Grab the kids for a family day of culture and beauty at The Getty Center. Tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty is home to an extensive art collection that’s rivaled only by its stunning modern architecture. The galleries — in breezy, open, multi-tiered buildings — boast art of all mediums from all over the world, from the 19th century to present, making it a perfect place to expose your kids to art that they’ll actually enjoy.
After you park, head straight to the platform and watch as the kids’ eyes light up at what is sure to be a highlight of your visit: the tram. The center is at the top of a hill, and the futuristic white, three-car train takes you up there in comfort and style. Hop aboard and look out the large windows as the tram climbs its way smoothly up the Sepulveda Pass hillside, giving an impressive view of the LA Basin and the cars zipping along the 405 freeway.
Once you’ve reached the summit, make your way up the stone steps to the sunlit, glass-walled entrance hall and navigate through the open courtyard. Pause to marvel at the fountain glistening in the honeyed glow of the surrounding massive, beige travertine stone structures that make up the galleries. You’re headed to the Family Room, where your little prince or princess can take a luxurious lounge on the canopied, blue brocade 18th-century replica bed before gazing through no fewer than 70 peepholes in the treasure hunt wall. Once the treasure has been discoveryd, venture on into the West Pavilion for a look at Van Gogh’s famed Irises. The vibrant colors and rough textures make this impressionist’s work perfect for budding young art critics to examine. (It might even end up being their first “favorite painting.”)
Now it’s time for the pièce de résistance: the Central Garden, a living piece of artwork. Walk along the floral path, where there’s just as much to smell as there is to look at, including heady star jasmine and sweet lavender. Stop at the center to admire the intricate floating azalea maze, and give everyone a penny to throw in the water for wishes. Chances are, every one of you will wish for a return visit soon.