Help My Stepsons Not Be Bored in the Bay Area
July 21, 2008 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations on activities, events, places, tourist spots in the Bay Area for kids aged 12 and 14. Catch: One of the kids just got stitches and cannot participate in any activity where he will get wet.

My family will be travelling up to the Bay Area next week. I have plenty of ideas in mind for my 3 year old, but am not so sure what to do with my stepsons that won't be boring for them or below their age level. I grew up in the area, but am drawing a blank on age appropriate activities specific to the area for their age group. We'll be staying in the East Bay, but will have a car so the wider area is available to us.
posted by The Gooch to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
When I grew up in the East Bay, I loved going to Lawrence Hall of Science when I was their age.
posted by jaimev at 9:07 AM on July 21, 2008

Exploratorium in San Francisco!!!!
posted by metahawk at 9:10 AM on July 21, 2008

I always recommend the San Francisco Cable Car Museum, especially to people with kids. It's free, open every day, and full of interesting stuff. The coolest part is that it's also the terminus for all of the cable car cables, so you can see them all whizzing by, see the huge electric motors that run everything, etc. It's really neat.
posted by autojack at 9:10 AM on July 21, 2008

The fortune cookie factory in Chinatown. I loved it as a kid, and my friends' kids all love it. And seconding Exploratorium.
posted by chez shoes at 9:16 AM on July 21, 2008

N'thing the Exploratorium.

The ships at the Maritime Museum might be fun if they like history and sailing ships (I haven't been there in a while, but I think the Balclutha has been restored). There are some other museum ships there too, including a WWII submarine (again, haven't seen it myself but it sounds interesting - kids and short people have a real advantage on old ships and subs, so your stepsons might get a kick out of watching the tall folks bump their heads repeatedly, if nothing else!)
posted by Quietgal at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2008

Ah, should have mentioned in my question that these kids have already done the Exploratorium (which is a great suggestion, and they very well may want to go again anyway) a few times.
posted by The Gooch at 10:09 AM on July 21, 2008

Mt Diablo is fun to go hike around, although I'm not sure how age appropriate that is. They could climb on some boulders at Rock City. Or go to the summit for a look around on a clear day. (Might be tough with all the fires lately.)

The Behring Auto Museum in Danville might be kind of cool. (Apparently it's now called the Blackhawk Museum.)

Its a bit of a drive (over 17, takes about 1-1.5 hours from the East bay) but the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk?

Go see an A's or Giants game?

Find a miniature golf park nearby, I think there's one in Livermore, but it might be shut down. (Cannot locate it with my google skills right now)

There's lots of stuff at Lake Merritt that is aimed at kids.

It might be too ''old" but you could go wander down Telegraph Ave in Berkeley and see all the street vendors.

California Academy of Sciences - the Steinhart aquarium amongst other things. This is close to the Exploratorium in SF.

Oakland Zoo is pretty cool.

A day at Great America riding roller coasters?

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek? Its kind of small but really cool.

And last idea - The Cartoon Art Museum in SF.
posted by kirstk at 3:28 PM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Forgot Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.
posted by kirstk at 3:30 PM on July 21, 2008

These are all good suggestions. One of my recommendations for visitors used to be the Musee Mechanique, but I haven't actually been to its newer location, which is in a super-touristy area. You might also browse through to see if there are any particular events happening at the time you'll be here.
posted by whir at 7:04 PM on July 21, 2008

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