What To Do with Kids in Redwood City
Provided by the Redwood City Mothers Club
The city of Redwood City has a very helpful web site with information on all its services, including Parks and Libraries. The city website includes a calendar of events, both civic and private.For fun on Saturdays, don’t forget the weekly Farmers’ Marketheld from 8:00 am till noon, April to November.
Redwood City is blessed with a reasonable number of parks with good playgrounds for younger children. A complete listing, including maps, can be found on the city’s Parks & Recreation web site.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the world’s largest urban national park, spanning 3 counties and 76,500 acres of land, sea and beach. The park begins in San Mateo County, takes in portions of San Francisco and extends north into Marin County.
San Mateo incorporates dozens of state and county parks. A search, by county, on the California State Parks website will provide lists to San Mateo’s state parks, while county parks are listed in the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation site.
Santa Clara county has many parks and open space preserves. A search, by county, on the California State Parks site provides links to Santa Clara’s state parks, while information on county parks can be found on the Santa Clara County Parks site.
The Midpeninsula Open Space District maintains open space preserves with trails in all three peninsula counties. A general list of preserves is listed at the district’s website. The site also includes a list of trails accessible to wheelchairs and strollers and a list of trails especially suitable for kids.
Links to the parks and amenities of San Francisco can be found at the City’s own website.
Stroller Hikes is an on-line resource started by a local mom of young children and grown by a community of parents. The site contains a comprehensive listing of hikes and trails around the Bay Area which include trail descriptions, pictures, available facilities, directions and appropriate baby/child transport options. The group also hosts family-friendly hikes on almost every day of the week, usually in parks on the southern peninsula.
Happy Hollow in San Jose features an accredited zoo, creative play areas and fun rides.
Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills incorporates 1600 acres of wilderness preserve including an organic farm with animals.
The San Francisco Zoo is renowned throughout the Bay Area as a great place to take kids of all ages. Kids can have fun at the Children’s Zoo grooming livestock or collecting eggs at the Family Farm, peering through microscopes in the Insect Zoo, crawling through a child-sized burrow at the Meerkats and Prairie Dogs exhibit, and lots more.
Free: 1st Wednesday
Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo has swimming beaches, trails, picnic sites, a great new playground, open fields for kite-flying and ball games, and the best plane watching on the peninsula (outside the airport). The park is also the location of the Coyote Point Museum, an environmental science museum with a wildlife habitat center.
Ardenwood Farm in Fremont is a historic working farm with animals and a horse-drawn rail car.
Another place to view animals and maybe even take home a new friend. Humane Society in San Mateo always has lot of dogs, cats, bunnies, etc.
Popular pool-side spots for the toddler set are located at Redwood City’s Herkner Pool, Burgess Park in Menlo Park, and Rinconada Park in Palo Alto. There are also pools at several local gyms/community centers including: Peninsula Community Center, Sequoia YMCA, and Pacific Athletic Club.
Take Highway 84, Woodside Road, or Highway 92 out to Highway 1 and head north or south along the coast to find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Be warned however, that few of the beaches are appropriate for swimming due to cold water and dangerous tides. They can also be quite windy, so be prepared. Check the State Park website for more details.
In addition to the many city, county, state and national parks in the area, there are also some nice garden and picnic spots, including Stanford University in Palo Alto and Fioli Gardens in Woodside. While it will cost you $23,058 per annum to attend Stanford, you can visit for free. There is an entry fee for Fioli.
Indoor adventure play sites can be a little expensive, by the time you pay for admission, snacks and for the older kids, game tokens. But, what price sanity?
Here is a short list of some local facilities:
- Bayshore Elite Gymnastics Free-play time in Roosevelt Plaza, Redwood City
- Pump-it-up in Belmont
- Bounce-U in San Carlos
- U-Me in Menlo Park
- The Jungle in San Jose
- Bamboola also in San Jose
- Chuck E Cheese right here in Redwood City
The Peninsula is home to many fun museums that welcome younger customers. If you can’t always afford the price of admission or just don’t want to spend all day somewhere to get your “money’s worth”, then go for a couple of hours to the museums that offer a free day.
Part of this list was compiled by the weblog group Momsoup.
Note: Free days are often crowded so it’s not for everyone.
