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Places to Go with School-aged Kids

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Bay area holiday activities for visiting nephews

Dec. 2004

My 5 and 8 year old nephews (and their parents) are travelling from Western Colorado to spend Christmas with us. As my own kids are just infants, I'm not up on how to celebrate Christmas with kids in the Bay Area -- I am especially looking for experiences/activities that are unique to the Bay Area, and would be special for kids who are used to a snowy, rural Christmas. They are also very interested in other cultural celebrations like Kwanzaa. So far,we're planning on seeing the Nutcracker, and I was thinking of taking them to that highly-decorated street in Alameda. Any other recommendations? Thanks! Suzy


They might get a kick out of ice-skating at the outdoor rink at Embarcadero Center - although maybe since they're from a snowy place skating outdoors is no big thrill. It's a pretty setting, though, and definitely not rural. Jeni
I have 3 sons, ages 5,9, and 12 so I can tell you lots of places:

Try either of two model train places where hobbyists have model trains set up and do special shows for the holidays. They both have web sites - do a search on Golden Gate Model Railroad (in Richmond) and Walnut Creek Model Railroad (in Walnut Creek.) The latter is near the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and a large park. The Lindsay is great - they rescue injured animals and chidren can see them quite close up. Fabulous birds - eagle, falcons, etc.

Army Corp of Engineers Bay Model in Sausolito - a truly only in SF. This is a scale working model of the bay where engineers study the tides. It is open to the public and has lots of great environmental exhibits.

SFZoo - One of my children's absolute favorites.

Walk the Golden Gate Bridge - we usually go half way and turn around as it is a long walk.

Dim Sum at Yank Sing is SF. My kids' favorite holiday tradition - pricey but delicious and very SF.

Berkeley Adventure Play Park - at the foot of university. This is a park run by the city where for the price of picking up some nails or wood scraps kids can get a hammer, a paint brush or other tools and work on the on-going projects in the park. Any other city would cringe at the potential liability issues but kids love it and get to do hands-on work with tools making play structures. They also have a great zip line for those tall enough.

Walk the Filbert Street steeps - preceded or followed by a meal at Il Fornaio, which is at the bottom, near Levi Plaza. At the top of the steps, head up to Coit Tower for a great view of the bay and the wonderful murals inside.

Have fun! Lisa


Friends visiting with 5 & 6 year olds

We have some friends who are visiting in June with two children aged 5 and 6. Are there any festivals? They love outdoor activities. What are some things to do? Thanks! Julie
Try the children's museums that are in the area: Bay Area Discovery Museum, Habitot, Lawrence Hall of Science... The Exploratorium might be a bit too old, but you could try it. Also, if you're willing to travel, you could go to the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. Have fun! Lauren
Can try Crab Cove in Alameda, Airplane Museum by the Oakland Airport, Hornet aircraft carrier, Golden Gate park playground in SF, Cordonices park in Berkeley, Tilden park pony & carousel rides&feeding farm animals (bring lettuce) & taking hike around Jewel Lake&swimming in Lake Anza & steam trains at Tilden, Lake Temescal, Oakland zoo (my kids like the rides best), SF zoo, hiking at Pt. Lobos in SF, hiking at Strawberry Canyon or other parks, Adventure playground at the Berkeley Marina, Montclair park, pools Strawberry Canyon, Roberts, Dimond. Ronnie
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