Day trips with the kids
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo and her son, Bobby
Looking for some ideas? Here are a few:
• Academy of Sciences - Where can you find an aquarium and rainforest under one roof? Well, lucky for us Sonomans, the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco offers it all. There even is a yummy cafe! Beat the crowds and go in the morning on a weekday. It’s worth it.
• Bodega Bay - Offering many beaches and delicious treats, Bodega Bay is worth a trip. Spend the morning at Salmon Creek beach. Then go grab some chowder at the Tides Wharf – where you should avoid the sit down restaurant and visit the walk up deli, which is super kid friendly. The food is a little on the pricey side, but worth it. You can sit out on the patio and watch the waves. On the way home, let the kids pick out some saltwater taffy at Patricks of Bodega Bay, 915 Highway 1.
• Chrissy Field, San Francisco - With grass, sand and waves, Chrissy Field has it all. Park down at the beach, grab coffee at the Beach Hut Cafe & Snack Bar, 1199 E Beach, and go down to beach. Then lay down a blanket and relax while your kids play in the sand. Remember to bring sand toys! If you go on a weekend morning, there are lots of well behaved dogs too which always provide entertainment for kiddos.
• Crab Cove, Alameda - This beach or really mud flat is super tot friendly. 8On a sunny day, the water will get nice and warm. At low tide, tots can explore yards of shallow water.
• Discovery Museum, Sausalito - If you haven’t checked out the Discovery Museum yet, it’s worth a visit. With rotating exhibits, concerts and spacious playgrounds, the museum provides tantalizing experiences for your tot at every turn. Park by the water and before heading home, snap a few pictures while checking out the boats and the bridge. A feast for the senses!
• Fairyland, Oakland - Before Disneyland there was Fairyland. Designed for tots, Fairyland has slides, small houses to explore, animals, rides, puppet shows and even a train. Cheap and worth a ride. Spend the morning there, then grab lunch to go from Bakesale Bettys, 5098 Telegraph Ave .(closed Sun. and Mon). I recommend the fried chicken sandwich - crispy juicy chicken, spicy coleslaw and soft sweet bread - this is so worth the calories. Skip the horrendously long line by calling ahead to preorder. Take your sandwiches to go and head to Frog Park on Claremont Avenue.
• Fisherman’s Wharf - Tots will love the hustle and bustle of this tourist trap. Grab some chowder and let them run along the piers and watch the sea lions.
• Howarth Park, Santa Rosa - With a huge playground for kids to explore, you’ll bring them home tired. Now that summer is here, the park has a myriad of fun activities - kids can ride ponies, a train and carousel, not to mention they can pet animals at the petting zoo. Walk up to lake and have a picnic lunch while the kids feed the ducks.
• SF Zoo - From giraffes to goats, the SF Zoo has a lot to offer. Let your tot burn off some steam by visiting the petting zoo first. Then, start your journey around the park. I recommend bringing your own lunch and finding the tables (they are tot height) by the playground.
• Tilden Park, Oakland - steam trains, petting zoo, and a lake, this park has it all. Bring cash! Need lunch? Check out my note about Bakesale Betty’s in the above notes about Fairyland.
Check back for more in-depth reviews of places to visit around the bay, specifically Safari West. In the meantime, happy adventures.
Where is your favorite place to go? Weigh in in the comments below.
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo is a Sonoma mom who loves exploring the town with her son, Bobby. She’ll be writing blogs about anything and everything related to parenting young children. She is also a board member of the Sonoma Valley Mothers Club, an organization that supports women with young children in everything from parenting to socializing. The club is open to all Sonoma moms. For more on the club, visit sonomamothersclub.org or call 996-9890.