Cheers to mom! May is the month when we make sure that mom knows how much we appreciate everything that she does. If you are looking for something bigger and better than brunch this year, we’ve got you covered. From tea aboard an aircraft carrier to a fun run and hula lesson, we uncovered 16 non-brunch options that are guaranteed to have mom feeling the love this year.

Photo courtesy of the Exploratorium 

San Francisco

Free Day at the Exploratorium
Moms and families are invited for a free day of fun at the always enlightening Exploratorium. Take an interactive excursion through total darkness in the Tactile Dome. This is a first come, first served event, so remember to get there early!

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Pier 15
San Francisco, Ca 94111


Mother’s Day BikeAbout
Mom and her cubs will enjoy this leisurely hour-and-a half-long, docent-led cycling tour through the Zoo that finishes up with a relaxing continental breakfast. Arrive before the crowds and see the animals like you have never seen them before. Bring your own bike. Kids piggybacking on their parent’s bike are free. Pre-registration required.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 8:30-11 a.m.
Cost: $25/peddler (members), $35/peddler (non-members)

San Francisco Zoo
Sloat Blvd. and Great Highway
San Francisco, Ca

Mother’s Day Marina Green 5K & Kids Run
Make room for that fabulous brunch with a little lace-up-and-go event at the Little Marina Green. Get together with the whole fam for a quick 5K run through around the marina. (There’s a free, 15-minute kids run that kicks off at 9:45 a.m. as well). Reserve your spot now or sign up on race day between 7:55 and 8:55 a.m.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 9 a.m.
Cost: $5/adults non-members; $3/adult members and participants ages 13-17 years old; free for kids ages 12 and under

Little Marina Green
Yacht Harbor parking lot
San Francisco, Ca

Photo courtesy of The Culinary Dude


Kid Made Mother’s Day Brunch
Join the Culinary Dude and get the kids cooking! The kids will make a breakfast egg casserole, roasted breakfast potatoes and butternut squash bread pudding for mom to enjoy. The kids cook for the first two hours, then mom joins at the last hour to be served. Other guests welcome as well.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 10 a.m – noon (kids cook), noon – 1 p.m. (moms eat)
Cost: $75 for one child and mom; $45 for additional class attendees; $25 for additional meal guests

Uchiwa Ramen
821 B Street
San Rafael, Ca

Candy Land Mother-Daughter Tea
Girls, grab your mom for a walk down the gumdrop path into the lollipop forest for this traditional tea party. Register online or in-person at the event.

Date: Sat., May 13
Time: 2-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $15/person

Corte Madera Parks & Recreation
498 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, Ca

Photo courtesy of Redwood City Events


Almost Mother’s Day Kids Concert 
Moms with little ones will enjoy this kids’ concert and watching them bounce around in the inflatable playland. Need a last-minute gift for mom? Kids can create a gift for mom in the craft area.

Date: Sat., May 13
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Courthouse Square
2200 Broadway Street
Redwood City, Ca

Stanford Powwow
This annual Mother’s Day weekend event in its 46th year brings Native American music, dancing and food to the Stanford campus. All three days include social dances (public participation encouraged) and competitions. Saturday morning includes a fun run for the whole family. You can even camp overnight.

Dates: Fri. – Sun., May 12-14
Time: see schedule
Cost: Free, but donations welcome

Stanford Campus Eucalyptus Grove
Galvez and Campus Drives 

Mother’s Day at Filoli
A day surrounded by beauty is what you will get if you bring mom to Filoli this Mother’s Day weekend. Enjoy a barbecue lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. or buy some sweets, salads and sandwiches from the cafe.

Dates: Sat. – Sun., May 13-14
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free for member, non-members are $20/adult; $10/kid, 4 and under are free. Food is extra.

