Holiday Activities For Kids In The East Bay

Fun family outings for the holiday week off.

By Bay City News:

The kids are home from school and you'd like to take then out and about without spending a ton of dough.

Here are some low or no-cost activities throughout the East Bay. Phone ahead to make sure that all the details are correct.

Find your fun!

           "Animal Feeding,'' ongoing. 3 p.m. Thu-Sun. Check for eggs and bring hay to the livestock. Learn all the animals' favorite foods as they're tucked in for the evening. Meet at the chicken coop. Free.

"Blacksmithing Demonstrations,'' ongoing. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thu.-Fri., Sun. With a forge and anvil, a trained "smith" could make or repair the tools and equipment necessary on a bustling farm. Stop and see the blacksmith heat iron over the fire and shape it on the anvil. Also shown on some Saturdays. Free.

"Ride the Trails - Train Rides,'' ongoing. Various times, Thu-Sun. Check the daily schedule for train departures. Meet the train at Ardenwood Station or Deer Park. Free.

Basic costs $1-$5; free children under age 4. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. (510) 796-0199, (510) 796-0663,

           BAY POINT LIBRARY --
           "Monthly Craft Night,'' ongoing. 4-5 p.m. Last Friday of every
month. Each month features a different themed craft.
           Riverview Middle School, 205 Pacifica Ave., Pittsburg. (925)

           BLACKHAWK MUSEUM -- ongoing.
           AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM -- The museum's permanent exhibition of
internationally renowned automobiles dated from 1897 to the 1980s. The cars
are displayed as works of art with room to walk completely around each car to
admire the workmanship. On long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution is
a Long Steam Tricycle; an 1893-94 Duryea, the first Duryea built by the
Duryea brothers; and a 1948 Tucker, number 39 of the 51 Tuckers built, which
is a Model 48 "Torpedo'' four-door sedan.
           ONGOING EXHIBITS --
           "International Automotive Treasures,'' ongoing. An ever-changing
exhibit featuring over 90 automobiles.
           "A Journey on Common Ground,'' ongoing. An exhibit of moving
photographs, video and art objects from around the world exploring the causes
of disability and the efforts of the Wheelchair Foundation to provide a
wheelchair for every person in need who cannot afford one.
           ONGOING EVENT --
           Free Public Tours, Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Docent-led guided
tours of the museum's exhibitions.
           $5-$8; free for children ages 6 and under. Wednesday-Sunday, 10
a.m.-5 p.m. 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. (925) 736-2280, (925)
736-2277, www.blackhawkmuseum.org.<

           GENERAL INFORMATION, ongoing. An interactive place where children,
and adults, can learn how a stuffed animal is made, then choose an animal
pattern from the offering of bears, elephants, dogs and rabbits; stuff the
chosen animal; dress it; and create a birth certificate. Closed on
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
           $10-$25; clothing and accessories extra. Mondays-Fridays, 10
a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Broadway
Plaza, 1248 Broadway, Walnut Creek. (925) 946-4697, www.buildabear.com.<

           GENERAL INFORMATION, ongoing. State-of-the-art facility unifying
science education activities around astronomy. Enjoy interactive exhibits,
hands-on activities, indoor stargazing, outdoor telescope viewing and films.
           TIEN MEGADOME SCIENCE THEATER, ongoing. A 70-foot dome-screen
auditorium. Show times subject to change. Call for current show schedule.
Price with paid general admission is $6-$7. Theater only: $7-$8. (510)
336-7373, www.ticketweb.com.
           "Live Galaxy Theatre,'' Jan. 4 through Jan. 5, 1 and 3 p.m.
Featuring Planet Hunter, search for extra-solar planets. At Tien Megadome
Theatre. Call for pricing.
           Center Admission: $15.95; $11.95 children 3-12; free children
under 3; $3 discount for seniors and students. Telescope viewing only: free.
Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday,
10 a.m.-5 p.m. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 336-7300,

