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Fueling Toddler Obsessions

Our favorite local spots for princess, train, and car fanatics

--Photo by JellyBean Pictures

Toddlers are damn serious when it comes to their favorite things. For parents inclined to indulge them, here are the coolest spots to feed three popular infatuations.

Cars. The Metropolis II exhibit at LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-City West) features teeny cars that run at top speed through a pint-sized city. On the ground, your toddler can watch the vehicles up close, but look for the stairs at the far end of the exhibit; it’s worth the trip up to the catwalk to watch from above. The cars run on weekends for one hour at a time, and are then switched off for an hour to rest, so check the schedule on the website before you go. General admission tickets get you into the exhibit and are $15 for adults, free for kids.

Princesses. Despite our best efforts, most moms end up immersed in princess culture. If at some point you decide to just go with it, take her for a play date at Lollipop Dream (14006 Riverside Dr., Ste. 122, 
Sherman Oaks), where she'll get to choose her favorite dress, boa, crown, and non-toxic face paint design—followed by a spot of tea (apple juice, really), a craft, and a game. Play dates are hosted on weekdays only; $15 per child for one hour.

Trains. The most exciting thing you can offer a choo-choo addict is a ride on the scaled-down steam engines at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum (5202 Zoo Dr., Griffith Park). Trains run on a mile-and-a-half loop with three tunnels and one bridge. Post-ride, your little train enthusiast can watch model engines run on their own tracks. Trains run on Sundays only and riders must be at least 34” tall; there’s a $3 suggested donation per person. We also love the tiny locomotives at Allied Model Trains (4371 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City); the old-school shop is stocked with new and vintage trains of all types—plus tots can get a peek at the “Lionel Service Station,” where repairs are made.