This afternoon we took the whole gang out to the park to fly a kite. The weather was sunny with a perfect breeze for kite flying. It was a blast.
It turns out that there are many fun things one can do with small children that are also very low cost. Here is a list of nine such activities that are specific to Northern California. You can also visit this other site I created for a much expanded list:
1. Flying a kite in Shoreline Park - there's a special kite flying area and on windy afternoons, when the weather is nice there are dozens of kites in the air. For you East Bay folks, the Berkeley Marina is also a great place to do some kite flying. That's what we did today.
2. A day at the beach in Half Moon Bay - a few weeks ago on a sunny winter day, we spent half a day at the beach in Half Moon Bay. It's amazing how much fun kids can have playing in the sand and chasing seagulls.
3. An afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese - yeah, I know, it's cheesy, but my three year old loves it, it costs almost nothing and getting a prize at the end really makes it easy to go home when you're done.
4. A visit to the library - going to the library with the little ones to hear some new stories is fun. Explaining that shouting in the library is a no-no is harder...
5. Riding the train - my four year old loves the train and riding it, even for a couple of stops is a treat. Especially if he gets to ride in the top floor. We typically take Caltrain, but BART works just as well.
6. Visiting the sea lions at Pier 39 - kids love them, just make sure it's the right time of the year. While you are there, Pier 39 also has a great old fashioned carousel, and some free shows for kids. It's way touristy though.
7. A Stop at the Local Fire Station - every kid on the planet gets excited at the sight of a fire truck. Most fire stations have times when they are open to the public and many will let you visit even when there is no special event if you ask nicely.
8. Ride a Cable-Car in San-Francisco - it's the most touristy thing to do in the city, but kids love it, especially if you get them a good spot to sit.
9. Explore Tide Pools at Bean Hollow State Beach - This one is a real gem, where your little ones can hunt for star fish, see hermit crabs and watch seals playing in the surf. Admission is free, and the beach is about 15 minutes south of Half Moon Bay. Make sure to visit when the tide is on its way out.
Obviously, my list is very specific to the San Francisco Bay Area, however, I am sure that similar activities are available anywhere around the country (or the world for that matter).
I also find that those activities on which you spend the least tend to be the most fun and the most memorable. Let the good times roll!