Did you make it out to Aquatic Park last weekend? We had some prior obligations, but will probably do it again in October during our fall stay-cation break. It's such an easy day out (aside from parking), but a lot of us overlook it since it's so close to touristic areas.
This week finds us down the peninsula in Palo Alto. There is so much upside to this visit that the drive is completely worth it, plus the weather is bound to be much better than in the city. Even though University Avenue is a pretty posh place, you can still find some good deals on lunch, parking is free for 2 hours pretty much everywhere, and there are some nice museums not far off.
Also let us know if you go, we would love to hear about your trip. Simply reply to this e-mail.
Chief Happiness Officer at kiddiewalks.com
1-2-3 Things — Artist for the day at Stanford’s Cantor Center for the Arts
Quick inspiration for a day out with the kids around the SF Bay Area
Visit the Cantor Center for the Arts (free admission and free parking on the weekends)
Grab some lunch on University Avenue
Spend some time soaking up the history ant the Museum of American Heritage
We were here with some family friends last weekend on a bit of a play date. We met for an early lunch at Pluto’s where they have this great (high) table in the window, a great spot to people watch. The kids meals were tasty and inexpensive. Lunch for me and the two kids cost right around $20. Afterwards we drove up to the museum and spent nearly the entire afternoon there walking from gallery to gallery, finding a place to sit for a little bit, draw some pictures of art that inspired us, and just enjoy each others company.
Cantor Art Center
Be sure to stop and chat with the desk on the way in. Remember to check out an art pack, free. It comes with a sketchbook and some colored pencils. The museum has some policies on what kind of art supplies you do use, so if you are bringing your own, it’s best to ask first. Also check out the Family Sunday’s they host, we haven’t yet been but I hear they can be quite popular.
They have an impressive Rodin sculpture collection which includes a copy of The Thinker (similar to the one you find at the Palace of Legion of Honor in the city), The Kiss, as well as the incredibly detailed Gates of Hell along with many pieces Rodin created as studies for the piece. The only collection I’ve seen that was more complete was at the Rodin museum in Paris.
Remember that this is art - you might see some things that could need some discussion later on.
The Anderson Collection is right next door. It’s collection is more modern and contemporary American artwork. Admission is also free. We have yet to visit, but we probably will in the near future.
Strolling University Avenue is a nice way to spend some time. You can find great food here and plenty of coffee options. The lovely Stanford Theater (http://www.stanfordtheatre.org/) plays classic movies. Catch a double feature for $7, affordable concession food, and entertainment from their Mighty Wurlitzer Organ during intermission. Generally they play movies adults would enjoy more, but not too long back we saw a delightful Shirley Temple retrospective the kids adored.
There are loads of great spots along the avenue. We tend to go with the following because of their affordability and kid menu.
Pizza My Heart
220 University Ave @ Emerson
482 University Ave @ Cowper
Museum of American Heritage
Open Friday - Sunday, 11AM - 4PM
351 Homer Ave @ Waverly (across from Homer Park)
Admission is free but donations are welcome
There are generally two major temporary exhibits plus other smaller rotating features. Their permanent exhibits include
- Early 20th Century Kitchen
- 1920’s General Store
- 1920’s era Print Shop
- 1920’s era Car Garage
- and the Ruth Bell Lane Memorial Garden.
You’ll often find volunteers here demonstrating various aspects of the museum, or conducting drop in crafty workshops.
- Palo Alto Junior Museum (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/jmz/). Free but a donation is appreciated. Small zoo and other science oriented exhibits. Parking is free but can be quite busy at times. Great playground is adjacent to the museum.
- Gamble Garden (http://www.gamblegarden.org/). Nice spot to stroll around and just appreciate the quite beauty of the garden. Go next door and watch a lawn bowling game. Maybe they will even let you roll a ball...
- Stanford Shopping Center (http://www.simon.com/mall/stanford-shopping-center/map). A nicer upscale mall. Sometimes we all can use a little shopping therapy...
- Allied Arts (http://www.alliedartsguild.org/). A quiet little spot tucked away with cute boutique shops, quaint buildings, and a lovely garden to stroll around. Open Monday - Saturday 10AM - 5PM.
- Johnson Park Playground (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=112&TargetID=14). Nice playground option in the area. Street Parking, no bathrooms on site.
- NASA Ames center (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/exploration.html). Open 12PM - 4PM on weekends (10AM - 4PM Tuesday - Friday), free admission. Nice little space science oriented museum, expect to stay about an hour.
- Walk around the dish (https://dish.stanford.edu/) (http://www.everytrail.com/guide/the-stanford-dish-hike). A moderate 4 mile loop, there are some hills, bring water. Watch for cyclists when driving and parking. The Dish is a radio telescope, read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dish_(landmark)