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The 16 Best activities for families in the Santa Clarita Valley

December 11th, 2023 | 7 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

During the week, parents are busy with work, chores, and appointments, and kids’ days are full of school, sports, and extracurricular activities. 

Monday through Friday is so jam-packed that parents and their children are more like strangers passing in the night than a family unit.

Weekends and holidays are important times to reconnect. Family time helps to facilitate emotional bonds, enhance communication, and improve mental health

The Paseo Club is a social club in Santa Clarita with classes and activities for people of all ages. Whether it is fitness classes for teens or adults, Kids Club for childcare, or a family swim in the pool, the Paseo Club has something fun for everyone. 

Santa Clarita is full of activities for families with children of all ages. We want to share our favorite places to play, create, and explore.

In this article, we will tell you about the different places to have family time together. We include all types of activities — outdoor, indoor, artistic, cultural, and more. The activities are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Animal Sanctuaries

The Gentle Barn is an animal sanctuary that cares for abandoned, injured, or neglected farm animals. They offer tours on Sundays in 1 ½ hour increments. Private tours are also available.

If you want to experience the therapeutic touch of animals, sign up for Cow Hug Therapy and snuggle with your favorite bovine.

Just an hour northeast of the SCV is The Cat House. The Cat House is a feline conservation center that has existed for 45 years. They care for over 60 different types of felines. Tours must be scheduled in advance and last for 60-90 minutes. 

2. Art Tour

The city of Santa Clarita developed the Santa Clarita Public Art Tour. You can take the tour online or download the app onto your smartphone. 

The tour tells you where to find the installation, who the creator is, the materials used in its construction, and a description. Check out sculptures, murals, sidewalk poetry, and all other public art displays for free.

3. Amusement parks/Entertainment centers

Sometimes you want some excitement, and these three local spots are just the place for you and your kiddos!

  • Bring your inner child (and your child) to ride the roller coasters and carousel, and drive the bumper cars at Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Have a blast at MB2 Entertainment Center throwing axes at targets, playing laser tag, or driving the go-karts. This is a fun place to go on days when it is too hot or cool to be outdoors.
  • Scooter’s Jungle has family fun events. Paid entry gives you 2 ½ hours of playtime in two arenas. House-made pizza is also available upon request. This is a fun spot to take a crew of energetic 3-8-year-olds.

4. Bike Ride 

Santa Clarita is a bike-friendly community for all riders. Whether you bike in town, on the trails, or at the Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita, there is always a way to have a great time on your bikes. Ride the paseos with your family!

  • The Placerita Loop is 22 miles long and is of moderate difficulty. There is beautiful scenery. Bike part of the way out and back, or with older kids, you can bike the entire loop.
  • The San Francisquito – Spunky – Bouquet route starts in Santa Clarita and heads northeast toward Green Valley, circling Bouquet Reservoir. This trail is long (45 miles) with varying difficulty, although it is moderate overall. 
  • The Soledad Bike Trail to the Gate is a good choice for younger riders. It is just short of eight miles long and is a level, easy ride. 

5. City Parks

The Santa Clarita Valley has 35 parks of different sizes and features for kids of all ages. 

Playgrounds are great for the little ones who want to run, climb, and dig in the sandbox. Some larger parks offer more choices — tennis and basketball courts and fields for soccer and flag football. Here are a few of the best parks in the SCV:

  • Golden Valley Park has a playground, a large grassy area for a game of tag, and best of all — there is a dog park. So pack your puppy on your next family outing to Golden Valley Park.
  • Plum Canyon Park has a playground, basketball courts, a baseball field, and workout equipment. 
  • Bouquet Canyon Park is nestled in a quiet residential community. There is a grassy area for running and picnics, a sandbox with playground equipment, bathrooms, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and basketball courts with standard and shorter hoops. This park is a spot for kids of all ages.
  • Vista Canyon Park is one of the parks in the SCV with the most amenities. You can play pickleball, tennis, or basketball here. There is a shaded playground and attractive picnic areas. 

6.  Farmers Market

Newhall hosts a farmers market that is open every Saturday from 8:30 am - 1 pm, year-round. This market is an excellent place to pick up vegetables, citrus, olive oil, honey, bread, meat, and eggs. There is such a diverse set of offerings you hardly need to go to the grocery store!

An essential part of getting kids to eat healthily is to get them involved in the kitchen. By bringing your child to the farmer’s market, they will become more interested in what they eat and where their food comes from. 

7. Hike 

Spending time in nature lowers stress, boosts the mood, and is often a time when conversations flow best between parent and child. Here are a few local trails to choose from:

  • Placerita Canyon Nature Center is in a beautiful nature preserve full of oaks, sycamores, and willow trees. This center is a wonderful place to hike along the paths and learn about regional history and the natural environment. 
  • East Canyon is a 6.4-mile out-and-back trail near Newhall showcasing some of Santa Clarita’s lushest vegetation. East Canyon is a moderately challenging route, taking an average of 3 hours and 13 minutes to complete. Make sure to pack water bottles and some snacks!
  • Ed Davis Park in Towsley Canyon is one of the most popular hikes in the SCV. Depending on the ages of your children, you can choose five miles or a two-mile version. From the top of the trailhead, you can see views of the entire valley.
    The climb to the top is challenging for any fitness level. Make sure your kids (and you!) are up for the workout. Be on the lookout for wildlife, including deer and birds.

