Museum Free-For-All in Los Angeles January 31, 2015

Museum Free-For-All in Los Angeles January 31, 2015
Open House at 20 Los Angeles Museums

Twenty Los Angeles area museums open their doors to the public on Saturday January 31, 2015 for the tenth annual Museum Free-for-All.

The list of participating venues includes diverse art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science museums.

There are a number of top attractions participating — such as the Los Angeles Museum of Art and the California Science Center, but if I had my druthers I would head over the the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Kids love dinosaurs and what could be better than an active excavation site for dinosaur fossils?   We spent half a day at the Tar Pits when we last visited LA with our then school-aged daughter.  Regular admission is $15 per adult and $8 per child, so free admission is a really great deal for families!

 Los Angeles Museums Participating in 2015 Free-for-All

Here are links to the museums that are participating in this year’s open houses.  The Jan. 31 offer is good for general  admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 
Annenberg Space for Photography 
Armory Center for the Arts 
California African American Museum 
California Science Center
Chinese American Museum 
Craft Folk & Art Museum 
Fowler Museum at UCLA 
The Getty Center 
The Getty Villa (Timed tickets required)
Hammer Museum 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) 
Museum of Latin American Art 
Museum of Tolerance (Feb. 1)
The Paley Center for Media 
The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits 
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Santa Monica Museum of Art 
Skirball Cultural Center
The Torrance Art Museum 
USC Pacific Asia Museum 
William S. Hart Museum 
Zimmer Children’s Museum (Feb. 1)

Weekly/Monthly Free Admission Days in Los Angeles and Other Major Cities

If you can’t make it this coming weekend, plan to take advantage of the regularly scheduled free admission days at Los Angeles area museums. publishes a calendar of free museums and free museum days for LA and for these major cities:

Check it out!

Easiest DIY Birthday Party for Little Travelers? Japanese Origami!

Origami Party Time
Origami Party Time, by Florence Temko

When our daughter was seven or eight we spent several days in San Francisco.

The city is perfect for a family vacation because there is tons of fun stuff for kids.

We spent a full day at Exploratorium, visited the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences, saw the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, boarded ships at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Parkand played the games at Musee Mechanique at Fisherman’s Wharf.   

We stayed in a wonderful old hotel in the heart of San Francisco that we got on Priceline for $32 a night.

Our hotel was several blocks from Japantown, and we ventured there a couple of times for sushi and sukiyaki.  Japantown in San Francisco is much less touristy than Chinatown.  

Dinner in Japantown
My Family in Japantown

There is a mall, the Japan Center, with a large bookstore, many restaurants, some boutiques, and a discount store with imported goods.  The surrounding area is several blocks of residences, restaurants, and the Miyako hotel, as well as a Japanese market, a hardware store, and other shops.  

This is the neighborhood to shop for manga and Hello Kitty merchandise!

One of the shops we visited was a stationery store, The Paper Tree,  that had a large selection of origami papers and books.  The Paper Tree is a family business, and the owner’s daughters are origami artists.

Origami Stars
Origami Stars

We must have spent two hours in that shop.

They sell origami books and all manner of origami paper, including the beautiful handmade washi paper.  One of the daughters showed us how to fold tiny origami stars from paper strips, and we picked up some beautiful origami paper and stationery to bring home.

A DIY Japanese Origami Birthday Party

When it came time to plan our daughter’s birthday party, she chose a Japanese theme.

Fishing4Deals is a travel and bargain blog but one of my most popular posts ever was the article I wrote about how to host a DIY birthday party with an airplane theme.

Travel was a common thread in many of the home birthday parties we organized for our daughter — so I thought I would share a party plan for a DIY Japanese Origami party.

Koi windsock
Koi windsock

All of our DIY birthday parties followed the same basic plan, but this birthday party was the easiest ever.  No fuss, no muss, and very little expense — just a few packs of origami paper!

Here is an easy ten-step guide to planning an over-the-top Japanese origami birthday party. You can pick and choose from these ideas and adapt the party depending on the age of your child.

Continue reading —>

Attention Travel Bloggers and Foodies: This Vacation Contest is for You!

 Travel bloggers and foodies, it’s time to take a vacation!

Freelancers Union is running a contest for a trip to San Francisco and dinner at Chez Panisse!

Chez Panisse, in Berkeley California, is foodie heaven.

Chef Alice Water’s pioneering restaurant showcases mouth-watering, organic, locally grown, fresh-from-the-farm meals.

This contest is worth entering for a meal at Chez Panisse alone — but the contest offers more:

Funky Map App for New York City, San Francisco, & London

Recce Map of Lower Manhattan
Recce Map of Lower Manhattan

I found this way cool mapping app in iTunes for our upcoming trip to New York City.

Recce provides an animated 3-D view of New York City that allows you to zoom in and out of neighborhoods, and locate places of interest.

The app enables you to visualize very realistic representations of the city.

The developers call it “immersive 3D cities on the fly.”

Recce includes functions that allow you to locate the usual services such as restaurants and hotels.

It also pulls in information on location specific shopping and dining deals from Yelp.

Continue reading —>