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The Mount Diablo Mother’s Club Guide to

Toddling Around Mount Diablo by Brenna L.D. Shafizadeh and Sarah Becker


The Mount Diablo Mother’s Club Guide to

Toddling Around Mount Diablo by Brenna L.D. Shafizadeh and Sarah Becker

Published by: The Mount Diablo Mother’s Club P.O. Box 4748 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 927-2424 www.mdmcmoms.org

Copyright © 2008 by The Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club


Table of Contents Introduction ...............................................1 Chapter 1 Chart of Recurring Weekly Events .........3

Antioch ~ 20 miles east o

Find free daily activities that are open to the public!

• • • • • •

Chapter 8 Day Trips ................................................ 83

o

San Jose ~ 50 miles south

Chapter 2 Parks ..............................................5

Berkeley ~ 18 miles west

Clayton Concord Contra Costa County/Danville Martinez Pleasant Hill Walnut Creek

o o o o

Farmers markets are organized by city.

• • •

Animal Rescue Foundation Buchanan Airfield The Jungle Lindsay Wildlife Center Pixieland Pump It Up Sprayground Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society

Exploratorium Pier 39 and The Ferry Building Randall Museum San Francisco Zoo

Sausalito ~ 40 miles northwest

Vallejo ~ 20 miles northwest o

• •

Bay Area Discovery Museum Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (formerly Six Flags Marine World)

Fairfield & Rio Vista~ 30 miles north o o

Jelly Belly Visitor Center and Factory Tour Western Railway Museum

Sacramento ~ 70 miles northeast o

California State Railway Museum and Old Sacramento

Chapter 9 Home Activity Ideas .......................... 105

• • • •

Chapter 5 Education and Support ........ 63 Libraries Book stores that have reading times for kids Adult Education

Chabot Space and Science Center Children’s Fairyland Oakland Museum of California Oakland Zoo

o

Chapter 4 Places to Go and Things to Do 53

Habitot Children’s Museum Lawrence Hall of Science Tilden Park: The Little Farm, Merry-Go-Round, Train and Lake Anza

San Francisco ~ 27 miles west o o o o

Chapter 3 Farmers Markets .....................49

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Oakland ~ 20 miles west o o o o

• • • • • • • •

Contra Loma Regional Park and Swimming Lagoon Prewett Family Park - Antioch Water Park

Crafts Games Fun with Food Outdoor Activities

Appendix 1: About the Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club ........................................................ 113 Appendix 2: MDMC Playgroup Guidelines ...........115

Chapter 6 Kid-Friendly Restaurants .............69 A list of local restaurants with recommendations from local moms.

Chapter 7 Holiday and Annual Events ........75 Organized by month, then city location.

Index by Interest ................................................ 117 • • • • • •

Animals Art History Science Trains Water Play

Index .................................................................... 119


Introduction Getting out and about was a bit challenging, to say the least, when my son was a newborn. Getting anywhere on time was almost impossible! But it was good for us to get out, and so we persevered. We even bought a couple of books on things to do in the Bay Area with kids. They weren’t very helpful. For one thing, many of the suggestions were for much older kids. For another thing, they tended to focus heavily on outings in San Francisco. Sure, there are a lot of great things to do in San Francisco! But being an hour away from your home base during a torrential meltdown is not fun. Honestly, taking a trip five states away was easier because our hotel was still just 15 minutes from the nearest tantrum. So we found that we preferred our local outings to be as local as possible. I discovered most of the local gems not from the books I had, but from other local moms. I joined the Mount Diablo Mother’s Club when my son was a month or two old, and that was far more helpful than my books, or even the local paper. The club was formed in 1992 as a social support network for mothers in the Mount Diablo Area. It is specifically for parents with children 0-5, and so regular membership overturn is part of the nature of the club. That has actually made it more interesting because you are always able to get new ideas. In other words, the socials that were popular when I first joined are very different from the current ones. One day I started thinking about all the different activities that the club has participated in over the years, and how I wished that I had been able to find those local gems in one of my books when my son was a baby. I kept thinking and thinking about it until pretty soon I had a little outline in my head. I went to the club’s steering committee and they were supportive of the idea. It was time to get to work. Sarah Becker, my co-author, wrote Chapter 8, “Day Trips.” I personally have rather limited experience with day trips, and now that I have two small children, I am still a little reluctant to take them. However, the ones that she chose for this book come highly recommended for the under 5 crowed, so I’m going to have to try these! I am very grateful for Sarah’s help. Not only did she write all of Chapter 8, help with taking pictures and describing parks, but her experience with formatting and publishing were invaluable. Prior to becoming a Co-Director for our club, she was in charge of creating our monthly newsletter. It was a big job, and while she held it, our club received quite a lot of compliments for our newsletter. Since she’s stepped down, the newsletter has continued with its high standards, and those who’ve worked on it all acknowledge that she’s the person to call for help. Her expertise is much appreciated! I’d also like to thank Beth Hunter for her help with photography. Her name is listed under the photographs she took, so you can see what a great job she did. We were getting a little panicky toward the end because we needed to get this book to the publisher and there were still a lot of parks that had not yet been photographed. Beth volunteered with enthusiasm, and made things a lot easier for Sarah and me. Her pictures are gorgeous! And thanks to Peter and Lisa Cloven for letting us use their personal binding machine for our first drafts, and helping us to save money with the binding materials. Our club is able to do so many fun things because of our amazing volunteers.

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But we got some extra help too. In fact, the Mount Diablo Mother’s Club was awarded a “Civic Pride Grant” from the City of Walnut Creek to help pay for the cost of publishing this book. This has allowed us to increase the scope of this project so that we might share this resource with the rest of our community. These grants are given annually to encourage beneficial projects for our community. We are very grateful to the City of Walnut Creek for their support! Currently, the City of Walnut Creek, like many of us, is working towards “going green.” We’d like to support their efforts by encouraging you to pass this book on to another family once your own family outgrows it. The most rewarding part of this project has been discovering even more outings. Many mothers in the club sent in little known ideas and contributions that are toddler-friendly, and often free. Check out the chart in chapter one; there’s a local outing listed for every day of the week, all year long, free of charge! Thanks so much to the Mount Diablo Mothers Club moms for sharing their local treasures so that we might have a more permanent collection of things to do with our littlest family members.

Brenna Shafizadeh Walnut Creek, CA October, 2007

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Chapter 1 Chart of Recurring Weekly Events This chart lists local outings that are family-friendly, occur on a regular basis year-round, and are free of charge! Sunday 9 am

Monday Tuesday

9am-1pm Walnut Creek Farmers Market

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

10am Walnut Creek Barnes & Noble Toddler Tuesday Story Time 10am-2pm Concord Farmers Market

10am

10am-2pm, Martinez Farmers Market

11am, Pleasant Hill Borders Books, Story Time

11am

Noon

1pm 2pm 3pm 4pm 5pm 6pm 7pm

Saturday

9am, Pleasant Hill Borders Books, Music, and CafĂŠ Story Time

11am Walnut Creek Barnes & Noble Story Time 11am-3pm, Walnut Creek Lakeshore Learning Center, Free Craft Activities ages 3+ Noon-4:30pm, ARF Open Classroom

Noon4:30pm, Animal Rescue Foundation, Open Classroom 3-7pm, ARF Open Classroom

3-7pm, ARF Open Classroom

7pm, Ygnacio Valley Library, Pajama Story Time

Also worth noting: Although most of the stores in Concord’s Sun Valley Mall do not open until 10am Monday - Saturday, the mall is open for walking (and strolling) at 7am. It opens at 9am on for Sunday strolls.

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Chapter 2

Parks and Recreation Codes: BB = Barbeques H = Hiking P = Picnic Area PG = Playground S = Swimming T = Toddler Play Area

Parks are fun and free. Lucky for us, there are a lot of parks in the Mount Diablo area! Included here are those that are friendly and fun for the five and under crowd. The maps in this section are from www.maps.yahoo.com. You can go there for great maps and driving directions.

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Clayton Clayton Community Park Marsh Creek Road at Regency Drive BB-P-PG Nestled in the hills above Clayton, this park has a nice view of Mt. Diablo. The playground and swings are surrounded by cushiony groundcover—no sand to dig in. There are restrooms.

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Photos by B. Hunter

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Clayton The Grove Park Marsh Creek Road at Center Street PG This park just opened in January of 2008. Across the street from the Clayton Post Office and near downtown Clayton restaurants, it will be a popular park.

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Concord Baldwin Park near Port Chicago Hwy and Bonifacio St. BB-P-PG

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This large park in North Concord is home to a preschool and the Concord Senior Center. The playground is fully enclosed with a fence and more of a large tot lot than an open playground. The ground is covered with wood chips and none of the play equipment is very tall. Picnic tables are inside the tot area making it a good meeting place for playgroups with toddlers. To get to the parking lot, turn east onto Bonifacio Street from Port Chicago Hwy. Make an immediate left turn onto Parkside Circle (it’s a one-way street) and look for the tot lot on your left.

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Concord Brazil Quarry Park 1598 Kent Way P-PG This small neighborhood park has a newer play structure and swings. The real attraction though is the pretty Diablo Creek which runs along the edge of the park.

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There are no restrooms.

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Concord Cambridge Park Victory Lane and Rae Anne Drive P-T

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Photos by B. Hunter


Concord Civic Center Tot Lot 1950 Parkside Drive T This small playground is part of Concord’s Civic Center complex (go east on Salvio St. from Parkside to park in the lot nearby). It is a favorite spot for playgroups with toddlers because the fencing completely encloses it and there are baby swings. It is also fun to visit after story time at the Concord Library (at the corner of Parkside and Salvio). There are restrooms in the civic center and in the library.

Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Concord Concord Community Park Cowell Road and Hale Drive BB-P-PG-S At this large park, the play areas are surrounded on three sides by picnic areas. No wonder it is a very popular park for parties and family gatherings. A figure-eight path winds around the play areas, making it an ideal place to bring along a trike, bike, or scooter. The restrooms are not far, but they are across the street.

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Concord Dave Brubeck Park formerly Concord Blvd. Neighborhood Park

Concord Boulevard and Mendocino Drive P-PG In 2006 this park was renamed Dave Brubeck Park in honor of the jazz legend who spent his childhood in Concord. This park has large grassy areas separating the playground from busy Concord Boulevard. The playground is well shaded. There is no parking lot at this park and you cannot park on Concord Boulevard. To drive to this park you must turn east off Concord Boulevard onto Denkinger Road, left on Yeoman Drive, left at the end of the street and then you can park in the cul-desac near the playground. On the Fourth of July this park hosts the singing flag. There are new restrooms located across the field from the playground.

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Photo by B. Hunter Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 13


Concord Ellis Lake Park Clayton Road and Ellis Street P-PG

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This neighborhood park has a pretty large lake that children will enjoy walking around. The two playground areas are spread apart so that you can’t see one from the other. There are no restrooms.

Photos by B. Hunter

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Concord Highlands Park 1336 Pennsylvania Blvd. P-PG This neighborhood park has a large grassy space for kicking a ball around and a large playground. The playground is far enough from the street that parents won’t worry about traffic. There are no restrooms, but there is a porta pottie at the baseball diamond.

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Concord Hillcrest Community Park 2050 Olivera Road BB-P-PG-T In spring of 2007, this playground was completely redone. The new playground is named “Matteo’s Dream” after the little boy who inspired his community to build it. Seven-year-old Matteo is blind and in a wheelchair. This playground, with its enclosed ramps winding up and down, is meant to be accessible to him, and to all children. With its beautiful mosaics, numerous large xylophones, water mister, and much, much more, it is a highly sensorial place of exploration that will delight both parent and child. Also worth noting: new bathrooms are close by.

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Concord Rick Seers Park 2273 Fox Way PG This very small neighborhood park has a play structure and basketball court. There are no restrooms.

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Concord Sun Terrace Park Vancover Way and Quebec Drive PG-T

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Photos by B. Hunter

Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Concord Todos Santos Plaza Grant Street and Willow Pass Road T Farmers Market Tuesdays, 10 am - 2 pm, year-round Thursdays, 4 pm - 8 pm, late spring - fall This park is in the center of Concord’s shopping walkabout. Check with the local newspaper for additional holiday events held in the park and free family-friendly music concerts. There are no restrooms. The park is surrounded by shops and restaurants.

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Concord Willow Pass Park 2748 E. Olivera Road P-T This large park in North Concord is home to baseball diamonds, tennis courts and the Concord Recreation Center. It has a very small tot play area behind the tennis courts, but it is so small and tucked away that we really can’t recommend it as a toddler play area. What we do recommend and love is Pixieland (see Chapter 4) which is located at the north end of this park. Outside Pixieland there’s a pond with ducks, geese and turtles. The restrooms are near Pixieland’s main entrance.

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

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Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area


Concord Ygnacio Valley Park Oak Grove Road and Risdon Road BB-P-PG-T This park is centrally located and a fun favorite for a play time stop when running errands or for playgroup get-togethers. There is a sand play area, a tot area and a larger-kid play area. A fence in between the play areas and Oak Grove Road is reassuring for parents. The interior of the park is a large grassy area with a walking trail around it. There is a small parking lot and new restrooms.

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Contra Costa County/Danville Hap Magee Ranch Park 1025 La Gonda Way P-PG-T Jointly funded and operated by the Town of Danville and Contra Costa County, Hap Magee Ranch Park is a favorite of all kids. Located very close to Walnut Creek, it has a sand area, playground, restrooms and picnic tables. However, the most popular attraction is the water play area with water fountains and a spray tunnel to run through. The water feature is in operation daily from 10 am to 4 pm. This water play area is a real “soaker” so bring a change of clothes and a towel if you plan on playing in it.

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Photos by B. Hunter

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Martinez Cappy Ricks Park Brown Street and Arreba Street (near Pacheco Blvd.) P-PG This small park near downtown Martinez has tennis courts, picnic tables and a small shaded play area. There are no restrooms.

