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Europe: Paris, France
- Hearst Castle
Outdoor pool, priceless art, guest homes, tennis courts, elaborate entertaining rooms, theater, zoo, and
indoor pool. I LOVED this tour. Kid-friendly? No, of course not. The kids thought I was nuts. You had to reserve a tour
bus. You couldn't touch anything. It was hot. There were rules. But the more stuff I do like this, the more inspired I
become, which means more fun for everyone. See more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/cgb6gp
phone is 650-364-8226
- Zano's Family Italian & Pizza
After a day in the snow, let's just say those pizzas from Zanos were devoured FAST. Read more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c6pDGU
- Tahoe Donner Ski Resort
I like the Tahoe Donner Ski Resort because it appeals to beginners. With plenty of options for lessons, and a family-friendly atmosphere, it has everything you need to get started with confidence. Read more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c6pDGU
- The Marine Mammal Center
Stranded sea lions from up and down the coast are researched and nursed back to health. Visit the Marin Headlands too and make it part of a perfectly fun day on relatively few dollars. Read more at http://www.keepsmesmiling.com/
- Walt Disney Family Museum
The pundits say it is more appropriate for the older kids (6+), so I will wait before heading up with the family. But when we do go, I hope to find out what is really in that fairy dust... Read more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c6pDGU
- Tech Museum of Innovation
We started on the top floors and had fun with the alphabet robot, inventions to assist the third world, and
a simulated bobsled. But the engagement really deepened on the lower levels where kid-friendly exhibits were abundant. In
one room, there were hands on science experiments with videos of children talking you through the demo. We built circuits,
split light into different colors, and connected gears. See more at Keeps Me Smiling: www.keepsmesmiling.com
- California Academy of Sciences
At the Rainforest exhibit, we were greeted with lush plants, scaly lizards, bright tree frogs, and graceful butterflies. The spiral walkway escorts you through each level of the rainforest in a gradual and mesmerizing fashion. At the end, there is a special treat waiting for you at the bottom, as an elevator drops you off right onto the aquarium floor. It was a highlight for all involved. See more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c5DaTL
- Conservatory of Flowers
We detoured from the crowds at the California Academy of Sciences and visited the other side of Golden Gate Park - the Conservatory of Flowers. I had never been, but it exceeded my expectations. Read more at Keeps me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c6pDGU.
- Dole Plantation
Pineapples everywhere. A pineapple train, a pineapple maze, dozens of different pineapple plants - all different species. And there's also pineapple ice cream and pineapple upside down cake. A bit out of the way, and a big tourist attraction, but fun too.
- Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
One Fine Day On the Golden Gate Bridge. While you're there, check out the marine exhibits at the Farallones Visitor Center. Read more at Keeps Me Smiling: http://bit.ly/c6pDGU
- Hanauma Bay
Famous snorkeling spot on Oahu. Amazingly beautiful but also very crowded. If your kids wake up early, plan to get there before 8am or else you will encounter long lines. You are required to see a video before entering the beach park. Although it feels like Disneyland, once you get down there you will see the reason why. If I went again, I'd stay to the left hand side of the bay and snorkel those channels. If you are teaching kids, walk along the sandy channel while guiding your kids along the rocky edges of the reef so they can get a good view of the fish. If you can't go early in the morning, wait until later in the afternoon (post lunch). Any other time is just too crowded.
- Kailua Beach Park
Spent a morning in the pristine waters of Kailua beach. Kids enjoyed mini body surfing in the little waves, and the white sandy beach. Aqua-colored waters were stunning. For lunch, we found the Kalapawai Market Deli to be just right for young kids.
- Marin Headlands
Bring a picnic, a few chairs, extra clothes, a frisbee and a trail and make it a perfectly fun day on relatively few dollars. Read more at http://www.keepsmesmiling.com/
- Mount Diablo State Park
My kids LOVED the spot 1/2 way up the mountain called "Rock City", where there were ample boulders, caves and
rock formations to host a scrambling extravaganza. Read more at www.keepsmesmiling.com.
- Natual Bridges State Park
A remarkable aspect about California is that you can enjoy the beach during any month of the year. Try a tidepooling session at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. Read more at www.keepsmesmiling.com.
- Poplar Beach
The trails were very kid-friendly (well, as long as we didn't go over the cliff) and the crew especially enjoyed the enchanted forests along the way. Read more at www.keepsmesmiling.com.
- Ted's Bakery
If you are seeking a rest-stop on your drive along Oahu's North Shore, look no further than Ted's Bakery. Home of an authentic Hawaiian Plate lunch and Hula Pie. Limited seating outside so avoid peak lunch hours. Very kid- friendly (casual) setting. Directly across from the famous Sunset Beach.