I thought I would share some of the fun and unique things to do with children in the Bay Area – ones that I have visited many times, and know to be well worth the experience.

Crab Cove, Alameda is parallel to Crown Memorial State Beach. I remember when my daughter and I first went there as part of her class expedition. I remember getting on our hands and knees on the rocks so we could see the shoreline wildlife and the food chains that sustain living creatures that inhabit the area. Since the tides change daily, you never know what you are going to find on any particular day. They also have a wonderful visitor’s center, with hands-on item to touch as part of the learning experience. After a visit to Crab Cove, you can walk through the lovely grounds and, a few yards away, be playing on the beach, wading through the shore, possibly finding shells that the waves wash up.


Lindsay Wild Life Museum, Walnut Creek – I love going to this museum, for the uniqueness it has to offer and its recognition as one of the oldest wildlife rehab centers in the United States. As you walk inside, you will see a wide selection of owls – not caged – but appearing to stand completely free, just above your heads, only tethered by a band around their foot. The museum has lots of other wild animals – a possum, squirrel, bald eagle, porcupine . . . and lots more . . . all of which have been injured such that they cannot be re-released into the wild. It is wonderful to see young teenagers be many of the docents who handle the animals, and teach all of the visitors about the nature of the animals and how they came to be at the museum.


Berkeley Redwood Valley Railway – This is a fun way to step back in time a bit, as the conductors, dressed in the official train jumpsuit and hat, drive off with a load of passengers, into the deep woods. There are lots of interesting sounds to hear, sites to see, and you feel like you are a million miles away from . . . well, everywhere. The first full weekend in June is the Anniversary Meet, which is open to the public. Most of the Redwood Valley Railroad locomotives are under steam, and often visiting locomotives and rolling stock appear for the occasion. Be patient with your children though  –  they may want to ride it over, and over!


The Oakland Zoo – This is a delightful zoo to visit – no too big so both children and adults can visit all of it without being exhausted from walking. Every time you turn a corner onto a new path, you are heading to the land of gorillas, giraffe, zebra, camels . . . and then there is the milk tree frog, the African spoonbill, and the Amazon tree boa . . . just to name a few. make sure you don’t miss the new gondola – oh my gosh! You will have the most magnificent view of the entire bay area  –  360 degrees!


The aerial gondola moves passengers above the hills. The gondola and the Landing Cafe at the hilltop are part of the first phase of the zoo’s California Trail expansion.