This Weekend in Oakland– Art in Nature: The Nature of Art Festival

This looks so much fun!  In one of the most beautiful parks in the San Francisco East Bay, this festival will feature music, dance, sculpture, painting, poetry, theater, kids crafts, and so many other art forms. The Art in Nature:  The Nature of Art Festival is being held this Sunday, September 23rd, along the Stream Trail in Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.  More … Continue reading This Weekend in Oakland– Art in Nature: The Nature of Art Festival

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

Kids ‘n Carousels

What is it with kids and carousels?  I’ve given up trying to figure out what children love about them.  I only know they do. Does your child have a favorite?  Do you have a favorite memory of one from childhood?  Please share! *** Links to carousels in the San Francisco Bay Area Creativity Carousel, San Francisco Golden Gate Park Carousel, San Francisco Eugene Friend Carousel, … Continue reading Kids ‘n Carousels

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

Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

What an incredible selection from the tropics.  Beautiful gardens, worth a visit! Interested in going?  The Conservatory of Flowers is located in Golden Gate Park, near other popular museums and destinations (California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum).  For current admission fee and hours, visit the website… http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/visit/hours.  This is an indoor museum, and, need I point out,  it’s hot and humid!  I highly suggest … Continue reading 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

Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

On our way back to the car from the San Francisco Botanical Garden (see post from yesterday), we took a little detour to visit Stow Lake.  We first discovered the lake on a visit to Golden Gate Park a few weeks ago.  Now, how did we “discover” a lake that’s been there since 1893?  Let alone Golden Gate Park’s largest body of water?  We simply … Continue reading Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

San Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park

My husband, a 5th grade teacher, is now on vacation for the summer.  We celebrated the beginning of the season with a family trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, located in Golden Gate Park.  Neither my husband nor I had been here before, so we were excited to explore.  The second Tuesday of each month is free, so that’s when we went!  Note that … Continue reading San Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park

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

Walking with Friends, Inspiration Trail, Tilden … and Playtime at Orinda Community Park

On Sunday afternoon, we enjoyed a lovely 3-mile walk with friends on the Inspiration Trail in the Berkeley Hills.  This is a trail that has grown with us through the years.  My husband and I liked to hike here because of the gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and, back then, we could veer off the … Continue reading Walking with Friends, Inspiration Trail, Tilden … and Playtime at Orinda Community Park

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

Hiking and Playing, Coyote Hills, Fremont

If you read my post yesterday, you know we attended the Nectar Garden Fun Day at Coyote Hills Regional Park on Monday.  I invited friends from my Nature Time! playgroup to attend with us, and the kids had a great time running around and playing after they were done with the butterfly activities.  A favorite for kid-play is the large grass field in front of … Continue reading Hiking and Playing, Coyote Hills, Fremont

Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Nectar Garden Fun Day As many of you already know, we’re in the process of creating a butterfly garden in our backyard.  So I couldn’t resist attending the Nectar Garden Fun Day with my son yesterday morning at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This is one of my favorite parks in the East Bay, with a boardwalk through the marsh, hills to climb, hiking … Continue reading Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Ten Fun East Bay Parks with Free Water Play Features

The weather is warming up, so  it’s time to find fun outdoor activities for the kids that incorporate water play.  Kids love to play in water… any kind of water!  The play areas I’ve included in this list are all free and are located within local community parks.  If the features aren’t already on in the park near you, they will be beginning this Memorial … Continue reading Ten Fun East Bay Parks with Free Water Play Features

The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to explore someplace new with my husband and our son.  I reviewed my “to-see” list, considered outings in the Marin Headlands and San Francisco, and decided, instead, that it would be a great day for a visit to The Arboretum at the University of California Santa Cruz.   And I’m so glad we did! The collections at The Arboretum are … Continue reading The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

Nature Play, Roberts Regional Park, Oakland

One of our favorite parks for play is Roberts Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.  This park, nestled in the redwoods, has something for everyone.  First, if you have a child, the play structure here is among the best in the Bay Area (and it’s barrier free / wheelchair accessible).  But other than that, the park has a variety of hiking trails, a baseball field, … Continue reading Nature Play, Roberts Regional Park, Oakland

