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April Update: California Openings and Events

Get the latest on theme parks, museums, and festivals

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Spring has arrived in California and there’s more than just wildflowers blooming: Attractions and events are starting to reopen all across the state.

The latest guidelines mean that theme parks, stadiums, and museums can open at reduced capacity, with safety protocols in place, including admission based on online reservations. For now, admission to theme parks is only for California residents so guests should be prepared to show proof of residency at the gates. Also, you might not find every ride or attraction inside the park running yet, especially in the first few weeks. The upside? Some parks and museums are offering discounted admission, too.

In the meantime, plenty of other attractions have already opened: Many museums in San Francisco and Los Angeles have reopened, including the de Young MuseumSFMOMA, and LACMA. Several popular April festivals are returning, too, some with virtual elements. (Missing Coachella? You can at least buy branded crop tops or corduroy hats at its online store.) 

As you make plans to go back to these attractions and events, check both their websites and local sites for the latest information, and remember to take note of safety protocols, including temperature checks, distancing markers, and face-covering requirements. Then get ready for some fun—below are 10 great ways to kick off your spring in the Golden State.

April 1: Park Preview Days at LEGOLAND California, San Diego

The Carlsbad park will start by opening about 10 select rides, such as Coastersaurus and Lost Kingdom Adventure, as well as Miniland USA and the play area. Then, the park will fully open—all rides, LEGO CHIMA Water Park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium—on April 15. During the whole month of April, priority access for reservations will go to passholders, guests with unused tickets from the closure period, and guests at the LEGOLAND Hotel.

April 1: LACMA Opens, Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will pick up where it left off in March 2020, extending two exhibits that were open at the time (such as Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific). The institution—the largest art museum on the West Coast—will also introduce six new exhibits, including one from beloved Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.

Starting April 1: Opening Day at California Ballparks

Baseball season is back, and California’s five MLB teams will allow fans back at reduced capacity—about 20 percent. April 1 brings the first home games for the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Angels (based in Anaheim) and the Oakland A’s. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants will host their home openers on April 9.

April 3: Six Flags Parks Open in Los Angeles and the Bay Area

After two days of members-only access on April 1–2, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo will reopen to the general public, with a daily schedule at Magic Mountain and a weekend schedule at Discovery Kingdom. A nice perk: For a limited time, you’ll find admission prices discounted by up to 55 percent ($45 at Magic Mountain, $29.99 at Discovery Kingdom).

April 8: The Crocker Art Museum Opens, Sacramento

The Sacramento art museum will be open Thursdays through Sundays—and as a bonus, admission is free on Sundays through May 31 (book your reservations online). New exhibits include Legends from Los Angeles, featuring the art of groundbreaking 1970s Black Arts movement artist Betye Saar and works by her daughters Lezley and Alison.

April 8–18: Palm Springs Modernism Week

The desert city has moved its annual celebration of local mid-century modern architecture from February to April. This year’s event will feature limited-space, socially distant tours of properties as well as a few dinners, mixology clinics, and talks. The 2021 lineup of home tours includes the 1956 Lawrence Lapham property Sunburst Palms and architect Sean Lockyer's newly completed Desert Palisades project. (Throughout April, you can also visit one local mid-century marvel: The Palm Springs Art Museum reopens April 1, Thursdays through Sundays, and will operate at 25 percent capacity.)

April 9–18: San Francisco International Film Festival

The longest-running film festival in the U.S. returns to San Francisco this year with a mix of streaming and drive-in screenings. This year’s lineup includes the documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street and feature film Naked Singularity, starring John Boyega. The festival’s Centerpiece film, Socks on Fire—a documentary about the family of a drag queen—will be shown both online and at an April 10 drive-in screening that also includes a drag show.

April 12:  SeaWorld San Diego Opens Rides

The San Diego theme park will complete its re-opening by starting up roller coasters and other rides, as well as its indoor exhibits. The park has already been open as a zoo and aquarium, offering its outdoor exhibits, a few presentations with socially-distanced seating, and the Sesame Street Bay of Play area. Plus, the Seven Seas Food Festival will run on weekends through May 2, featuring live music and more than 125 globally-inspired tastes offered at stations around the park.

April 16: Universal Studios Hollywood Opens

The Los Angeles theme park that mixes rides, a studio tour, and lots of pop-culture fun will open with most rides and two new arrivals. The ride The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash will debut and a new Indominus rex dinosaur will battle the T. rex on Jurassic World—The Ride. Ticket reservations for California residents go on sale April 8. Before the reopening, the park's Taste of Universal event will run through April 11.

April 16-18: Red Bluff RoundUp, Tehama County

One of the largest rodeos in the nation, this Shasta Cascade tradition celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Look for appearances by professional rodeo legends, youth events (like Mutton Bustin’), and the Wild Ride, in which cowboys attempt their eight seconds on a bucking horse while also dressed in costume. 

Mid- to Late April: The Getty Museums Open, Los Angeles

As of press time, the iconic Los Angeles museum complex plans to start opening around April 14. The Getty Villa in Malibu will reopen first (with a special exhibit on Mesopotamia), followed by the Getty Center a few weeks later. Admission to the Getty museums will continue to be free.

April 17–25: National Parks Week

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) by visiting one of the nine national parks that call California home. Admission fees are waived on April 17, and there are both in-person and virtual events scheduled throughout the week, as well as opportunities to volunteer in the parks. Or celebrate Earth Day at various California State Parks, which are hosting in-person and virtual events, along with other ways to pitch in.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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April 30: Disneyland Resort Opens, Anaheim

Look for plenty of classic rides to be running at the Anaheim theme parks when they reopen. According to the resort’s update page, some park attractions and features will be on hold for now, such as parades, nightly fireworks, and the FastPASS program. The Grand Californian Hotel reopens on April 29, while the two other Disneyland Resort hotels will open at a later date. In the meantime, Downtown Disney is open now, and the ticketed A Touch of Disney food festival will run through April 19.

Now Through May 9: Spring Safari Featuring Butterfly Jungle, Escondido

Behold more than 10,000 butterflies at this reservations-based event at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, just 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. The weeks-long event also includes music and dance performances.

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