Hallway of the fifth floor County Government Center, Santa Cruz

Admire young artists

Animal sculptures from students of the Tierra Pacifica Charter School, Santa Cruz

The County Government Center in Santa Cruz might not be the first place that comes to mind if you want to see local art. But while you are in to get a marriage license or to register to vote I strongly urge you to wander the halls of the first and fifth floor and admire the youth art exhibit. 300 artists from schools and art institutes in Santa Cruz County present their local talent until May 10th, 2019.

Mark your calendars if you are inspired. May 3rd is a First Friday Reception where you are invited to make art yourself.

Posters from students of Scotts Valley High School, Santa Cruz

‘Make art happen’ is the slogan of the Arts Council Santa Cruz County, and they are the driving force for this exhibit. In fact they exhibit year round at this location and at the Simpkins Family Swim Center, Health Service Agency, and other County offices.

I enjoyed seeing the different styles, from elementary to high school. They even have sculptures in the glass cases. My personal favorites were the political action posters from students of the Scott Valley High School, making us aware of equality, mental health of veterans, and gang violence issues.

Hallway of the County Government Center, Santa Cruz

The indirect lightning of the hallways might not be ideal for viewing the art, but I do appreciate a glimpse into the creativity of Santa Cruz County students.

Are you a supporter of youth art?

Sunnyvale Orchard Treasure Hunt

Sunnyvale Orchard Treasure Hunt

Before Silicon Valley this area was mostly orchards. There are still some places where you be reminded of this. I made a treasure hunt taking you to some of these places.  Enjoy!


You can do this alone or in a group, or even with competing teams. I attached the questions as a pdf, so you can print them out and off you go!


Please don’t google the questions – where is the fun in that?!


Duration: about 1 to 2 hours

Distance:  about 2 miles


Starting point: 490 W California Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (please obey parking restrictions)

  1. What is the Historical Landmark at your starting point?
  2. How old is the current structure?
  3. The neighborhood between Matilda, Maude, Bayshore Freeway and Fair Oaks Ave is named after a garden pest. What is it?
  4. Continue south towards El Camino. On the corner is a shopping center. What is the name?
  5. Write down the year C.J. Olson opened.
  6. Who is quoted saying the following: “My parents moved from San Francisco to Mountain View when I was five… Silicon Valley for the most part at that time was still orchards — apricot orchards and prune orchards — and it was really paradise.”
  7. Find the Heritage Museum of Sunnyvale. What trees are preserved in the Heritage Park?
  8. Make a picture of you / your group as a tree.


Send the answers to untilsuburbia AT gmail.com


Here is thePDF: sunnyvale orchard

I’d love your comments if you did this treasure hunt. Thanks!


coffee sop sign

Support your independent coffee shop

I have to admit it: I am a coffee snob. I remember when we drove across the country (east to west) in the late ‘90s it was hard to find a good coffee place. The free refill came as a light brown water that did not serve its purpose of waking one up.

But I also snub the coffee chains, mainly because they took away business from beloved independent cafes.

But in a place that runs on coffee, where a programming language got named after this invigorating drink, it makes utter sense for me to promote some independent coffee places here in Silicon Valley.

zombie runnerThe best coffee is served in a runners store called zombie runner, in Palo Alto

For this quirky location alone you should check it out! 


Red rock cafe is a great community place. They hold various events like coffee tastings , kids storytimes, and comedians. During the week it looks like 50 one-man offices. Find this place right on Castro St. in Mountain View.


Clocktower, also in Mountain View, roasts their own. This is usually one of my go-to gifts for coaches or teachers (they need coffee too!)  


What is your favorite independent coffee place?


(I am not affiliated with any of these places unless otherwise noted.)

Mural in Palo Alto

Mural, mural on the wall

Palo Alto might not be the first city you think of when murals are mentioned. On a closer look, the city is quite devoted to the wall paintings.


Greg Brown created magic for Palo Alto and the town put out a walking tour for his works:



underpass muralMy exploration for public art in Palo Alto started at Jerry Boden Park. If you go under the train tracks there is my favorite mural of the ocean and the creatures it might have.


Mural in Palo AltoFrom here, walking on California Ave towards El Camino Real there are multiple murals on the buildings in the side streets. It was really fascinating to me that there were so many just on this little stretch.


Have you noticed any of the murals in Palo Alto?

Junipero Serra statue

Give the founding father the finger

By now you might know I have a thing for giant sculptures. This figure of Junipero Serra is something between landmark and kitsch and can be seen from the 280 going north right after the 92. If you feel ready for a close up, get off the visitor center exit at Hillsborough. Statue of Juniperro SerraHere right of the restrooms is a small path going up to the pointing monk.

snake warning signBut watch out for snakes! While we were walking up to the padre we saw a snake and a few lizards.

