San Francisco: The Exploratorium

“The Exploratorium is a twenty-first-century learning laboratory, an eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker. For more than forty years, we’ve built creative, thought-provoking exhibits, tools, programs, and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and lead to profound learning.” – From the Exploratorium website (www.exploratorium.edu) The Exploratorium is the ultimate playground for the mind, a must-visit for anyone who’s into building and creating with … Continue reading San Francisco: The Exploratorium

Outback Express Adventure Train: Oakland Zoo

For those of you with little ones in the train stage, this is a fun one!  The Outback Express Adventure Train at the Oakland Zoo takes passengers on a tour of wild Australia, where you may see emus and wallaroos.  Enjoy! Interested in going?  You’ll find the train station within the rides area, out front of the Oakland Zoo.  You do not need to enter … Continue reading Outback Express Adventure Train: Oakland Zoo

Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum

The amazing California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento is a must-see for anyone with an interest in trains or American history.  About the museum, from the California State Parks website… The California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) in Old Sacramento is the world-class tribute to the role of the “iron horse” in connecting California to the rest of the nation. Our museum features 21 lavishly restored locomotives … Continue reading Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum

Animal Fun! Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward

I’ve been wanting to write about the Sulphur Creek Nature Center for a long time now.  When my son was two and three, we visited the center regularly for their awesome toddler wildlife classes (for 1-3 year-olds).  I found it was the best place in the San Francisco East Bay to give my son hands-on wildlife experiences.  In each class, the children are introduced to … Continue reading Animal Fun! Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward

Framed: Step Into Art Exhibit, Bay Area Discovery Museum

If you are in the area and have the opportunity, I highly suggest you take your little ones to the Bay Area Discover Museum in Sausalito to play in the “Framed:  Step into Art” exhibit, which will be on display until September 8th, 2013.  We’re fortunate, in that this is this is the second time we’ve been able to check out this great exhibit.  It … Continue reading Framed: Step Into Art Exhibit, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Curves: Wave Workshop, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Photos from the Wave Workshop at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito.  My son loves this exhibit.  Kids can create boats from the foam geometric shapes, turn on the fan (wind), and find out how their boats perform on the water.  My son will refine and tweak his boat over and over in an attempt to design a boat that will float down the … Continue reading Curves: Wave Workshop, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

Apparently, back in the 1950’s, engineers were considering building two dams in the San Francisco Bay to create fresh water reservoirs, right in the bay.  Luckily, the US Army Corps of Engineers decided it would be a good idea to study the potential impacts that such a huge undertaking might have, both environmentally and economically, on the surrounding communities.  So, in 1957, they built the … Continue reading Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

Fun for Little Astronauts: Chabot Space Center

I’m surprised I haven’t written about the Chabot Space Center before, as we’ve been members for two years and visit frequently.  I’m frequently asked the question, “Is the museum OK for 3-year-olds?”  Yes!  My son has always loved our visits here.  The museum is filled with hands-on exhibits, which children enjoy. In the Beyond Blastoff  and the One Giant Leap:  A Moon Odyssey exhibits, a … Continue reading Fun for Little Astronauts: Chabot Space Center

The Living Roof: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

We love to visit The Living Roof whenever we visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  This paragraph from the Academy webpage states it best… “An open-air observation terrace enables visitors to get a close-up look at the roof’s lush canopy of plants. The view encompasses the densest concentration of native wildflowers in San Francisco. The expansive vista is also an ideal location … Continue reading The Living Roof: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Sleepy tiger + discount to the Oakland Zoo

During our Christmas Eve visit to the zoo, we mostly ran around and played, but we did check out a few animals along the way.  We enjoyed watching this beautiful tiger napping (and waking up) in the warm afternoon sunshine. For anyone in the Bay Area who may be interested, I noticed this morning that Groupon is offering a 50% off membership deal to the … Continue reading Sleepy tiger + discount to the Oakland Zoo

Burning holiday energy…

Oh, my, is my five-year-old excited about Christmas tomorrow.  He can’t sit still, and he’s been acting super whacky.  It’s been raining and cold here in the Bay Area for days, and our outdoor adventures have been limited this past week because I’ve been sick (I still have a horrible cough).  Between his cabin fever and the anticipation of Santa visiting tonight, my child is … Continue reading Burning holiday energy…

Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center, located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs above the Monterey Bay, is a true gem.  Don’t expect the grandeur of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but be prepared for a smaller, quieter, more intimate experience here.  The location is phenomenal.  On a clear day, the views can’t be beat. Inside the center, children will actually have time to experience the touch … Continue reading Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

Boo at the Zoo, 2012

Yesterday we attended the annual Boo at the Zoo event at the Oakland Zoo.  Kids wear their Halloween costumes and participate in a bunch of fun activities.   It was a hot day today (back into the 80’s), so I talked my son out of wearing his thick, black ninja costume. The highlight for my 5-year-old was the Spooky Scavenger Hunt.  The children are given … Continue reading Boo at the Zoo, 2012

Butterflies, California Academy of Sciences

On Monday, my son and I enjoyed a fun visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  It was our last outing before his first day of school.  I think the highlight of this visit was the baby ostriches!  So many, and so cute!!   My son also wanted to go into the Earthquake Exhibit again (something he said he NEVER wanted to do … Continue reading Butterflies, California Academy of Sciences

Climbing the DNA Structure, Lawrence Hall of Science

No visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science  in Berkeley is complete without reserving some time to climb on the DNA sculpture out front.  We love museums, but after all that indoor time, it’s fun for kids to get outside and move their bodies.  This one is a favorite! Have you been to the Tony Hawk Rad Science exhibit yet?  It closes September 3rd.  Check … Continue reading Climbing the DNA Structure, Lawrence Hall of Science

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez

I’ve always loved this quote, and it’s one I experience each and every time I head out into nature.  For anyone who knows me, it should come as no surprise that John Muir, one of the greatest conservationists in history, is one of my heroes.  What is surprising, however, is that I’ve never visited the John Muir National Historic Site, located right here in the … Continue reading John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez

Point Reyes Lighthouse

A highlight of any visit to Point Reyes National Seashore, on the California coast, thirty miles north of San Francisco, is the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Growing up, my family would visit here every January to watch the migrating gray whales.  Assuming a clear day, the views from here are incredible!  The lighthouse is located on the tip of the Point Reyes Peninsula, which extends ten … Continue reading Point Reyes Lighthouse

Plantosaurus Rex Exhibit, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

A visit to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco has been on our to-do list for a couple months, ever since the Plantosaurus Rex:  Prehistoric Plants exhibit opened a couple months ago.  Our five-year-old son is still loving anything dinosaur-related, so a visit here was a must-do.  We were warned that the roaring of the dinosaurs in the exhibit room could be a bit … Continue reading Plantosaurus Rex Exhibit, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

Urbia Adventure #2: The Rocky Mountain Behind the Randall Museum

Yesterday, I wrote about our visit to the Randall Museum (see post here… “The Randall Museum, San Francisco”).  Whenever I visit a museum, I also like to schedule some outdoor play or exploration.  The Randall Museum is an excellent spot for indoor and outdoor nature fun, but we enhanced the experience by taking an Urbia Adventure.  Urbia creates self-guided treasure-hunting hiking adventures throughout San Francisco … Continue reading Urbia Adventure #2: The Rocky Mountain Behind the Randall Museum

The Randall Museum, San Francisco

The Randall Museum in San Francisco was created to be a place where children can handle, see, and learn about animals and other living things through hands-on experiences, as well as be exposed to different kinds of arts and crafts.  The museum has no entry fee, though memberships are offered to provide a discount on the many classes offered. Creative Play This is a fun … Continue reading The Randall Museum, San Francisco

Tony Hawk Event, Rad Science Exhibit, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Yesterday we had the opportunity to see Tony Hawk and other professional skateboarders perform, as part of the opening festivities of the new Tony Hawk Rad Science exhibit at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). All I can say is… it was awesome.  Here’s the event description from the LHS website… “Watch Tony Hawk, along with other professional skateboarders, perform an exciting demonstration on a … Continue reading Tony Hawk Event, Rad Science Exhibit, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Earthquake! And More… California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

For months, my son has been asking when the new Earthquake exhibit will be opening at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Well, it finally opened last weekend, so I took him on Tuesday. How was the exhibit? I thought it was great! First, visitors are shown a short movie about plate tectonics. Then we were moved into a room made to feel … Continue reading Earthquake! And More… California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Rainy Day at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Any trip we take to the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley also includes a visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science. My four-year-old loves this science museum, and we can’t even think about visiting the area without stopping in for an hour or two.  If you saw my post from yesterday, you know our plan to visit the gardens at UC Berkeley were foiled, but … Continue reading Rainy Day at the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Fun! Children’s Fairyland, Oakland

Children’s Fairyland is a storybook park that’s been around longer than Disneyland.  In fact, it inspired Walt Disney to create his Magic Kingdom.  Fortunately, Fairyland has maintained it’s small size and original charm since it opened in 1950.  I have fond memories of visiting the park when I was a child, during visits to see my grandma, who lived in Oakland.  If you have a … Continue reading Fun! Children’s Fairyland, Oakland

Visit Report: Lindsay Wildlife Museum

For those kids (and adults) who love animals, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek is a must-visit. The facility is beautiful, but what they do here is even more incredible. The wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center within the museum is the oldest in the United States. The veterinarians, staff, and volunteers treat more than 5,000 (sometimes up to 6,000) injured animals every year. The … Continue reading Visit Report: Lindsay Wildlife Museum