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Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

71-701 Gerald Ford Dr. at Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage, California

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: July 2013 | Submitted: Jul 6, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Little one didn't want to leave!

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This is less of a "science museum" and more of a hodge-podge of various random activities, but somehow it works: our son had a great time and at the end didn't want to leave (after 2 hours!). Highlights included "paint a VW beetle", a station where you could connect various tubes together and put a ball through them, a dress-up area, and a PRETEND SUPERMARKET, which was, inexplicably, the biggest hit of them all. Not just for our son: every kid in the place seemed to gravitate to the play supermarket, which has little shopping carts, toy food, and even provides a "PlayTM" ("ATM") card for kids to slide through to make their purchases. The younger kids had fun stuffing the shopping carts with food, while the older ones seemed to enjoy taking turns playing "cashier". There is also an area for smaller kids, with plenty of Melissa and Doug puzzles for them to play with.

Tips for Families

If your kid decides to paint the VW Beetle, they provide smocks and booties to protect clothes and shoes...you still might want to dress them in older clothes anyway.

Suggestions for nearby family-friendly accommodations

Westin Mission Hills -- it was very, very close.

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Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, California

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Average user rating (3 Reviews)

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: July 2013 | Submitted: Jul 6, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Great way to spend the morning

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A great zoo geared towards desert animals (and plants!) -- activities scheduled throughout the day, such as giraffe feeding, a reptile show, etc. There's even a veterinary center where you can watch animals getting their check-ups! (and thankfully, that center is air-conditioned!)

Tips for Families

BRING BOTTLED DRINKS - water and Gatorade are for sale in the park, but at $3 each! It gets VERY hot (especially since there's quite a bit of walking), so you will need to stay hydrated. Sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat are also good. As someone else noted, there's quite a distance between some exhibits so bring a stroller or pay the extra fee to ride the tram. Get there as SOON as it opens to try to beat the heat. To the left of the veterinary center doors are some animals that are undergoing special treatment; since they're in glass you can really see them up close.

Suggestions for nearby family-friendly accommodations

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Suggestions for nearby family-friendly restaurants

We had a great chicken finger meal at the Daily Grill on the way back to our hotel ($7 for the most delicious chicken fingers, fries, drink, and even an ice cream for dessert!)

My Kid's Review

"I liked the [train] tracks!" <-- Figures: we take him to an amazing zoo and the thing he can't stop talking about is the big TRAIN exhibit :)

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Westin Mission Hills Resort Villas Rancho Mirage

71777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage, California

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Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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  • Little kids (3-5)

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  • Cleanliness
  • Customer Service
  • Comfort
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  • Value
  • Pool
  • On-site/nearby restaurants
  • Other kids' amenities

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Visited: July 2013 | Submitted: Jul 6, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Great getaway with many conveniences

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The "Villas" include a kitchenette (and are located near both a supermarket and a Walmart that has a food center) -- save money & appease your picky eater at the same time, by cooking some of you own meals! The living room of our 1-BR villa had plenty of space for our pack-n-play. It also came with a washer/dryer which ended up being handy when our little guy spilled juice on his brand-new shirt. The pool area has a sizable wading pool (I think 1.5 feet deep), so there's plenty of space for little swimmers to play. There's also a larger pool & a water-slide for older kids. Also worth noting is that its location is great -- close to kid-friendly attractions, a very short drive from "necessities" shopping (Walgreens, supermarket, Walmart, Target)...and about an 8-10 minute drive away from major shopping (a Westfield Mall).

Tips for Families

The villa kitchenette had a pop-up toaster (for, e.g. frozen waffles), but *not* a toaster OVEN (for, e.g., chicken nuggets), so plan accordingly. Also, their non-stick pan was not great; when we go back again [which we plan to!], I'm going to pack my own :) Also, the Westin Kids Club has activities but kids must be 4 years old :( -- our guy is too young.


My detailed rating

Cleanliness
Value
Customer Service
Pool
Comfort
On-site/nearby restaurants
Location
Other kids' amenities

Suggestions for nearby family-friendly attractions

Children's Discovery Museum ; Living Desert Zoo

Suggestions for nearby family-friendly restaurants

We had the most amazing chicken fingers kid's meal at the Daily Grill, which was "in town" (in Palm Desert). Not exactly "nearby" but on the way to/from other attractions.

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Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, California

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Average user rating (7 Reviews)

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  • Little kids (3-5)
Visited: May 2013 | Submitted: Jun 29, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5)

Lots of space for toddlers to run around

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A museum that is almost more beautiful on the outside than the inside, the Getty is a great space for little ones. My active guy likes to run around -- there are always nooks and crannies to explore, with hidden sculptures to discover, flowers to find, or cool fossils in the stones that make up the facade. There is also a kids' area where they can do art-related crafts, such as decorating their own masks. A beautiful way to spend the afternoon! When my son was younger, we once just rode the tram back and forth a few times, as well as some of the elevators up and down :) Fun trivia fact: the Getty's futuristic buildings were the setting for "Starfleet Academy" in the recent Star Trek movie!

Tips for Families

- The big lawn area is *perfect* for picnics. Bring your own food and a big blanket! Kids will love rolling down the hill. We once snuck some wine-in-a-box for the grownups and were able to sip without security catching on ;) There is a cafeteria but it's a little pricey and if memory serves correctly it didn't have a ton of "kiddie" options. - If you have a toddler, you can tire them out by running around the expansive grounds....once they're a little tuckered out, put them in the stroller so you can see some of the art. - While most exhibits are great for families, be aware that every once in while some of it may not be. There was once a photography exhibit that contained some pictures of casualties of the Vietnam war. Ask a docent if you think an exhibit might have "sensitive" content. - Finally, if you get a chance at a "date night", there is a high-end restaurant on site that is one of our favorite "special occasion" spots in LA.

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