Universal Studios, Santa Monica
What's a visit to L.A. without going to a theme park? We did not have a rental car (long story) and actually got to Universal Studios using public transit. Yes, folks, public transit in congested and car mad Los Angeles!
We took the studio tour as my husband had not been here before, and the last time I was there I was quite young. I was surpised to see that they still have the parting of the Red Sea still included, 30 years later! On the tour you see sets from: War of the Worlds, the ever-classic Jaws, and the fun Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Most impressive: War of the Worlds. There are also a few surprises along the way, but that would be telling!!!
Besides Universal Studios is Universal Citywalk, a slightly cheesy outdoor mall, that does offer some decent restaurants, though watch the little ones, it does offer lots of trinkets for them to whine over too.
We found the theme rides not bad, but most of them have this big "build up" and the ride itself actually lasts a very short time, maybe 10 minutes. We thought Shrek 4D was the best, though, and lasted a worthy 1/2 an hour. We were pretty disapointed with Van Helsing, which was actually a haunted house. The surprise factor is lost when you see the people in front of you screaming hysterically at a guy in a werewolf costume awkwardly waving his hands. Favorites: Jurraisic Park, Shrek 4D, and Back To The Future.
All in all, it was an enjoyable day, but if you miss out on this one, don't be too disappointed. As at any theme park, be prepared for high prices on food and drink.
Directions: See website for directions.