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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
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
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