By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
Caltrain offers plenty of opportunities for kids enjoying their Spring Break.
The third week in April is the traditional spring break time for local students, and while these kids probably aren’t old enough to hit up Cabo or Daytona Beach, there are still plenty of amazing things for them to check out in the Bay Area. Most importantly for the local youth, many of whom do not have ready access to a car, Caltrain can easily carry them to these great locals. Here are just a few suggestions for kids who will rely on Caltrain for their spring break enjoyment.
Go watch a baseball game:
There is little doubt that AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is the most-visited and visible attraction along the Caltrain system. The park is just a block away from the San Francisco Caltrain Station on Fourth and King streets, and the site of fans flocking from the station to the game has now become an experience synonymous with Giants’ baseball. Luckily for kids on spring break, the Giants play three home games next week, including a day game on Thursday against the Dodgers. That game starts at 12:45 p.m., and hopefully will mark the finishing touches of a three-game sweep against that team from Los Angeles.
While AT&T Park is a must-see venue, it’s not the only place on the Caltrain corridor where fans can watch some top-notch baseball. The San Jose Giants—the minor league affiliate of the major league squad in San Francisco—play their games at San Jose Municipal Stadium, which is about a mile from Caltrain’s Tamien Station. Spring breakers can either make the walk, or connect with the Valley Transportation Authority’s 25 and 82 bus routes for a short ride over to the stadium. The San Jose Giants close out a seven-game home stand with a 12:35 p.m. day game against Inland Empire on Wednesday.
Explore the Exploratorium:
School may be out, but it doesn’t mean kids can’t learn a little bit during spring break, and visiting the Exploratorium in San Francisco hardly feels like your average field trip. The interactive museum is now located at Pier 15 on the Bay waterfront, which is accessible through a couple of connections with Muni’s N-Judah light rail line and its F-Market historic streetcar line. The Exploratorium offers plenty of engaging exhibits on natural science, culture, the human body and astronomy and space. Unlike other museums, the materials on display at the Exploratorium are meant to be tinkered with—so the oft-repeated phrase, “don’t touch that!” should be seldom heard within its confines.
Chill out and relax by the Bay:
Point San Bruno Park is a little hidden gem on the Bay in South San Francisco. About two miles from the South San Francisco Caltrain Station, the waterfront open space is an ideal end point for a short bike trip. Nestled just south of Oyster Point, the park is situated in an ideal spot to watch the boats sail by and the planes fly overhead from the San Francisco International Airport. It’s perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun.
Indulge your sweet tooth—in an educational way:
At this point, PEZ and its famous candy dispensers have transitioned away from merely being a sweet treat to a full blown cultural mainstay. How else would you explain a museum dedicated to this highly-addictive brick-shaped piece of tart goodness? Located just a block away from the Burlingame Caltrain Station, the Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia boasts a collection of every single dispenser sold. That’s more than 900 pieces. The museum also houses the biggest PEZ candy dispenser ever assembled, according to the good folks at Guinness. The site also provides a great alibi for kids on spring break—if mom asks them what they did all day, they can reply that they were at a historical museum.
Go ride a bike. Or a rollercoaster:
Students looking to get a little exercise during their time off from school can enjoy a series of new bike trails along the San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara. The creek, in an open space reserve, offers up plenty of natural scenic views. Since each Caltrain line has two cars set aside for bikes, cyclists can store their wares onboard before making the 25-minute jaunt from the Santa Clara Station to the creek. Once there, they’ll find plenty of well-maintained trails to explore.
If bike riding doesn’t pump the adrenaline quite enough, there are other options for students in Santa Clara. Great America, a massive theme park with plenty of rollercoasters and other hair-raising rides, will be open for three days next week to accommodate the hordes of local spring breakers likely to descend upon the site. From the Santa Clara Caltrain Station, the young thrill seekers can hop on VTA’s 902 light-rail line, or use one of several buses that make the trip between the station and Great America.
For more fun ideas with Caltrain, visit our “Track the Fun” page.