Firefighter helmet

When it rains – enlighten yourself

The day I explored Los Gatos it was raining. So, the cute upscale outdoor shopping district wasn’t  too much fun.

But what is the cultivated person supposed to do when it rains? Right, go to a museum. The NUMA  is a little gem. (Not only on rainy days!)

The high school exhibition Social Matters blew me away with the depth of the pieces. High schoolers from around the area painted, photographed, sculpted and wrote a piece about the art and the social matter that they were depicting.

Adi Lahav’s Fetal PositionTake for example Adi Lahav’s Fetal Position, a piece that speaks for itself.

Next was the hat exhibit, different hats with tools to make them.  Although just a one room collection a very interesting look at the history of different headgear and tops.


The More Than Your Selfie exhibit has, amongst other pieces of various techniques a very emotional video from Christina Nunez.

She tells her life story and how she used selfies as a therapeutic device.Cristina Nunez selfie with her mother

Art-o-matAs a special treat you can buy yourself some little art from the art-o-mat. I did not have $5 in coins, but sure will bring some next time! Have you ever used an art-o-mat?



What is your favorite museum?

Redwoods in Redwood Grove Nature Preserve in Los Altos

Where the secret giants are


giant redwoods at Muir Woods One of the must-sees for every visitor coming to the Bay Area are those “really big trees”. If you can, head over to Muir Woods and enjoy the short to medium hikes among the redwoods. If you like to park your car nearby you have to get there really early. Due to the micro climate it might even be a little damp.

Here in Silicon Valley there are a few patches of redwoods spread out. Notable is the walk at Redwood Grove Nature Preserve in Los Altos. This is only a short drive away, but it sure does transport you into the woods. Since this is a well kept secret you probably have the place to yourself. It is not much of a hike, just for show and tell. If you like you could have a picnic at next doors Shoup Park

Happy Earth Day! Now go hug a tree!

Lili hugging a redwood

Do you know a good spot to see redwoods?


The difference between a Redwood and a giant Sequoia

The trees you find around here are the redwoods. A redwood is the tallest of trees and can reach heights of more than 350 feet / 107 meters.  The giant sequoia is the world’s largest tree. It can grow to about 30 feet / 9 meters in diameter. To see the giant sequoia you have to go near the Sierra Nevada, as it grows only at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 feet.

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History is just a walk in the park

History is just a walk in the park

So, California’s first municipal state park is right around our corner, Alum Rock in San Jose founded in 1872.

Spring in Alum RockIn the 1930’s this park was well known for its mineral springs. Having over 20 different springs with minerals like magnesium and sulfur and naturally carbonated soda springs, a few doctors at the time attested their health benefits. The park also once had a natatorium, a heated indoor pool, plus about 50 mineral baths that pumped in the sulfur water right from the springs. Build in 1912 this was the major attraction in the park. It was closed after 1970, and only a plate remains where it used to be.

While doing the short mineral springs trail you can see the grottos once built around the springs to identify and protect them. And look for the tiled tubs that were holding tanks to warm up the water that was piped to the bathhouses for the actual baths.An old grotto at Alum Rock

But Alum Rock is also San Jose’s largest park, with various hiking trails, a lot of different picnic areas, a playground, a beach volleyball court and the Youth Science Institute.


Parking within the park is $6.


What is your favourite historic site?

A stand at the flea market

Go bargain hunting

Flea markets are great places to find bargains. It makes me feel great whenever I find something that I get a deal on. (Also, this is the only place I feel comfortable actually doing bargaining.)


I love these peacocks!The De Anza College ( in Cupertino has a huge flea market every 1st Saturday of the month. Parking is $5 on campus. This is the real deal, you can shop for anything and you get the professional vendors mixed in with the regular folks. Great place for buying plants, I got a rare tomato for $2!


This is a community fundraiser for student activities and programs. Do you need any more reasons?


Which one is your favorite flea market?

foot prints of an animal, at the Junior Museum and Zoo, Palo Alto

Visit a little people museum and zoo

The Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo  is probably something for the younger generation (toddler to about eight), my 11 year old felt for most of this like been there – done that. The suggested donation is $5 per person, which I think is very reasonable.

You first walk thru the touch and learn exhibit, where the little ones can turn and twist and move things. Next are the insects. I have to admit I am not usually a fan of creatures with more than four legs but here they are mostly in the height for your two year old to inspect.

giant turtle


Outside there are some local animals from snakes to bunnies (not in the same pen) to a giant turtle.

pretent to be a spider on this claiming netI think my 11 year old appreciated the climbing and balancing things best.  But for younger kids this is a real cool place to hang and learn.



Do you have a favorite zoo?