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Martinez Golden Hills Park Bernice Lane off Blue Ridge Drive H-P-PG Located among the hills, this park is one of our favorite places to meet friends. The play structures are new and quite large with a separate tot area, but right next to the older kid area. This park also has two lighted tennis courts, restrooms, a basketball court and picnic areas. The large grassy area above the playground is just the right size to kick a ball around.

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Codes:

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BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area


Martinez Hidden Valley Park 1798 Center Avenue BB-P-PG Hidden Valley Park has a nice view of Mt. Diablo and a newer playground. There is a 1-mile exercise course and a 2-mile pathway leading up to Hidden Lakes Park. Hidden Valley has a parking lot and restrooms near the parking lot.

Photo by B. Hunter

Hidden Lakes Park Morello Avenue at Chilpancingo Pkwy.

H-T Hidden Lakes Park is primarily a hiking park—with trails to Hidden Valley Park and around the lake. There is a play area, but the play structure looks older and is mainly there for kids waiting to play on the baseball diamonds or whose siblings are playing baseball. There is a large parking lot and restrooms.

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Martinez Highland Avenue Park Highland Avenue and Merrithew Drive P-PG This small neighborhood park is nestled up on a hill east of downtown Martinez. There is a large play structure and picnic tables, but no restrooms.

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Martinez Holiday Highland Park 500 Fig Tree Lane P-PG Holiday Highland Park is a pretty little neighborhood park with a creek running through it. The new play structures and well landscaped play areas are very nice. There are no restrooms, but there is a porta pottie.

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Martinez Mountain View Park Adjacent to Parkway Drive off Howe Road P-PG

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Codes: Photos by B. Hunter

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BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area


Martinez Nancy Boyd Memorial Park Pleasant Hill Road and Church Street BB-P-PG-T

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This neighborhood park is well shaded and has two play areas. The restrooms are under construction, but there is a porta pottie.

Photos by B. Hunter

Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Martinez Rankin Park - Martinez City Park End of Buckley Street H-P-PG-S-T This park is at the west end of downtown Martinez. With oak trees scattered about it looks like a pretty place to hike. At the lower end of the park is the public pool. Drive up to the upper parking lot to find the playground and trailhead. There are restrooms near the playground.

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Martinez Waterfront Park North Court Street via Ferry Street BB-H-P-PG-T This large park connected to the Martinez Marina and regional shoreline has ball fields, soccer fields, picnic areas, and a playground, as well as horseshoe pits and bocce ball courts. At the marina there is a fishing pier, trails along the shore and ponds and marshes where water birds can be spotted. There are restrooms throughout the park. The playground has newer play structures, sand and is within view of the train tracks where the Amtrak and freight trains thunder by (to see the most trains go between 11 am and noon). There is quite a distance and a fence between the trains and the playground so there is no danger to little ones. Along the waterfront is a great, windy place for kite flying.

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Pleasant Hill Brookwood Park Taylor Blvd at Withers P-PG

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Photos by B. Hunter


Pleasant Hill Pinewood Park Access is via Monti Circle P-PG

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

Photo by B. Hunter

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Pleasant Hill Pleasant Hill Park 147 Gregory Lane BB-P-PG-S-T

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This large park has three separate play areas, including an enclosed toddler area. The Pleasant Hill Aquatic Park and Sprayground are also located here. See Chapter 4 for more information on Sprayground.

“Pleasant Hill Park on Gregory is great. They have an enclosed toddler play area and there is lots of shade at the park in general.” -Local Mom

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Pleasant Hill Pleasant Oaks Park End of Santa Barbara Road PG Most of this park is used for playing fields, but there is a small playground. It is a convenient place to hang out with child #2 while child #1 practices pee wee soccer! But watch your child carefully. There is a posted sign which states, “This play area is designed for children 5-12 years of age with adult supervision.”

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Photo by B. Hunter

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Pleasant Hill Rodgers-Smith Park 738 Grayson Road BB-P-PG

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Many of MDMC’s annual summer picnics have been held at Rodgers-Smith Park. This picture is from the Hawaiian-themed picnic in 2006. There are two playground areas and restrooms. Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

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Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area


Pleasant Hill Shannon Hills Park Devon Avenue PG

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Photos by B. Hunter

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Walnut Creek Arbolado Park 2231 Arbolado Drive BB-P-PG-T This park has two distinct large play areas, and is always a popular choice. But it is a bit of a trek to the bathrooms, so be prepared.

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“For socializing and playing in the sand our favorite parks are Ygnacio Valley Park and Arbolado Park. Arbolado Park has lots of sand so if your child likes playing in the sand it is the place to go.” -Local Mom

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Walnut Creek Borges Ranch 1035 Castle Rock Road H This historical working ranch was built turn of the century, and was home to the Borges family. Today it is the home to various farm animals, such as goats and chickens, and children love to go and view them. The house is also set up for touring, but it’s usually only open on the weekends or for special events. They hold an annual Heritage Day in late spring. It is a lot of fun for even the smallest of tots as history comes to life! Check local listings for this and other fun events and classes held here or call (925) 942-0225.

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Walnut Creek Civic Park Broadway and Civic Drive P-PG-T This park is located in downtown Walnut Creek, and it is the location for the new city library, once it is built (see “Libraries” in Chapter 5 for the location of the temporary building). In addition to the standard playground equipment, this park boasts four child-sized climbing walls, a play train, and a tot-friendly water and sand play area that is especially great in the summer. Also be sure to check local listings for annual holiday events including ice-skating and the tree lighting in December.

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Walnut Creek Diablo Shadows Park Diablo Shadows Drive P-PG This neighborhood park has a playground and grassy area. There are picnic tables, but no restrooms.

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

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Walnut Creek Heather Farm Park Ygnacio Valley Road and San Carlos BB-P-PG-S-T This park has lots of play area for children of all ages. As one of the city’s largest family-friendly parks, many annual events are held here including: • The annual Spring Egg Hunt welcomes toddlers and up. But do watch out for the goose poop! • The Walnut Creek Art and Wine Festival is held in late spring and boasts two entertainment stages, as well as more than 200 food, wine, art, and craft booths. • Movies Under the Stars is held in the late spring and summer. The movies shown are usually family friendly and there is no cost, although popcorn and drinks are available for purchase. • The Walnut Festival takes place in early fall, and although the parade, which kicks off the event, happens downtown, the carnival is held at Heather Farm Park.

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area


Walnut Creek Larkey Park Buena Vista and First Avenue P-PG-S-T Also located here: • Lindsay Wildlife Museum • Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society There are two separate play structures, and lots of sand. Bathrooms are located in the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, with the entrance on the outside of the building.

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Walnut Creek Rudgear Park 2250 Stewart Avenue P-PG-T Rudgear Park is a large park in southern Walnut Creek with restrooms, a playground and walking trail. Although the sign for the park is on Rudgear Road, the playground is at the opposite end of the park on Stewart Ave. (from Rudgear Road turn right on Dapplegray Lane, then right on Stewart Ave.).

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Codes: BB = H= P= PG = S= T=

Barbeques Hiking Picnic Area Playground Swimming Toddler Play Area

Photos by B. Hunter

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Walnut Creek San Miguel Park End of Los Cerros Avenue P-PG This neighborhood park near John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek has tennis courts, a nice playground, a grassy open area, and connection to walking trails. There are no restrooms.

Reproduced with permission of Yahoo! Inc. 速 2007 by Yahoo! Inc. YAHOO! and the YAHOO! logo are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.

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Walnut Creek Tice Valley Neighborhood Park 2055 Tice Valley Blvd. BB-P-T This neighborhood park is adjacent to Tice Valley Community Gymnasium. The park has a soccer field, tot lot, picnic tables with barbecues and restrooms.

Reproduced with permission of Yahoo! Inc. ® 2007 by Yahoo! Inc. YAHOO! and the YAHOO! logo are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.

Photos by B. Hunter

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Walnut Creek Walden Park 2698 Oak Road P-PG Although this park does not have a sectioned off tot lot, it is very toddler friendly because it is so small and the bathrooms are within easy distance for those who are potty training. It’s also along the trails, so lots of people bike to this park. But do watch out if you have a runner because Oak Road is pretty busy and there isn’t much of a barrier between the park and the road.

Reproduced with permission of Yahoo! Inc. ® 2007 by Yahoo! Inc. YAHOO! and the YAHOO! logo are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc.

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Chapter 3

Farmers Markets Farmers Markets are a fun and easy outing, even if you don’t buy anything! There’s locally grown, in-season produce of course, but often there’s also live music or other events. Many farmers markets are in or near a park so you can have a picnic or just go and play afterward.

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CONCORD Where: Todos Santos Park, Grant Street and Willow Pass Road When: Tuesdays, year-round, 10 am - 2 pm Also Thursdays, May 3 - October 25, 4 - 8 pm Contact: (800) 949-3276, www.pcfma.com A local mom says: “We go to the Concord farmer’s market in the summer as it is very kid-friendly and there are a lot of people out with their kids. There is a play structure for the kids and nearby restaurants and coffee shops to keep the parents busy. Of course there is also the food from the market to keep the appetite at bay. Oh yeah, did I mention the kettle corn? It’s very, very yummy. Or if that’s not your cup of tea then Baskin Robbins “$1 a scoop” will keep everyone’s pocket book happy. Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on the grass and listen to the music on Thursday evenings.”

MARTINEZ Where: Main Street (600 block in Old Town Martinez) When: Sundays, May - October, 10 am - 2 pm Contact: (925) 431-8361, www.cccfm.org Where: 200 Muir Road (Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices) When: Thursdays, year-round, 10am - 2pm Contact: (800) 949-3276, www.pcfma.com Where: Court Street, between Main and Escobar Streets When: Thursdays, May 3 - November 17, 10 am - 2 pm Contact: (800) 949-3276, www.pcfma.com PLEASANT HILL Where: 100 Gregory Lane (City Hall parking lot) When: Saturdays, May - October, 10 am - 2 pm Contact: (925) 431-8361, www.cccfm.org WALNUT CREEK Where: Locust Street, between Giamonna Drive and the Target Store When: Sundays, year-round, 9 am - 1 pm Contact: (925) 431-8361, www.cccfm.org A local mom says: “The kettle corn stand doesn’t advertise it, but they sell little mini bags of their popcorn for 50 cents. That keeps the kids busy so we can look around.”

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WALNUT CREEK Where: 1425 South Main Street, Kaiser Permanent Medical Center When: Tuesdays, year-round, 10 am - 2 pm Contact: (925) 431-8361, www.cccfm.org

Local Farms These farms are not open year-round. See their websites for information about visiting.

Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees 1060 Pine Lane, Clayton (925) 672-5198 www.cvpumpkinfarm.com • • • •

Pumpkins Squash Christmas trees See website for special event days

Deer Hill Ranch 3232 Deer Hill Road, Lafayette (925) 283-1197 www.deerhillranch.org • • • • •

Free range eggs Grass fed beef Peacock feathers Healthy farming educational center See website for purchasing information

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Chapter 4

Places to Go and Things to Do Local outings are easiest when you have a very young one. You can go out for some fun without worrying about being too far from home in case of an emergency, i.e. a meal break, a diaper change, a tantrum, etc. There’s so much to explore…locally. Transportation Notes: • BART is free for children age four and under. • Walnut Creek has a free County Connection shuttle bus that stops at Walnut Creek BART, Broadway Plaza, and Broadway Plaza’s parking garage (next to Crate & Barrel). It runs every 20 minutes and a round trip can take 20-60 minutes.

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Animal Rescue Foundation 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek (925) 256-1273 www.arf.net Hours 9 am - 5 pm Classroom Hours Thursdays and Fridays, 3 pm - 7 pm Saturdays and Sundays, noon - 4:30 pm Fees Free to visit animals Free to visit the classroom during open hours $10 for the Learning Center Program Check out their website to see current listing of available classes for children. Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) works to rescue dogs and cats without families to take care of them. It’s a great place to look for a family pet. But it is also a place to go and just see some dogs and cats, or learn about caring for pets. The building is beautiful and spacious, and the animals are well-cared for. And if you go during the classroom hours, you can visit the classroom free of charge. Inside, you’ll find lots of animal-related books, coloring pages, puzzles, and crafts. Children of all ages are welcome to visit under the supervision of mom or dad. It is a free and easy outing! ARF offers many classes for children as well. These programs have various fees. It is $10 per child to take a group tour (minimum 10 or more) through the Learning Center, and it should be scheduled in advance. Children are given a plush animal to adopt, and then allowed to take their new pet to the little store and veterinary clinic to learn to care for their animal. A docent will teach the children how to successfully interact with pets, whether it be their own, or someone else’s. Check out their website to learn about even more classes and events offered for children.

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Buchanan Field Airport Observation Deck Buchanan Field Airport 550 Sally Ride Drive, Concord* (925) 646-5722 www.buchananfield-byronairports.org Observation Deck Hours 7 am - 10 pm every day *The observation deck is at the end of John Glenn Drive, on the east side of the airport.

Admission Fee Free

In 1994, this gazebo was built so that the general public could get a bird’s eye view of the planes taking off and landing. There are speakers there as well so that you can hear the radio transmissions among the pilots and the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controllers. If you’d like, you can even have a picnic on the gazebo while watching the planes. It is an easy and inexpensive outing! Also free, the Buchanan Field Airport offers tours for children ages five and up. The children get a hands-on experience with a single-engine aircraft, a helicopter, an air ambulance, and an aircraft rescue and firefighting truck. Call the number listed to schedule.

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The Jungle 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord (925) 687-4386 www.thejunglefun.com Hours Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 9 pm Friday and Saturday 10 am - 10 pm Admission Fees Monday–Friday: Unlimited Play $7.95 Toddlers (12-36 months) $5.95 Saturday, Sunday & Holidays: Unlimited Play $8.95 Toddlers $6.95 Sunday–Thursday after 5 pm: All children $5.95 Toddler Tuesday: Toddlers $3.48 all day Note: It is mandatory to wear socks.

