I have two kids, three and a half year old boys to be exact. Not the best financial decision I’ve ever made, but one I’m generally happy with. The thing about kids is, unlike succulents or house cats or me, they like doing things. My ideal weekend involves a minimum of movement, with most of that movement being dedicated towards feeding myself, but that’s on hold until I can get them to college. As such, my wife and I are always on the hunt for cheap and/or easy things to keep them entertained. Since its spring break, let’s look at some Caltrain-adjacent destinations to keep kids 10 and under from saying “I’m bored” for a week straight.
AT&T Park, San Francisco: The Giants are playing at home from April 6 to April 11. And while many of us spent our childhoods suffering in frigid Candlestick Park, kids these days can enjoy their garlic fries with a side of sunshine. Caltrain makes it easy, dropping you off a short walk from AT&T Park. So get yourself American and root, root, root for the home team.
Pez Museum, Burlingame: Just a block from the Burlingame Caltrain Station, you’ll find the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, a local institution that’s stood since 1995. With one of every Pez dispenser ever made on site, you can learn about the history of this childhood staple, and load up on candy in the process. With additional exhibits on both classic and banned toys, (yes, they have the atomic energy lab for kids, and yes, that’s a real thing) this charming spot should have enough to keep young kids entertained, and is located next to bustling Burlingame Avenue if you need to grab a bite or some caffeine.
The movies, San Mateo/Redwood City/Palo Alto: If you haven’t noticed, it’s hot out. That means it’s a good time to hide in the dark eating popcorn. Sherlock Gnomes and Peter Rabbit are there if you have the patience, and Isle of Dogs and A Wrinkle In Time are there if you couldn’t take another kids movie after Boss Baby. And if you think everything looks better in black and white, the Stanford Theater is playing Casablanca and Gaslight this week.
San Mateo County History Museum, Redwood City: It’s nice to remember that history isn’t something that happened in books but rather something that happened where we live. The San Mateo County History Museum does a great job of laying out that history, with rotating exhibits and fascinating deep dives into niches of local history that you can’t find anywhere else. It doesn’t hurt that it’s located in Redwood City’s vibrant downtown, so you can have some ice cream wrapped in a fresh waffle to wash down all that learning.
Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History, Santa Clara: My kids can spend an inordinate amount of time staring at trains. But since Caltrain isn’t synced to their attention span, model trains are usually a better choice. The Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History is found in the historic Santa Clara Depot that’s stood since 1863, and contains a lot of historical artifacts of the old days of California railroads. But my boys push right past that to stand on a stool with a rare sense of hushed awe at watching model trains go through tunnels next to tiny towns.
Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose: The Children’s Discovery Museum has long been the place to take your kids when they have more energy than they know what to do with. With a host of hands-on exhibits, you can stop worrying about them breaking something and let them go nuts in an educational manner. This large facility will all but guarantee you buy yourself a full night’s sleep after they get done exploring every nook and cranny.
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