Since we’re limited to 31 days for this series, we can’t possibly cover all the different cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we will end each area with a list of things from other places we have visited. We are sharing some points of interest in Hayward, Emeryville, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Concord, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Livermore…
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
We took the backroads to get up Lawrence Hall of Science the first time we went, and I’m glad we did because it was scenic. I would come up here just for the view of the Bay. The first time we went was using the passes from the library’s summer reading program. The girls were still a little young to appreciate all the exhibits, but of course, the children’s area was a big hit. The second time we went was for a field trip. It is definitely worth it to do the workshop. I’m not sure of all the different workshops they offer, but we went to an animal one, and it was hands-on, so the girls got to pet a bunny, hold a frog, and other things. You can see more photos from 2011 and 2012. You can see a blog post about THE VIEW from Lawrence Hall.
Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
We have only been to Ardenwood on Tuesdays when they have the Toddler Time storytime. Ranger Ira is great, and the kids enjoy cracking corn and feeding the animals every single time we are there. They like petting the muddy pig, and watching the goats. They also come face-to-face with peacocks and chickens, which roam around freeing on the farm. It is a small fee for a fun time in a nice open space. There is also a beautiful garden with lots of flowers, and a mansion. We haven’t gone on days when you can go in the mansion, but there is a tour, I believe. They also have a train ride too. The girls haven’t been to the pumpkin patch that is there, but we used to take the youth when we were youth leaders. You can read the blog post HERE. You can see the blog post about the FLOWERS at Ardenwood. You can see more photos from 2011 HERE and HERE and 2012.
Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward
There is no fee to go to Sulphur Creek. You can go and see the animals outside as well as inside the center. There is indeed a creek there. You can enjoy a outdoor lunch on one of the picnic table or at the amphitheater. For a fee, they also offer kids’ workshops and fun birthday parties. If you have kids (or even if you don’t!), you can “borrow” an animal to take home..sort of like a lending library. I can’t remember what animals you can “borrow” but definitely not the coyotes! :p You can read the blog posts about DELILAH AND CHUCK, THE NATURE CENTER, and their VISIT TO THE LIBRARY. You can see more photos from 2012 and 2013. They also do a STORYTIME at the library from time to time.
Joan’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch, Livermore
We go to Joan’s with our MOPS group each October. I think it is the biggest one that we have gone to within a 40-minute radius. There are plenty of photo ops. Some favorites of the girls are the Fort Maze, the old schoolhouse, the jail (seriously, it’s the favorite!), and the llama. They are always curious of the old wagons too. If you do the group stuff, it is $8 for feeding the animals, a storytime (some songs and a magic trick), and a you get to choose a pumpkin (medium sized) and a mini-pumpkin or gourd. I don’t know if the train ride is open on the days we go, but we haven’t done that yet. I think there is also a corn maze. You can read a blog post HERE. You can see more photos from 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Chuck E. Cheese, Hayward
We have only been here for birthday parties. Pretty typical of what you would expect of Chuck E. Cheese. The only thing that I wasn’t too thrilled about were older kids who were a little rude in taking turns from the younger kids, and teenagers who hog the games and ticket counters, but that’s not an issue with the actual establishment. You can see more photos HERE.
There are two ways to get up to Mission Peak. You can take a shorter way off of Stanford Avenue, which is about a 3-plus-mile hike. Hundreds of visitors hike this on the weekends, so parking is congested at that time. The longer way is through the Ohlone Wilderness, which can be a total of 29 miles. You are also required to have a permit to do this hike or ride. Guess which way Norm took. :p There is obviously a great view from the top!! 🙂 You can read a snippet about the hike HERE.
Meek Estate, Hayward
This is a fun little park on the Meek Estate. There is a 26-room mansion there too. Lots of great photo ops for your wedding day. 😉 We also had a church picnic here once, and there is plenty of room for kiddos to run around and play games. You can see more photos HERE.
Point Richmond, Richmond
If you plan to come here on a July afternoon, you might want to bring a jacket. Brrr.. it was cold when we had come here for a birthday picnic. There is a huge grassy area for playing, and you get a great view of the Bay Bridge. You can see more photos HERE.
I will probably add photos later, but here are some restaurants that we enjoy in the East Bay. We have written reviews of some of these restaurants, so they are linked up.
- Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood, Emeryville
- Denny’s, Emeryville
- Chevy’s, Emeryville
- Public Market, Emeryville
- Chez Panisse, Berkeley
- Ajanta Indian Cuisine, Berkeley
- Claimjumper, Concord
- Bob Sang’s Korean BBQ, Fremont
- Tapioca Express, Union City
- Mayflower Seafood Restaurant, Union City
- Krispy Kreme, Union City
- IHOP, Union City, Hayward
- Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, Livermore, Pleasanton
- Rubio’s, Pleasant Hill
- Panda Express, Concord
- Banyan Tree, Concord
- Frodo Joe’s, Hayward
- Jo’s Honda Sushi, Pleasant Hill
- Miraku, Walnut Creek
- New West Lake Seafood Restaurant, Hayward
- Wakamatsu, Hayward
- My Tho Vietnamese Cuisine, San Lorenzo
Other places to visit… (I will link photos and such later on. Come back to visit!)
- IKEA, Emeryville
This is part of our 31 Days in SF Bay series.