What do I do with a pack of 25 young teens in the Bay Area?
February 6, 2008 8:07 PM   Subscribe

What do I do with a pack of 25 young teens in the Bay Area?

I was recently appointed the task of determining "field trip days" for a teen camp that is based out of Stanford University. The camp doesn't have any particular theme other than keeping kids from playing Halo 3 all day while their parents are at work. The camp is co-ed and has 25 teens ages 13-14. It runs from 9am - 4pm, no overnights.

Some caveats:

I'd like the activities to be active, ideally outside.
Admission needs to be less than $30. (Preferably much less.)
Within an hour (+/- 30 minutes) of Stanford Campus.
Safe; ideally with a low potential for death, dismemberment, etc.

Thanks so much for all your help. If you suggest a place that you work, I promise to make sure they behave.

posted by JimmyJames to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by contraption at 8:17 PM on February 6, 2008

Are the kids Palo Alto residents? Even if they're not, you may be able to arrange special permission to visit Foothills Park, which is reserved normally for PA residents only (but when I lived in East Palo Alto, they let me in all the time). It's a beautiful place to spend a day outdoors, hiking and picnicking.

Other free outdoors places you can kill time for free:

Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, just off the Marsh exit off 101

Ravenswood Open Space Preserve in East Palo Alto

Shoreline Park
in San Mateo

And Coyote Point in San Mateo, which does charge a parking fee and an admission fee for the museum.
posted by padraigin at 9:00 PM on February 6, 2008

2nd Exploratorium. Might be able to combine that with a chance to walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
posted by metahawk at 9:09 PM on February 6, 2008

These are both expensive, but have been a hit with middle school groups that I have known:

Malibu Grand Prix has go carts, video games, bumper boats, mini golf... and Redwood City is pretty close

Raging Waters is about half an hour away, but a classic summer day destination for the middle-school set.
posted by samthemander at 10:00 PM on February 6, 2008

Winchester mystery house
posted by Eringatang at 10:03 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rock climbing! I see parties and large groups of kids in the gym every weekend afternoon, it's totally supervised and safe, and it looks like the youngins are having a blast.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 10:16 PM on February 6, 2008

run a scavenger hunt!

I asked a question about one awhile ago, you can look there for ideas. also check out UChicago's Scavhunt for an idea of how the best of the best make them.

Divide up into groups, have them take pictures, have an awards ceremony where you show great pictures and announce the points, and get a great prize for the winners.

If you do it right they will love it. Seriously, this will be great.
posted by milestogo at 10:43 PM on February 6, 2008

I went to the Museums in Golden Gate Park, or SFMOMA at that age and loved it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:45 PM on February 6, 2008

Rock climbing at Planet Granite (.com), either location.
Mountain Biking at Skeggs Point. (Rent bikes in town if necessary.)
Hiller Aviation Museum.
Tech Museum in SJ.
Computer History Museum at the old SGI building on Shoreline.
Tour SLAC, which is cooler than it sounds: Radioactive dinner plates are k3wl.
On campus, check out CCRMA.
On campus, check out Mem Aud.

...well, that's what I like to do.
posted by lothar at 10:58 PM on February 6, 2008

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:17 PM on February 6, 2008

oh, one more place: a dodgeball tournament at SkyHigh Sports, a trampoline gym in Santa Clara!
posted by samthemander at 2:37 AM on February 7, 2008

um.. wow, sorry ambrosia, I creatively thought about it hours after you did. anyway, SkyHigh sounds perfect for your needs.
posted by samthemander at 2:38 AM on February 7, 2008

Rancho San Antonio Park and Farm (Los Altos)
Marin Highlands/Golden Gate Bridge (Marin)
Redwood Grove Nature Preserve (Los Altos)
Great America Amusement Park (Santa Clara)
San Francisco Zoo (San Francisco)
California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, or any other beach- Capitola and Half Moon Bay come to mind (Santa Cruz)
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium (San Jose)
Petroglyph (Los Gatos)
Hidden Villa Park and Farm (Los Altos)
San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose)

there are also plenty of arts and wine festivals and free shakespeare in the park calendars around that time.
posted by flaneuse at 10:13 AM on February 7, 2008

I used to work at a middle school in Mountain View, so I leapt happily into this thread to offer suggestions, but you guys -- especially flaneuse and lothar -- beat me to most of what I was thinking of. Here are a few others:

Probably too expensive, but if you can possibly swing it, talk to Matt from the University of Surfing up in Pacifica about booking a group lesson. Matt's superb with young teenagers -- patient, funny, astute; even the most cynical among them are guaranteed to have fun.

Take them up for farming and environmental education at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills.

For seafaring history, the Balclutha offers various programs at Fisherman's Wharf.
posted by tangerine at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2008

Okay, even though it seems like maybe a high driving to outdoor time ratio, I'll go ahead and suggest a hike and picnic in Big Basin. Kids these days all have cameras, right? It's always nice to see a pretty waterfall.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:47 AM on February 7, 2008

Response by poster: I just wanted to thank everyone for all their great suggestions. I can't wait for summer now. -James
posted by JimmyJames at 11:06 AM on February 10, 2008

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