5 Exciting Outings for Families in the Bay Area

Arriving at a new place it is sometimes difficult to identify nice things you can do with your children. Cathrin has complied a list of great outings full of fun and excitement for the entire family. Read through it and maybe you have an idea for next week.

1. California Academy of Science, S.F. 

The Academy of Science is the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof. It’s a stunning architectural achievement with hundreds of unique exhibits and nearly 40,000 live animals. When you go, think of taking another set of clothing for your kids (wet area in the Aquarium), stroller and lunch.

Cost: adults: 24.95 $, children over 4: 14.95 $, children under 4

Parking Fee:   Street parking is free (for example Martin-Luther-King-Drive) but max. 4 hours, unlimited free on weekends. Academy’s parking garage is next to the Academy, but expensive.

Tips and Insights:

  • Sign up for membership! It’s worth doing it!
  • Although it requires extra bookings, go to the Planetarium
  • Come early and park free on the curb
  • Check out the Early Explorers Cove

2. Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco

Exhibit with more than 20,000 local marine animals and three new exhibits featuring jellies, octopuses and land animals. It would be good to bring your picnic and a stroller.

Fee: adults: 15.95 $, children 3-11: 8 $, Parking Fee: about 15 $

Tips and Insights:

  • bring some small coins
  • Visit Pier 39 at the same time
  • Try to organize a group 2 weeks in advance, fill out the form and receive a discount on tickets AND parking fees

3. Children Discovery Museum, San Jose

This hands-on science facility is loaded with educational and fun activities for children. Drive a fire truck, walk through an ambulance, get your face painted and crawl through tunnels. Bring a set of extra clothing, there is a wet area.

Fee: 10.00 $ (under 1 year free), Parking: 5 $, please bring 1 $ or 5 $ bills!

Tips and Insights:

  • If you plan to visit this museum more often, think about a membership (tax          deductible!) It’s a great place to escape the bad weather in the winter.
  • Extra exploration room for babies and older siblings

4. Deer Hollow Farm, Rancho San Antonio, Los Altos

Deer Hollow Farm is an educational center where the public, school classes, and community groups can observe and participate in a historic working farm. The 150 year-old farm stands as a reminder of Santa Clara County’s agricultural history.  In the tradition of a working homestead, Deer Hollow Farm continues to produce food on-site. Farm fresh eggs and seasonal orchard produce are for sale when available. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour and learn about the history of the Farm and purpose of livestock. Walk from parking lot to the Farm is approximately 20 Min. Bring a lunch picnic and a stroller.

Fee: Free, Parking: Free

Tips and Insights:

  • Look on the homepage for Spring Farm Tours (5 $ per person over 2 hours) guided tours where you can touch the animals.
  • Avoid a visit on a hot day.

5. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach 

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a natural refuge for plants and animals adapted to live at the edge of the ocean. These creatures survive extreme forces of crashing waves and turbulent currents. Fortunately, there are safe areas along the rocky shore to visit. Sea water is trapped in pools at low tide where you can see blue-green anemones, coralline algae, and myriad shapes and patterns. It is located 10 minutes north of Half Moon Bay. This outing will cost you nothing apart from gas.

Try to take extra warm clothes (it might be cool and windy), a second pair of dry shoes

picnic lunch, although lunch places are available near the parking lot. And if you like: a blanket to sit on the beach and sand toys. Parents with younger children should remain with their kids while they explore the tide pools.  It is not allowed to take any shells or animals from the pools!

GPS: 200 Nevada Ave, Moss Beach (approximately 50 min. by car from Stanford)

The parking lot is very close to the beach. To bring a stroller is not necessary.

Tips and Insights:

  • Check the tides before coming. You need LOW tide.
  • Bring sand toys.

This is all for now, there will be more tips coming on Zoos.

Bye for now from Cathrin, blogging from Mountain View


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