Many Attractions In Southern California Are Back Open – It’s The Perfect Time For Enrichment And Fun
For the last three years, many things we took for granted our whole lives were instantly unavailable to us. Now that the pandemic is largely in the rearview mirror, things you may have been missing - or even forgot about - are back in action.
If you like interacting with people, teaching them things and hanging out at museums or parks, maybe consider becoming a docent. Many Southland attractions have volunteers that provide information about what visitors are seeing or experiencing. Prequalifications are seldom required, and there’s usually some kind of training to help get you started.
The Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park has docent training classes on select Saturdays from July through September, while L.A. Parks & Recreation offers a range of volunteer opportunities. After a long hiatus, the L.A. Zoo is again offering docent classes. Zoo training comprises 18 in-depth sessions in zoology, ecology and conservation, focusing on the animals and plants at the facility. Volunteers are asked to commit at least 100 hours of service per year.
AmeriCorp, an independent federal government agency that recruits, trains and leads volunteers at nonprofit programs in communities with critical needs all over Los Angeles County, has a special program for adults 55+ called RSVP. You can volunteer to help in adult or childhood education, offer probono skills or professional help to nonprofits, or provide telesocial program help. Commitments range from just a few hours to a full 40 hours a week. There are numerous ways that seniors can return to being active and socializing with friends, or meeting new ones, especially with team sports like tennis, badminton or table tennis.
If you haven’t tried it yet, super-popular pickleball is a combination of all three of those sports. The nation’s fastest growing sport is usually played as doubles (although singles is also possible).
It’s easy to learn, inexpensive to play and a highly social game with lots of time for chatter, banter or juicy gossip between games. Many private clubs and condos in the Southland have created pickleball courts since the start of the pandemic, and there is a growing number of public courts.
Crafters no longer have to craft alone at home. Throughout the region, myriad clubs and meetups offer opportunities to learn a new craft, teach others what you mastered during COVID or just enjoy the company of people who share your passion. The website meetup.com is a good starting point. Search by interest and your neighborhood for opportunities. For example, the site provides the lowdown on more than a dozen knitting and crocheting groups in or near West Hollywood.
There are also movie, book and photography clubs, ballroom dancing groups, Formula 1 fans and classic car owners’ meetups, beach and river clean ups, as well as get-togethers for gearheads, birders and many, many more hobbies.
If you already have a crew of friends looking for something new or something they haven’t done since pre-pandemic times, how about a round of miniature golf? It’s not too strenuous but a ton of fun. Of course, regular-sized golf is also a great day out. If you don’t belong to a country club or live in a community with its own links, L.A. County boasts the largest and busiest public golf course system in the nation, with 20 courses at 18 sites.