Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park. Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Oshogatsu Family Festival in LA
January 6: Celebrate the Year of the Boar with fun cultural activities and performances including traditional mochitsuki (Japanese rice pounding ritual), live calligraphy art, special foods, fun Year of the Boar-inspired crafts, origami and more. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.
Free Family Night at Kidspace Children’s Museum
January 8: The first Tuesday of the month is Kidspace’s Free Family Night. Admission to the museum is free for everyone during these hours only. On these special nights, Kidspace will promote family learning about the arts, while emphasizing the diverse cultures and communities present in Greater Los Angeles. Themed activities for January include folk art, the art of the people! Folk Art can be art specific to a culture, art that is part of a craft or skill, and art made from creative use of available materials. Dance with Teresa Smith as she shares the art of folk dance! Tuesday, 4-8 p.m. Free.
Star Party at Griffith Observatory
January 12: Look through a large variety of professional and home-built telescopes to view the sun, planets, the moon and deep sky objects like double-stars, star clusters, and nebulae. The observatory’s Zeiss 12-inch refractor and computer controlled 11-inch lawn telescopes are set up throughout the event. Saturday, 2-9:45 p.m. Free.
Underwater Parks Day in San Pedro
January 12: Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in learning about the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Southern California. These areas, like parks on land, protect underwater marine resources for future generations to enjoy. Speakers, presentations, interactive activities and handouts will be available so visitors can learn more. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Family Hike in Round Canyon
January 12: Enjoy nature with friends and family in Round Canyon. Hike along a fairly flat trail as you watch for red-tailed hawks and mule deer. This activity originates in the city of Irvine and travels into OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. The hike averages 2 to 3 miles round trip at an easy pace with a medium level of interpretation. This program is for participants who would like a slower-paced and level hike. Registration is required, sign up online. Free.
Discovery Day at Centennial Farm
January 18: Discovery Days at Centennial Farm give guests an opportunity to take a self-guided tour through the farm with volunteers nearby to provide information and answer farm-related questions. Reservations are required for groups of six or more children. Friday, 9 a.m.- noon. Free admission (donations for the farm are gratefully accepted). OC Fair & Event Center Centennial Farm.
36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Inglewood
January 19: Join the City of Inglewood to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration begins at 9 a.m., parade begins at 11:15 a.m. There will also be live entertainment, giveaways, food, arts and crafts, vendors, games, and more! Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Market Street (from Florence Ave. to Hillcrest Blvd.)
Star Light, Star Bright Night Hike at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea
January 19: Come see Carbon Canyon Regional Park in a completely different setting – in the dark! Park rangers will lead a starlit hike showcasing the natural wonders that can only be seen at night. The night hike will feature many fun activities, including hot cocoa and cookies, Nature of Wildworks live animal presentation and a hike through the wilderness area to the redwood grove. Please dress warmly, wear good walking shoes and bring a flashlight. Space is limited, please email email@example.com to register. Meet at the Resource Center. Saturday, 5:30 – 8 p.m. Free.
MLK Day of Service at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
January 20: Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with free family fun and a chance for the community to come together through this public service opportunity. Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. Free.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in LA
January 21: In recognition and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., join (or watch) the parade. Parade starts at Western and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; continues on MLK to Crenshaw Blvd. to Vernon Ave. and ends on Western and Vernon avenues. The parade will also be televised on a local channel, visit their website for details.
Family Camping Workshop at Upper Newport Bay
January 24: Camping is a fantastic and affordable way for families to vacation, but planning a family camping trip can also be very intimidating. In this classroom presentation, we will cover the basics of front country (car) camping and help parents find the confidence they need to hit the road with their little ones. Topics will include equipment, meals and cooking, entertainment and activities, logistics, safety and suggested nearby parks and campgrounds. There will also be plenty of time to answer questions from the audience. Staff from Gear Coop in Costa Mesa will be onsite to demo gear and answer questions as well.
Free Entrance to All National Parks
January 21: All national parks across the country will waive entrance fees in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Monday. Visit their website for park locations and more free-entrance days for the rest of the year.
*During the federal government shutdown, some national parks may remain open while some may be closed completely. Visitor services may or may not be available. For specific details, see www.doi.gov/shutdown and the park website.
Dodger FanFest at Dodger Stadium
January 26: Dodgers FanFest is free and open to the public. Enjoy player autographs (must purchase voucher, visit website for details), interactive games and activities including running the bases, interviews, photo opportunities inside the Dodger dugout and with the World Series trophy, Dodgers Foundation Yard Sale including jerseys, T-shirts and more, mystery bags and VIP experiences (must purchase voucher, visit website for details). Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free.
Whale Fiesta in San Pedro
January 27: The annual festival celebrates and explores the migration of the gray whale, featuring a life-size gray whale sand sculpture, games, arts and crafts, puppet shows, marine awareness organizations, expert guest lecturers and festive music. For those with a competitive edge, enter the Duct Tape Whale Sculpture Contest! Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free.
Library Event Calendars
Your local library has many free family events throughout the month. Don’t forget to check their event calendar!
Local City Libraries