The Jungle is a very large indoor play center. There are tunnels to explore, plastic balls to swim in, mazes to climb through, and lots more. Your child will not be bored! However, with the constant loud music and flashy colors and lights, you may need to watch out for stimulation overload. They do have a toddler area that is semi-enclosed. And since they cater to a wide age range, the upstairs is filled with various video games and, depending on what time of day it is, much older children. Conveniently located among all the various structures is a restaurant with lots of basic kid-pleasing options such as pizza, chicken, hot dogs, and more.

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Lindsay Wildlife Museum 1931 First Avenue, Walnut Creek (925) 935-1978 www.wildlife-museum.org Museum Hours June 16 – September 2 Wednesday - Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm September 16 - June 15 Wednesday - Sunday, noon - 5 pm Saturday - Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm Admission Fees $7 Adults $6 Seniors (65+) $6 Students (18+ with student ID) $5 Children 2-17 Free for museum members and children under 2 The on-site rehabilitation center treats almost 6,000 injured or orphaned wild animals each year, and those that are unable to go back to their native habitats are available for us to visit and learn about at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Periodically, someone will even bring out one of the animals and allow the children to touch it while they learn more about Mother Nature and her gifts. In addition to all the animals, the museum has many hands-on learning activities in which children are encouraged to physically explore and play. For example, there are large floor puzzles and cabinet drawers that are meant to be opened. There is even a discovery room in which children are encouraged to discover the native species in the backyard. The toddlers, of course, just like to explore the pretend house and to play with the educational toys. But with each year, a child is able to understand more and more about our local animal friends. Be sure to check out their website to find out more about the many classes they offer for children as young as 2 and all ages on up. There you will also find information on renting space for your event or birthday party. And don’t forget, Larkey Park is just outside the door. So this is an easy outing, and if your little one has the energy, you can tag on a picnic or just go play in the park afterward. Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 57


Pixieland Amusement Park 2740 E. Olivera Road Concord, CA 94519 (925) 689-8841 www.pixieland.com Park Hours Please visit their website to see their hours of operation. This is an all-outdoor amusement park, and therefore the hours vary depending on the month. Ticket Fees $1.25 per ticket $10.00 for a book of 10 tickets $25.00 for unlimited rides wristband (Wristband offer available Monday – Friday, all holidays, and Easter weekend.) $150.00 for a season pass All rides require two tickets per person. In addition, there is a height requirement for each ride. Children who do not meet the height requirement must ride with a parent and the parent must also pay the two ticket fee to ride. A local mom says: “As for outings that cost money, I vote for Pixieland. I just went for the first time a couple of weeks ago and what a sweet little place that is. Prior to going, I’d heard conflicting opinions on whether it was worth the cost or not. My son and I spent two hours there one morning. We rode the carousel twice, the train twice, the cars once and the teacups once. It cost $20, which I really felt wasn’t bad since I had to ride with him on everything according to park rules. It was a nice introduction to amusement parks for little ones. There is a beautiful picnic area with a wonderful little lake that houses various ducks and turtles. What’s great is that it is nearby and there are no traffic jams, parking hassles or long lines. We will definitely be back.”

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Pump It Up 1301 Franquette Avenue, Concord (925) 969-9663 www.pumpitupparty.com Hours Mondays 9:30 am - 11 am Thursdays 9:30 am - 11 am They close a half hour early on holidays Admission Fees $8 older than 24 months $5 for ages 24 months and under There is a $1 discount on holidays Note: It is mandatory that parents and children wear socks. Pump it up is an indoor facility filled with large bouncy houses. There’s bouncy ball hoops, a bouncy obstacle course, and bouncy slides. It’s great exercise and kids love it! The reason for the very limited hours is because they focus most of their business is on private parties, and you can contact them if you’d like to have your child’s birthday party there.

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Sprayground 147 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill (925) 682-0896 Hours Spring Memorial Day – Labor Day, Saturday and Sundays, 1 – 4:30 pm Summer Monday – Friday, 1:15 pm – 4:15 pm Saturday and Sunday, 1 pm – 5 pm Admission Fees $3.50 Children (ages 2-6) $4 Ages 7-54 $3.50 Seniors (55+) Free for children under 2 Note: It is mandatory for children who are not yet fully potty trained to wear a swim diaper, and children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Sprayground is part of the Pleasant Hill Aquatic Park, located inside of Pleasant Hill Park. The old wading pool was taken out and replaced with hands-on water equipment and sprayers. All ages are welcome to come and play, and there is a no-splash zone for toddlers. However, be aware that Sprayground is bordered by two swimming pools (a medium-size training pool and a 25-yard pool). The little ones are sure to have fun, but watch closely that they don’t fall into one of the pools. As mentioned, the Aquatic Park is located inside of Pleasant Hill Park, which makes it easy to add on a picnic, or just more playing! There are changing rooms with lockers, and bathrooms.

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Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society 2751 Buena Vista Ave., Walnut Creek (925) 937-1888 www.wcmrs.org Hours Please visit their website to see their hours of operation. They are open on various weekends throughout the year and their holiday shows start mid-November. Admission Fees $3 Adults $2 Seniors (60+) $2 Children (6-12) Free for children 5 and under Free for scouts in uniform Children of all ages love to see the model trains going round and round the tracks. They love the lights, the movement, and the detail captured in this large display of trains and mountainous terrain. And it’s an easy outing; the display house is located right in Larkey Park!

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Chapter 5

Education and Support Check out your local library for books, DVDs, story times, and special events for children. They’re all free of charge! Plus you can go online from the convenience of your home computer to find and put on hold the book you are looking for, or to renew the one you’re still reading. Our area also has some great community education resources that are fun and more affordable in comparison to other more commercial educational centers that cater to babies and toddlers. They’re listed in the “Adult Education” section of this chapter.

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Contra Costa County Libraries www.contra-costa.lib.ca.us

In addition to a large selection of books, CDs, and DVDs to borrow, our local libraries have great programs for children as young as one year of age! Join a story time group, or attend a puppet show. You can find out what they have scheduled by going online, or by calling the branch nearest you. A local mom says: “If you're looking for something inexpensive, look no further than your local library. Just today we went to a Mad Science presentation which the kids LOVED and it was free.”

Clayton Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road, (925) 673-0659 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1 pm - 5 pm 1 pm - 9 pm 10 am - 6 pm 1 pm - 9 pm 10 am - 6 pm CLOSED 10 am - 6 pm

Concord Concord Library, 2900 Salvio Street, (925) 646-5455 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1 pm - 5 pm noon - 9 pm 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm noon - 9 pm 10 am - 5 pm 10 am - 5 pm

Martinez Martinez Library, 740 Court Street, (925) 646-2898 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

CLOSED noon - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm noon - 5 pm CLOSED noon - 5 pm 10 am - 5 pm

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Pleasant Hill Pleasant Hill Library, 1750 Oak Park Blvd., (925) 646-6435 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

CLOSED noon - 8 pm noon - 8 pm 10 am - 6 pm noon - 8 pm 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm

Walnut Creek Walnut Creek Downtown Library, 1644 North Broadway, (925) 646-6773 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

CLOSED 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm

The Walnut Creek Downtown Library at its current location closed on November 30, 2007 for construction. Construction of the new library will take two years. The interim downtown library location will be 1395 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek—it is the little white building at the corner of Civic and Broadway. They will have a children’s section, but only a very limited adult section to browse. They will keep the online requests section so that library patrons can check out requested books. The hours will remain the same.

Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Rd., (925) 938-1481 Hours Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

CLOSED 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm

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These local bookstores have free story times as well:

Barnes & Noble Booksellers 1149 S. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 947-0373 Hours: 9 am - 11 pm every day Story Times: Toddler Tuesdays at 10 am, Saturday Storytime at 11 am

Borders Books Music and Café 120 Crescent Dr., Pleasant Hill, (925) 686-4835 Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9 am - 11 pm, Sunday, 9 am - 10 pm Story Times: Wednesdays at 10am, Saturdays at 11am

Lakeshore Learning Center offers free crafts for children to make:

Lakeshore Learning Center 1929 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-1495 Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am - 7 pm, Saturday, 9 am - 6 pm, Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm Free Craft Activities: Saturdays, 11 am - 3 pm

Contra Costa’s First 5 Program offers educational classes free of charge for children under 5 and their families:

The Monument Community First 5 Center 1736 Clayton Road, Concord, (925) 671-3268 or (925) 671-3264 www.firstfivecc.org Hours vary depending on class. Local mom says: “As for the classes, my son and I just completed a Music Together class through the First 5 Center on Clayton Road in Concord. What a wonderful class that was! The songs are fun and engaging. There are lots of opportunities for the kids (and the mommies) to play instruments and sing and dance. Classes ran approximately 45 minutes, which is a perfect length for a toddler with a short attention span. The best part about the class is that, since it is offered through First 5 Concord, the class is free to kids 5 and under and their parents so we got to partake in a fantastic program that we might not have been able to due to financial constraints. I would definitely say this class was much better than other classes we have had to pay for! What a fabulous experience!”

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Adult Education These local schools offer many great classes for parents in a wide variety of subjects from taming temper-tantrums to keeping fit with baby. You can find their class listing catalogues at your local library, or check them out online.

Acalanes Adult Education Center 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek (925) 280-3980 ext. 8001, www.acalanes.k12.us/adulted Civic Arts Education P.O. Box 8039, Walnut Creek (925) 943-5846, www.arts-ed.org Concord Recreation Division Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Drive, Concord (925) 671-3404, www.ci.concord.ca.us/recreation Elephant Pharm 1388 South California Blvd., Walnut Creek (925) 658-5300, www.elephantpharm.com/walnut-creek/info/home.html A local mom quotes their postcard: “Kids Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Baby Signs, Infant Massage, and a variety of Tai Chi, Yoga, or Pilates workshops interest you? The list goes on. Elephant Pharm has an enclosed classroom on site with several classes offered daily which support Health and Wellness. Shop at Elephant Pharm for natural remedies, books, fitness supplies, vitamins, and natural products for your family and home. Try free classes offered at Elephant Pharm.”

Martinez Adult Education 600 F Street, Martinez (925) 228-3276, www.martinez-ed.org Mt. Diablo Adult Education 1266 San Carlos Ave., Concord (925) 685-7340, www.mdusd.k12.ca.us/adulted/index.htm A local mom says: “I think the Parent Education classes through MDUSD's Adult Education program have helped me to be a much better parent. While these classes are designed for new parents (i.e., parents of children under two), the night meetings through their cooperative preschool program also have a lot of useful parenting information.”

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Pleasant Hill Recreation and Parks District 147 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill (925) 682-0896, www.pleasanthillrec.com Walnut Creek Recreation Division Recreation Division Heather Farm Community Center 301 North San Carlos Drive, Walnut Creek (925) 943-5858, www.walnutcreekrec.org

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Chapter 6

Kid-Friendly Restaurants The Mount Diablo Mother’s Club monthly newsletter regularly carries a “Roving Reporter” article in which members are asked to submit their opinions on a specific topic. When asked for their favorite kid-friendly restaurants, members gave a variety of answers. If you’re looking for a good place to eat with a little one, read the quotes below for some ideas. Bon appétit!

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Bella Roma Pizza 501 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553 (925) 228-4935 In 2008, this restaurant changed its location, but it still has all the bells and whistles described in the following recommendations, and they welcome children! • “We like to go to Bella Roma Pizza in Martinez. They have a chord organ with fun songs, a bubble machine, a train that goes around the restaurant and the pizza is good too. The kids have fun running around and dancing. It is a fun place.” • “We love Bella Roma Pizza in Martinez! On most evenings, they have an organist who plays a huge pipe organ with tons of gadgets. They have a bubble machine that seems to blow bubbles every two to three songs, a disco ball and a large train track that goes around almost half of the dining room. Although it can get pretty crazy, the kids always have lots of fun. We really like the pizza too!”

• •

1120 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 938-0720 “California Pizza Kitchen, because it is loud, full of other families and it has an okay menu for the kids.” “Our family’s favorite kid-friendly restaurant is the California Pizza Kitchen. My kids love the food. Their favorite is Thai Chicken Pizza, which is full of carrots and other healthy goodies. The waiters and waitresses are great with kids and there’s enough ambient noise to mask a loud child. I like it because it has a good variety of food for adults too, so we can go there frequently without getting bored. (Plus, there’s the Chocolate Soufflé Cake!)”

650 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 685-6651 “We love Chevy’s— free chips and salsa, great kids menu (I recommend the chicken strips) and we like the food, too!”

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Ch

Chili’s Grill and Bar, 1403 Locust, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 933-1251 and Chili’s Grill and Bar, 1501 Concord Avenue, Concord, CA 94520 (925) 676-4062 “Another place I would recommend is Chili's - also very accommodating and they love little kids. Great food and lots of fun!”

4391 Treat Blvd., Concord, CA 94521 (925) 676-2262 “…I think my favorite is Coco's. There's one in Concord on Treat Boulevard, and we go almost weekly.”

1275 South Main St., Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 938-1529 “Has to be Fresh Choice. Not only do they offer a great variety of healthy options, but also toddlers and preschoolers can actually serve themselves from the buffet (especially from the salad bar area). There is plenty of room in the dining area, both tables and booths, for guest with kids to stretch out.”

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1975 Diamond Blvd., E-260, Concord, CA 94520 (925) 825-1443

“Fuddrucker’s in the Willows is a place we like because it is already loud, so when my four-year-old gets loud or busier than I like, no one really notices. Plus both kids enjoy the little video game area.”