           CHILDREN'S FAIRYLAND -- A fairy tale theme park featuring more
than 30 colorful fantasy sets. Designed especially for children ages 10 and
under, there are gentle rides, a train, the "Peter Rabbit Village,'' puppet
shows, story-telling and lots of slides and animals. Admission price includes
unlimited rides, special shows, guest entertainers and puppet shows.
           OLD WEST JUNCTION -- Children's Fairyland's newest attraction is a
Wild West-themed town sized just for children, with a livery stable, bank,
jail and a water tower slide.
           PUPPET SHOWS -- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
All shows are at the Open Storybook Theatre. Free with regular Fairyland
           ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTER -- Activities on Saturday and Sunday, noon
to 3 p.m.
           ANIMAL OF THE DAY -- Saturday and Sunday, 1-1:20 p.m. at the
Humpty Dumpty Wall. Learn about one of Fairyland's animal friends.
           SPECIAL EVENTS --
           "Arts and Crafts,'' ongoing. Noon-3 p.m. Event features arts and
crafts projects for children and their families. $6.
           "Animal of the Day!'' ongoing. Saturdays and Sundays, 1-1:20 p.m.
Come up close and learn about Fairyland's creatures.
           $6; free for children under age 1; $2 for a Magic Key. No adult
admitted without a child and no child admitted without an adult. Summer (June
through Labor Day): Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fall and Spring: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; Winter: Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CLOSED DEC.
25-JAN. 4. 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (510) 452-2259, www.fairyland.org.<

           COYOTE HILLS REGIONAL PARK -- The park is located on the shoreline
of Fremont Bay and features rich wetland areas as well as Ohlone Indian
shellmound sites. Hiking in the park allows scenic views of San Francisco Bay
and southern Alameda County. The 12-mile Alameda Creek Trail runs from the
Bay east to the mouth of Niles Canyon and features an equestrian trail as
well as a bicycle trail; hikers are welcome on both. The park conducts
naturalist programs and has a visitor center with a nature store and Ohlone,
natural history and wildlife exhibits.
           "Winter Survival,'' Dec. 29, 1 p.m. Learn how the creatures of
Coyote Hills adapt and survive through winter. For ages 5 and up. Call for
           "Family Nature Hour,'' Jan. 5 through Feb. 16, 2 p.m. Sat. Learn
fun facts through stories and activities. Day focuses on butterflies. See
website for full details. For ages 5 and up. Call for pricing.
           Free unless otherwise noted; A parking fee may be charged.
Registration required for events. April through October: daily, 8 a.m. to 8
p.m.; October through April, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless otherwise posted. 8000
Patterson Pass Road, Fremont. (510) 636-1684, (510) 795-9385,

           "Holiday Open House,'' through Dec. 28, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This
family friendly event packs a day full of activities from shoreline
exploration to fish feeding and includes nature videos, popcorn, cider and
nature crafts. Call for price.
           "Catch of the Day,'' Jan. 5 through Feb. 24, 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
Participate in fun activities to learn about the Bay. Call for pricing.
           "Storytime,'' Jan. 6 through Feb. 24, 11 a.m. Sun. Featuring Dr.
Suess' "The Lorax.'' Call for price.
           Free unless otherwise noted; parking fee may be charged. 1252
McKay Ave., Alameda. (510) 521-6887, www.ebparks.org.<

           FOREST HOME FARMS -- ongoing.
           Free unless otherwise noted. Public tours available by
appointment. 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. (925) 973-3281,
www.ci.sanramon. ca.us/parks/boone.htm.<

           HABITOT CHILDREN'S MUSEUM -- A museum especially for children ages
7 and under. Highlights include "WaterWorks,'' an area with some unusual
water toys, an Infant Tree for babies, a garden especially for toddlers, a
child-scale grocery store and cafe, and a costume shop and stage for junior
thespians. The museum also features a toy lending library.
           ONGOING EXHIBITS --
           "Waterworks.'' A water play gallery with rivers, a pumping station
and a water table, designed to teach about water.
           "Little Town Grocery and Cafe.'' Designed to create the ambience
of shopping in a grocery store and eating in a restaurant.
           "Infant-Toddler Garden.'' A picket fence gated indoor area, which
includes a carrot patch with wooden carrots to be harvested, a pretend pond
and a butterfly mobile to introduce youngsters to the concept of food,
gardening and agriculture.
           "Dramatic Arts Stage.'' Settings, backdrops and costumes coincide
with seasonal events and holidays. Children can exercise their dramatic flair
           "Wiggle Wall.'' The floor-to-ceiling "underground'' tunnels give
children a worm's eye view of the world. The tunnels are laced with net
covered openings and giant optic lenses.
           SPECIAL EXHIBITS -- ongoing.
           $9. Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Closed Sunday-Tuesday. 2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley.
(510) 647-1111, www.habitot.org.<

