Weird and Wonderful: L.A. Edition!

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Magnificent marionettes, airplane hangars full of neon signs and vintage memorabilia, and a bookstore-slash-art studio – just when you thought Los Angeles couldn’t get any weirder, something more magical, wacky, and sometimes unsettling pops up.

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

Discover the remnants of the Ice Age at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum! Over 3.5 million fossils have been excavated here. Get up close with fossil deposits in the Observation Pit and identify extinct mammals and reptiles. Enjoy live shows like Ice Age Encounters, or snap a pic by the Lake Pit with its bubbling asphalt and iconic mammoth statue. Inside the museum, marvel at the skeletons of ground sloths, saber-toothed tigers, and mammoths. It’s a journey through time you won’t forget!

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore in L.A. is a must-visit! Step into the 22,000-square-foot space and explore new and used titles under grand Roman columns. Head upstairs to browse art galleries and snap pics at iconic spots like the book tunnel, book porthole, and flying book sculpture. This former bank building is an Instagrammer’s dream and a book lover’s paradise. It’s also home to a record and comic book store, a yarn shop and five art studios!

Valley Relics Museum

Eclectic and nostalgic, the Valley Relics Museum in Lake Balboa is a tribute to the golden age of L.A.! Located in two airplane hangars at the Van Nuys Airport, this family-friendly spot is packed with treasures from the past. See vibrant neon signs, classic cars, vintage BMX bikes, and retro arcade games. Marvel at the life-size Marilyn Monroe painting, Big Boy statues, and the famous van from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It’s a fun-filled trip down memory lane that you and the kids will love!

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Since 1963, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater has delighted audiences with live performances of handmade marionette puppets. Inside the 10,000-square-foot Vaudeville theater, you’ll find exhibits featuring over 2,000 puppets (including the original Bobo clown puppet). Experience one of the live shows as over 100 puppets dance, sing and entertain in the round. Stop by on a Friday evening dressed to the nines for Hollywood Night, or visit during their monthly live DJ performances for some extra fun. After the show, grab a free cup of ice cream!

The Bunny Museum

What started as an inside joke between husband and wife has expanded into a collection of more than 45,000 rabbit-related artifacts at L.A.’s very own Bunny Museum. Practice your “bunny bump” greeting before heading into the museum’s massive exhibit of stuffed rabbits, bunny posters, a Roman ring, and hare-y artworks. It’s not all so cute and fluffy – visitors over 13 can traverse the Chamber of Hop Horrors, where taxidermied rabbits, vibrantly-dyed lucky rabbit’s feet, and strange Jackalope statues await.

The Japanese Garden

Experience enlightenment in the heart of the San Fernando Valley at The Japanese Garden. Explore 6 ½ acres of gardens, starting with the Zen meditation garden, where a three-Buddha stone sculpture and peaceful Tortoise Island invite you to thoughtfully reflect. Stroll under the wisteria arbor and into the wet gardens featuring stunning vistas of streams, lakes and a three-tier waterfall. Inhale the sweet fragrance of the cherry blossom trees, and make sure to visit the tea garden, complete with an authentic tatami-mat teahouse.

Skypark at Santa’s Village

Celebrate Christmastime all year round at Santa’s Village, a North Pole-themed experience in Lake Arrowhead. Test your aim at the Northwoods Sharpshooter Gallery, or pan for gems and bits of gold at Santa’s Village Mining Co. Reach new heights in the Magic Tree Bouldering Room and be mystified by the close-up magic tricks at the Wacko Show. The Discovery Playscape is perfect for folks visiting with little ones. And be sure to meet Santa’s friends like Arrow, the NorthWoods guardian, while exploring the park.

The Donut Hole

At The Donut Hole, let the sweet aroma of fresh pastries lure you into a giant donut hole – literally. This drive-thru shop is located in a tunnel connecting two 26-foot-tall chocolate donuts. Bring cash and savor classic glazed donut holes, mouthwatering croissants, soft, flaky bear claws, and other delectable delights, including inventive cereal- and candy-coated donuts. If sweets aren’t your thing, grab a coffee and a sandwich on your way to your next wacky roadside stop.

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