Katy’s Kreek •

1670 Locust Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 946-0949 “I'll skip the more obvious ones and list a nice restaurant: Katy's Kreek in Walnut Creek across from Grower's Square. Besides having flat screen TV's in the bathroom which is a sure hit with our "Big Kids," they have a little kids room in the back with a Lego table, Nickelodeon on TV, and books to play with. They make great martinis and have a nice menu! They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They even have early bird specials before 6 pm! Can you tell we're fans?”

1360 Locust Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 256-1234 “…Lark Creek…is yummy, yet surprisingly kid-friendly, so you can still feel like a grown-up dining at a better restaurant.”

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1101 S California Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 943-7100 and 2090 Diamond Boulevard, Concord, CA 94520 (925)827-4930 “Definitely Marie Callendar’s. It's a classic! Baby can make a noise, make a mess, and they don't mind a bit. They'll give you a balloon when you come in the door if you ask and most of the other patrons just love to look at the babies and kids! Plus, as you all know, they serve nearly everything under the sun and their prices are good. “I like Marie Callendar's too.”

6648 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez, CA 94553 (925) 934-6996

“It has a play area for kids!”

2909 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94598 (925) 947-6105 “One of my favorite kid friendly restaurants in Rocco's on Ygnacio. There is so much noise and tons on stuff on the walls and ceilings. The tables are huge so baby hands can be kept away from hot meals. Rocco’s even has containers full of toys for older kids to play with while there for a meal.” “As far as kid-friendly restaurants go we like Rocco’s in Walnut Creek because it’s loud but not too loud, family oriented, and there are lots of TV screens and other fun stuff going on.”

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1033 Diablo Street, Clayton, CA 94517 (925) 672-1111 and

1535 Giammona Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 280-1100 and

2001 Salvio Street, Concord, CA 94520 (925)680-6888 • “Skipolini's in Clayton and Walnut Creek are fun because everyone loves pizza and they have play areas for kiddos.” • “I think of Skipolini's in Clayton! ....Mary's Pizza Shack, and Applebees.” • “Skipolini’s is great. The one in Clayton has an outdoor play structure within sight of the outdoor seating— a perfect place to go on a summer or fall evening. The Skipolini’s in Walnut Creek has an indoor play structure and is open for lunch and dinner (Clayton does not do lunch). The new Skipolini’s in downtown Concord does not have a play area, but it is still kid-friendly for lunch or dinner.

40 Crescent Drive, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 676-8493 “We often go to Fresh Choice (Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill) and Sweet Tomatoes (Pleasant Hill). There’s a diverse selection of food and it is noisy enough that another child making some noise doesn’t matter. Also, there’s no waiting for food to be delivered since you select your own meal choices.”

Tatsu Sushi •

1837 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 287-9273 “We also like Tatsu Sushi which is also off of Ygnacio. They are always great with our son and they have these great big metal tables that you don’t have to worry about getting crayon marks or spilling on. Plus they have the best noodles, which is our son’s favorite. They also bring warm towels to clean your hands with before and after dinner.”

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Chapter 7

Holiday and Annual Events Holidays are cherished times for our families, and for our community as well. Children especially seem enchanted by the magic of a celebration, and their enthusiasm enhances our own experience. So go out and share the magic with your little one and your community! This chapter is organized by month, and then the locations and events are in alphabetical order. If a town has more than one event, they are organized according to which occurs first, but you will need to check the websites given, or the city websites for more exact details. Also, keep an eye out for more information in your local newspaper and city newsletters.

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January Pleasant Hill, Pre-School and Parenting Fair, www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us Held at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, this free event hosts more than 40 local pre-schools who answer parents’ questions about their schools.

Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek on Ice, www.iceskatewalnutcreek.com An ice rink is open in Civic Park. Special skates are available for preschoolers. See the website for current price listings.

February Martinez, Valentine’s Day Free crafts, face painting, and card making in celebration of Valentine’s Day. This event takes place at City Hall. Call 372-3510 for more details.

March Martinez, St. Patrick’s Day Free crafts and games for children. Call 372-3510 for more details.

April Clayton, Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees Spring Open House, www.cvpumpkinfarm.com Children are guided through planting seeds, seed crafts, and more. This event is held one day in April and one day in May. See their website for more details.

Martinez, Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt This egg hunt is for children ages 2-9, and is held at Waterfront Park. Call 372-3510 for more details.

Pleasant Hill, Breakfast with Bunny This event is for children 2-5 years old with their parents. It’s held at the community center. Call 676-5200 for more details.

Pleasant Hill, Eggciting Egg Hunt Pleasant Hill has a big egg hunt for the little ones. The bunny will be there too! Plus, there’s face painting, crafts, and more. Call 676-5200 for more details.

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Walnut Creek, Community Spring Breakfast and Easter Egg Hunt, www.thewalnutfestival.org A pancake breakfast is served before the egg hunt at both Larky and Heather Farms Parks. Children can participate in one or both events. The egg hunt is free, but there is a charge to attend the breakfast. After the egg hunt, children can get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. The charge is minimal, but the line is long.

Walnut Creek, Downtown Fine Arts Festival www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us The streets downtown are filled with art vendors displaying their wares for sale.

May Clayton, Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees Spring Open House, www.cvpumpkinfarm.com Children are guided through planting seeds, seed crafts, and more. This event is held one day in April and one day in May. See their website for more details.

Concord, MOMday in the Park Live music at Todos Santos Park to celebrate Mother’s Day. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Concord, Bay Area KidFest, www.kidfestconcord.com This annual event takes place over Memorial Day weekend in Todos Santos Park. It is inexpensive (free for children under two). There is live entertainment and hands-on booths that are both fun and educational. The event serves to highlight local family-friendly services and business, and to celebrate community spirit. Call 671-3287 for more details.

Walnut Creek, Art on the Main, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us Vendors, art, and music in downtown Walnut Creek.

June Concord, DadDay in the Park Live music at Todos Santos Park to celebrate Father’s Day. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Walnut Creek, Art and Wine Festival, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us Held at Heather Farms Park, this event has live music, more than 200 craftspeople and artists, and of course, food and wine.

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Walnut Creek, Heritage Day Borges Ranch hosts Heritage Day to celebrate this historic ranch’s past. Visit the animals, tour the old farm house, and see how they used to make the horse shoes on-site. There is a lot for the kids to see and plenty of hands-on activities. For more details, call 933-8734.

July Fireworks There are fireworks displays in Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek.

Clayton, Annual 4th of July Pancake Breakfast, Parade, & Kiddieland This event takes place downtown. For more details, call 673-7300.

Concord, July 4th Parade and Festival There is a pancake breakfast in the morning. Then there is an old-fashioned parade, entertainment, crafts, and live music to enjoy. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Concord, The Singing Flag, www.calvarytemple.org This annual event is produced by Calvary Temple Church and is held at Dave Brubeck Park (formerly Concord Boulevard Neighborhood Park). It is free to attend. Audience members are entertained with drama, music, and dance performances celebrating patriotism. There are activities that are especially designed for the children too. Food is sold there, or you can bring a picnic.

Pleasant Hill, 4th of July, www.phjuly4.com Celebration includes a downtown 5k run and parade. At nearby Pleasant Hill Park they have food, music, games, and more.

Walnut Creek, Chevron Family Theatre Festival, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us This event was held for the first time in 2007 and given rave reviews. It is hoped that it will become an annual event. A variety of children’s shows are held at the Dean Lesher Center for the Arts. You can purchase tickets to as many shows as you like. They are very reasonably priced. In addition, there is a variety of free entertainment and fun.

August Concord, Annual Japanese Summer Festival, www.diablojaclub.com Admission is free for this event that is usually held the second weekend in August. There are lots and lots of Japanese foods at great prices, entertainment, and art and bonsai on display. For more details, call 682-5299.

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September Clayton, Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees Annual Fall Festival, www.cvpumpkinfarm.com Begun in 2007. This festival includes free taste-testing of pumpkin dishes such as bread, cobbler, and pancakes. There is a minimal charge for the other entertainment including the train ride, animal feeding, duck races, and Pumpkin Playland. Pumpkin Playland is an enclosed play area with a variety of features such as a giant Tunnel of Straw and huge Bean Pots to play in. This is a very toddler-friendly place. It is a weekend event, so see the website for more details.

Concord, Children’s Art and Literacy Festival, www.cocokids.org Free books for children! Plus live entertainment, crafts, interactive storytelling, family literacy resources, and much, much more.

Walnut Creek, Walnut Festival Twilight Parade, www.thewalnutfestival.org The streets downtown are closed for this annual, family-friendly parade.

Walnut Creek, The Walnut Festival, www.thewalnutfestival.org This annual event (since 1911) is held on the third Thursday after the first Monday in September, and it continues into the weekend. The events occur in Heather Farms Park including lots of food booths, live music, carnival rides, art, and more. See their website for more details.

Walnut Creek, Downtown Fine Arts Festival, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us The streets downtown are filled with art vendors displaying their wares for sale.

October Clayton Oktoberfest, www.claytonoctoberfest.com This event includes a parade, lots of German food and beer, a carnival, street performers, live music, craft vendors and a lot more! There is some unique entertainment that’s lots of fun for kids. See their website for more details.

Clayton, Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees, www.cvpumpkinfarm.com For the entire month of October, they offer a plethora of pumpkins to choose from, and a Halloween gift shop. There’s a lot for the kids to enjoy too. There is a minimal charge for the other entertainment including the train ride, animal feeding, duck races, and Pumpkin Playland. Pumpkin Playland is an enclosed play area with a variety of features such as a giant Tunnel of Straw and huge Bean Pots to play in. Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 79


Concord, Halloween Parade and Costume Contest The children parade, and then there is a costume contest afterward. There are, of course, treats for the kids. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Martinez, Teddy Bear Tea Located at the Senior Center. Call 372-3510 for more details.

Pleasant Hill, Annual Art, Jazz, and Wine Festival, www.pleasanthillchamber.com A two-day annual event held downtown with live music, art, and food.

Walnut Creek, Howe Harvest Festival An old-fashioned family-friendly celebration with pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, a maze, and more! Call 930-7731 for more details.

November Martinez, Light Parade and Snow Park Kick off the holidays and come see snow in downtown Martinez! There is a small fee for the snow play area and a separate fee for the sliding hill which includes the cost of using their sledding disc. The kids will love it, and Santa will be there too. There are lots of activities for the children. Call 372-3510 for more details. Local mom says: “Our Christmas stuff tends to be pretty low-key and home-centered. We usually go out to look at lights, but we just walk around our neighborhood. Last year we had a lot of fun at the Snow Park in Martinez, where the downtown merchants got together and brought in 17,000 pounds of real snow. There was a children’s play area and two saucer-sledding runs. [He] liked the saucer runs so much we must have gone back ten times. If they do it again this year, I recommend everyone try to go early, as the snow in the play area had gotten pretty icy by the time we got there late on the second day.”

Walnut Creek, Model Railroad Society Holiday Show, www.wcmrs.org Large indoor model railroad is decorated for the holidays. Take your train loving toddler to this annual event.

Walnut Creek, Annual City Holiday Tree Lighting, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us There is music in the gazebo, tree lighting, and Santa! But be prepared; although the live music in Civic Park usually starts around 6 pm, it can be much later before the tree is lit and Santa shows up. Toddlers can become restless.

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Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek on Ice, www.iceskatewalnutcreek.com An ice rink opens in Civic Park. Special skates are available for preschoolers. See the website for current price listings.

December Clayton, Annual Tree Lighting and Caroling For more details call 672-2272.

Clayton, Annual Christmas Tea with Mrs. Claus and Santa The tea takes place at the Clayton Community Library. It is reasonably priced and lots of fun for the kids. Parents can use their own camera to take pictures of their child(ren) with Santa or Mrs. Claus. Call 672-2272 for more details.

Clayton, Annual Clayton Counts Down New Year’s Eve Nite The fun begins early enough for the little ones to participate, and there is no alcohol. Family friendly games and fun are provided. There are lots of bouncy houses. Food is available for a small donation. For more information, call 889-1600.

Concord, Official Tree Lighting and Mayor’s Sing-a-Long Local school choirs perform on the stage at Todos Santos Park, and then there is a sing-along for the holidays. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Concord, Santa’s Grand Arrival Santa comes to Todos Santos Park to visit with the children at this annual event. Meanwhile, there is also a special farmers market adding to the festive mood. Call 671-3464 for more details.

Martinez, Letters from Santa To receive a letter from Santa for your child, call 372-3510.

Martinez, Breakfast with Santa There is a minimal charge for this annual event held in the Senior Center. Call 372-3510 for more details.

Martinez, Morello Hills Christian Live Nativity, www.morellohills.org Local Mom Says: “At Christmastime, we love to go to the Live Nativity at Morello Hills Christian Church in Martinez. It is setup outdoors as Bethlehem 04 BC, with live animals and project stations like a carpenter’s hut and pottery station and bakery where kids can do crafts. Actors walk around in period costume, as Roman soldiers and shepherds—all takes place around Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 81


a warm campfire. Each hour, they re-enact Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem, and the birth of Christ. There are also carolers and refreshments. It is a peaceful and refreshing break from the rush of the mall. I always say that it just brings down the holiday buzz.”

Pleasant Hill, Holiday Festival, www.pleasanthillrec.com This annual festival is a lot of fun for the little ones. It is held at the Pleasant Hill Community Center. There are crafts, live entertainment, a gift fair, and Santa is there too! Admission is free.

Pleasant Hill, Breakfast with Santa, www.pleasanthillrec.com This event is for children ages 2 - 5 and their parents. Children under 1 are admitted for free and must be in a backpack. In addition to eating with Santa, children get to make a holiday craft.

Walnut Creek, Holiday Pancake Breakfast with Santa, www.thewalnutfestival.org Organized by the Walnut Festival Association.

Walnut Creek, Santa at Broadway Plaza Local Mom Says: “We see Santa at Broadway Plaza because it is a fun and festive place for the kids to be. The set up for the Santa is nice and the line is not too long and it seems more like the days when we were kids. Then after we see Santa we go and get something hot and sweet to drink and walk around to window shop!” Local Mom Says: “Last year we ended up at Broadway Plaza. Their packages are very expensive, but unlike Sun Valley Mall…NO LINES.”

Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek on Ice, www.iceskatewalnutcreek.com An ice rink is open in Civic Park. Special skates are available for preschoolers. See the website for current price listings.

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Chapter 8

Day Trips • • •

• • • •

Antioch ~ 20 miles east o Contra Loma Regional Park and Swimming Lagoon o Prewett Family Park - Antioch Water Park San Jose ~ 50 miles south o Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose Berkeley ~ 18 miles west o Habitot Children’s Museum o Lawrence Hall of Science o Tilden Park: The Little Farm, Merry-Go-Round, Train and Lake Anza Oakland ~ 20 miles west o Chabot Space and Science Center o Children’s Fairyland o Oakland Museum of California o Oakland Zoo San Francisco ~ 27 miles west o Exploratorium o Pier 39 and The Ferry Building o Randall Museum o San Francisco Zoo Sausalito ~ 40 miles northwest o Bay Area Discovery Museum Vallejo ~ 20 miles northwest o Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (formerly Six Flags Marine World) Fairfield & Rio Vista ~ 30 miles north o Jelly Belly Factory Tour o Western Railway Museum Sacramento ~ 70 miles northeast o California State Railway Museum and Old Sacramento

Distances above are measured as driving distances from 260 Walnut Ave. Walnut Creek, CA – where the Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club has its general meetings. We start with trips to the east and work our way around the compass. Keep in mind that we have chosen these day trips for our target audience, toddlers and preschoolers. There are many, many wonderful things to see and do in the Bay Area that are not included here. These are our favorite day trips to do for the purpose of enriching the lives of our children ages 0 to 5. These are also the trips that we think will give you the most bang for your buck. Some of the places to go above are even free. Yes, free! Which ones? Oh, okay—The Little Farm in Tilden Park, The Randall Museum, the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, seeing the sea lions at Pier 39 and walking around the Ferry Building, Pier 39 or Old Town Sacramento. There are many day trips that you will end up taking when family and friends come to visit. You’ll end up taking your toddler with you to Alcatraz or on a cable car ride. Both of those are fun and I’m sure your young child will enjoy (except of course for the waiting in line part). They’re also extensively described and in every guide book to the San Francisco Bay Area out there. Remember, our guide book is different. This chapter is full of wonderful gems that are especially designed for your little one’s enjoyment and that are also fun for the parents. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

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Contra Loma Regional Park 1200 Frederickson Lane, Antioch, CA 94509 (925) 757-0404 www.ebparks.org/parks/contra_loma Swimming Lagoon Hours Generally the swimming lagoon is open on Saturdays and Sundays in April and May from 11 am – 6 pm. For the summer months of June, July and August it is open every day from 11 am – 6 pm. In September it is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 6 pm. Closed all other months. Please check the website for specifics before you go. Weekends in the summer and the 4th of July holiday can get very crowded. We’ve found the weekdays to be peaceful and pleasant. Swimming Lagoon Beach Access Fees $3 adults (ages 16-61) $2 children (ages 1-15) $2 seniors (62+) or disabled Free infants (under 1 year) The parking fee to enter Contra Loma Regional Park is $5 per car. Once in the park there are hiking trails around the reservoir to explore and many picnic areas. To enter the swimming lagoon area there is an additional fee. Even though Contra Loma’s swimming lagoon is open primarily during the summer, it is so wonderful that we had to include it in our book. And they are open weekends starting in April and continuing after the summer into October. The parks department website calls it “the lake’s swim lagoon,” but we want to clarify that by saying that it is really a huge pool with clean, chlorinated water and wet sand in the shallow end. The pool is in the shape of a quarter circle with sand all around the outside edge. There is lots of room for little ones to play in the wet sand, so bring your sand toys. There is not a lot of shade from trees so we also recommend that you bring an umbrella. The swim lagoon has restrooms and a concession stand that sells snack items like popsicles and drinks. In addition to the swimming lagoon, Contra Loma’s 780 acres, include an 80acre reservoir for year-round fishing, hiking and biking trails. There is no swimming allowed in the reservoir and no alcohol allowed in the park. Contra Loma is located 24 miles, 32 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Prewett Family Park Antioch Water Park 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA 94531 (925) 776-3070 www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CitySvcs/Prewett Water Park Hours The water park is open during the summer season. Check their website for specifics. Admission Fees $6 for anyone over 2 years of age Free children (ages 0-2) Free parking Even though Concord has a large water park, for younger children we recommend the Antioch Water Park. The Prewett Family Park, as it is called, is a modern, well designed water park. Grass and trees create a park-like atmosphere. The shady tot area with a nice large shallow pool is fenced off so little ones can’t wander. There are a series of slides and pools for older children. The Otter Slide is pretty small and easy for a 3-5 year old although it dumps the child out in water where they might not be able to stand. It’s helpful to have two adults—one at the bottom and one at the top. Life jackets are available at the park. Each slide has a height requirement: • Otter Slide: must be between 30” and 48” • Humphrey’s Slide, Rattler’s Run & Crystal Slide: must be taller than 42”, guests under 48” must wear C.G. type 3 life vest • Canyon Cooler: must be taller than 48” The park has nice clean restrooms and a snack bar. No outside food or drink or coolers of any kind are allowed in the park (except for clear water bottles) but there are picnic tables just outside of the park if you do bring your own lunch. Prewett Family Park is located 25 miles, 34 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110 (408) 298-5437 www.cdm.org Museum Hours Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm Sunday, noon - 5 pm Members’Only Hour, Sunday, 11 - noon Closed Mondays Admission Fees $8 adults (ages 18-59) $8 children (ages 1-17) $7 seniors (60+) Free infants (under 1 year) The preferred Woz Way parking lot is $5.00, and works best when putting a $5.00 bill or $1.00 bills into the machine. The machine does not give change. We have gotten good recommendations about this museum so we decided to include it even though it is an hour away. They have a multitude of hands-on exhibits: Secrets of Circles, The Wonder Cabinet, Art Loft, Bubbalogna, Current Connections, Kids’ Bank, Kids’ Garden, Pizza Please, Post Office, Step into the Past, Streets, Theatre, and WaterWays. The big 52,000 square foot purple building, designed by Mexico City-based architect Ricardo Legorreta, is a real center for learning and discovery. Reasonably-priced food and beverages are offered in the Kids’ Cafe. The surrounding Guadalupe River Park offers ample space for picnics. A local mom says: “They have a GREAT water play area called “Water Ways.”” The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is located 53 miles, 61 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Habitot Children’s Museum 2065 Kittredge, Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 647-1111 www.habitot.org Museum Hours Hours are subject to change. See their website for current hours. Admission Fees $6 adults (10% discount Senior/Disabled) $7 children Free infants (under 1 year) Habitot offers free admission days throughout the year as part of their family outreach program. Check their website for the free days and also discount coupons for admission. Parking in the nearby garages is reasonably priced. It is also close to BART. Habitot has hands-on exhibits, a drop-in art studio and many events, all perfectly tailored for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and families. The museum’s six small-scale theme exhibits create a learning, discovery and play space for kids and their families. Fun exhibits encourage parent child interactions with multisensory learning games and activities. The theme areas include: Recycling Center, Waterworks, Drop-in Art Studio, Little Town Grocery & Café, Infant-Toddler Garden, and the Wiggle Wall. Habitot is a wonderful little hands-on museum. They pack a lot of things to do into their small basement space. A toddler or preschooler will feel instantly at home and excited about all the things to do. An older child will not. This is not like the Exploratorium or the Lawrence Hall of Science where there are activities for older children also. This really is a young child kind of place. That said, it is also very adult friendly— comfortable places to sit. It’s easy to keep an eye on your child and adults can do the art activities as well. There are many restaurants nearby for lunch after a fun morning at Habitot.

Habitot is located 18 miles, 31 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Lawrence Hall of Science Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA (510) 642-5132 www.lawrencehallofscience.org Museum Hours Open daily 10 am – 5 pm, closed Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission Fees $10 adults (ages 19-61) $8 student/senior/disabled (ages 5-18; 62 plus) $5.50 children (ages 3-4) Free children (0-2 years) Parking in the nearby lots is run by the university, so bring change or $1 bills. It’s a nominal charge and parking is easy—it’s far enough above the campus that students don’t park there. Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) is the public science museum and research center for K-12 education at the University of California, Berkeley. They have many permanent and rotating hands-on exhibits. Most of their exhibits are geared toward school-age children, but there is still lot to do and look at for the pre-school age child. The outdoor area is lots of fun for preschoolers with sand and water exploration. Lawrence Hall of Science is on Centennial Drive in the Berkeley hills east of the main UC Berkeley campus. It is just above the UC Botanical Gardens. It is not easily accessible from BART, but there is plenty of parking if you drive. You can bring your own lunch into LHS and eat in the cafeteria or buy lunch there. We were pleased to find the food selection there tasty and healthy with quite a few different options.

LHS is located 18 miles, 31 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Tilden Park: The Little Farm, Merry-Go-Round, Steam Train and Lake Anza Entrances off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Blvd. in Berkeley, CA 94708 (510) 843-2137 www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden Tilden Park is a very large regional park on the eastern border of Berkeley. It has beautiful large trees, tranquil glades and wildlife to see. There are many wonderful hikes in Tilden Park. Here we are just highlighting the attractions that are especially fun for toddlers and preschoolers: the Little Farm, Merry-Go-Round, Steam Train and Lake Anza. Note that even though the website says that there are snack bars at various locations in the park, we have found that not always to be the case. The snack bar at the Merry-Go-Round was open on our last visit and served hot food. The snack bar at Lake Anza was not open and the vending machines stole our change. We suggest that you pack a lunch or some snacks. Parking throughout the park is free.

Little Farm Hours Open daily year-round 8:30 am - 4 pm Admission Fees Free The little farm has cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. Bring lettuce or celery to feed the animals (only lettuce and celery are allowed-anything else will give them a tummy ache). Next door to the little farm is the Environmental Education Center (also free). Inside the EEC there are exhibits depicting the story of the Wildcat Creek watershed, an environmental puppet theater, and a nature supply sales desk. The EEC offers many classes throughout the year-many of them for toddlers and preschoolers.

The Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round Hours: The Merry-Go-Round is open year-round 11 am - 5 pm on weekends, weather permitting; weekends during the Easter season or spring break (beginning late March or early April); summer break (mid-June through Labor Day). The Merry-GoRound closes in November until the day after Thanksgiving, when it reopens nightly through December 23, 5:30-8:30 pm rain or shine, for its “Christmas Fantasy� holiday spectacular. Santa

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visits Mondays and Tuesdays. The Merry-Go-Round closes after December 23 and reopens on weekends beginning January 6. Call to confirm dates and hours: (510) 524-6773. Admission Fees $2 per ride; $10 for 7-ride ticket book Tilden's Herschell-Spillman merry-go-round is a splendid antique carousel with hand-carved and beautifully painted wooden carousel animals to ride. The calliope plays music to make any child's heart sing. The grassy area next to the merry-go-round is a nice place to have your picnic lunch. Bring a blanket.

Redwood Valley Railway Steam Train Hours Weekends Year Round: 11 am - 6 pm (or dusk). Weekdays, spring break and summer (check website for specific dates): noon - 5 pm. Allow 1 hour (the wait is usually only 15 minutes). Admissions Fees $2 per ride, or 5 ride tickets for $8, children under 2 are free The Steam Train offers rides along the scenic ridge on a scaleddown steam train. Each ride lasts about 12 minutes. For information, call (510) 548-6100 or go to www.redwoodvalleyrailway.com.

Lake Anza Hours Daily: April 8 – April 15, 11 am-6 pm; Weekends: April 21 – May 13, 11 am - 6 pm; Daily: May 19 – September 23, 11 am – 6 pm; Weekends: September 29 – October 7, 11 am-6 pm; Swimming is generally prohibited November through March. Beach Access Fees $3.50 adults (ages 16-61) $2.50 children (ages 1-15) $2.50 seniors (62+) or disabled Free under 1 year Swimming in Lake Anza can be a fun summertime activity, although as this picture shows, the fog can roll in and cool everyone off even in July. The sand is nice and there’s lots of room to spread out so bring your sand toys. Tilden Park is located 15 miles, 27 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Chabot Space and Science Center 10000 Skyline Blvd. Oakland, CA 94619 (510) 336-7300 www.chabotspace.org Museum Hours Wednesday & Thursday 10 am – 5 pm Friday & Saturday 10 am – 10 pm Sunday 11 am – 5 pm There are special holiday hours and closings-check website or call before you go. Parking is free Admission Fees $13 adults $10 seniors (65+) $10 students with valid ID $9 children (ages 3-12) Free children (ages 0-2) Admission prices include the planetarium show The Chabot Space and Science Center has many exhibits in addition to a planetarium. Wander through a kaleidoscope of whirling galaxies and stars to the outer reaches of the universe... Marvel at the wonders of our neighbors, the Moon and Mars... Explore natural processes and patterns like craters, volcanoes, and atmospheric turbulence. This museum is for older preschoolers who are starting to ask about planets and the moon and of course school age children. There are different planetarium shows that they offer, so inquire which would be best for your age child when you arrive. On weekends the Discovery Lab is open, full of hands-on activities especially geared toward preschool to 1st grade aged children. The theater has various IMAX type movies that are shown throughout the day for an additional charge. For example, they have shown the Living Sea and Dinosaurs Alive.

