Reviews & Photos
February 16 2013
Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center
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17600 Center Dr.,
"Winter Review of the SHARC"
While staying at a rental property in Sunriver we had the opportunity to visit the SHARC (Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center). We were there in December so only the indoor portion of the aquatics center was open. The home we rented came with passes, so while free for us the cost is usually $15/adult and $12/child for a 2.5 hour session.
Our thoughts? Our girls (ages 1 and 2) enjoyed the pool and all of it's fun features (fountains, jets, whirl pool etc) but the water was a bit cold for them (and mom:) The place is immaculately maintained and very new. A great place for older ones to play in the water on their own. I would not take the family there for the cost of general admission but with the passes we had we went twice.
We plan to go back in the summer (the outdoor space looks like a ton of fun). The cost is higher but admissions is for the full day.
If cooler water doesn't bother you and the kids this could be a fun winter activity. But I think we'll only be going back in warmer weather.
November 13 2012
2 families found this helpful
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 First Ave,
"Wild Fun for Little Ones"
Lindsay Wildlife Museum, in Walnut Creek’s Larkey Park, is a unique museum experience for young ones. Its purpose is to help visitors learn more about native wildlife and how to protect it. The main portion of the museum is comprised of one main room featuring live animals. My girls, all under age 3, enjoyed their visit immensely.
We visited the museum on a Thursday after lunch, and aside from two school groups, we seemed to have the place to ourselves. Oddly though, the museum’s small parking lot was full when we arrived. If this happens to you, please note there’s additional parking at the church across the street. If we make a return visit, I’ll skip trying to find a spot in the museum’s lot and park across the street.
Lindsay Wildlife Museum is a great place for young children to wiggle and explore. One of its exhibits, a playhouse structure, features wildlife themed books and toys. There’s even a shelf with turtle shells and armadillo exoskeletons for the kids to handle. I was impressed with the neat stuff in the room and how nothing was off-limits to little hands. At this same exhibit, a small rodent was brought out for the children to touch. (I was appreciative of the hand sanitizer offered to the kids after handling the animal.) If you’d like to experience this with your own child, the museum’s website lists daily events and program schedules.
The central exhibit room features live, wild animals on display. These animals, like the California Raptor, have been injured and are no longer releasable into the wild. Inside, many such raptors are tethered and perched atop cages. We enjoyed unobstructed views of these birds plus many other small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. My children also enjoyed the taxidermied animals since they’re easy to see up close as they don’t move or hide.
A great hands-on exhibit for older children is the interactive flight simulator. In this interactive exhibit, visitors lie on a table shaped like a hawk’s silhouette and move their arms to soar over a virtual representation of Mount Diablo on a screen below them. This exhibit also offers a Behind the Scenes Presentation of the wildlife hospital, which flanks the museum, where visitors can watch veterinarians rehab and work with animals through a one way mirror.
-The museum's 1 room layout makes it easy to keep track of your kids
-Appropriate for kids of all ages
-You only need a few hours to see everything
-The cost is reasonable ($7 for adults & $5 for kids ages 2-17)
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. I received no other compensation and the business did not ask that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I express are entirely my own.
October 03 2012
Los Gatos Cafe Uptown
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15662 Los Gatos Boulevard,
"Great Food and Easy Parking"
The Los Gatos Cafe Uptown has the same great food as their down town location but with the added perk of a large parking lot, making carting young ones into the restaurant much easier.
The restaurant itself is bigger but it can get very noisy. The wait on a Saturday can be long (upwards of 45 minutes plus) so be prepared for that.
Unless you have a big party, which may be easier to seat in the Uptown location, I would recomend the down town location for it's better ambiance (much quieter) and fun location.
May 10 2012
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Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Road,
"Fun for Your Young Ones"
Located in Fort Baker on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is a unique children’s museum with much to offer our young one.
Our visit landed on a warm, sunny Saturday which left us fearing large crowds and limited parking. On the contrary we were met with convenient free parking just outside the museum and a pleasant lively buzz of activity without feeling crowded.
The museum is comprised of converted military buildings with great outdoor space in between. We were surprised at how many of the exhibits were outside, I’d say about half. Our toddler’s favorite exhibits were the Tot Spot and Lookout Cove.
Made up of indoor and outdoor sections, the indoor portion of the Tot Spot includes a clever room of waterbed “ponds” for tikes to play on, with fish tank ceilings and mirrored walls giving the illusion of being under water. There was also a fun area with different textures to walk on (bumpy, squishy etc.) Even mom and dad thought that was pretty cool. We liked that it was a “no shoes zone” making it a clean place for little ones to crawl.
The outdoor Tot Spot space has a wonderful “stream” for kiddos to play in. A long, meandering, waist high water table of sorts, this was probably our daughter’s favorite spot in the museum. She happily spent her time washing little, rubber salmon and frogs and making them “swim.” There are even aprons provided to keep clothes dry.
Lookout Cove was a great outdoor playground with many themed play structures. Children can grab a shovel and dig for treasure in a sunken ship or don a hard hat and help construct the Golden Gate Bridge among other things. There is a beautiful structure made from live willow branches for children to explore and a short trail featuring views of the bay and the bridge.
The other exhibits stirred intellect and imagination as well. In the art studios children can collage, sculpt and paint. Two other exhibit rooms, full of hands on fun, are dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the San Francisco Bay and its cities.
One thing this budget conscience family appreciated was that we could bring our own food and drink into the museum. They have a sizable deck with tables but you can also choose to picnic elsewhere. We thoroughly enjoyed dining on a bench under the trees while out daughter ran and played between bites of lunch. There is a restaurant on site which offers a small selection of sandwiches, burgers and snacks. The reviews for the restaurant look good and much of their food comes from local and organic sources. We will have to try it on our next visit.
General admission is $11 for anyone over the age of 6 months and is worth the price for a full day of learning and fun. If we lived closer I would even consider becoming members; for $150 dollars a family can have access to the museum for an entire year. There is so much to do and so much open ended play that children would not get bored with frequent visits throughout the year.
In summary: we loved it and you will too.
A few tips and trick to make your day at the Bay Area Discovery Museum great:
•Strollers are not allowed inside most buildings due to limited space, so if you have an infant I HIGHLY recommend an infant carrier or sling. We were so very glad we had ours in the car.
•Because a large portion of the museum is outdoors I recommend checking the weather before you go (there is a link on the museum site). Weather by the bay can be finicky, so always pack a sweatshirt.
•Another word about clothes, the art studios are fun but messy. There is water, dirt and sand. Dress accordingly and consider packing a change of clean clothes for your kiddos. If you have young ones going into the Tot Spot easy on/off shoes would be handy for the whole family. We all had shoes with laces and an infant to carry, not a fun juggling act to get ourselves put back together.
•Check the museum calendar for fun events like special performances and programs
The Bay Area Discovery Museum provided my family with complimentary tickets for this review. The museum did not request that I express any particular point of view and my reviews always reflect my honest opinions.
March 30 2012
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Rancho San Antonio County Park
Cristo Rey Drive,
"Easy Access to Outdoor Adventure"
Rancho San Antonio is a great place to go when you feel like you need a little bit of nature in your day. The hiking trails range from strenuous (with great views of the valley) to stroller friendly. There is a fun little farm to walk out to. They usually have some fun live stock to take a look at. Other fun features are tennis courts and a great place to fly or watch RC airplanes and helicopters. Easy access and plenty of parking make this park a winner for us!