           HALL OF HEALTH -- ongoing. A community health-education museum and
science center promoting wellness and individual responsibility for health.
There are hands-on exhibits that teach about the workings of the human body,
the value of a healthy diet and exercise, and the destructive effects of
smoking and drug abuse. "Kids on the Block'' puppet shows, which use puppets
from diverse cultures to teach about and promote acceptance of conditions
such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, leukemia, blindness, arthritis and
spina bifida, are available by request for community events and groups
visiting the Hall on Saturdays.
           ONGOING EXHIBITS --
           "This Is Your Heart!'' ongoing. An interactive exhibit on heart
           "Good Nutrition,'' ongoing. This exhibit includes models for
making balanced meals and an Exercycle for calculating how calories are
           "Draw Your Own Insides,'' ongoing. Human-shaped chalkboards and
models with removable organs allow visitors to explore the inside of their
           "Your Cellular Self and Cancer Prevention,'' ongoing. An exhibit
on understanding how cells become cancerous and how to detect and prevent
           Suggested $3 donation; free for children under age 3.
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 2230 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. (510)
549-1564, www.hallofhealth.org.<

           HAYWARD SHORELINE INTERPRETIVE CENTER -- Perched on stilts above a
salt marsh, the Center offers an introduction to the San Francisco
Bay-Estuary. It features exhibits, programs and activities designed to
inspire a sense of appreciation, respect and stewardship for the Bay, its
inhabitants and the services they provide. The Habitat Room offers a preview
of what may be seen outside. The 80-gallon Bay Tank contains some of the fish
that live in the Bay's open waters, and the Channel Tank represents habitats
formed by the maze of sloughs and creeks that snake through the marsh. The
main room of the Center features rotating exhibits about area history, plants
and wildlife. Part of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.
           ONGOING EXHIBIT --
           "Exploring Nature,'' ongoing. An exhibit of Shawn Gould's
illustrations featuring images of the natural world.
           SPECIAL EVENTS -- ongoing.
           "Nature Detectives,'' ongoing. 11 a.m.-noon. An introduction and
exploration of the world of Black-Crowned Night-Herons. Ages 3-5 and their
caregivers. Registration required.
           "Weekend Weed Warriors,'' ongoing. 1-4 p.m. Help the shoreline to
eliminate the non-native plants that threaten its diversity. Ages 12 and
older. Registration required.
           "Waterfowl of the Freshwater Marsh,'' ongoing. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Join
an expert birder to go "behind the gates'' to areas of the marsh that are not
open to the public.
           Free. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4901 Breakwater Ave.,
Hayward. (510) 670-7270, http://hard.dst.ca.us/hayshore.html.<

           "Shabbat Celebration for Young Children,'' ongoing. Saturday,
10:30 a.m.-noon. Join other families with young children to share this weekly
Jewish holiday of joy and renewal.
           1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. (510) 848-0237,

           JUNIOR CENTER OF ART AND SCIENCE -- ongoing. A center dedicated to
encouraging children's active wonder and creative response through artistic
and scientific exploration of their natural urban environment. The center's
classes, workshops, exhibits and events integrate art and science.
           EXHIBITS -- Three educational exhibits are mounted in the
"Children's Gallery'' each year. A docent-led tour, demonstrations, hands-on
activities and art projects are available to school groups throughout the
           "Jake's Discovery Garden,'' ongoing. Jake's Discovery Garden is a
new interactive studio exhibit designed for preschool-aged children and their
adult caregivers that teaches young visitors about the natural environments
found in their backyards, playgrounds and neighborhoods.
           SPECIAL EVENTS -- ongoing.
           Free; programs and special exhibits have a fee. September through
May: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June through August: Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 558
Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (510) 839-5777, www.juniorcenter.org.<

           LAKE CHABOT REGIONAL PARK -- ongoing. The 315-acre lake offers
year-round recreation. Services include canoe and boat rental, horseshoe
pits, hiking, bicycling, picnicking and seasonal tours aboard the Chabot
Queen. For boat rentals, call (510) 247-2526.
           Free unless noted otherwise; $5 parking; $2 per dog except
guide/service dogs. Daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 17930 Lake Chabot Road, Castro
Valley. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<