Chabot Space and Science Center is located 20 miles, 32 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Children’s Fairyland 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610 Phone (510) 452-2259 Recorded Info. (510) 238-6876 www.fairyland.org Park Hours Winter 2007-2008, November 2 – December 9, Friday through Sunday and national holidays, 10 am – 4 pm, December 14 – 23 Fairy Winterland, noon – 7 pm, December 24 – January 4, Closed. Allow 3-4 hours plus lunch there. Admission Fees $6 ages 1 to 100 Free infants (under 1 year) There is some free parking and some metered. Bring quarters. Fairyland has areas depicting fairy tales and nursery rhymes as well as a puppet theater and an animal petting area. Puppet shows are presented all year round, three times a day (11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm), at their Storybook Puppet Theater. Like everything else at Fairyland, puppet shows are included in the Fairyland admission fee. Some of our favorite rides at Fairyland are the Jolly Trolley and the small scale carousel. Recently we have found that some areas of the park are closed for renovation or not as nice as we’d like. Many of the talking storybook boxes don’t work (don’t bother buying a key to hear them). Fairyland has a lot of visitors and the park shows wear in some places. However, for the preschool age child it is a very fun outing with lots to keep them happy and entertained. We also found their snack bar near the Jolly Trolly to have healthy, good tasting choices for lunch.

Fairyland is located 18 miles, 31 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak Street at 10th Street, Oakland, California 94607 (510) 238-2200 www.museumca.org Museum Hours Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm Sunday, noon - 5 pm Closed Mondays and Tuesdays First Friday of each month open until 9 pm The museum will close at 3 pm on November 21, Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and New Year's Eve. (Dec. 31). Museum closed on New Year's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. Admission Fees $8 adults $5 seniors (65+) $5 students (youth and adults, with valid ID) Free children (ages 0-5) Free second Sundays Parking is available in their underground garage, or you can park in the lot located at the Kaiser Events Center next to the museum on 10th Street. The Oakland Museum of California is a complex of terraced gardens and three main galleries depicting the ecology, history and art of California. It is the only museum devoted to the art, history and natural sciences of California. Their permanent art collection is wonderful and the museum attracts many visiting exhibits. The Oakland Museum of California is located 20 miles, 28 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Oakland Zoo 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605 (510) 632-9525 www.oaklandzoo.org Zoo Hours The Oakland Zoo is open daily from 10 am - 4 pm, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. The children’s rides area, train, and sky ride open at 11 am. In the event of inclement weather, the zoo may be forced to close. Admission Fees $9.50 adults (ages 13-54) $6 seniors (55+) $6 children (ages 2-12) Free children (under 2 years) Parking is an additional fee of $6 per car. The Oakland Zoo is a wonderful zoo for children. It might be a little smaller in comparison to other zoos around the country, but it is well maintained, the animals have large enclosures and the children’s area can’t be beat. The new children’s area is located near the lower parking lot. There is a petting area with sheep and goats, a large fruit bat enclosure, American alligators, tortoises, the amphibian house and the ever popular bug house. Don’t miss the bug house-it’s the building with the large bugs on the outside. In the middle of the new children’s area is a large grassy play area, a pond to walk across on lily pad stepping stones, a tunnel to climb through and large cement animals to climb on. Of course, you don’t want to miss the rest of the zoo up the hill. The rest of the zoo is easy to do in a day. Located near the main entrance is the café that serves lunch for a rest and recharge. If you want to bring a lunch and picnic there are many picnic tables at the grassy area near the lower parking lot. Back inside the zoo, don’t miss the elephants that have a large area to roam around. For those not afraid of heights there is a ski lift type ride that takes you up the hill and back to view the camels and bison from above their enclosures. There is an extra charge for this ride. Located outside of the park near the upper parking lot is a ride area. Get your hand stamped at the main entrance in order to go out to the rides and get back into the zoo. There is a train ride for kids and adults that takes you out along the edge of the zoo and around the hill to get a great view of the bay on a clear day. There is also a carousel, a roller coaster and some carnival-type rides for the kids to enjoy. There is an extra charge for all the rides. The Oakland Zoo is located 22 miles, 30 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek. 94 – Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club


Exploratorium 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) EXP-LORE www.exploratorium.edu Museum Hours Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am - 5 pm Closed Mondays (Except Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day), Closed Thanksgiving, Closed Christmas Eve at 3 pm, Closed Christmas Day Admission Fees $14 adults (ages 16-64) $11 seniors (65+), students (18+ with ID) and people with disabilities $11 youth (ages 13-17) $9 children (ages 4-12) Free children (ages 0-3) The tactile dome is an additional charge and you must be 7 years old or older to enter. There is free parking at the Exploratorium, nearby on the street and at Crissy Field. The Exploratorium is an experimental, hands-on museum designed to spark curiosity—regardless of your age or familiarity with science. There are hundreds of exhibits to touch, pick up, and tinker with. The museum is located in the Palace of Fine Arts. The Exploratorium stands in the vanguard of the movement of the “museum as educational center.” It provides access to, and information about, science, nature, art, and technology. Children of all ages enjoy exploring the many exhibits here. The Exploratorium is located 30 miles, 47 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Ferry Building One Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111 www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

Pier 39 2 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94133, www.pier39.com Hours The Ferry Building shops are open Mon. – Fri. 10 am – 6 pm, Sat. 9 am – 6 pm and Sun. 11 am – 5 pm. The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is on Tuesdays from 10 am – 2 pm and Saturdays from 8 am – 2 pm. Pier 39 shops and attractions open at 10 am, closing times vary depending on the season, but it is not gated and you can look at the sea lions any time of the day. Fees $3 carousel ride at Pier 39 Free looking at the sea lions on the floating docks at Pier 39 Parking is expensive in the Pier 39 garage. Read below for information about public transportation or park at the Ferry Building parking lot which is more reasonably priced. Another transportation alternative is to park at the Oakland Ferry Terminal and take the ferry over to the Ferry Building in San Francisco (www.eastbayferry.com). The reason that we are including these very “touristy” areas of San Francisco is that it is fun to go see the bay and watch the boats and the sea lions with our little ones. Parking can be expensive in the garages, but taking BART and the street cars of San Francisco is a fun reasonably priced alternative. Take BART to the Embarcadero station and walk down Market to the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero. Watch a ferry come in or leave and stroll through the arcade to look at the food shops. The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays is interesting and a good place to get a healthy snack. The Saturday market gets pretty crowded around lunch time. The Tuesday market is easier to navigate with a toddler or stroller. From the Ferry Building it is 1.3 miles to Pier 39 along the waterfront. You can get some exercise and walk it or take the streetcars/trolley cars. The historic trolley cars (Line F Market) stop directly in front of the Ferry Building and go to Pier 39. The cost is $1.50 per adult and children under 5 are free—get a transfer so that the return trip is free for each adult (www.streetcar.org). At Pier 39 there are shops, a carousel and the sea lions to see (and hear). The sea lions at Pier 39 are in residence in large numbers in the winter— up to 900 sea lions, most of which are male. During the summer months, the sea lions migrate south to the Channel Islands for breeding season. The Ferry Building is located 25 miles, 35 minutes and Pier 39 is 27 miles, 39 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Randall Museum 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114 (415) 554-9600 www.randallmuseum.org www.ggmrc.org/ggmrc Museum Hours 10 am - 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. All exhibits are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Drop in on Saturday between 1 pm and 3:45 pm to create all kinds of art and science projects. The Golden Gate Model Railroad Club’s train layout is open Saturdays only from 11 am - 4 pm. Admission Fees Free Free parking in their lot The Randall Museum is a great little museum tucked on top of a hill overlooking San Francisco. We debated about putting it in our book, because it is really not that big. But since it is free and all the exhibits are interesting and well done, we decided to include it. They have an exhibit room with rotating exhibits that are science related. When we were there it was all about bees. The earthquake lego tables in the hall provided lots of fun for our 4 year olds. The animal room is really interesting with a chicken coop, snakes, a huge honey bee colony seen through plexiglass and other native animals. There are craft rooms used for classes and the Saturday afternoon open craft time. The outside area is nicely landscaped and fenced in. Children will enjoy walking on the paths and exploring. We didn’t go on a Saturday so we didn’t see the model train layout in the basement, but I’m sure it is very interesting. The view from the patio of the museum is beautiful on a clear day. The Randall Museum is located 28 miles, 40 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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San Francisco Zoo 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 753-7080 www.sfzoo.org Zoo Hours Open from 10 am - 5 pm daily, 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Children’s Zoo is open daily from 10 am - 4:30 pm. Within the Children’s Zoo, the Animal Resource Center and Family Farm are open daily from 10:30 am - 4:30 pm. Admission Fees $11 adults (ages 18-64) $8 seniors (65+) $8 youth (ages 12-17) $5 children (ages 3-11) Free children (ages 0-2) San Francisco residents with proof of residency receive a discount on admission. The first Wednesday of every month admission is free for everyone (the zoo may limit attendance on these days). Parking in the zoo’s parking lot is $6 for the day (it is limited and fills up quickly on weekends). Free street parking is available along Sloat Blvd. The San Francisco Zoo is a wonderful zoo. We’ve been there on crowded warm weekend days and foggy, misty days during the week and enjoyed both. The zoo is large and there is a lot to see and delight. We like the big old trees and the grassy open spaces. It is pleasant to walk around, but there is lots of walking so bring a good stroller. The children’s zoo area is a large farmyard with sheep, goats, ducks and chickens. In the nearby animal resource center you may see an owl, an armadillo or a North American porcupine up close and even being fed or exercised. We saw the porcupine being exercised by a keeper and it was fascinating how he followed her around. In May 2004, the spacious new African Savanna exhibit opened, featuring giraffe, zebra, kudu, ostrich and other African wildlife roaming together in a lush, 3-acre habitat. Walking through the exhibit on the trail and going through the tunnel is great fun for our little ones. The lemur forest near the main entrance features five different species of these amazing primates from Madagascar in a large outdoor setting. They yell down from the trees at you (probably really at each other) and your kids will want to yell back. The zoo has a few cafes so we found it easy to eat lunch there. Both times we have gone the Little Puffer steam train has not been running. Rides on the train cost $3 when it is running. The San Francisco Zoo is located 35 miles, 51 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Bay Area Discovery Museum Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road Sausalito, CA 94965 (415) 339-3900 www.badm.org Museum Hours Tuesday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm; Closed Mondays, except when noted. The Museum is closed on Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day and the last two weeks of September. Admission Fees $10 adults $8 children (ages 1-17) $8 seniors (62+) Free children (under 1) Parking is free and plentiful The Bay Area Discovery Museum is absolutely one of our favorite day trips. In addition to being a great museum with tons of hands-on activities, it is located at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge so the views are fantastic. The museum itself is situated at Fort Baker and is housed in renovated army buildings. You walk in between the buildings to go from one exhibit or play area to the next so it never feels crowded or enclosed. There is also a large outdoor play area with a pirate ship, gravel pit, fishing boat and short trails to explore. We love the art room where kids can paint on the Plexiglass walls or shape the waxy sand into castles. There is another art studio for kids older than 5 where these “bigger” kids can enjoy more complex projects and tools. If you have a very young child you’ll find the tot spot fascinating for him or her—walking on waterbeds and looking up at goldfish swimming above you. And then there’s even more, an outdoor river with plastic fish, a puppet show area, and the bay hall, a playful simulation of the Bay Area, with an "Underwater" Tunnel, Fishing Boat and Fisherman's Wharf. Lunch at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s café is healthy and tasty, but can get crowded. You are welcome to bring in your own food and use their picnic tables. The café is open Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 2 pm and Saturday & Sunday, 11 am – 4 pm. Most of the seating for eating is outside, so make sure you bring your jackets and coats. The Bay Area Discovery Museum is located 35 miles, 56 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek. You can get there by going over the Bay Bridge, through San Francisco and then over the Golden Gate Bridge or by going over the Richmond Bridge and south to Sausalito.

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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo, CA 94589 (707) 643-6722 www.sixflags.com/discoveryKingdom Park Hours Vary – please check website or call before you go. Generally the park is open all summer and then Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays the rest of the year. The park is also open during school holiday weeks at the end of December and the beginning of April. Admission Fees $49.99 general admission (online specials are usually available—buy before you go) $29.99 children (under 48" tall) Free children (ages 0-2) Parking is $15 for all vehicles, including tour busses and RVs. Tram service is provided to and from the park's main gate. Discovery Kingdom is a large amusement park with a variety of activities. It is a combination wildlife park, oceanarium and theme park. From zebras to sharks, dolphins to alligators, butterflies to elephants, and cheetahs to penguins, they have tons of animals. Some of the animals are viewed in their enclosures and some are in shows—the killer whale show featuring Shouka is the biggest show. Be sure to check the show schedule when you first get to the park to plan your visit. In addition to animals and shows, Discovery Kingdom also features many, many rides. There are large roller coasters to thrill you and slower rides that can be enjoyed by the whole family. There are many rides appropriate for younger children. The Looney Tunes area has small rides and the new Thomas Town is a fun area where you can take a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine or fly in Harold the Helicopter.

Photo courtesy Cindy Solis

Discovery Kingdom is an expensive day trip, especially when you add buying snacks and lunch to the admission price and parking charge—we realize that, but overall the feedback we’ve gotten is that it is fun to visit. To get the most out of your visit go when attendance is lightest: weekdays during the summer and any regular operating day during the months of April, May, September and October. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is located 23 miles, 30 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Jelly Belly Visitor Center and Factory Tour One Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield, CA 94533 (800) 953-5592 www.jellybelly.com Visitor Center Hours The Jelly Belly Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am - 5 pm. Factory tours operate daily from 9 am - 4 pm, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter Sunday. They may also be closed the day before or after these holidays. Cafe hours are 11 am - 3 pm. Admission Fees Free for everyone (strollers allowed on tour) Parking is free and plentiful We highly recommend the Jelly Belly factory tour to everyone—who doesn’t like candy? The fact that it is free and they give you samples at the end of the tour is an added bonus. The paper hats that you have to wear on the tour are another free souvenir of the experience. The tours are more interesting when the candy makers are there making candy, so go during the week if you can. After the tour you can browse through all the Jelly Belly products in the visitor center or eat lunch in the Jelly Belly café. Factory tours depart approximately every 15 minutes throughout the day and last approximately 40 minutes. The wait for a tour may be as long as 90 minutes during Easter, Spring Break, summer and the winter holidays, however, the typical wait is just 15 minutes. They don’t take reservations—just go. On weekends and certain holidays, they still conduct the full factory tour, but since the candy makers are at home with their families, they give the candy making machines a rest. Video monitors show the different steps of our famous candy making process as you walk through the route. We love that you are up above the candy making factory floor and can easily see everything. There are windows placed at floor level so babies and toddlers can easily see as well. The most popular part of the tour with our youngsters is always the big yellow robots.

