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Fun Things To Do With Your Children Around The Bay Area

Amusement Park

Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo is a combination bet ween a theme park with rides, a zoo and sea world. Great
for any age. Go online and you can get cheeper tickets or get a season pass if you live close by.

Great America in Santa Clara has thrilling coasters for older kids, fun shows, KidZville (rides, play area, and shows
for younger children) and even a water park.

Bonfante Gardens Gilroy Gardens I love this place. It is located in Gilroy, so it is not as "local" as the other places and
is hotter there during the summer. It is a great amusement park for younger kids (under 7) and is set in a beautiful
garden. It is always so clean there, and usually the only teenagers around are the ones working there (unlike at Great
America). Fabulous place for toddlers! Check their website for days/hours of operation, they have a very modified
schedule for fall and winter.

Fairyland in Oakland is great for younger kids. Reasonable entry fee includes rides and shows. You have to pay for
parking or bring change to park along Lake Meritt ( a great place to rent paddle boats and paddle around lake with
older kids). Don’t forget to buy a little Fariyland key to hear all the stories around the park, They even offer a
sleepover too.

Pixi Playland in Concord, is a great little children's theme park with small rides and a roller coaster.

Nut Tree in Vacaville is a small rides theme park great for little ones and shops located near the Vacaville Outlet
stores. Don’t forget to check out the Jelly Belly Factory free candy and factory tour to while you are in Vacaville.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Rides, roller coasters, and an arcade, line the beach boardwalk pier. Check on line for
tickets and discounts also check Costco for passes. Don’t forget to bring your beach gear.

The Jungle in Concord is a large indoor playground structure of tubes and fun. Babies under 1 year are free and they
have a great little play area with play equipment just for toddlers too, like ball pits and small crawl holes and
miniature slides. Great place for birthday parties like Chucky Cheese is.

Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world class... fun, educational, big! The breathtaking setting makes a great weekend
destination in early Fall when both the crowds and the fog are gone. Stay overnight and enjoy kayaking on the bay
(Monterey Bay Kayaks offers naturalist led tours). Let your kids burn off some energy at the Denise the Menace
playground before the drive home.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz near Natural Bridges State Beach

Stineheart Aquarium next to the California Academy Natural History Museum in San Francisco and Morrison
Planetarium.

Aquarium of the Bay located off of Pier 39 and have a nice lunch at the tropical themed Rain Forrest Cafe after with
aquarium fish as you dine.

Art Center/Museums
Zeum at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco provides fun hands-on art activities for all ages. While you're at
Yerba Buena ride the old playland carousel and enjoy the colorful playground area. Bowling and ice skating are also
available.

Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA) in Oakland is unique in that it only displays art work by children. Gallery
admission is free but there is an open studio fee for participation. 18 months and 5 years for $7.
Fun Things To Do With Your Children Around The Bay Area

The San Jose Museum of Art has many kid-friendly exhibits. On one visit we enjoyed exhibits of Chihuly glass,
modern art furniture, photo collage, and cartoon drawings. The museum is within walking distance of the Tech
Museum and the Children's Discovery Museum.

Where The Wild Things Are located at 101 Fourth Street in San Francisco. Maurice Sendak classic children's story
Where the Wild Things Are has become an interactive experience. Adults and children can tour through halls of
larger-than-life characters sprung right off the storybook's pages. Children under 3 are free.

Aviation/ Museum
Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos has very interesting vintage and experimental aircraft exhibits. Children ages
8-17 can register for the Young Eagles program and fly for free above the San Francisco Bay with a licensed pilot in a
real plane!

Fleet Week Watch the Blue Angle do their stunts above the San Francisco bay and also tour the naval ships that
come in to dock during fleet week. October 8-13 check the schedule for the events and tours. The planes are really
loud and echo through the buildings so just be mindful of your little one’s ears. Great fun though!

Beaches
Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz is scenic and has lively tide pools just a short hike from the main beach.
Nearby natural trails lead through the winter habitat of monarch butterflies. The Seymour Marine Discovery
Center is nearby and is a worthwhile side trip.

Alemeda Beach Robert Crown Memorial Park -Each year in June there is a Sand Castle Building Contest you can
participate or watch this year it is on June 13, 2009. It is a quiet little beachfront and you will usually see kite flying
and windsurfing or kitesurfing going on during most of the year.

Biking Trails
Canada Road in San Mateo is closed to motorized vechiles from Hwy 92 to Edgewood Rd. along Crystal Springs
Reservior on most Sundays. Stop for a look down the Pulgas Water Temple. Tour the house and gardens at nearby
Filoli Mansion.

Iron Horse Trail and Bike trails that you can ride to Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek where they have large duck
ponds, trails, playgrounds, pool, flower gardens and a touch and smell garden too. In the evenings in the summer you
can even watch outdoor movies under the stars.

Children's Museums
Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is a great children's museum in a beautiful location. Great place for babies
too with things for them to do.

Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose located near the Tech museum. A great place to take kids of any age. The
exhibits are great. They also have The Wonder Cabinet for kids under 4 years old. This is a great place to go for the
little ones, where they don't get pushed around by bigger kids, yet they still get to do all the great hands-on stuff.
There's also a "Crawl Space" inside the Wonder Cabinet for infants and crawler, so they don't get trampled by the
toddlers! There's also an Art Studio too. Check website for calendar, I think they are closed most Mondays.

Children's Theaters
California Theatre Center in Sunnyvale. Adult actors perform classic fairy tales.

Peninsula Youth Theatre in Mountain View. Young actors perform both new and old favorites. Costumes and sets are
spectacular.

Young Performer's Theatre in San Francisco. Several especially fun and witty shows.
Fun Things To Do With Your Children Around The Bay Area

Ha Ha This a way Circus classes in Berkeley. Children are taught to learn how to juggle etc. kids 3 to 4. Thursday at
3:30. For kids 4-6, classes start at 4:30 on Thursdays. $80 per session (8 classes).

Farms
Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont hosts fun events throughout the year. Our favorites are the Harvest Festival
in October and the Christmas Faire in early December. Events typically include house tours, train rides, food samples,
farm activities, arts & crafts, and music.

Emma Prusch Farm Park Has a nice little farm. Depending on the time of year, you can see a lot of aminals (babies
too!) there. They recently added a large play structure. Lots of picnic areas. Huge grassy field and has a paved path to
walk around.

Deer Hollow Farm Located inside Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. You have to hike a bit to get to the farm.
Take a jog stroller with you for the dirt trail, especially if you plan on continuing to hike the trails. Also, best to go in
the morning during the hotter months. It can get really warm out there.

Little Farm at Tilden Park above Berkeley hills. The Farm is free and bring celery or lettuce to feed the animals. The
park also has train rides, pony rides, a lake to swim in, Lake Anza, botanical garden, nature center next to the
farm, camp sites and trails and they just reopened the beautiful Carousel to ride. These other attractions do charge
a small fee so bring some money with you. Parking is free.

Food Attractions

Jelly Belly Factory in Vacaville gives free tours of the factory and candy samples. Check out the Nut Tree
near the Outlet Stores for some small amusement rides too.

Rain Forrest Cafe next to the pier in San Francisco is an amazing rain forrest theme restaurant with
waterfalls, aquarium, animatronic jungle animals and thunder and lightning sounds. Pop over to

Gardens
The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden children under 5 are free. This was an accidental find for us. We just happened
upon it on our way back from the Lawrence Hall of Science and were amazed at the number and variety of plants.
The place has the feel of an educational/research garden, not a fancy for-show garden. The plant "zones" range from
alpine to desert to tropical and everything in bet ween. Don't miss the greenhouse that holds the carnivorous plants.

Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. Founded by Waters to celebrate the transformative power of growing, cooking, and
sharing food, it is a colorful, lively place to cultivate a love of gardening. Go after school hours, weekends or spring
break because during the day it is crowded with classes from school field trips. You can't eat what you find in the
garden. Pack a picnic lunch to eat on the hay bales or bring the lunch down the hill to Hopkins Park and let the kids
run around until naptime.

Berkeley Rose Garden Free to the public. Has meandering paths, stunning views of SF, and roses of all hue. There is
also a nice size park across the street with a concrete slide, so bring a unfolded card board box to slide down on and a
picnic lunch. Bring a tennis racket and play in the tennis courts next to it as well.

Wat Mongkolratanaram is Berkeley's Thai Buddhist temple. Located at Russell St and Martin Luther King Jr. near.
Monks invite the public to sit on the lawn at brunch and eat delicious and bountiful Thai food.

Historical Museums & Parks


The Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto has well done kid-oriented exhibits and special events.

John Muir Home National Historic Site in Martinez. Take a tour of John Muir’s home and gardens. Your kids can
climb to ring the bell at the top of the house, pick and eat the fruit from the fruit trees in the garden and hear
stories about John Muir and his family and also watch a video if you have older children who can sit through it. On
Saturday April 18, 2009 there is a special Free event to celebrate John Muir’s birthday so don’t miss it! If you go
Fun Things To Do With Your Children Around The Bay Area

down the road a bit you can visit the Martinez Marina you can fly kites, play bocce ball, watch the boats and trains
come in and out, fly kites, play in the playgrounds, watch the natural wetlands animals, and they even have a
skateboard park and outside theatrical amphitheater.

Mount Diablo State Park Mt Diablo is an extinct volcano with some beautiful views and sites. There are trails with
waterfalls, great camp sites, rock walls, an Art Gallery, the Summit Museum and fossils embedded in the rocks.

Natural History Museums


California Academy Natural History Museum in San Francisco has dinosaurs and much more, including insects,
minerals, and an african experience. Round out the day at the adjacent Steinhart Aquarium and Morrison
Planetarium.

