This winter we took our first trip to Tahoe with three kids. The emphasis was on having fun and introducing the kids to the snow rather than on developing their skiing skills. Yes, we do really want them to love skiing as much as we do. But with our kids you just can’t force things like that and we’ve decided to wait for them to really want to hit the slopes before pushing them into ski school.
who even needs a sled?
Part of our master plan is to make sure they just enjoy the snow and associate it with having fun – we figure that eventually they’ll want to follow us onto skis. Now I love Tahoe, but in previous years I’ve been frustrated by the paucity of places you can take kids to just play in the snow. For free. This year we solved that problem. We discovered the network of California SNOPARKS. I can’t believe no-one had mentioned these places to us before. They’re perfect for little kids. The SNOPARKS are just largish areas of public land where a family can go to play –to have snowball fights, build snowmen, sled–for a small $5 fee. When we went, admittedly on a weekday morning, the SNOPARK was pretty empty. I’m guessing they might get a little crazier on a holiday weekend in high season, but they’re worth checking out if you just want somewhere to play.
Find all the details, including a map of the SNOPARK network, here.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged California snoparks, places to sled in Tahoe, SNOPARKS, Tahoe for kids, Tahoe for preschoolers, Tahoe sledding hill | Leave a Comment »
This spring we decided to check out Montalvo Arts Center. I confess to not having high expectations of a successful visit as I wasn’t too sure how much there was for small kids there, but I was pleasantly surprised. We happily spent a long morning wandering around the grounds, and could probably have remained the whole day had Mommy packed a lunch.
Montalvo Arts Center was originally Villa Montalvo built by US Senator James Duval Phelan in 1912. It’s a beautiful house surrounded by magnificent gardens and wilderness. We spent the entire morning exploring the art sculptures on the villa lawn, the Italianate Garden and the Phelan Cactus Garden. These botanical gardens were large and interesting enough to keep our preschoolers happy for a good long while: they loved running around exploring all the different paths and checking out the statues. The cacti were especially appealing to the boys as they had seen them in books before our visit. The cactus garden was also full of lizards, juvenile southern alligator lizards and western fence lizards, and they were mesmerized watching these creatures scurry about. In fact, we had so much fun in the more formal gardens that we never even made it to the trails (our original goal). Watch this space…..
cactus outside the Italianate Garden
Montalvo has free parking and the gardens are open to the public all year round unless there is a big event taking place. Next time we plan to bring a picnic and stay for the day so we have time to hike some of the back woods trails too.
Posted in Boys Activities, hiking with toddlers, local outdoors outings, Short Hikes, Uncategorized | Tagged day trips in the Bay Area, Montalvo Arts Center | Leave a Comment »
The pond at Picchetti Open Space Preserve has water in it this year (unlike last winter) and lots of California Newts. Our kids loved it. The pond is just a short walk from the parking lot and worth checking out.
the great California Newt in all its glory
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After this winter’s rain, Lake Lagunita on Stanford campus has water in it. Well, just a bit of water. More a puddle than a lake. But it is sufficient water for the frogs to congregate and breed and now is the perfect time to head down there to look for tadpoles.
Little Lake Lagunita
It’s a bit boggy, but you could take a jog stroller to the water’s edge. Also consider taking a small bucket to scoop up some tadpoles for a closer look. And think about some wellington boots too even if it’s sunny.
The Monkey on the hunt
We’ll be going back in a few weeks to see how the tadpoles have grown.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Bay Area tadpoles, Lake Lagunita, Stanford Lake, tadpole hunting, tadpoles | Leave a Comment »
Apologies for the blogging hiatus. But after a difficult pregnancy which curtailed our adventures, we’ve been joined by a little girl (The Bug) and are ready to hit the trails once again.
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It’s the annual harvest festival at Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton. Here’s the info.
It’s the Ardenwood Farm Harvest Celebration this weekend. This is lots of fun but gets super busy. I strongly recommend getting there first thing. Here’s the flyer.
You can enjoy the annual Cupertino Carnival this weekend. Find the event details here.
Saturday 13th October
There are pumpkins in the park in San Jose. More details here.
Check out the free science and aviation day this weekend, also in San Jose. You can find the website here.
For all those horse-mad kids, it’s the Day of the Horse Event up in Woodside this weekend. See here for details.
Want a break from all things Halloween? Go bird watching in the morning at Bedwell Bayfront Park, 10.30am-12.30pm. See here for more information.
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