Tips for having fun in the California summer sun

summer Sundial

Summertime in Southern California is great for beach trips, lounging by the pool and going to an air-conditioned movie theater. But there is a lot to do in Los Angeles this summer that goes unnoticed. Here’s a list to help guide your summer plans:

King Tutankhamen’s treasures are making their first stop at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art starting June 16 before heading on a 27-month national tour, then back to Egypt. The King Tut and Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit will include more than 130 treasures from King Tut’s tomb and additional objects from other royal graves that date back 3,500 years. College students get in for $22 during the week, which isn’t a bad deal for a whole lotta Egypt.

Santa Monica Drive-In at the Pier is offering free movies starting July 26 through September every Tuesday night, with showtime around 8 p.m. Though it’s called a “drive-in,” no cars are allowed on the pier. But there is enough room to accommodate up to 5,000 people right on the beach. Here are some things to remember before going to the “drive-in”: bring folding chairs, some blankets and dress for nighttime beach weather. There will be no alcoholic beverages or smoking permitted, but there will be tons of food around. Proceeds from concession sales go to the Cancer Relief Fund, an organization that helps those fighting cancer and their families with financial support.

The Santa Barbara Winery is located at 202 Anacapa Street, two blocks from the beach and two blocks from the State Street shopping strip and just a few hours up the U.S. Highway 101. The 2004 film “Sideways” drew a lot of attention to the winery, which has been a local favorite since its opening in 1964. The winery is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and for $5, college kids 21 and over can enjoy some wine tasting in the tasting room. Other wineries in the area include The Wine Cask, a restaurant, caf? and wine shop at the bottom of State Street, but it may be a bit pricier than some of the others. Summerland Winery is just south of Santa Barbara, and may be a nice way to begin the wine tasting experience.

For those looking for something more “movement-orientated” than staring at old Egyptian artifacts, try a game of paintball. Paintball USA’s Close Encounters paintball fields in Simi Valley aren’t too far from the Northridge area or the suburban empire to the west. Paintball, which is surprisingly safe considering it involves young people firing guns at one another, is quite a good time, and a great way to spend some time outdoors. Running for your paint-free life has never been so much fun. It’s $25 to get in, and about another $35 to rent the equipment, unless you’re the kind of person that already owns a semi-automatic machine airgun with a C02 tank. Weekends only.

It seems that the college-crowd doesn’t frequent the zoo nearly enough. Los Angeles only has an inferiority complex to San Diego for one reason: the San Diego Zoo. Yes, that’s a much better zoo. But the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens near Griffith Park aren’t half bad, either.

And since the Griffith Park Observatory is still closed, if you’re looking for an “on the nose,” yet still oddly fun way to spend a Saturday in Los Angeles, then staring at a bunch of red-butted monkeys might be the thing to do. Admission isn’t much more than a ticket to “XXX 2,” and while you’re there, you can do some sightseeing and spot the various locations used by film and TV productions, which frequent the zoo quite a bit.