8. Historical site

If you have any history buffs in your home, head to Heritage Junction. The Santa Clarita Historical Society runs Heritage Junction. In 1980, they acquired the Saugus Train Station, nine structures in total. 

The grounds are open Tuesday-Sunday from 8 am - 5 pm for outdoor viewing of the historic buildings, locomotive, caboose, and railroad signal equipment. 

9. Ice Skate

The Cube Ice Skating Rink is an indoor rink with figure skating and hockey lessons. Open skating is available at scheduled times throughout the week. It costs $17 for admission and skate rental.

10. Make Art

Candle Corner is a fun shop in Santa Clarita where you can make candles. Choose shapes, colors, and scents to customize your candle. Candle making is available by appointment Tuesday through Saturday.

Color Me Mine is a ceramic studio where you can choose a piece of pottery to glaze yourself. The studio staff provides the supplies (and guidance) and fires them for you within a week. Kids of all ages can enjoy designing a plate, a mug, or other ceramic pieces.

The cost is $10 per person, plus the price of the ceramic piece. Pieces range from $14 to $42 each.

Painting with a Twist is another place for you and your family to get creative. They offer drop-in classes daily. You can learn to paint a picture or make scented soy candles.

11. Museums

Enjoy local museums and their interesting and diverse collection of art and historical pieces.

  • Antelope Valley Indian Museum is a museum to learn about the Native American tribes of the Great Basin, California, and the Southwest. It houses over 8,000 objects representing 120 American indigenous cultures.

The museum is based in Lancaster and is a part of the California State Parks and Recreation. They host events throughout the year, including dances, singing, and guided hikes.

  • Melody Ranch Motion Pictures Studio Museum in Newhall showcases an extensive collection of memorabilia from nine decades of movies. Patrons can check out the mementos from the Dukes of Hazzard, M*A*S*H, Indiana Jones - The Raiders of the Lost Art, and The Incredible Hulk.
  • Rancho Camulos Museum is just 20 minutes from Santa Clarita. It is one of the oldest homesteads in California. The museum is situated on 40 acres within an 1800-acre working ranch. It is a National Historic Landmark. Tours are available on Sundays. Pack a picnic and enjoy a journey into the past. 

12. Nature Center

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area and Nature Center is an incredible natural resource for checking out sandstone rock formations, a seasonal stream, and 932 acres of natural terrain. 

Vasquez Rocks is a destination for hiking, picnicking, and for horseback riding. The park offers events for families throughout the year. Every Saturday at 10 am and 12 pm, there is a presentation by a park ranger.

13. Public Library

Libraries in the Santa Clarita Valley may not be the destination you think of for family fun, but they offer great free events

  • Board Games
  • Seasonal crafting
  • Makerspace for teens and adults

Take time at your local library to introduce your child to storybooks from your childhood. Snuggle up and read one (or several) together. 

14. Recreate

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area is just a short drive from Santa Clarita north of I-5. There are two lakes. The upper lake is used for boating and the lower lake is for non-motorized play — kayaking, swimming, float tubes, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and barbecuing. It is open year-round.

comp_storage-emulated-0-DCIM-Camera-20170529-145912 (1)15. Swimming

The Santa Clarita Aquatic Center is a delightful place for active family time. The center has three pools and a 160-foot-long water slide. Getting there is easy, and there is ample parking. The bathroom and surrounding areas are well-maintained.

The city also operates the Newhall Pool, so there are multiple choices for your swimming pleasure. You can buy tickets as needed for entry or buy them in packs at discounted prices. 

16. Trail Rides

Santa Clarita Valley Equestrian Center offers trail rides to people of all ages and experience levels. Trail guides are there to teach you about horses, riding, and the landscape around you. 

Rides must be reserved at least 48 hours in advance and cost $40 per person per hour.

Building family time into your schedule

When we pause to think about what are the most important priorities in life, family is always at the top of the list. This article is to help you find simple, affordable, exciting, and adventurous ways you can enjoy spending time with your family in your Santa Clarita community. 

The Paseo Club is a club for people who value health, fitness, and community. We offer over 60 fitness classes per week, plus pickleball and tennis games, and a junior Olympic pool for swimming. 

View Athletic Calendar

When members aren’t working out, they enjoy a meal at the cafe, a massage or facial at the spa, or a visit with friends and family at one of our many social events. 

If you are interested in getting fit in a fun and supportive atmosphere, then the Paseo Club may be your place. Schedule a tour today to check out all of the facilities.

Schedule a Tour

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!