           ONGOING EXHIBITS --
           "NanoZone,'' ongoing. Discover the science of the super-small:
nanotechnology. Through hands-on activities and games, explore this
microworld and the scientific discoveries made in this area.
           "Forces That Shape the Bay,'' ongoing. A science park that shows
and explains why the San Francisco Bay is the way it is, with information on
water, erosion, plate tectonics and mountain building. You can ride
earthquake simulators, set erosion in motion and look far out into the bay
with a powerful telescope from 1,100 feet above sea level. The center of the
exhibit is a waterfall that demonstrates how water flows from the Sierra
Nevada Mountains to the Bay. Visitors can control where the water goes. There
are also hands-on erosion tables, and a 40-foot-long, 6-foothigh, rock
compression wall.
           "Real Astronomy Experience,'' ongoing. A new
exhibit-in-development allowing visitors to use the tools that real
astronomers use. Aim a telescope at a virtual sky and operate a
remote-controlled telescope to measure a planet.
           "Biology Lab,'' ongoing. In the renovated Biology Lab visitors may
hold and observe gentle animals. Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 1:30 p.m. to
4 p.m.
           "The Idea Lab,'' ongoing. Experiment with some of the basics of
math, science and technology through hands-on activities and demonstrations
of magnets, spinning and flying, puzzles and nanotechnology.
           "Math Around the World,'' ongoing. Play some of the world's most
popular math games, such as Hex, Kalah, Game Sticks and Shongo Networks.
           "Math Rules,'' ongoing. Use simple and colorful objects to
complete interesting challenges in math through predicting, sorting,
comparing, weighing and counting.

           HOLT PLANETARIUM -- ongoing. Shows on Saturdays and Sundays.
Programs recommended for ages 6 and up unless otherwise noted. $2.50-$3 in
addition to general admission.
           $6-$12; free children ages 2 and under. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
University of California, Centennial Drive, Berkeley. (510) 642-5132,

           "Science Quest,'' through Dec. 28, 10 a.m. Workshops include
"Biology'' Dec. 26, "Chemistry'' Dec. 27 and "Physics'' Dec. 28. Split into
two groups, ages 6-9 and 11-14. $10-$30.
           "Fairy Tales Workshop,'' Jan. 2, 10 a.m. Listen to and tell
stories, and then learn about the real characteristics of the fantasy
animals. Appropriate crafts and activities will enhance the class. Split into
two classes, for ages 4-6 and 9-14 $10-$30.
           "Circuit Cities,'' Jan. 3, 1 p.m. A hands-on class that
experiments with circuits and learns how electricity works in homes. Split in
two groups, for ages 7-10 and 12-15. $10-$30.
           $5-$7; free children under age 2. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek.
(925) 935-1978, www.wildlife-museum.org.<

           MUSEUM OF CHILDREN'S ART -- A museum of art for and by children,
with activities for children to participate in making their own art.
           ART CAMPS -- Hands-on activities and engaging curriculum for
children of different ages, led by professional artists and staff. $60 per
           CLASSES -- A Sunday series of classes for children ages 8 to 12,
led by Mocha artists. Sundays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
           OPEN STUDIOS -- Drop-in art play activities with new themes each
           "Big Studio.'' Guided art projects for children age 6 and older
with a Mocha artist. Tuesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. $5.
           "Little Studio.'' A hands-on experience that lets young artists
age 18 months to 5 years see, touch and manipulate a variety of media.
Children can get messy. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5.
           "Family Weekend Studios.'' Drop-in art activities for the whole
family. All ages welcome. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. $5 per child.
           FAMILY EXTRAVAGANZAS -- Special weekend workshops for the entire
           "Sunday Workshops with Illustrators,'' Sundays, 1 p.m. See the
artwork and meet the artists who create children's book illustrations. Free.
           EVENTS -- ongoing.
           "Saturday Stories,'' ongoing. 1 p.m. For children ages 2-5. Free.
           SPECIAL EVENT --
           "Saturday Stories,'' ongoing. 1 p.m. For ages 2-5. Free.
           Free gallery admission. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 538 Ninth St., Oakland. (510) 465-8770,