Nature/Wildlife Centers/Parks
Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo has daily otter and fox feedings and weekend animal talks.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek houses local animals that can not be released into the wild, usually due to
injury. Bring a lunch a play at Larkey Park or go swimming at the Larkey Park Pool.

Ano Nuevo State Park in Pescadero is a "must do" activity during elephant seal season (December through March). It
takes some advance planning, because the seal breeding area is only accessible via tour and the tours (especially
weekend tours) book up in advance. However, it's worth the effort to get closer to the huge males than you thought
you'd be allowed to and see hundreds of females and their pups.

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has art museums, aquarium, planetarium, arboretum, tea garden, play grounds,
boat rentals, and even buffaloes! Main roads closed to auto traffic on Sundays to accommodate bicycling and
skating.

Tilden Park in Berkeley has picnic areas, pony rides, carousel, botanical garden, swimming in Lake Anza, train rides,
animal farm (bring celery or lettuce to feed animals), nature area museum, trails, and camping grounds. Parking is
free around the park but most of the events cost a small fee.

Vasona Park in Los Gatos has picnic areas, playgrounds, boat rentals, and paved bicycle paths. Adjacent Oak Meadow
Park has train ride and carousel.

Climb Indian Rock Tucked away in the paths through the hills above Berkeley. Ages 3 and up are able to climb with
out too much trouble. Reward your little climber with a treat at the top. There are no bathrooms nearby so plan
accordingly.

Temescal in Oakland has a lake to swim in and fish and beautiful picnic areas. If you go a little further down
Telegraph you will find t wo really great neighborhood parks call Frog Park connected by a cute path that runs
behind the DMV with animal foot prints and frogs. One has a large wooden play structure and a woodland area that
fills with water that your kids can play in and also a dog park for dog owners.

Planetarium/Science/Technology
Chabot Observatory & Science Center in Oakland has a great facility and lots of fun activities. On clear sky Friday
nights in the summer after the center closes, you can go to the back and look through the Huge telescopes for Free.
Scientists and students are there to answer any questions as well. This is a great date night too!

Morrison Planetarium located next to the California Academy Natural History Museum in San Francisco and the
Steinhart Aquarium.

California Academy of Sciences in the San Francisco Golden Gate Park. This just opened so consider visiting in the
late afternoon due to the crowds.

The Exploratorium in San Francisco has hundreds of hands-on "experiments" your children can perform.
Fun Things To Do With Your Children Around The Bay Area

The Tech Museum in San Jose has several themed areas (space, communications, life sciences, etc.) A great place for
older toddlers and school aged children (and dads too!). They have tons of great hands-on exhibits. The Imax theater
is also a draw for families as well.

Snow Skiing & Ice Skating/Roller Skating


Smaller, low-key resorts tend to be a better experience and a better value for families. Some favorites are:

Badger Pass in Yosemite is a great ski destination. Yosemite is beautiful and uncrowded during winter. Ice skate
under the stars at the Currie Village ice rink.

Northstar in Truckee has fun ski and play areas especially for kids and consistently good ski schools.

Visit Soda Springs for snow tubing and sledding.

Iceland skating rink in Dublin and Golden Skate roller skating in San Ramon. During Christmas season there are
temporary outdoor rink set up in the Park in downtown Walnut Creek off of Civic Dr. and San Francisco in Union
Square.

Train Rides
The Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in Felton (near Santa Cruz) is fun any day, but especially fun
during one of their many special events. Worth the drive for Thomas the Tank Engine days, Moonlight rides, Harvest
Festival, Halloween Ghost trains, and Pioneer Christmas.

For a really special train adventure weekend ride the Amtrak Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento to visit the
California State Railroad Museum. Stay in the nearby Delta King paddleboat hotel and explore Old Town Sacramento.

Water Slides
Raging Waters in San Jose and Water world in Concord are equally great places to beat to heat. Pick the one closest
to you and head our for a fun day.

Zoos
The Oakland Zoo is easy to get to, usually uncrowded, and just the right size. Lots of space for the animals, but easy
to walk around. Relatively inexpensive admission fee. Rides are an additional fee, but reasonable.

The San Francisco Zoo now has modern entrance area, pretty landscaping, expanded petting zoo, and several new
animal habitat areas. Especially fun in summer when zoo camp teens display small animals for viewing and petting.

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo This place is great for young kids who don't need a whole lot of fancy things to entertain
them. There are a few rides. There's also a park play area and a puppet show. The zoo is more updated, but doesn't
have the typical zoo animals (no giraffes, elephants, or zebras), but there is a petting zoo area with goats, etc.

Palo Alto Jr. Museum & Zoo Another great local zoo to see some smaller animals. Right now they have a shark
exhibit. The museum has some great hands-on exhibits for kids. The best part, the admission is free (donations are
accepted and appreciated though)!

East Bay Vivarium Located off of Fourth St. in Berkeley. For your kids who love Reptiles!