86 Cañada Road
Woodside, Ca

Mother’s Day Bouquet
What wildflowers will Mother Nature’s bouquet include to celebrate Bay Area moms this year? Join docents for this leisurely-paced, 3.5-mile walk to Borel Hill and (time permitting) back through Ancient Oaks Trail to find out.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Russian Ridge Preserve
Redwood City, Ca

Photo of Big Basin courtesy of Bill Rhoades

South Bay

Mother’s Day Walk: Women of Big Basin
Take mom out in the redwoods and learn some history of Big Basin with this guided walk. Living history reenactments bring you back in time where you will meet pioneer homemaker Alice Maddock; Josephine McCrackin, the “Savior of the Redwoods” and Harriet “Petey” Weaver, the first female Ranger.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 1-2 p.m.
Cost: Free, day-use parking $10

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, Ca

Mother’s Day Hike and Breakfast
Commune with nature and your offspring in this beautiful outdoor setting. The day start with you parking at the park’s visitor center ($8/car parking fee) and you then hike the 1.5 miles to the Ridge View camping area. Enjoy the abundant wildflowers and rousing renditions of “The Ants Go Marching” along the way. A western-style breakfast will be enjoyed with entertainment by Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower. A shuttle is available for those unable to walk to the breakfast site. Pre-registration required.

Date: Sun., May 14
Time: 8:30-11 a.m.
Cost: $16 adults, $9.75 kids

Henry Coe State Park
9100 E. Dunne Ave.
Morgan Hill, Ca

Mother’s Day at the Refuge
The eggs have hatched so head over to the Environmental Education Center for some Mother’s Day fun of the winged variety. There will be guided bird walks, a live bird show, crafts for mom and games.  Learn about animal conservation and see refuge animals in their natural habitats.

Date: Sat., May 13
Time: 10-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Environmental Education Center
1751 Grand Blvd.
Alviso, Ca

Photo courtesy of Ruth Bancroft Garden

East Bay

Mother’s Day Teacups
Relax with mom and create your very own succulent planter out of a vintage teacup. For ages 8 and up; register in advance. Also, take tours of the garden on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.

Date: Sat., May 13
Time: 10:30-11:30a.m. and 2-3 p.m.
Cost: $30 members, $35 non-members

1552 Bancroft Rd.
Walnut Creek, Ca

Park Street Spring Festival
Head for the historic Park Street District in Alameda for mimosas, live music, a kid zone and tons of super cool wares like jewelry, clothing, ceramics, and more. Entertainment includes four rad tribute bands: Zebop! (tribute to Santana), Joyride (The Cars tribute), Fu Man Chu and more. Moms can treat themselves to snacks such as gyros, tamales and funnel cake. Got a bike? The festival is offering free, super safe bike parking for folks who’ll pedal into town. Be sure to check out all the local Alameda business as there are many discounts to be found. 

Date: Sat. – Sun. May 13-14
Time: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: Free

Street Spring Festival
Park St. between Encinal Ave. and Lincoln Ave.
Alameda, Ca

Kuma Hula May Day Festival
Aloha! Grab your leis and shake out your hips, May Day is Lei Day! Introduce Mom and the whole family to a new cultural experience this Mother’s Day and head for the Alameda Fairgrounds for some Hula, music (which might include a Ukulele or two) and tasty Hawaiian cuisine.

Mother’s Day Special: The festival is offering a 50 percent off coupon for moms on their big day!

Dates: Sat. – Sun., May 13-14
Time: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: $10/person; $8/seniors;  free for kids 5 and under

Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Ave.
Pleasanton, Ca

USS Hornet Mother’s Day Officer’s Tea
Celebrate mom nautical style! This special Mother’s Day tea service takes place in the Officer’s Wardroom aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. Enjoy tea, finger sandwiches and other treats aboard this amazing historical landmark. Includes museum admission, a search and rescue demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard and a special salute to moms in the military.

Date: Sat., May 13
Times: noon and 3 p.m.
Cost: $30/adult, $20/17 and under

USS Hornet
707 West Hornet Avenue
Alameda, Ca

Where are you celebrating mom this year? Let us know in the comments below!

—Kate Loweth, Erin Feher and Gabrielle Cullen

featured photo: Ayren Jackson-Cannady