Junipero established nine missions in (Alta) California. In spite of protests that he mistreated the native Indians, he became a saint in 2015.


More information on Junipero Serra:





What is your relationship with the founding father?

Voyageur du Temps pastries

Vive la france

France these days has plenty of reasons to celebrate.

They will on Sunday fight for the European soccer title against Portugal. Since they are the host country of this event their chances of winning are really high.

July 14th is Bastille day, the French independence day. If you want to read up on it on Wikipedia (Bastille Day) it reads like the final episode of Game of Thrones without the zombies and dragons.

If you are just looking for an excuse to eat French pastries you might want to go to Voyageur du Temps in Los Altos.

Now with plenty of time to plan ahead you can also bake your own croissants. Grab a bag from the Milk Pail and let them rise overnight. These are the real deal.

Or if you prefer a crepe with a bowl of cafe au lait I recommend Bistro Maxine in Palo Alto.

Are you celebrating Bastille Day?

grill in the park

Have a picnic weekend

Oh it is the season! Close your eyes and smell the burn.

So yes, BBQ season is upon us with the major holiday of Independence Day taunting you to cook and eat the perfect hot dog.


In most parks around here, if you are a small group, it is first come first served for the tables and grills. With larger groups you have to plan way in advance and make reservations.

picnic table in Cuesta Park, Mountain View, CA

My favorite gathering spot here in Mountain View is Cuesta Park with  huge grass fields to play in and picnic tables to hang. If you like a view with your hot dogs, I’ll recommend the Half Moon Bay State Beach. You can set-up right next to  the ocean.



If you are looking for a cultural setting for your picnic, the City of Mountain View presents children’s theatre in the park every Friday at 6:30.


Cupertino offers, on selected dates, Shakespeare in the park


And of course, there are free movies in the park. For a comprehensive list check out a fellow blogger of bayarekidfun:



Whatever the setting, enjoy the summer!


What is your favorite picnic spot?

Repository of fun

Repository of fun

Playland not-at-the-beach was founded out of fond memories from the Playland near Ocean Beach in San Francisco that closed down in 1972.


We started our visit with the magic show. A 20 min show with great tricks and fun jokes. Down the hall are memorabilia from the Cliff House and the Sutro Bath with posters explaining their history.


The Addams Family pinballBut of course we came here to play! There are several rooms with pinball machines. Sadly our favorite pinball the Addams Family had a flipper brocken. Not one of the major two flippers (I saw a machine where that was the case) but still it took away from the fun. Besides pinball, there are a lots of arcade games, some our grandparents might remember.



the yeti's grandsonA few rooms are dedicated for miniature houses that light up when you press a button and some things move.

One cabinet I saw with a lot of curious things.


There is a lot to discover and fun for a large group to enjoy themselves.
Do you remember the amusement park at the ocean?

The Lace Museum

Lace it up

When I saw that there is a Lace Museum  in Sunnyvale, I put that on my list on things to explore.


I hesitated to go in at first because it said on the front door to call (408-730-4695) if you like a tour. But, since I was there I might as well check it out, right?

(It turns out I misread it, you only need to call if you are six or more, they will give you a tour if you are a smaller group, or even by yourself.)

I got greeted with the words: “Welcome to the Lace Museum. Would you like a tour?” Perfect!


I have to say, I learned so much! Thank you. I still have a hard time picturing how people make these delicate laces by hand. They do classes and I will definitely check out their Christmas fundraiser, where they sell ornaments made with old lace.


A laced vest that uses hair and silkThey have one exhibit piece that uses hair and silk as the lace material. And on another piece there are  scarab beetles incorporated into it. I had no idea they are so shiny!


Currently they have an exhibit about wedding dresses. But, these special exhibits change.

This museum is an all volunteer base, so please come by, get the inside scoop on lace and donate, because they do a mighty great job.

Have you done lacing before?

Entrance to Raging Waters

Summer Water Fun

Growing up in Germany summer break always meant hanging out at the pool. So my first idea for my sons summer break was this indoor pool I always wanted to check out. Luckily I did some research first and found out that this particular pool is right now only open Friday thru Sunday for recreational swim.

Well the weather is pleasant and warm enough for an outdoor pool.

Have you ever seen Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure? Remember San Dimas?

waterslideWe are right next to Raging Waters, part of the trifecta water parks.

It was excellent to go on the first day of summer break since not all schools are on break at the same time. We mostly enjoyed the wave pool. But when we were ready to slide we walked right up to it! Excellent start dude!


Now let’s see what we’re going to do with the rest of the eleven weeks.


Do you have any fun activities planned for the summer?