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Around SF Bay: Family Fun Time


In spite of the high-tech culture of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, families in the Bay Area lean toward simple, old-fashioned fun on days off – and there’s plenty of reasons why. From retro arcades to marine life exploration and old-fashioned amusement parks, it’s easy to reconnect with each other on carefree and wallet-light outings in Walnut Creek, Alameda and Santa Clara.

Marine Life at Crab Cove, Alameda

Even on rainy or windy days, the beach at Alameda opens wide arms to families. The Crab Cove Visitor’s Center and Aquarium at Crown Beach is open rain or shine with an 800-gallon aquarium system and interactive marine stations for all ages. You’ll get hands-on with quirky projects such as building a crab from the inside out, viewing microscopic sea creatures, and exploring mudflats through the eyes of a lugworm.

The entire underwater world of the San Francisco Bay comes alive through special exhibits, and there’s even a chance to take a waterless plunge into a Bay simulation with lifelong shoreline models and underwater creatures. Check the schedule for free music concerts at the Cove, or spend the day grilling, windsurfing, or cycling around the beach park.

Old-Fashioned Amusement Park Fun, Santa Clara

Head over to the Great America Amusement Park near Santa Clara for some old-style fun with roller coasters, music shows, theater productions, and a dedicated water park. The park spreads over 100 acres with dozens of rides, including Goliath, famous for being the tallest wooden roller coaster still operating in North America.

Spend the day enjoying roller coasters, carousels, bumper boats, go-karts and special rides just for the little ones. The Boomerang Bay waterpark takes the fun to a new level with splishing, splashing, twisting and plunging on attractions with names like Ripsnort Ridge and Kookaburra Cay. Make a day of it with a group of friends by renting a cabana where you can eat, rest up, and get poolside drink service and free all-day tube rentals.

Pinball Nostalgia, Alameda

Tucked into a section of Webster Street in Alameda, the interactive Pacific Pinball Museum showcases at least 100 pinball machines that you can actually play. Separate sections house machines by decades, starting with the 1930s and including original wooden ‘pins’ that still work. You’ll learn all about the history of pinball gaming as well as the science behind it and the art of creating each machine’s personality. The machines are all set to free-play, so you can play to your heart’s content after shelling out the relatively small museum entry fee.

It’s easy to find your niche when living in one of our Bay Area apartment homes. Stop by one of our communities today for a firsthand look at amenities, location and move-in specials.