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Klamath - Trees of Mystery
This theme park is located on the Pacific Coast (off Highway 101) in the center of the world-famous redwood forests (near the Klamath River and about 35 miles south of the Oregon (border). The attraction is a 0.8 mile interpretive trail through the awe-inspiring redwoods -- part of which is devoted to the mythology of Paul Bunyan. In addition to a number of fascinatingly unique tree formations (i.e. "Trees of Mystery"), you'll find a 15-meter tall statue of Paul Bunyan, whose booming voice announces "Hi there, friend! Welcome to the Trees of Mystery!" along with his 10- meter tall Blue Ox, Babe. There is also an aerial tramway for viewing the spectacle from above.
Rohnert Park - Scandia Family Fun Center
Located about 50 miles north of San Francisco (on Highway 101), Scandia is best known for its two award winning 18-hole miniature golf courses that play through ponds, streams, fountains and gardens. Other attractions include bumper boats, batting cages, Lil' Indy Raceway and a grand arcade. Scandia also has parks in Fairfield Park and Sacramento.
Santa Rosa - Safari West
Safari West is an unexpected pleasure -- and one of our favorite activities! There is even a wonderful hotel on the premises. Staying at the Safari West Hotel definitely makes the experience extra special, and there is a very attractive Safari West Hotel & Tour package deal. However, there are Hotel & Tour packages with other local hotels too.
In the heart of California's wine country you'll find an oasis that will make you think you're in the middle of Africa... giving you a sense of freedom and inspiration! This is not a zoo or a park, but a home!
When you go through the gate, you'll be transported into an exotic new world. Sights and sounds of the Serengeti; Earthy smells; Melodious chirps from the aviary and squawks from gregarious parrots.
Sonoma - Sonoma Train Town
Located about 45 miles north of San Francisco (off Highway 12), between Napa and Petaluma, Train Town has the most well-developed scale railroad in the country. A ride on this miniature railroad takes you over 1.25 miles of track, 5 bridges and 2 tunnels. You'll also find a "petting zoo" and vintage amusement rides, including a 46-foot fully restored Ferris wheel and carousel.
Go San Francisco Card
Depending on the length of your visit, you can get cards that last from 1 to 7 days. They include FREE admission to over 45 top attractions, including Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, SFMOMA, a Cable Car ride, Deluxe Wine Country Tour, Golden Gate Bay Cruise, Monterey & Carmel Tour, Steinhart Aquarium, the Exploratorium, wineries, historic sites, botanical gardens, and more! Plus you get 20-50% savings on shopping, dining and tours. We think these are a great deal! You'll stay active and save money to boot! Checkout more details here.
San Francisco CityPass
Delivers up to 9 days of transportation, cable car rides and attractions, including Aquarium of the Bay (Pier 39) and The Exploratorium (one of my personal favorites if you have an inquiring mind!) and much more! In many cases, this can be a better way to get around than renting a car -- no traffic or parking hassles.
Fisherman's Wharf Pass
Depending on your plans, this can be a good deal. Fisherman's Wharf is San Francisco's #1 tourist attraction and this pass gives you 2 days (from first use) to visit 10 Wharf attractions, including a sightseeing tour and a San Francisco Bay Cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. Plus you get discount coupons for dining, shopping and tours in the area.
Pier 39 Attraction Pass - See Pier 39 details below
The Pier 39 Attraction Pass includes the Aquarium of the Bay; a Blue & Gold Fleet Cruise; the San Francisco Sightseeing Trolley Hop and a "Fun Pack" of coupons and discounts for shops and restaurants. Checkout more details here.
For San Francisco "Combo Cards" See Above
Concord - Pixieland
Located in the East Bay (about 1 hour east of San Francisco), Pixieland has been entertaining generations of children for over 50 years. It is definitely geared toward younger children. One of the main attractions is riding the miniature train around the park.
Fairfield - Scandia Family Fun Center
Located about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco (right on Interstate 80), Scandia is best known for its two award winning 18-hole miniature golf courses that play through ponds, streams, fountains and gardens. Other attractions include bumper boats, batting cages, Lil' Indy Raceway, a 25-foot climbing wall, Laser tag, climbing clubhouse and a grand arcade. Scandia also has parks in Rohnert Park and Sacramento.
Livermore - Boomers
Boomers is a chain of amusement parks that include attractions such as bumper boats, game rooms, go karts, laser tag and miniature golf. This park is located about 45 miles east of San Francisco, in the Tri-Valley area of the East Bay (near Pleasanton) off the 580 freeway.
Oakland - Fairyland
Fairyland is a 10-acre park located on the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt (in the East Bay just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco). It has been entertaining children and their parents since 1950 by bringing children’s literature to life. It is clearly designed for younger children and was one of our favorite outings when our own children were young. You'll find old-favorite storybook sets, gentle rides, friendly animals, amusing puppet shows and live entertainment. One admission fee covers a whole day entertainment.
San Jose - Winchester Mystery House
In 1984, Sarah Winchester (the Winchester Rifle heiress) began construction on a 160-room mansion. The building continued until she died 38 years later, and is filled with so many unexplained oddities, that it is now called the Winchester Mystery House.
The mansion includes 3 elevators, 47 fireplaces, hand inlaid parquet floors, gold and silver chandeliers and Tiffany windows. You'll be impressed by the incredible creativity, energy, and expense poured into every detail.
San Francisco - Pier 39
** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Located at Fisherman's Wharf on San Francisco Bay, Pier 39 has "something for everyone" in every age group... Shopping, outdoor dining, a theater and numerous attractions. The Pier 39 Attraction Pass includes: the Aquarium of the Bay; a Blue & Gold Fleet Cruise; the San Francisco Sightseeing Trolley Hop and a "Fun Pack" of coupons and discounts for shops and restaurants.
Kids will also love the Pier 39 Marina; the Riptide Arcade; the famous San Francisco Carousel; Sea Lions; Street Performers and Turbo Ride. