What’s better than cozying up with a great book on a rainy day? How about getting outside and having a book-inspired adventure once the sun starts shining again? We’ve paired up a collection of new children’s titles by local authors with real-life, nearby adventures that you and your family can embark on, ripped straight from the stories!

For this pairing, we are spotlighting new books featuring the ever-popular (among the discerning under-eight literary critic circle) animal theme. From intrepid whales and sea lions to adorable baby bears and elephants, the stars of these picture books will keep you turning the pages, and the suggested activities will help bring the characters to life! Click through for our six recommendations for reading and adventure!

Recreate the Story of a Stubborn Sea Pup


Read this: Astro the Stellar Sea Lion, by Jeanne Walker Harvey. Illustrated by Shennen Bersani. No matter how hard the Marine Mammal Center staff try to return Astro to the Pacific Ocean, he just keeps coming back! Based on a true story, this book follows an orphaned sea lion pup from his rescue off the Northern California coast to his eventual placement at the Mystic Aquarium, in Connecticut. Photograph-like illustrations complement the endearing tale of the loveable, dog-like sea lion who refused to go back to the wild.

Then do this: The newly renovated Marine Mammal Center works hard to rehabilitate wounded animals and educate the public about ocean conservation. Visitors can watch the sea lions and seals hanging out in their temporary pens as they await release to the ocean. Kids will also enjoy climbing on the animal statues and touching bones and pelts in the education center. Just a few minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, the location affords gorgeous natural views—keep an eye out for deer, hawks, and coyote.

2000 Bunker Road
Fort Cronkhite
Sausalito, CA
Online: marinemammalcenter.org


Do you have any suggestions for other book-inspired local adventures? Tell us in the comments below!

—Emma smith