The Jelly Belly factory is located 20 miles, 28 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Western Railway Museum 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun, CA 94585 (707) 374-2978 www.wrm.org Museum Hours Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am – 5 pm From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Museum expands its hours for the summer, and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:30 am – 5 pm. Admission Fees $10 adults $9 seniors (ages 65+) $7 children (ages 2-14) Free children (ages 0-1) Parking is free and plentiful This unique museum is part train yard, train ride and history lesson. Included with your admission is a ticket to take an electric train trip through the peaceful, picturesque Montezuma Hills over the original historic main line of the Sacramento Northern Railway. As a living history museum, the Western Railway Museum gives visitors the opportunity to ride authentic historic streetcars and interurban electric trains from all over California and the western United States. All of the trains at this museum are electric cars, so they are fairly quiet—like riding the trolley cars in San Francisco. There isn’t a big engine at the front puffing away, so you can see the countryside out the front windows and enjoy the peaceful trip. They do a “long” train ride through the hills at various times throughout the day and then there is the “short” ride around the perimeter of the museum that leaves more frequently. Also available are guided tours through the train shed. Their train cars come from all around the world and are restored beautifully in full working order. You can ding the bells and open the windows if you want. The Western Railway Museum is located 40 miles, 48 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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California State Railway Museum 111 “I” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 445-6645 www.csrmf.org Old Sacramento www.oldsacramento.com Museum Hours The California State Railway Museum is open daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day) from 10 am - 5 pm. Hours vary for the shops and restaurants in Old Town Sacramento. Museum Admission Fees $8 adults $3 youth (ages 6-17) Free children (ages 0-5) Parking in the garages near Old Town Sacramento is reasonably priced. There is limited on-street metered parking. A scenic alternative to driving and parking is to take Amtrak to and from Old Town Sacramento. Amtrak offers frequent departures (9 each way) between our area and Sacramento. The closest Amtrak station to Walnut Creek is in Martinez. When the train arrives in Sacramento you are two blocks from the California State Railway Museum, an easy walk. Old Sacramento is a fun trip back in time. Walk on the wooden boardwalks and look in the shops. Take a gander at the Sacramento River and maybe you’ll see the drawbridge go up and down. The real attraction though here for our children is the California State Railway Museum, located at the corner of Second and “I” Streets. The California State Railroad Museum is chock full of full size, real trains. There are engines and passenger cars, sleeper cars (which rock as if the train were moving), freight cars and dining cars. Children and adults can climb in and out of the cars and look at everything. This museum is huge! Everyone we know with a toddler to preschool aged child loves this museum because the kids can climb, crawl and see so much (we think it also wears them out). Upstairs in the new Thomas W. Sefton Gallery is the exhibit Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains. This new exhibit features some 1,000 vintage toy trains, six interactive displays, and a magnificent operating toy train layout in 3,300 square feet. Every weekend April - September, you can take a ride behind a steam locomotive on the Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad. Also, in October and December, holiday train rides are offered. There is an additional charge for these train rides. Old Town Sacramento is located 70 miles, 1 hour and 15 minutes from the MDMC general meeting location in Walnut Creek.

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Chapter 9

Home Activity Ideas With all of the places to toddle around Mt. Diablo, you might like to take a break and just stay home sometimes! This chapter includes ideas for keeping the tiniest ones busy and engaged on those days. It is divided into four sections: crafts, games, fun with food, and outdoor activities.

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Crafts Local mom says: “When I go to the craft store, I look in the special clearance section, and sometimes I find those small kits at radically reduced prices. I pick them up and hide them—and then when we have a day where we have to stay in, I pull them out when the girls start getting that caged-in look. It's fun because it’s cooler than just pulling out the craft box, and it keeps them occupied for a couple of hours. I've found bracelet kits, foam kits, those melty bead kits and more. I grant you, it's sometimes a little messy but well worth it.” Bird Feeders Spoon peanut butter onto a pinecone, and then roll it in birdseed. Attach a piece of string to the top so that you can tie it to a tree branch. Fabric Paints You can decorate a t-shirt, an apron, a plain pair of Keds, etc. Finger Paints Recipe • 2 cups cold water • 3 tsp. sugar • ½ cup cornstarch • 1 Tbs. light corn syrup • Liquid food coloring • Small containers with lids 1. Whisk together water, sugar, and cornstarch in a small pot over low heat for 5 minutes until the mixture is clear and thick. 2. Add corn syrup. 3. Pour paint into small containers. 4. Add food coloring to each container to obtain the desired color. Mix well. Local mom says: “My girls love to do anything that involves painting, so sometimes I just cut an egg carton to resemble a caterpillar and let them paint it and then we put eyes and antenna on with marker and pipe cleaner…easy! “Another easy one is to tape toilet paper rolls (empty, of course) together and make binoculars. Stamps and foam stickers are always fun to use, too.” Funny Faces Cut out a bunch of individual facial features from old magazines such as eyes, noses, mouths, ears, hair, etc. Then let your child glue the features onto a paper plate or a piece of paper to create a funny face.

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Playdough Recipe • 2 cups flour • 1 cup salt • 2 cups water • 2 Tbs. oil • 4 tsp. cream of tartar • Liquid food coloring 1. Mix the first five ingredients together to create the dough. 2. Add food coloring to obtain the desired color. Mix well. Seed Ornaments Dip a pinecone in glue, and then roll it in glitter. After it is dry, attach a decorative string to the top for hanging. Shaving Cream Put some shaving cream on a tabletop or cookie sheets, and let the children finger paint with it. Supervise to ensure that children don’t get it in their eyes. You can easily clean the table afterward with just a damp cloth. Spin Art Let your child paint on a small piece of cardboard. Put it in an old salad spinner and spin away to make a masterpiece.

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Games Bath Time Fun Local mom says: “We are already excited about swimming this summer! We practice in the bathtub! The kids put on their swim suits and get their pool toys. [He] is mastering using his mask and snorkel and [she] likes goggles. We practice blowing bubbles, getting different parts of our faces wet, kicking to splash mommy, and bob for sunken toys! If all goes well, I might even be able to shampoo their hair at the end!” Local mom says: “[My son] loves to play with all the floating toys in the tub. He has rubber ducks and floating toys, but his favorite are the stackable cups. He just loves putting one thing inside another. My husband always muses that there are more toys than water in his little tub. We also love to sing songs, one of [his] favorites is "I won't grow up" from Peter Pan.”

Bowling Set up ten cardboard tubes or potato chip canisters in a bowling pin arrangement. Let your child roll a ball to knock down as many pins as he can. Beanbag Toss Decorate an old box, and cut some big holes in it. Then try to toss your beanbags in the hole. You can label your beanbags with letters or numbers and challenge your child to throw them in the right order. Crazy Shoe Race Make a pile of various sized shoes. Slip on any two shoes, and shuffle race across the room. The first one across wins! (Or forget about who wins and just keep running!) Discovery Box Fill a shoebox with items for your child to match in a book, such as a leaf, a banana, a hat, etc. Fort Making With blankets and chairs, help your child design a fort. They can read, rest, or play in it! Freeze Dance Play music and dance with your child. Encourage lots of movement, including twirling, jumping, etc. FREEZE when the music stops (whether by you, or just in between songs). Resume dancing when the music starts again.

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Memory Game Place five items, give or take depending on your child, in a paper bag. Let your child open the bag and look at the items for a minute or so. Then return them to the bag and see how many items she can remember. Local mom says: “Sometimes we also have an “it's not an Easter Egg hunt.” They are old enough to do this for each other now. One will hide a number of small objects in the living room, and the other gets to seek them out. If I'm not busy, I'll hide them for both of them.” Silence Game Set a timer for 30 seconds. Be silent. Then discuss with your child what sounds you heard. Variation: Have your child close her eyes and be silent. Make a sound: hit a drum, play a kazoo, tap your finger on the table, etc. Have your child open her eyes and see if she can guess what sound you made. Sink or Float Fill a plastic bowl with water. Then collect items that can get wet such as a paper clip, a quarter, a plastic toy, etc. Bring in your child, and put each object into the bowl to discover whether it will sink or float. Towel Trivia Cover your child with a towel, and then gently touch him and ask, “Is this a knee?” or “Is this a shoulder?” Traffic Help your child ‘lay out some roads’ on the floor with a roll of electric tape. Then hand him a basket of cars.

Wheelbarrow Course On a soft surface, create a simple obstacle course. Then help your child to become a wheelbarrow by holding her ankles while she walks on her hands. Help her navigate through the obstacle course.

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Fun with Food Butter To make butter you will need some whipping cream and a clean glass jar. Take the cream out of the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature. Then pour it into the jar and tighten the lid. Take turns shaking the jar with your child until butter forms. Afterward, pour off any residue and taste it on a piece of bread or a cracker. Decorate Cookies Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe. To decorate without frosting, adorn them with sprinkles or jam before baking. Otherwise, bake, frost, and decorate. Eatable Play Dough • 1 cup peanut butter • 1 cup honey • 1 cup powdered milk • 1 cup oatmeal Mix ingredients together and add food coloring if you wish. Give your child a snack-sized portion to play with. Ice-Cream in a Baggie Into a small Ziploc bag add: • ½ cup milk • 1 Tbs. sugar • ½ tsp. vanilla SEAL WELL Into a separate 1-gallon Ziploc bag, add 6 tablespoons of salt and fill it halfway with ice. Then place the sealed small bag into the big bag and SEAL WELL. Shake for 5 minutes until it becomes ice cream. Octopus Hot Dogs Poke two holes in the top of your hot dog for eyes and then cut the bottom half into four sections for legs. Microwave the hot dog to heat, and see how the “legs” have curled! Pomegranates Pomegranate juice is red, so be sure that your little one wears a bib. Slice a pomegranate in half, and then manually break the halves into manageable pieces. Give your child a piece and let him pull out and eat the seeds. This can keep a child busy for a very long time, plus it is healthy and develops small motor coordination. Toast Art 1. Pour a little milk into four separate cups. 2. Add food coloring to each cup to make four different colors. 3. Give your child a paintbrush and let him paint a piece of bread. 4. Toast the painted bread then butter lightly and eat!

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Outdoor Activities Buried Treasure Hide objects either in a sandbox or under a blanket. Let your little one search for and find them. Chalk Don’t worry about the mess—it sprays off easily. Draw on the sidewalk, or even the house! Colored Bubbles Add a little food coloring to your bubbles for some magic. Color Walk Let your child pick a color. Then go on a walk and see how many items she can find in that color. Nature Hike Pocket Saver Wrap a piece of tape around your child’s wrist to create a bracelet, sticky side out. Tell them that anything they find on their walk should go on their special bracelet. Pressing Leaves Take a walk and collect some leaves with your toddler. Bring them home and arrange them on a piece of wax paper. Put another piece of wax paper on top, and press it with a warm iron for your child. The heat will melt the wax and seal the leaves to protect their color for a long time. Afterward, you can tape it on a window as the light will look pretty when it shines through. Spider Watch Fill a fine mist spray bottle with water and go outside. Spray some spider webs so that you can see its threads better. Give your child a magnifying glass to watch the spider, but explain that she shouldn’t disturb it. Stick With the Leader Trail a stick as you walk in the sand or mud. Create a fun path with circles and zigzags. Then have your child follow the path to you so that he can have a turn making a trail. Water Paint Fill a big plastic bowl with water and hand him a paintbrush. He will love painting on a concrete surface with his water color.

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Appendix 1

About the Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club The Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club is a social and support group for mothers with children under the age of five and expectant mothers. We exist to form and strengthen friendships for you and your family. Our club was formed in January 1993 to serve as a resource in our community. We are part of the Mother’s Club East Bay Council, which consists of eleven East Bay clubs and we are one of over 45 mother’s clubs in the San Francisco Bay area. Our club is based out of Walnut Creek and serves Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Martinez and Concord. Our club is only as good as our members make it. We encourage you to get involved, make new friends and have a great time doing it! Motherhood should be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and we’re glad to be here to share it with you.

MONTHLY • General meetings with socializing and guest speakers • Moms nights out • Newsletter • Outings for children SPECIALTIES • Babysitting co-op • Mom-dins (meals delivered in to new moms) • Playgroups SUB-CLUBS • Book club • Chix Flix (to see movies) • Hiking/Walking club • Wine Club • Working Moms OTHER • Seasonal parties for the whole family: Spring Fling, Summer Picnic, Halloween & Winter Holiday • Annual family yard sale • Community outreach • Summer family camp out • Volunteer opportunities • Welcoming teas

Who can be a member? The Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club welcomes moms of all situations—working, at home, single, adoptive and moms-to-be. Interested? Call our Hotline at (925) 927-2424 and leave a message for our Membership Coordinator Also, check out our website at: www.mdmcmoms.org Or come to a meeting. See the following page for meeting information.

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The Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club holds its general meetings on the fourth Monday of the month, every month, except December from 7-9 pm. Prospective members and guests are always welcome. Come see what we are all about.

Meetings are held at the Walnut Avenue Methodist Church 260 Walnut Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Give the gift of membership! Is your sister, neighbor or friend expecting or just had a baby? Give her the gift she really needs, a year’s membership to the Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club! When you join the Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club, you will enrich your life and your children’s lives. Go to www.mdmcmoms.org and click on Gift Membership.

