Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign with Kids

There are many horses along the hike through Griffith Park.

Perhaps there is nothing more synonymous with the City of Los Angeles than the historic Hollywood Sign. An icon standing above the city -- in 45 ft. letters, more than 350 ft. long -- the sign is not just a landmark, but also the cultural icon of the city. Erected in 1923, the famous sign originally read "Hollywoodland" and was just an advertisement placed by real estate company for new properties. It was meant to stand for just one year. But with the rise of the Golden Age of Cinema, the sign became an international sensation. For nearly 100 years now, the Hollywood Sign has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors from every country in the world to climb to its peak.

For two decades, I meant to make the trek. It is a shame that I waited so long because back in the "good ole' days" you could climb on the letters of the sign itself. Vandals ruined that. These days, a security fence and dozens of security cameras block the way for a tourist to actually touch the sign. We spotted two LAPD vehicles and one police helicopter deterring trespassers. Nevertheless, its a great hike and the easiest way to get there is to follow directions from numerous websites.  With turn by turn instructions with photos to help guide, the best site I found is:

For all the parents, I'm going to be honest -- getting the little ones up to the top takes some mental & physical energy. A careful review of a number of other mommy blogs & yelp reviews made it sound like a pretty easy walk. Some important key points that others failed to mention:
  • The paths are wide, and even paved for much of the trip. However, there are areas where its pretty sandy and rough making it hard for a stroller to push through.
  • Its a hour straight up. That's an hour pushing your kid & her/his gear upwards at a steep angle that keeps the heart pumping. 
  • While its considered a family friendly hike, and it is, I only saw one other family crazy enough push a stroller up that hill. And all the kids hiking were not pre-schoolers or younger.
  • No potties from bottom to top. Bring your own water/snacks and make sure your kids can 'hold it' from beginning to end. 
  • No shade. Anywhere. Just don't do it on a hot day. 
  • Parking sucks. Plan an extra 1/2 mile before the hike starts/ends to get to your car.  
But, mommies & daddies, if you're brave enough to tackle the trip, you'll be prouder than ever knowing that you took your kids to one of the greatest sites in the city. 

Disclosure: I didn't take these pictures below, but borrowed them from 
another blog. They were just too good not to share.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

iFly Hollywood

If you've ever wanted to jump out of airplane, but were too scared to try (or your mommy said you were much too young), then indoor skydiving simulates the free fall experience without the danger. Almost everyone can skydive at iFly Hollywood, an indoor skydiving facility where experts and beginners can experience the thrill of jumping out of an airplane. From their website: "iFly Hollywood's 800 hp vertical wind tunnel generates a wall-to-wall cushion of air, on which you safely float. There's no parachute, no jumping and nothing attaching you to planet Earth."

One of the few regrets that I drag with me from my pre-mommy days is never having taken the jump from a plane. Now I have to wait until Serene's 21 years-old to give it a try. (Maybe, I'll take the kids with me.) When Alex's buddy invited him to a birthday party, Alex didn't quite know he'd be floating in the air. But, he took in stride and had a great time.