The Great Indoors
It might be a light-jacket kind of weather now, but soon enough, temperatures will drop enough to merit coats and scarves (yes, even in Newport Beach). And, as soon as the exciting newness of this chilly climate wears off, we’ll be faced with an important question: What do we want to do indoors? Here’s our shortlist of family-friendly (read: fun, educational) places to escape to during the cooler months.
There are times when you’re not quite ready to brave the cold, but staying in doesn’t sound quite right either. Enter The LOT, a Fashion Island movie theatre designed with luxury in mind. (Fair warning: it’s the kind of place that might just ruin other normal movie-watching experiences for you for good). Inside, you’ll find a restaurant, a cafe, a bar and seven auditoriums all under one roof. Didn’t make dinner plans? Just sit back in your plush leather recliner and enjoy in-seat theater wait service.
Step inside this educational facility, and you’ll immediately realize why it’s more than just a pitstop en route to your Back-Bay hike. Nestled into the side of one of the bluffs on the north side of the bay, the center plays host to a variety of animals—snakes, turtles, fish and critters—allowing both grown-ups and tots to get up close and personal with the creatures, as well as learn about their habitats and behaviors. What’s more, there’s a children’s play area that’s chock-full of puzzles, toys and interactive experiences they’ll be begging to come back for.
As a branch of the Discovery Cube, Ocean Quest serves as a children’s educational playscape with a focus on the vast blue. The exhibit currently on view allows tots to design their own sails for boats, create their boats out of tinfoil (to learn about buoyancy) and spell out nautical terms in Morse code. But above, all, the place aims to help little ones become environmental stewards by learning about marine debris and its impact on animals and their habitats. (Parents, listen up, too).
Balboa Island Museum
You might know everything about this neck of the woods—where to grab the best avocado toast or the freshest donuts. But how much do you know about the history of the place? If the question got you cocking your head to one side, schlepp over to Balboa Island Museum whose exhibits narrate the story of this man-made island—everything from its formation and famous attractions to the stars and starlets that once called the place home. Bonus: if you have a knack for jigsaw puzzles, you’ll likely find one for you to hunker down in front of and process what you just learned.