Montebello Barnyard Zoo's animals are like rock stars, touring local homes and meeting places for one-on-one encounters and shows. Pony rides headline this traveling attraction, which also incorporates a petting zoo with various farm animals: goats, sheep, chickens, and even a llama.
The animals still spend the most time at their home venue, however. Here, fenced off areas contain larger animals such as cows and zebras, who always show up to work wearing the same black-and-white outfits. Bales of hay, wooden barrels, and a large, red barn create a rustic setting for picnics and birthday parties. Nearby, a merry-go-round spins endlessly and a truck?decorated to resemble a locomotive?pulls train cars on a tour of the grounds.
In continual operation since 1965, the Hollywood Wax Museum captures the storied history of Tinseltown by recreating its most memorable faces and moments in lifelike detail. All rendered via intricate, multi-week processes, classic entertainers such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin pose alongside modern A-list stars such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Morgan Freeman. Visitors can step up to each figure for interactive photo ops with their favorite stars. For its efforts, the museum has received a 2012 Heroes of Hollywood award and a 2008 Charlie Award in Entertainment Arts. The museum was also awarded a civic scroll in the 1970s for helping to restore “glamour and gaiety” to the city of Los Angeles—a mission it continues today even with Hollywood’s ever-changing celebrity landscape.
A nonprofit organization, Shoestring City Ranch is run by instructors that dedicate their time to teach teamwork and leadership skills to city-slicker kids by having them work with rescued animals. The environmentally friendly ranch hosts clinics on communicating with pets and group horseback-riding classes that teach everyone from tots to adults how to groom and ride. They also host fun events in addition to classes, such as the 5K Gallop and 1-Mile Tot Trot and a Roping Clinic 101, where a professional rodeo cowboy teaches students how to use a lasso.
Pasadena Pumpkin Patch changes with the seasons. In the spring and summer, it sells fresh fruit. In the winter, families come to choose Christmas trees. But the highlight of its year is fall, when jack-o-lanterns grace every doorstep and pumpkin fills every pie. At this time of year, the pumpkin patch grows and bright orange gourds ripen on the vine, waiting for a pair of hands to pluck it from a bed of hay and decorate it with a spooky face. In addition to pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, the farm offers a variety of fall activities. Pony rides and a petting zoo introduce children to the many creatures that call a farm their home, while towering bouncing slides help mini thrill-seekers locate their lost puppy Waldo before they whiz to the ground.
A pumpkin can pep up a pie, transform into a jack-o'-lantern, or fill in for you at work, and each fall, Toluca Lake Pumpkin Patch stocks an ample supply of this versatile squash. The staff also celebrates the harvest season with a maze in which monsters and spooky displays chill visitors' spines. Once fall transforms into winter, the patch turns its attention to selling Christmas trees such as douglas firs and custom wreaths to hang on doors. Regardless of the season, visitors can meet goats, rabbits, and sheep at an onsite petting zoo or pick up a bouquet from Toluca Lake Florist, which has supplied cut flowers for more than 60 years.
When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.