Have you seen my list of 50 things to do in Sunnyvale? Number 36 on the list (not in any order) is Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling. The club invited me and a group of my friends to come check out the game. Joe, a lawn bowl Hall of Famer, and Pauline were our coaches for a beautiful Sunday afternoon lawn bowling session. We learned all about the Jack (a small white ball) and the bowls that you roll at the Jack.
A game easy to learn – and hard to master.
Joe and Pauline were constantly helping and correcting us, but in a fun way. This sport is also relatively inexpensive. You have to join a club near you, but they usually let you use their bowls for a while to try out the right size for you. I think every club around the area has a drop-in policy where you can check out the game.
There are quite a few places in the Bay Area to try out lawn bowling.
I have never been intrigued with flying – in fact I get really frustrated with flying video games. But, I find watching these little airplanes and flying objects fascinating.
There are few places in the Bay Area for model airplaneflying.
If you want to pursue this as a hobby you might want to join Bay R/C.
If you are like me a watch-only kind of person, your best chances to see the little flyers are at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale (parking is $6 from March to October). Rancho San Antonio also has a field for non-gas powered model airplanes.
For those of you who like to get hands-on education, the Hiller Aviation Museum offers the Drone Plex. Each Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 12 pm there are demonstrations; from 1 pm to 3 pm you can sign-up for the flight experience – (an extra $5 for 20 minutes; museum fee is $16 for adults and $11 for seniors and youth, 5-17 year olds, under 4 year olds are free). The museum also has flight simulators.
On the first floor it has the Heart Room. A lot of knick knacks and mysterious objects that encourage you to start a conversation, with yourself or whoever is listening. You can even make your own booklet, with writer’s prompts, designed by the Young Writers Program.
If you climb the stairs to the second floor, you’ll notice the surfboards and some modern art. While it also offers changing exhibits, the floor itself is the home of the history museum. Santa Cruz’s history is well displayed in various sections, from the Native Americans, to the farm workers, to the Hippies, all who shaped Santa Cruz.
The current exhibit: Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum runs until December 31st, 2017 and is a must-see! Understanding the system and the people behind the foster program was sad and eye-opening. Nevertheless they leave you with a plan on how to help and take action.
On the third floor you step into the Ballooniverse Addi Somekh’s space for balloon art. A small room with huge balloon sculptures. That made me smile. You can even make your own balloon hat in the hallway. On the opposite site is the Secret Garden, an outside area that lets you unwind and refocus.
While the eclipse was a great way to get your children interested in space, planets, and safety goggles, you should use this excitement to your advantage to teach them more about the universe. The Chabot Space Center in Oakland is one of the places you can go to learn about space, see movies in a planetarium, tour the telescopes, crawl into a black hole, and much more. They even had volunteers explaining a pinhole to see the storms on the sun (we saw three storms the size of earth!) and another volunteer was tracking the sun’s movement.
The exhibit that convinced my family to go is their current Art and Science of Pinball exhibit, through September 27th, 2017. Of course they let you play a variety of pinball machines. But they also explain the mechanics and help you understand it by singling out the technique and making you press a button to see it.
I loved the two pinball machines that were all see through! One digital, one mechanical, they both allowed you to see the moving parts while someone else played. It made us go back and find the examples in the exhibit.
Also two thumbs up for the Bean Sprouts Cafe with a lot of healthy and fun food options.
Santa Cruz, aka Surf City, was the first city in the United States to learn about surfing. In 1885 three Hawaiian princes took a break from boarding school in San Mateo and taught the locals how to surf.
The Surfing Museum in the old lighthouse in Santa Cruz lets you in on over 100 years of surfing history. The museum is free, but kindly asks for donations. Listed in decades, it takes you through the advancements of surfboards and the history of local surfers. You can see the board that was attacked by a white shark, including two of the teeth left in the board!
From here, if you start walking towards the boardwalk, you come across the memorial for surfers that have left the earth for good. Behind the memorials are some surfing rules by Sam Reid.
If you continue your walk there is another tribute in form of the surfing sculpture (“This monument is dedicated to all surfers – past, present, and future…”).
I had a fun time watching the young surfers (I assume this was a summer camp) trying out the waves.
The first thing I learned about PEZ at the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia was that it is short for the German word for peppermint: PfeffErminZ and the company that creates these famous dispensers and treats is Austrian.
This tiny museum was a great visit. For $3 you get a tour with the owner who has a copiousness knowledge of PEZ.
The vending machines that give out PEZ took me down memory lane.The cutest dispensers, I think, are the mini Japanese editions – dispensers for four PEZ with all the famous characters, like Pikachu and Nintendo’s Mario.
The museum expanded to show classic toys, like Lincoln Logs and Mr. Potato Head and a section on Banned Toys, which was my favorite: The Atomic Energy Laboratory (with 4 samples of radioactive material!).
If you like Guinness Book World records you can view the World’s Largest PEZ Dispensing Machine.
I didn’t either, but there is nothing wrong with being late to the party. Except for the free scoops you might have scored at some ice cream chains. So keep the third Sunday of July marked for next year.
The most traditional ice cream in the area is It’s-it. A special ice cream sandwich were the ice cream is between two oatmeal cookies and then dipped in chocolate. It was created in 1928 at Playland At The Beach, San Francisco’s now gone seaside amusement park.
For all die-hard fans of the treat I recommend going directly to the factory store:
865 Burlway Road, Burlingame, CA
It is open Monday – Friday from 10 am – 5:30 pm
Here you can pick all your favorite flavors (vanilla, chocolate, mint, strawberry and cappuccino) mix-and-match. You might even score some flavors that are not available in stores (pumpkin or green tea), plus some cool merchandise.
Mountain View is not only a huge part of Silicon Valley, it also has the NASA Ames Research Center. To show off what they are doing to the public there is the free NASA Ames Visitor Center. It is at the main gate of the NASA Research Center and is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Currently they have construction going on and you can only park behind the center.
If you ever wanted to see a moonstone or wondered how the researchers work in space (think nerdy tiny house) this is the place for you! There was also a great photo opportunity to pose as a couple of astronauts.
The friendly guy at the counter offered to show any of the movies, e.g. several about Mars, or a tour of the International Space Station, for me since it was slow and no one else was around, but I had to decline because I was pressed for time. Maybe something to come back for?
Have you seen any of the movies at the NASA Ames Visitor Center?
The Charles Street Gardens in Sunnyvale opens its doors each Tuesday from 11 am – 1 pm. This is not only interesting for the curious gardener like me – always a pleasure to see what and how other people grow vegetables and more – but here the children’s garden is a special treat.
Kids are encouraged to feel, smell and touch the plants in a few raised garden beds.
The chickens that live in the coop next to it are a bonus.
I noticed before that the San Francisco airport has a lot of interesting art on display. Did you know that there is a museum located at the international terminal? It is only open till 4:30, so we missed the opportunity to go in last time we flew. But don’t worry there are different exhibits all around the airport.
We saw the funky shoes from around the world, a quick glance at Ancient Rome and examples of arts and crafts. For a complete list of the different exhibits you can check out the museum’s website.
There is also the SFMOMA store for your after art shopping fix.