Thursday, January 27, 2011

Travel Thursdays - Places to visit in the Bay Area

This week, I decided to list our family's favorite spots to visit in the Bay Area and around (within 2 hours driving distance). Obviously, this is only among those we have already visited so far and there are a great many local wonders we have not explored. That will be a list of its own.
This list includes museums, indoor playspaces, parks, and gardens, and other places of interest.
Museums:
California Academy of Sciences museum – a planetarium, an aquarium, a tropical rainforest, an African safari, the wonders of Madagascar all topped with a wonderful living roof – what more can we ask for?
Children’s Discovery Museum – you can make bubbles, corn husk dolls (I love this),  learn the secrets of circles, explore the Wonder Cabinet.
California State Railroad Museum - worth visiting the state capital for its museums and this one is wonderful!

Indoor Playspaces:
Pump it Up - a popular spot for birthday parties and the kids never tire of this. I too have enjoyed the heart dropping big slide with my daughter very often but am relieved that she now considers herself a big girl and does not want me to tag along in the fun.
All Star Academy - a great indoor practice place for baseball and softball. We hosted a birthday party for our son there recently and the boys had great fun. The staff was very helpful and courteous too. We plan to go back there soon.

Parks/Outdoor spaces:
Full Circle Farm - a local sustainable, community garden where you can purchase farm fresh produce and even volunteer in the community gardens twice a week
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Vasona Park
Rancho San Antonio
Golden Gate Bridge – wonderful views, and we all love walking on the bridge!
San Francisco Zoo
Oakland Zoo
Happy Hollow Zoo

Books:
Santa Clara County library in Cupertino - our local library. Fun inside and out (water fountains!)
Half Price Books (various Bay Area locations but our favorite one is the one in Concord) - we spend hours there every time browsing and come back with a box full of great books at great values

Other spots of interest: 
Mount Madonna - This is a retreat center on Mt Madonna near Gilroy. The Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple here is in a ocean of calm here. You can participate in the bhajans as part of the aratis everyday wrapped in cozy blankets that are provided by the temple (they are in wooden crates on both sides of the temple). The views from here are wonderful and you can run into deer, peacocks anytime.

More places are on my list and I will add more soon as well as review these and other places on Travel Thursdays.

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Love to hear from you! I do read all your comments and do reply whenever I can.. but I will definitely hop on over to visit you...