Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the Bay Bridge will be closed for five days beginning Wednesday at 8pm. Don’t let the closure stop you from experiencing a fun-filled Labor Day weekend. Whether you live on the Peninsula or in the City, we’ve come up with a variety of ways to play locally in your ‘hood. Labor Day staycation, here we come!



LEGO KidsFest
Ok, so San Jose is more south bay than peninsula but you have to admit, earning cool mom points for taking the youngsters to the LEGO KidsFest is totally worth the drive. Your little ones’ jaws will drop as they take in all that the LEGO KidsFest has to offer. From building workshops to life-size models constructed from LEGOs and tons of other cool LEGO themed activities. And go on, help your little builders at the construction sites, you know you want to.

LEGO KidsFestFriday, Aug. 30 from 4:00pm-8:30pm; Saturday, Aug. 31 & Sunday, Sept. 1 from 9:00am-1:30pm & 3:00pm-7:30pm
Admission: $19 for children ages 3-17; $21 for adults; FREE for children under 2.
Find out more information about LEGO KidsFest here.

Millbrae Arts & Wine Festival
Looking for some excitement this weekend but don’t want to travel too far? Well, Millbrae’s annual Arts & Wine festival is back at it again this weekend bringing you cool crafts, some of the best brews and of course, their awesome Kids’ Playland. While you and the other adults schmooze and jam to the live music, your little ones can climb a rock wall, zip-line and have a splash with Waterballerz! Yes, that last one is reminiscent of your old hamster’s ball but hey, it’ll have your little tykes screaming with delight.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. The festival will also have cool carnival games, face paint and a Classically Cool Car show. So no matter where you are in the Bay Area, the Millbrae Arts & Wine Festival is accessible by car, BART and Cal Train. Click here more information on the Millbrae Arts & Wine Festival.

Check out the tide pools
You don’t have to travel far to have a coastal getaway. With Half Moon Bay and Mendocino on the other side of the 92, you and the family are in for a treat. Your little ones can ooh and ahh over the tide pools at MacKerricher State Park or you and the family can visit a real lighthouse at the Point Cabrillo Light Station. This area has plenty for the whole family to enjoy. And did we mention that there’s always the beach, too?

Indulge your CuriOdyssey
One of San Mateo’s coolest spots for a family filled day of fun, wonder and animals is at CuriOdyssey in Coyote Point. Your little ones can busy themselves at the Tinkering exhibit, see bobcat feedings and catch some cool wildlife shows. The museum also happens to be close to an awesome Magic Mountain playground. And when the little ones tire of the play structure, you and the family can take in the view of the bay with a walk on the shoreline.

San Francisco

San Francisco Zoo
Enjoy a day at the fair at the San Francisco Zoo! With cool games and prizes, face paint and climbing wall, this county-fair style day at the zoo promises to be filled with all sorts of fun. And who can forget about the chance to see the brown bears, giraffes and howler monkeys? Not us! Get more information about the fair here.

Play Tourist!
With the bridge closure it’s going to be a bit difficult getting out of the city so why not revisit some of San Francisco’s coolest spots? Grab your little ones and trek back in time to the 1960s and see why the Haight is one of San Francisco’s most famous neighborhoods. From Amoeba Records, to the kabobs, crepes and more, explore the Haight’s kid-friendly atmosphere in a city day trip that will surely have your little ones enthralled.


Check out the Exploratorium
So it may not be at the Palace of Fine Arts where we’ve known it to be for so long. But the Exploratorium’s new locations proves to be, dare we say it, even better. Located on Pier 15, this indoor/outdoor museum brings back everything we love about the Exploratorium and more. Let your little tinkers tinker about in the Tinkering Studio, jump and have your shadow captured on the wall behind you in the always cool shadow box and take in a panoramic view of the bay at the Observatory. Check out all that the Exploratorium has to offer here.