Mother’s Club Mission: The Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club is a social and support group for expectant families and families with infants and young children. We openly welcome parents of all situations: working, at home, single and adoptive. We exist to form and strengthen friendships for you and your family.

Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club P.O. Box 4748 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 927-2424 www.mdmcmoms.org

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Appendix 2

MDMC Playgroup Guidelines The purpose of a playgroup is to provide friends, fun and socialization for children as well as moms. Playgroups generally consist of six to eight moms and their children, who meet weekly at a designated time and place. Most playgroups are organized according to the age of the children involved, usually with other children who are born within a four to six month age span. There are, however, playgroups that exist for all age groups. All mothers are welcome to join as many playgroups as they want. Most playgroups meet at local parks during the warmer months and in the homes of the playgroup members when the weather gets colder. The members of each group select their meeting place and activities based on the personalities and ages of the children in the group as well as the needs and desires of the moms. Playgroup Liaison Each playgroup will appoint a Playgroup Liaison who will serve as the contact between the playgroup and the MDMC Playgroup Coordinator. New members will call the Playgroup Liaison if they are interested in joining that particular group. The Playgroup Liaison will also notify the MDMC Playgroup Coordinator with any changes such as membership, open or closed status, meeting day and hours, etc. This person will also contact the Playgroup Coordinator with any problems that cannot be resolved within the group. The MDMC Playgroup Coordinator should be notified anytime that a member takes over the Playgroup Liaison position. Playgroup Secretary Many playgroups also create a secretary position that is rotated among the members, usually by the month or quarter. This person is responsible for the schedule and ensures every playgroup member is notified of meeting locations, changes in organization and/or rules. She should also be the person group members call when they are going to miss a meeting. Playgroup Rules We suggest each playgroup determine a set of ground rules for itself. Moms should discuss how to handle some problems that may arise such as fighting, hitting, colds and illnesses. Property destruction at homes during playgroup meetings may occur and guidelines should be created for indoor play. Additionally, moms should discuss when it is appropriate to drop a member who is not committed and open the playgroup to new members. Playgroup Courtesies Each member must be committed if a playgroup is going to be successful. Regular attendance is essential. If you are unable to attend a meeting the Playgroup Secretary or host should be notified. When a mom decides to leave a playgroup, the Playgroup Liaison should be notified.

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Playgroup Membership You must be an MDMC member in order to participate in an MDMC playgroup. If a playgroup member chooses not to renew their membership, they give up the privilege to participate in playgroup. It is not courteous to take a spot that a current paying member may want or need. Emergency Procedures 911 should be called for any life threatening injury. Playgroup members should discuss how to handle an emergency situation for a child and/or an adult. How to reach a husband, partner or family member may be important information to share. Pre-existing health conditions (allergies, asthma, diabetes, seizures, etc.), doctor’s name, hospital preference or health care provider may also be valuable information for playgroup members to have. EXAMPLE OF PLAYGROUP SCHEDULE The 2005 Mini Munchkins Meets Fridays at 9:30 am July 5 July 12 July 19 July 26 Aug. 2 Aug. 9 Aug. 16

Aug. 23 Aug. 30

Sept. 6

Sept. 13 Sept. 20

Walden Park, Walnut Creek Bring a bike or trike and let’s take the trail to the Ygnacio Bridge. Sammy’s Birthday Meet at Sam’s house for a birthday celebration. Oakland Zoo Meet outside the main entrance after parking in the upper parking lot. Civic Park, Downtown Walnut Creek This park has a water play area so bring a change of clothes. Lindsay Museum Opens at 10 am. Swim Party Meet at Amy’s house. Bring a towel and some water toys to share. BART Ride Meet at Pleasant Hill BART. We’ll catch the 9:50 train to Rockridge. At Rockridge we can visit a bakery and the local library. Round trip fare for adults is $3.60—kids 5 and under are free. Arbolado Park Bring any type of ball and we can play with all of them in the big field. Hap Magee Ranch Park, Danville Don’t forget the sand toys! Another park with a water play area. Bring a swimsuit, towel and sunscreen. April’s Birthday Celebration Meet at 10:30 am at The Jungle in the Willows Shopping Center in Concord. We will play for an hour and then have pizza in a party room. Ygnacio Valley Park, Concord Rodgers-Smith Park, Pleasant Hill

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Index by Interest

Animals

Art

History

Science

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) 3, 54 Borges Ranch 39, 78 Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees 51, 76, 77, 79 Deer Hill Ranch 51 Lindsay Wildlife Museum 43, 57 Martinez, Morello Hills Christian Live Nativity (Dec.) 81 Oakland Zoo 94 Pier 39 96 Randall Museum 97 San Francisco Zoo 98 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 100 Tilden Park Little Farm 89

• • • • • • • • • • •

Bay Area Discovery Museum 99 Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose 86 Concord, Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (Sept.) 79 Crafts 106-107 Habitot Children’s Museum 87 Lakeshore Learning Center 3, 66 Martinez Valentine’s Day (February) 76 Martinez St. Patrick’s Day (March) 76 Pleasant Hill, Annual Art, Jazz and Wine Festival (Oct.) 80 Randall Museum 97 Walnut Creek Art Festivals (various months) 42, 77, 79

• • • • • •

Borges Ranch 39 California State Railway Museum 103 Heritage Day (June) 78 Oakland Museum of California 93 Old Sacramento 103 Western Railway Museum 102

• • • • • • • • •

Bay Area Discovery Museum 99 Buchanan Field Airport Observation Deck 55 Chabot Space and Science Center 91 Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose 86 Exploratorium 95 Habitot Children’s Museum 87 Lawrence Hall of Science 88 Randall Museum 97 Sink or Float (Games) 109

Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 117


Trains

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Water Play

118 – Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club

BART 53, 96 California State Railway Museum 103 Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees (various months) 51, 76, 77, 79 Children’s Fairyland Jolly Trolley 92 Martinez, Waterfront Park 31 Oakland Zoo Train 94 Pixieland 20, 58 Randall Museum-Golden Gate Model Railroad Club 97 San Francisco Zoo’s Little Puffer 98 Tilden Park Redwood Valley Railway Steam Train 90 Walnut Creek Model Railway Society 43, 61, 80 Western Railway Museum 102 Bath Time Fun (Games) 108 Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose 86 Civic Park, Walnut Creek 40 Contra Loma Regional Park and Swimming Lagoon 84 Habitot Children’s Museum 87 Hap Magee Ranch Park, Contra Costa County/Danville 22 Hillcrest Community Park, Concord 16 Prewett Family Park – Antioch Water Park 85 Sink or Float (Games) 109 Sprayground, Pleasant Hill Park, Pleasant Hill 34, 60 Water Paint (Outdoor Activities) 111


Index Adult Education 67-68 Acalanes Adult Education Center 67 Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) 3, 54 Annual Christmas Tea with Mrs. Claus and Santa see Santa Annual Tree Lighting see Tree Lighting Antioch Water Park 85 Arbolado Park 38 Baldwin Park 8 BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) 53, 96 Barnes and Noble Book Store 3, 66 Bay Area Discovery Museum 99 Bay Area KidFest 77 Borders Books, Music and Café 3, 66 Borges Ranch 39, 78 Brazil Quarry Park 9 Breakfast with Bunny 76 Breakfast with Santa see Santa Brookwood Park 32 Buchanan Field Airport Observation Deck 55 California Pizza Kitchen 70 California State Railway Museum 103 Cambridge Park 10 Cappy Ricks Park 23 Chabot Space and Science Center 91 Chevron Family Theatre Festival 78 Chevy’s Fresh Mex 70 Children’s Art and Literacy Festival 79 Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose 86 Children’s Fairyland 92 Chili’s Grill and Bar 70 Civic Arts Education 67 Civic Center Tot Lot 11 Civic Park 40 Clayton Library 64 Parks 6-7 Clayton Community Park 6 Clayton Oktoberfest 79 Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm and Christmas Trees 51, 76, 77, 79 Coco’s Bakery Restaurant 71 Community First Five see First Five Center Concord Library 64 Parks 8-21 Concord Blvd. Park see Dave Brubeck Park Concord Community Park 12 Concord Recreation Division 67 Contra Costa County/Danville Park 22 Contra Loma Regional Park 84 County Connection Shuttle Bus 53

Crafts 106-107 Dad Day in the Park 77 Dave Brubeck Park 13 Day Trips 83-103 Deer Hill Ranch 51 Diablo Shadows Park 41 Discovery Kingdom see Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Egg Hunt 42, 76-77 Elephant Pharm 67 Ellis Lake Park 14 Exploratorium 95 Farmers Markets 49-51 Concord 3, 19, 50 Martinez 3, 50 Pleasant Hill 50 Walnut Creek 3, 50-51 Ferry Building, The 96 Finger Paint Recipe 106 Fireworks 78 First Five Center 66 Fresh Choice 71 Fuddruckers 71 Fun with Food 110 Games 108-109 Golden Hills Park 24 Grove Park, The 7 Habitot Children’s Museum 87 Halloween Parade and Costume Contest 80 Hap Magee Ranch Park 22 Heather Farm Park 42 Heritage Day 78 Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round 89 Hidden Lakes Park 25 Hidden Valley Park 25 Highland Avenue Park 26 Highlands Park 15 Hillcrest Community Park 16 Holiday and Annual Events 75-82 Holiday Highland Park 27 Home Activity Ideas 105-111 Howe Harvest Festival 80 Ice Cream in a Baggie 110 Japanese Summer Festival 78 Jelly Belly Visitor Center and Factory Tour 101 July Fourth Holiday 78 Jungle, The 56 Kaiser Permanente Farmers Markets 50-51 Katy’s Kreek 72 KidFest see Bay Area Kid Fest Lake Anza 90 Lakeshore Learning Center 3, 66 Lark Creek 72

Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 119


Larkey Park 43 Lawrence Hall of Science 88 Letters from Santa see Santa Little Farm at Tilden Park 89 Light Parade and Snow Park 80 Lindsay Wildlife Museum 43, 57 Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt see Egg Hunt Marie Callender’s 72 Martinez Library 64 Parks 23-31 Martinez Adult Education 67 Martinez City Park 30 Matteo’s Dream 16 MOM Day in the Park 77 Morello Hills Christian Live Nativity 81 Mount Diablo Adult Education 67 Mountain View Park 28 Movies Under the Stars 42 Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club 1-2, 36, 113-114 Nancy Boyd Memorial Park 29 New Years Eve 81 Oakland Museum of California 93 Oakland Zoo 94 Official Tree Lighting and Mayor’s Sing-a-Long see Tree Lighting Oktoberfest see Clayton Oktoberfest Old Sacramento 103 Outdoor Activities 111 Pier 39 96 Pinewood Park 33 Pixieland 20, 58 Playdough Recipes 107, 110 Playgroups 115-116 Pleasant Hill Art Festival 80 Library 65 Parks 32-37 Pleasant Hill Park 34 Pleasant Hill Recreation and Parks District 68 Pleasant Oaks Park 35 Pre-School and Parenting Fair 76 Prewett Family Park 85 Pump it Up 59 Randall Museum 97 Rankin Park 30 Redwood Valley Railway Steam Train 90 Restaurants 69-74 Rick Seers Park 17 Rocco’s Pizza 73 Rodgers-Smith Park 36 Rudgear Park 44 San Francisco Zoo 98 San Miguel Park 45 Santa Breakfast with Santa 81, 82

1202 – Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club

Letters from Santa 81 Santa at Broadway Plaza 82 Santa’s Grand Arrival 81 Tea with Mrs. Claus and Santa 81 Shannon Hills Park 37 Singing Flag 13, 78 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 100 Skipolini’s Pizza 73 Snow Park see Light Parade and Snow Park Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes 73 Sprayground 34, 60 St. Patrick’s Day 76 Streetcars 96 Sun Terrace Park 18 Swimming Lagoon see Contra Loma Regional Park Tatsu Sushi 74 Teddy Bear Tea 80 Tice Valley Neighborhood Park 46 Tilden Park 89-90 Todos Santos Plaza 19 Tree Lighting 80-81 Valentine’s Day 76 Walden Park 47 Walnut Creek Art Festivals 42, 77, 79 Libraries 40, 65 Parks 38-47 Walnut Creek on Ice 40, 76, 81, 82 Walnut Creek Model Railway Society 43, 61, 80 Walnut Creek Recreation Division 68 Walnut Festival 42, 79 Waterfront Park 31 Western Railway Museum 102 Willow Pass Park 20 Ygnacio Valley Library 3, 65 Ygnacio Valley Park 21


Local Outings with Your Toddler Do you have busy little explorer in your household? If you live in the Mount Diablo area, and you have a child under the age of five, then this may be the book for you! Co-authors Brenna Shafizadeh and Sarah Becker have teamed up with the Mount Diablo Mother’s Club to find the local favorites for the under five crowd and their families. There’s lots to do around here, and often it’s free!

“You’ll want to keep this book close at hand. When you are drawing a blank on what to do with your toddler(s) on a sunny/rainy/cloudy/cold - whatever day – it’ll give you a great idea for having fun together! A big plus—it’s local!” - Nes P. “The authors have given us a great gift with this book! I'm looking forward to taking my son, Max, to all the fun and exciting places that we didn't know existed!” - Laura Y. “What a wonderful and useful book! I have two toddlers of my own and this has been a wealth of information for fun places to go with my kids. It is long overdue.” Beth H. “This book will be a very useful tool for any new parent, especially if they are new to the area.” Karen D.

Mt. Diablo Mother’s Club P.O. Box 4748 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 927-2424 www.mdmcmoms.org

This book was published with the help of a Civic Pride Grant. Thanks to the City of Walnut Creek for their generous support!

Toddling Around Mount Diablo - 121 1


Toddling Around Mount Diablo  

Do you have a little explorer in your household? If you live in the Mount Diablo area, and you have a child under the age of five, then Todd...

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