Eye on L.A. discovers best kid-friendly spots in town



It's no secret that kids love magic, and Eye on L.A. fell in love with Magicopolis in Santa Monica. Since 1998, Magicopolis has empowered kids by teaching them magic tricks, which owner Steve Spill says builds their self-esteem and gives them an understanding that anything is possible. Steve and his wife Bozena, the Polish Lucille Ball of magic, also give many kids their first experiences with live theater in their 90-minute magic shows. Parents are able to get in on the fun as well. The jokes are more for the adults, meant to soar over the heads of the kids who are focused on the very cool magic tricks. Also, "big" kids love having their birthday parties there just as much as the little kids do. Did we mention they also have a bar?

El Capitan Theatre

The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood isn't just a movie theatre - it's a movie adventure! Don't be surprised if you spot some of your favorite Disney, Pixar or Marvel characters hanging around since a movie ticket often includes a live theatrical show. During the month of March 2013, the El Capitan Theatre is featuring "Oz the Great and Powerful" with a live magic show.

Bob Baker Marionettes

A Los Angeles landmark for over 52 years, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is a must-see for kids of all ages. The theater is run by master puppeteer, Bob Baker, who has pulled the strings for over 500 movies and worked with Hollywood greats Elvis Presley and Judy Garland, among others. Bob Baker Marionettes is in great need of local support. Be sure to experience this magical place while you still can. Each show lasts over an hour and can feature 100 puppets. Tickets are $10 each.

A Faery Hunt

Set in parks throughout Los Angeles, A Faery Hunt is an outdoor show where a little pixie dust transports you to Faery Land. Little fairies are encouraged to sing along to help call the fairies from the forest, and the kids become part of the storyline when they meet lovable characters like Grundle the Gnome and Auntie Angelica Root. The stories relay life messages about kindness, forgiveness and respect for nature.

Giggles 'N' Hugs

Taking the tried-and-tested practice of pureeing vegetables and sneaking them into kids' favorite meals, the founders of Giggles 'N' Hugs is a parent's dream. It's part kid play space and part healthy, organic restaurant! Kids are entertained by live shows and tons of activities from magic and puppet shows to music shows. And while the little ones are at play, parents are free to just take a breather.

Time Travel Mart

If you're a time traveler from the past or future in need of a few hard to find shopping items like spare robot parts, food for your Woolly Mammoth or some leeches to cure what ails you, the Time Travel Mart is just what you're looking for! This "convenient store" and novelty gift shop is actually a fundraising store with all the proceeds going to 826LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. 826LA provides after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. To become a much needed volunteer, contact 826LA.

Whimsic Alley

Whimsic Alley on Wilshire Boulevard is the place for all your wizardly shopping! Whether young or old, boy or girl, fans of Harry Potter will love Whimsic Alley. Designed as if you're stepping into "Diagon Alley" from the popular film series, every room is a different store. You can buy high quality Hogwarts School uniforms, sweaters, hats, robes and scarves in all the house colors at Haber & Dasher. Or, visit the wand specialty shop and get your hands on all kinds of great gift ideas. In the back room is the "Great Hall," which is designed after Hogwarts, and it's where Whimsic Alley offers wizardly classes and throws magical parties!

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop

A sure way to bring out the kid in just about anyone is soda pop and candy! We found just the spot to take your munchkins for a sweet stroll down memory lane. With locations throughout SoCal, every Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop carries over 1,000 old time and hard-to-find candies from your past and from all over the world. They also have more than 500 very interesting flavors of soda - from fruit flavors like peaches and cream and apple pie, to some of their crazier sodas, such as sweet corn, buffalo wing and bacon soda.

iFLY Hollywood - Indoor Skydiving

iFLY Hollywood - Indoor Skydiving at Universal Studios CityWalk gave Eye on L.A. quite the adrenaline rush as we experienced human body flight! Indoor Skydiving at iFLY Hollywood is safe for kids, challenging for adults, exciting for teens and realistic for skydivers. No experience is necessary, and it's great fun for all ages 3 and up.

Pasadena Roving Archers - Archery

Eye on L.A.'s Tina Malave felt like a superhero after taking an archery lesson at the Pasadena Roving Archers archery club in Pasadena's Lower Arroyo Seco Park, which has been in existence since 1935. The booming sport attracts people of all ages and all walks of life, and the best part is it won't break the bank! Every Saturday morning, the Pasadena Roving Archers offer first time lessons for free and only $5 per lesson afterward. But get there early - it's first-come, first-served and it fills up fast!

The LAIR at the Los Angeles Zoo

The L.A. Zoo's latest exhibit, the LAIR, stands for Living Amphibian Invertebrate and Reptile house - and they're not kidding! It's one of the few places where you can go and see 100 different species of animals in just a few buildings, and most of them are endangered. What kids really love, besides the creepy, crawly creatures, is the fact that the exhibit areas are designed so the little ones can get nose-to-nose with the animals without having to be picked up to see them. Be sure to go to the outdoor exhibit to check out the false gharials, an endangered crocodile with a very silly face.

See the complete list of all of the places featured on this week's episode.

[Original air date: Feb. 9, 2013]

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