If the weatherman is right, it's gonna be a Blue Sky, White Sand and Red Bikini weekend, so start planning to get a little culture into your family in between your barbecues and boogie boarding dates -- especially since the latest news about sunscreen is that it isn't protecting us the way it's supposed to (see below).
Creature Comforts: The Pavilion of Wings at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles will be open through the summer. Don't miss the chance to have thousands of butterflies land on your childrens' shoulders and heads - it's a truly a blissful experience. Kidspace has a Red White and Blue Rubby Ducky Race all weekend long. Check out the California Science Center's new permanent exhibition space that highlights eight different habitats at Ecosystems.
A Mayan Memorial Day: Get to the Getty Villa before the summer rush. They've got a show about the Aztecs, The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire, and every weekend host a drop in ArtQuest! program from 11:00 - 4:00. Timed entry tickets required, parking $15 (museum free!). Or, organize a cooking class based on Mayan meals with ArtBites.
What's Up, Chuck? The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has a fun new exhibit about the prolific genius who created Bugs Bunny and his friends. Chuck Jones: An Animator's Life from A to Z-Z-Z-Z is free, and worth a browse with your animaniacs!
Visual Stimulation at the Skirball: The new Monsters and Miracles: A Journey Through Jewish Picture Books show at the Skirball Cultural Center presents classic illustrations by beloved artists such as William Stieg and Maurice Sendak, with iPod Touch stations where children can hear celebs reading books aloud. Don't miss the Hanoch Piven show in the lobby, or Jews on Vinyl-- a fabulous new show that traces the history of Jews in the music business from 1940s to 1980s.
Beach-y Teens: CA kids know that skateboarding was born on the streets of Venice, but get the nitty gritty details at the California Heritage Museum's show about the history of skateboarding. This gem of a museum is on Main Street in Santa Monica (a great street for teen shopping, btw) and teens should also watch the original DogTown and Z Boys documentary. A national arts project called Projects of Hope is working with local schools to transform the lifeguard stations along our CA coastline. Starting May 10, you'll find cheerful, flowery guard stations sprinkled along the beaches. Click here for information about this public art project.
Our Own Iron Men and Women: If our soldiers are on your mind, help send them a package by volunteering with Operation Gratitude on May 29 (14 and up). If your kids haven't read the youth version of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, put this on the summer list and do a little studying up on Afghanistan. We recommend the adult version of the book as well, along with Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.
If You Haven't Been There Yet: Go for a classic LA spot this weekend. Peek at the night sky from Griffith Observatory (and be sure to take in a Laser show), take a road trip up the coastline and camp at El Capitan Campsites , or grab tickets to a Lakers playoff game and check out the new restaurants at LA Live.
For Parents With a Moment to Spare: Check out Nora and Delia Ephron's play at the Geffen Playhouse - Love, Loss and What I Wore, with a revolving cast including Rita Wilson and Rhea Pearlman, through July 4. If you have a lot of moments free, book a seat to hear the Ring Cycle at the LA Opera.
Moonlight Hikes: The forest is different at night, and who doesn't relish hiking with a flashlight. Sign up now for this summer's Moonlight Hikes at TreePeople (these sell out quickly!).
Concert Watch - Tweens and Teens:
South Pacific opens on May 27 and runs through mid-July downtown. And Rent comes to the Hollywood Bowl for three nights, August 6-8. It's a good time to look over the entire schedule for the Bowl. Kids will love Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, with fireworks (July 16-17) and a sing along Sound of Music (September 25).
Movie Picks: Go beyond Russell Crowe by exploring other adaptations of Robin Hood: our favorite is The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland as Maid Marian. Disney's 1973 animated tale is also indelible in our minds. Shrek Forever After is still slaying the competition and we got a peek at The Karate Kid this week - it's fabulous, so sign your kids up for kung fu classes asap, because once your kids see Jadan Smith tearing up the competition, any summer classes will be booked!
Parenting Corner: The biggest news, as summer approaches, is that not all sunscreens are protecting your kids. Get the research done this weekend, and buy enough of the right stuffto last all summer long. Turns out, just like the Luddites have been saying, Facebook isn't as private as the kids think. Here are Common Sense Media's three simple tips about which each of us should talk with the kids.