The Aquarium of the Bay is a unique educational and entertainment facility dedicated to the rich and diverse aquatic life of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. The Aquarium provides a window to the Bay that focuses on its distinctive ecosystems to entertain, educate and inspire preservation of this wonderful natural resource.
The nationally-recognized Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, CA) is a one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor children’s museum that offers a full range of programs for children, parents, school groups and educators. Located on 7 and 1/2 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Fort Baker in Sausalito, CA., the Museum’s unique programs feature hands-on art, science, environmental and media exhibitions, performances, special events and ongoing educational curricula… all with a focus on fun!
Free: First Wednesday, 9 a.m – 4 p.m
The California Academy of Science in San Francisco, incorporates the Natural History Museum, the Steinart Aquarium and the Morrison Planetarium under one roof in beautiful Golden Gate Park.
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents art in 24 galleries plus sculpture gardens, terraces, and courtyard. The Center’s diverse collections span 4000 years and the world’s cultures and number some 25,000 objects, including the largest collection of Rodin bronzes outside Paris. Nearly 100 contemporary sculptures sited outdoors throughout campus await your discovery. Presenting a wide range of important changing exhibitions, docent tours, lectures, gallery talks, symposia, and classes, the Cantor Arts Center is a cultural hub for the community and a teaching resource for Stanford University. Learn what the Center offers and visit often. Admission is free.
Free: Family Tour every 2nd Saturday at 3pm
At Chabot Space & Science Center (Oakland, CA), the universe is yours to experience. Set amid 13 trail-laced acres of East Bay parkland, with glorious views of San Francisco Bay and the Oakland foothills, Chabot is a hands-on celebration of sights, sounds, and sensations.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is 52,000 square feet of interactive exhibits covering, in the museum’s own words, “the broad themes of community, connections and creativity.” All reports indicate that this is a great site, even for the littlest kids.
The Coyote Point Museum (San Mateo, CA) is a learning center that inspires each of us to make a lifelong commitment to act responsibly in caring for the earth. We provide engaging, educational experiences for our diverse, multi-generational Bay Area community through wildlife, gardens, exhibitions, and programs that relate to the global environment.
Free: 1st Wednesday
The Exploratorium in San Francisco’s Marina district is a hands-on museum focused on science education for kids and adults alike. With hundreds of exhibits to touch, look through, pick up, and tinker with, let curiosity be your compass to endless discoveries! Located in the Palace of Fine Arts, near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Free: 1st Wednesday
On select Saturdays in the year from 11am-noon “Soar with Books” takes place at the Hiller Aviation Museum off Highway 101 at the Holly St. exit in San Carlos. “Soar with Books” is a pre-school reading program limited to 25 3-5 year-olds who will have time for a short tour, aviation book reading and an art project. No reservations necessary. Sign up in person 15 minutes in advance.
Free: to members, otherwise included with entrance fee to the museum.
At the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, you can experience the power of computer chips first hand, and the evolution of their development. Explore the pages of the site and interact with our Web movies to learn more about the museum and computer chips. Admission and parking are free.
The NASA Ames Exploration Center, where visitors can experience NASA technology and missions first hand, recently added a number of fresh and exciting exhibits open to the public at no charge. Located at the main gate to NASA Ames at Moffett Field just off US 101, the NASA Exploration Center has welcomed more than 150,000 visitors since it opened at the beginning of 2004 and has inspired tens of thousands of schoolchildren to become the next generation of space explorers. The facility is open to the public at no charge.
The Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo is best of all, free. The museum features hands-on exhibits and a mini-zoo.
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center (Santa Cruz, CA) reflects the world of the scientist. Rather than the polished, nicely finished look of most museums and aquariums, the interior portrays the labs and seawater aquaria where scientists spend their days. The Seymour Center is organized around the process of how scientists do their work – looking, testing, puzzling, and questioning.
Free: 1st Tuesday
The 132,000 square feet of the Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA) are shared by four major theme galleries packed full of one-of-a-kind exhibits, the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater, an educational center for workshops and labs, an upscale cafe, and a retail store featuring books, gifts, and only-in-Silicon Valley items.
Free: 2nd Sunday
It’s always best to check your destination ahead to see if terms and conditions changed.
There are also a number of steam and miniature train rides fairly near by. Year-round steam train rides are available at Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton. The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad located in Oak Hollow Park in Los Gatos offers 1 mile train rides on vintage miniature steam engines.