Parks After Dark kicks off for 2018 season at 33 Los Angeles County parks

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It's the start of the 2018 season for Parks After Dark - and it kicked off with a bang. It'll be every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the rest of the summer. It gives children the chance to roam around freely after dark. (KABC)

In the middle of Watts is an L.A. County Park, where all hours of the night children can be found bouncing off the walls.

It's the start of the 2018 season for Parks After Dark - and it kicked off with a bang. It'll be every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the rest of the summer. It gives children the chance to roam around freely after dark.

Leno Villa brought his grandchildren to distract them during a difficult time for the family.

"Their mom passed away a few months ago. It's a good way to keep them entertained because they're going through hard times. Having this at this park, that's a good thing to have," he said.

Villa and his family took a set of pictures from a photo booth home - one of many free activities children can enjoy. There's even a gaming truck, where kids compete on five big screen TVs.

And it's not just the Watts park where kids can have fun all summer - 32 other county parks are also participating. At Jesse Owens Park, kids who weren't watching a movie under the stars were inside tearing up the basketball court.

Last summer, the Parks After Dark events averaged about 600 people per night per park.

"We've been doing this for the last several years. It's been a real positive reaction. So we're looking forward to doing it for years to come and we look forward to having more people come out to embrace the program," Reggie Hamilton said.

It's an important countywide program that keeps children engaged in their communities and themselves.
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