Activities for Toddler - Palo Alto Edition
February 10, 2017 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Traveling to Palo Alto with 2.5 year olds twins this Spring and will be on my own with them for several days. I will have a car. Where should we go?

I would welcome recommendations for old-fashion books stores, music classes/community spaces, museums, outdoor activities, kid-friendly restaurants and coffee shops, shorter road trips. Kids are obsessed with books and puzzles, science and animal museums, making music, farms, if anything like that is nearby (like a farm sanctuary). Free is lovely, but of course not always realistic :)
posted by anya32 to Travel & Transportation around Palo Alto, CA (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go up to Burlingame and watch the planes take off and land at SFO. There's a park on the bay with a good view.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:23 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Coyote Point Park in San Mateo has an awesome trail at the edge of the bay, an excellent view of planes coming in to SFO, a playground, and science center with rehabbed animals that can't be released back into the wild.
posted by rtha at 11:42 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Depending on when in the Spring, the Webb U-Pick berry farm might be open.
posted by serelliya at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2017

You can download the Winnie app which is a big index of kid-friendly activities and places. They have lots of stuff in the Bay Area.
posted by GuyZero at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Linden Tree (Los Altos) and Keplers (Menlo Park). Both are independent book stores, the former is a childrens specific book store, the later has a nice childrens section.

Ardenwood Farms is right across the Dumbarton Bridge in Fremont. They hold various events in addition to hosting one of the monarch butterfly migration roosting spots and a friendly population of chickens, turkeys, sheep, and horses. Lots of space to run around.

CuriOdyssey natural science hands-on museum, up 101 in San Mateo. Again, lots of space to run around.

Children's Discovery Museum and Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose are both perfect for kids that age. Happy Hollow in particular is a blast with little ones: tiny rides, play areas, and the zoo itself is modest in scope and can be seen easily before meltdowns occur. Also, they have capybara.
posted by jamaro at 12:14 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Rancho San Antonio has Deer Hollow Farm.
posted by invisible ink at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also suggest Curiodyssey (aka Coyote Point Museum), located at Coyote Point Recreation Area, 1651 Coyote Point Dr., San Mateo, CA 94401

I had asked MeFites what would a good family Christmas gift be and went with an annual membership for my step daughter and her family.

She sent me the best pictures of the 1+1/2 year old, 5 year old, 12 year old and Dad all having a great time together! She said they had spent all day there the first time and have been there again several times for special events.

For a previous year I had sent them a San Francisco Zoo membership and that was also a hit.
posted by IpsoFacto at 1:00 PM on February 10, 2017

You're in exactly the right age group for the Palo Alto Children's Museum & Zoo. It's a very cute spot for the little ones, on a scale that is just right for toddlers. (Older children would be through it quickly and probably find it scaled too small, but it's perfect for little ones who would be overwhelmed in a larger or older-targeted facility.)

Farms, there is Deer Hollow Farm as mentioned above and there are adorable goats and a few others being raised by 4H kids at McClellan Ranch Park just a few minutes down the highway in Cupertino.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hidden Villa is another awesome community farm - check their calendar for tours and events. Deer Hollow is also wonderful, as recommended above.

Bumble in Los Altos has great food and is super kid-friendly - a good thing to combine with a visit to Linden Tree bookstore as recommended above.

If you go to Kepler's, get a cookie and a lemonade at Cafe Borrone next door. They have delicious food and a great patio.

The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose and the Bay Area Discovery Museum both look perfect for that age group.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is awesome for a day trip. They've got great kids' areas with interactive exhibits, and it looks like kids under 3 are free. Cute shops with ice cream/food nearby as well. But mostly - otters. They're amazing.

If they have any interest in trains, Roaring Camp seems sooo cool, and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, right next door, is amazing. The Pipeline Trail is paved and stroller-friendly. Combining the two would be another good day trip.

Palo Alto and the surrounding areas also have awesome parks. A family I know with a kid in your age range loves Heritage Park in Palo Alto, and we recently went with similarly-aged kids to Seven Seas Park in Sunnyvale which was also great.

If a stroll through a garden would be fun, Gamble Garden is small and close and super cute and friendly (and free!). There's also Filoli, but I get the sense that that's better for older kids and adults.

Have a great trip!
posted by bananacabana at 2:43 PM on February 10, 2017

The very popular Magical Bridge inclusive playground is located in Palo Alto's Mitchell Park. There is also a library (with a cafe) in the park, so you might be able to combine a trip to the playground with story time at the library.
posted by at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2017

Stanford. Specifically the Art museum which has a garden full of Rodins.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:56 PM on February 10, 2017

Thank you all so much! Please feel free to add more. I'll circle back after my trip to let you know where we went!
posted by anya32 at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2017

Hi all! We couldn't do everything but:

-Magical Bridge was amazing!
-The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose was great!

A few of the options were not seasonally timed but we will check them out, next time!

We also spent a lot of time at other little community playgrounds. We do not have as many fun, new, and rubber ground coated playgrounds where I live!

Thanks again!
posted by anya32 at 6:09 AM on April 25, 2017

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