Visit a Garden for Free! National Public Gardens Day 2012

This Friday, May 11th, is National Public Gardens Day!  Better Homes & Gardens and the American Public Garden Association have collaborated to provide free admission to gardens throughout the United States and Canada.  What a wonderful program to help people discover and learn about their local gardens! Interested in attending?  Sign up through the Better Homes & Gardens page (www.bhg.com/gardening/celebrate-national-public-gardens-day/) to receive your coupon.  You … Continue reading Visit a Garden for Free! National Public Gardens Day 2012

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

Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (or plan to visit) and you have kids and enjoy hiking, you should have Laure Latham‘s (aka Frog Mom) book, Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area, in your personal library.  When this book first came out last year, I checked it out from the library.  After only a few days, I realized I had … Continue reading Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area

Earth Day 2012

How do you plan to celebrate Earth Day this weekend? Assuming my son is feeling better (he has a horrible sore throat today), on Saturday we will head to Crissy Field in San Francisco for Earth Stroll 2012.  Sounds fun… “Adventurous activities and games, hosted by some of the Bay Area’s leading environmental organizations, will engage the hearts, minds and bodies of the whole family. … Continue reading Earth Day 2012

This Saturday… Sunol Wildflower Festival!

One of our favorite Bay Area festivals, the Sunol Wildflower Festival, is being held this Saturday, April 14th.  We attended this the last two years, and my son (then age 2 and 3) and I both loved it.  Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend this year, but I’ve been telling everyone I know to check it out.  This is not a kid-only event.  The … Continue reading This Saturday… Sunol Wildflower Festival!

Urbia Adventure # 1: Treasure in the Hills of San Francisco

Aargh, Batman… there’s treasure in yonder hills!  OK, so pirate speak and Batman don’t really go together, but I can’t seem to get my little one out his Batman raincoat these days… not even for a bit of treasure seeking.  We had an unexpected break in the rain today, so we drove into San Francisco to experience our first Urbia adventure.  For those who missed … Continue reading Urbia Adventure # 1: Treasure in the Hills of San Francisco

Urbia Adventures: Exploring Nature in San Francisco

A friend recently told me about some fun-looking educational treasure hunting booklets created and sold through the Urbia Adventure League. These booklets were created based upon the concept of letterboxing (which I wrote about last week), but add so much more. Each booklet has at least ten pages packed full of information and activities designed to provide the child (family or class) with a two-hour … Continue reading Urbia Adventures: Exploring Nature in San Francisco

Letterboxing: The Search for the Gingerbread Man

I’m happy to report that our first letterboxing experience was (mostly) a success.  For our first outing, I wanted to do a search that was, 1) relatively easy, and 2) close to home.  After searching on letterboxing.org for boxes hidden in Dublin, California, I was glad to find there was a box hidden in Dublin Heritage Park, the park nearest to our home.  Plus I … Continue reading Letterboxing: The Search for the Gingerbread Man

Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

For a few years now, I’ve been wanting to see the cherry blossom trees while they are in bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.  I walked by the gardens a couple weeks ago on our way to the California Academy of Sciences, and poked my head in to see if the trees were blossoming yet, but, no, they weren’t.  I thought, just … Continue reading Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

We all know that it’s not OK to approach a wild animal out in nature, so how can we provide opportunities to nurture our children’s curiosity about these animals and provide the hands-on learning our children love? We’re fortunate to have many programs in the San Francisco East Bay which allow our children to experience and touch wild creatures in a safe environment. Here I’ve … Continue reading Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

Favorite Bay Area Petting Zoos

Touching animals, whether farm animals or ocean creatures, is an experience all children should have the opportunity to enjoy.  Watch the faces of the children around you at a petting zoo, and you’ll see joy, amazement, intense focus, or wonder.   A child may giggle when an animal licks their hands, or may jump back in disgust.  Either way, they are learning about animals through … Continue reading Favorite Bay Area Petting Zoos