Visit Golden Gate Park and the Botanical Gardens
Golden Gate Park is the place to be for family fun. Whether you’re taking a bike ride through the park’s many paths, renting a paddle boat for you and the little ones on Stow Lake or taking in the beauty of the lush green hills and trees, this park provides for a great family day out.

One of our favorite things the park has to offer are the Botanical Gardens. This Sunday, check out the cool arts and crafts offered in the Children’s Garden and start your day off right with a story in the Children’s Nook. The story theme this week is Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mole.

East Bay

Bay Area FamilyFest
Take the family out for a day filled with cool street artists, magic, face paint, zip lining and a petting zoo. This year’s Bay Area FamilyFest will be held at the Martinez Regional Shoreline and promises to a blast for the whole family. Spend the last weekend of summer with great food, music and games.

Take a Ride on the Niles Canyon Railway
Who knew you could ride Gold Rush-era steam engines, see conductors in old school wear and check out all things trains here in the Bay Area? At the Niles Canyon Railway, your mini conductors will be in awe of the cool trains and you’ll be quick to find your inner train enthusiast as you take a sweet ride on through historic Niles Canyon. Check out more information on the Niles Canyon Railway here.

Historic Rail Fair at Ardenwood Farms
If your little train enthusiast needs more locomotion in his life then head on over to the Historic Rail Fair at Ardenwoods Farms in Fremont. This fair celebrates the history of locomotives in a nifty celebration of all things trains. From model trains, equipment displays and hand-car rides, the Historic Rail Fair is a cool take on the history of trains. Find out more about the Historic Rail Fair here.

Pacific Pinball Museum

Pacific Pinball Museum
Alright. So, this could just be a way for us to revisit that part of our childhood we love. But the little ones don’t have to know that. The Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda is, well, pinball heaven. With 90 different pinball machines that take you back to the good ol’ days where you simply owned at this game, your little gamers will be in awe over the colors, sounds and flashing lights. So grab the your little loves and introduce them to what real gaming is all about at the Pacific Pinball Museum.

Appease your sweet tooth
If you’re looking to keep it local and low-key this holiday weekend, then grab your little ones and head on out on a sweet, delicious adventure: checking out the 4 coolest donut shops the city of Oakland has to offer. From the tiny delectable donuts served up at Donut Savant and the classic staple at Colonial Donuts indulge in a tasty adventure that will have your little ones begging for more.

Marin and North Bay

Spend a day in Mill Valley
Ok, so if you live on this side of the Bay Area, chances are the closure of the Bay Bridge won’t affect you too much. Ok, maybe just a smidge. But heck, residents on this side of the Golden Gate have some of the coolest things to do without having to go far. Take Mill Valley for example. This quaint town that’s located at the base of Mt. Tam is an awesome play space for the little ones. In fact, Old Mill Park is probably one of the coolest parks around. Um, that’s hallowed out Redwood tree that we used as a fort when we were kids, pretty cool. Not to mention that this low-key Marin abode is rich with history and some great eats. It’s a small-town get away that is fun and relaxing for the whole family.

Pointe Reyes
If your little wigglers are itchin’ to get out of the house and you know the park (again) simply won’t do, how about a day trip this Labor Day weekend to Pointe Reyes National Seashore. From hiking to browsing small shops on Main Street to the cool Pointe Reyes Playground, this day trip has everything you need. And the good thing is that it’s just a little ways away. At Pointe Reyes, your little explorers will have a blast at the playground that features a sandy play area and a climbing structure. And while you’re there, take in the coolest competition of the summer: the 32nd Annual Sand Sculpture Contest.

tomales bay

Explore the wonders of Tomales Bay
Another cool place to visit in the north bay, of course, is Tomales Bay. With an abundance of hiking trails, kayaking options, and picnic areas, Tomales Bay is the perfect weekend getaway destination for the holiday. Your little swimmers can swim in the bay’s usually warm waters, work their paddles during kayak lessons or alongside family and friends. And when the  day is over, stop by one of the area’s bragged about eateries.

–Natasha Artavia

photo credit: Kathleen Franklin via Flickr, Michael S. via Yelp, eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr


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