Explore the natural habitat in and around Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area in ways you have never seen it before. A diverse calendar of animal and nature-oriented events this winter season provides family fun and education for all ages. Inspire your kids to learn and explore with a wide variety of adventurous events and learning opportunities from the multiple education and research centers located around the Silicon Valley.
1) Lindsay Wildlife Museum – Meet An Animal Keeper – Holidays
Inspire your children’s love of animals and encourage their dreams with Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s special Meet An Animal Keeper event. This fascinating live animal presentation begins at 3:15 on December 29, allowing your kids to get up close and personal with the Museum’s Animal Ambassadors, while also letting them ask questions about the animals and enquiries regarding their care. This special presentation lets your kids learn firsthand from Museum experts about what it is like to provide the comfort and care that the unique Animal Ambassadors require, and it offers an inspiring behind the scenes peek into the Wildlife Museum.
2) Crab Cove Visitor Center – Free Holiday Open House – During Christmas
With a memorable free event that is both educational and entertaining, the Crab Cove Visitor Center opens its doors on December 26, from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM for a holiday Open House that shows kids and adults the beauty and importance of the San Francisco Bay ecosystem. This special open house event includes crafts, games, and gifts. Planned activities include fish feeding, low tide exploration, and a chance to meet a snake and a turtle native to this diverse habitat. The 800-gallon aquarium system at the Visitor Center offers a spectacular up close view of the marine life present in the bay, and the educational exhibits emphasize the importance of preserving the delicate food chains and ecosystems that these amazing creatures depend upon to survive. The preservation efforts at Crab Cove allow for a natural and unspoiled environment that you and your kids will not find anywhere else.
Join the holiday celebration on December 7th at the Oakland Zoo with a special musical presentation performed by California Revels, a Silicon Valley live theater group established in 1986. Starting at 1:00 PM, this interactive and community-building live theater event brings multiple cultures and traditions together in a unique participatory holiday celebration for all ages. Inspire your kids’ sense of wonder and enjoy this magical revel free of charge with regular Zoo admission rates for a memorable and musical day out.
4) Oakland Zoo – ZooCamp Daytime Workshop for the whole family vacation
Starting November 25 and running through the 27th, the Oakland Zoo’s ZooCamp Daytime Workshop offers three wild days full of adventure and exploration for children K-5. This action-packed day camp at the Zoo lets kids learn about animals and the natural world in fun, silly and immersive ways, for an unforgettable educational experience. Each day is different, ensuring a fascinating new adventure every day. Fees are $55 a day for members and $60 for non-members, and registration is required.
Open on November 24, The Marine Mammal Center’s stunning free art exhibit, The Ghost Below, illustrates in shocking detail the effect that trash and ocean refuse can have on marine wildlife. Artists Judith and Richard Lang present a visual demonstration of the ocean’s beauty and fragility that was an entire year in the making. Inspired by and partially built from 450 pounds of fishing net garbage found in the stomach of one unfortunate dead sperm whale, this eye-opening art installation includes interactive exhibits to show the delicate balance of the ocean ecosystem surrounding the Silicon Valley, and ultimately bears a message of hope for a future where trash is reduced, reused and recycled for a cleaner and safer ocean environment.
Experience the fascinating and enigmatic world of insects like never before with the unique Big Bugs exhibit, open to the public at the San Francisco Zoo. This creative and interactive exhibit allows you and your kids to view normally tiny insects as larger than life sculptures that highlight the intricate and often beautiful details of different species of insects that go unnoticed all around us. Examine the scales of a giant butterfly wing, the compound eye of a dragonfly magnified 400 times, and many other small miracles at this unique and educational exhibit.
Celebrate food and farming traditions with Slide Ranch’s Family Farm days. On November 23rd from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, help celebrate the Give Thanks To Food event and learn where bread comes from and how it is made, from seeds to flour to fresh baked loaves with Slide Ranch’s homemade butter. Children can see the working ranch and learn about food culture and traditions around the world. This family fun event is $30 per person, with a family rate of $95 for families of 4 or more, and kids 2 and under can participate for free!
8) Ravenswood Open Space Preserve – Free Explorer Hike: Go Where Few Have Gone Before
Nature hikes are a great way to spend time with your children and encourage their love of the great outdoors. On November 20 from 10:30 to 1:30, docents Dennis Smith, Laura Levin, and Lynn Jackson provide an expert guided tour of the historical recovering northern section of the Preserve, offering a unique perspective on preservation efforts of this natural habitat. This leisurely two-mile hike is perfect for older and active kids, and it provides a great learning experience about the importance of environmental restoration.
The Silicon Valley and surrounding areas offer many unique opportunities for experiencing and learning about the natural flora and fauna in the environment we share. The wide array of family events available this season makes it easy to create lasting and educational memories with children of all ages, while inspiring and fostering a lifelong love of animals and learning.
- Bay Area in December: Holiday Fun for the Entire Family (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Bay Area Science Festival: Robot ‘zoo’ brings together kids, ‘bots (mercurynews.com)
- Photo Gallery: Coyotes Raising Kids in San Francisco (baynature.org)