Oh the Places You Can Go

Nicole BotelhoTeachers

Being a step-mother to one and mother to three I’ve always been on the hunt for fun and child-friendly places to go! There are several online and published resources that focus on local, young, family-centric environments and activities. Here are some tips. I hope they are helpful.

The first place I always look is the “BayAreaParent of Silicon Valley” magazine. This is a free publication (online version too) that is readily available from various public sources such as schools, supermarkets, pediatricians etc. There is always a stack of them in the ScuttleBugs lobby near the nice comfortable couch - which is very convenient for us parents! Haha. Inside is a calendar section with low cost, and many FREE, events that are appropriate and geared towards children from birth through middle/high school. As every parent knows, having children is expensive! So free events are certainly the first pick and best option for the budget conscious. I have taken my children to see bird shows, reptile shows, petting zoos, concerts, magic shows, craft events, a release and catch fish event, wild animal shows and so many more events and places that are free of charge – especially helpful on the hip pocket when you have more than one little one to cater to.

Even taking your kiddos out to a local park for a picnic or to play/explore is still free and so much fun. My children absolutely love going to the park but finding the right park can be a challenge. Having a clean bathroom nearby is a must! Walking five minutes away to use the restroom does NOT work for me or a potty training toddler, especially when the bathroom doesn’t even have soap in the dispenser or change table amenities!

There is actually a great cozy park tucked away a few minutes from ScuttleBugs: Thomas Barrett Park (which is one of our personal favorites). This park is relatively new, small but well maintained, never crowded, with nice picnic tables and benches and beautiful greenery surrounding the park. And the two play structures are age-appropriate for my 2 year old and 7 year old.

Emma Prush Farm park in San Jose is another outdoor public space we frequent but it can get crowded on certain days. My kids always have a ball playing at this park, riding the horses ($), and of course seeing all the farm animals! They also host some fun events at this huge park.

Lake Elizabeth (located in Fremont) is another spacious park with well-maintained restrooms. This park has paddle boats ($), a playground, open fields of grass, geese, a little creek so the kids can put their feet in (don’t worry it’s goose poop free!) and picnic areas.

Blackberry Farm in Cupertino is also a great outdoor area to take the kids but it is seasonal. It is only open May through September. Blackberry Farm has a cafe, a couple of swimming pools ($) with a waterslide (for the older kids), a playground, plenty of shade, sand volleyball courts and its connected to McClellan Ranch, so the kids can check out the farm animals. It also has really nice designated picnic areas that you can rent out ($) for birthday parties or other events.

I am so grateful to live in the Bay Area with such wonderful California weather! We benefit from our beautiful warm days year-round, even randomly during the winter! Although trips to a local park or state nature reserve are typically free and incredibly enjoyable, it’s not always an option on rainy days or with inclement weather so we also have a ready list of indoor places to go...check out my other blogs coming soon about “Indoor Places to Go”; “The Best Family Restaurants”; and “The Best Mess-Free Indoor Activities”.

See you out there!