When thinking of places to take the kids, the standard locations come up: museums, the zoo, parks and the library. We love these places, too, but eventually we, like you, want to find new places to take the kids for an afternoon out. We’ve come up with a list of a few places around the Peninsula you may not have thought of going.
As much as you’d like to see the latest and greatest films out, you know kids are unpredictable. The most well-behaved child can turn into a terror at a moment’s notice. You don’t want to be that parent, nor do you want your kids to be those kids. And, while Camera Cinemas Camera 7 in Campbell (1875 S Bascom Ave., Campbell) isn’t on the Peninsula, it’s worth the drive. On the first and third Wednesday of the month, and for $7.75 (kids under 3 are free), Camera 7 holds Diaper Days where you can enjoy a movie and feel confident you won’t ruin someone else’s movie-going experience. Camera 7 also has changing tables in the men’s and women’s restroom, and baby safe lighting and sound levels in the theater on Diaper Days.
Take a trip to Color Me Mine (602 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park). Kids paint for $8 plus the cost of the piece. Color Me Mine is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Kids paint for $8 plus the cost of the piece. Alternatively, visit Create It (855 El Camino Real, #108, Palo Alto) and create a hand- or- footprint plate or paint an item for a cost ranging between $10 and $75. Studio time, paint and glazing is included in the cost of each piece. Create It is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Yes, you can always pop into a chain retailer bookstore for some book shopping, but why not visit a boutique book shop with plenty of picks for kids? Linden Tree Books (265 State Street, Los Altos) holds events and author talks, which are just the tip of the iceberg. Linden Tree also has an ample selection of books to further your child’s interest in reading. Alternate independent and kid-friendly retailers include Kepler’s Books (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park) and The Reading Bug (785 Laurel St., San Carlos).
Call ahead and reserve a lane with bumpers before taking older toddlers to the alley. They’ll have tons of fun rolling the ball while learning a new skill – and who cares if it takes forever for the ball to trickle down the lane? It’s a low-key, indoor, active activity that will burn off some of their infinite energy.
Indoor Swimming Pools
The last place you want to take the kids when it’s cold and rainy out is an outdoor pool, even if it’s heated. Consider taking the kids to an indoor pool and give them plenty of playtime without dealing with wintery weather. Sign up for a membership at places like the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto) or your local YMCA and get access to their heated, indoor swimming pools. Or, enroll your children in La Petite Baleen Swim Schools (60 Fifth Avenue, Redwood City) and get complimentary Family Swim, an open swim program available on Fridays from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m., Saturdays from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. or 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Registration is required to swim.
Although we're sure the theatre-lover in us wishes we could take the kids to Broadway San Jose or the latest production in San Francisco, the theatre-lover in us also knows they aren’t exactly the most child-friendly spaces. But, Palo Alto Children’s Theatre has found a way to foster a love of performing arts by designing productions specifically for children ages 2 to 6. Palo Alto Children’s Theatre’s The Playhouse series consists of special, interactive experiences designed for toddlers where local high school students perform classic fairy tales on the Magic Castle stage. Sets and costumes are simple and tales are told in a story-teller style that’s perfect for them. Performances are a short 45 minutes and held at 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Do you have any unique finds for kids? We’d love to hear about them.