           OAKLAND ZOO --
           GENERAL INFORMATION, ongoing. The zoo includes a Children's
Petting Zoo, the Skyride, a miniature train, a carousel, picnic grounds and a
gift shop as well as the animals in site specific exhibits, which allow them
to roam freely. Included are "The African Savanna,'' with its two huge
mixed-animal aviaries and 11 African Savanna exhibits; the Mahali Pa Tembo
(Place of the Elephant), with giraffes, chimpanzees and more than 330 other
animals from around the world; "Simba Pori,'' Swahili for "Lion Country,'' a
spacious 1.5-acre habitat offering both a savanna and woodland setting for
African lions; "Footprints from the Past,'' an anthropology exhibit
showcasing four million years of human evolution and an actual "footpath'' of
the first hominids to emerge from the African savanna; "Sun Bear Exhibit,'' a
stateof-the-art space the zoo has developed for its two sun bears; and
Siamang Island, a state-of-the-art, barrier-free area that emulates the
gibbons' native tropical rain forest habitat. Also see the Malayan Fruit Bats
from the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Florida that are now roosting in trees at
the zoo. In addition there are special exhibits and events monthly.
           ONGOING EXHIBITS --
           "Valley Children's Zoo,'' ongoing. The three-acre attraction
offers a completely interactive experience for both children and adults. The
exhibits include lemurs, giant fruit bats, otters, reptiles, insects and
more. Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
           "Endangered Species,'' ongoing. An exhibit of photographs about
the most endangered animals on the Earth and what can be done to save them.
At the Education Center. Open daily during zoo hours. ONGOING EVENTS --
           "Valley Children's Zoo,'' ongoing. Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The
three-acre attraction will offer a completely interactive experience for both
children and adults. The exhibits include lemurs, giant fruit bats, otters,
reptiles, insects and more. Free with regular Zoo admission.
           "Wildlife Theater,'' ongoing. Saturday, 11:45 a.m.; Sunday, 1:45
p.m. On Saturday mornings listen to a story and meet a live animal. On Sunday
afternoon meet live animals and learn cool facts about them. Meet in the
Lobby of the Zoo's Maddie's Center for Science and Environmental Education.
Free with regular Zoo admission. (510) 632-9525, ext. 142.
           "Zoo Lights,'' through Dec. 31, 5:30-9 p.m. The Zoo is transformed
into a holiday fantasy land highlighted by a light show featuring thousands
of LED lights. $5-$8.
           $8.25-13.75; free children under age 2 and adults over 80; $7-$10
parking fee. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Holidays.
Knowland Park, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. (510) 632-9525,

           POINT PINOLE REGIONAL SHORELINE -- ongoing. The 2,315-acre
parkland bordering Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo offers views of Mount
Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline and San Pablo Bay. There are trails through
meadows and woods, and along the bluffs and beaches of San Pablo Bay.
Visitors can hike, ride bikes or take the park's shuttle bus to reach the
1,250-foot fishing pier at Point Pinole.
           $5 per vehicle; $4 per trailered vehicle; $2 per dog
(guide/service dogs free). Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise posted.
Giant Highway, Richmond. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<

           GENERAL INFORMATION, ongoing. There are pools and water slides for
all ages, from the Tad Pool for toddlers to Boulder cove for older swimmers.
In addition to fun pools and slides there are fitness pools for lessons and
exercise, lawns for relaxing, locker rooms, community room and kitchen. Lap
lanes are open year round. Food and beverages are not permitted in the park.
Picnic tables are available outside the park.
           $5-$14. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch. (925)
776-3070, www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CitySvcs/Prewett.<

residents have several volcanoes in their backyard. This park contains Round
Top, one of the highest peaks in the Oakland Hills.
           Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 6800 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510)
562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<

           SHADOW CLIFFS REGIONAL RECREATION AREA -- ongoing. The 296-acre
park includes an 80-acre lake and a four-flume waterslide, with picnic
grounds and a swimming beach. Water slide fees and hours: (925) 829-6230.
           $6 per vehicle; $2 per dog except guide and service dogs. May 1
through Labor Day: daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; shortened hours for fall and
winter. Stanley Boulevard, one mile from downtown, Pleasanton. (510)
562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<

           TILDEN REGIONAL PARK -- This park is large and contains hiking
trails, a golf course, a miniature scaled train to ride, The Brazilian
Building and picnic areas.
           "Tending the Winter Heirloom Garden,'' Jan. 6, 10 a.m. Help do
some winter chores and take home some sprouts to prepare for spring. For ages
5 and up. Call for price.
           Free unless otherwise noted. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Entrances
off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Berkeley. (510) 525-2233,

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JoAnne December 26, 2012 at 04:58 PM
With a Livermore Library card, there are discounted & free museum passes to some of the places on the list above. http://discover.livermorelibrary.net/index.php
Laura December 27, 2012 at 06:07 AM
This is obviously a complete and older list - not just things for this holiday week off - but you might take off the part about the (no longer running) water slides at Shadow Cliff! :-) Thanks!


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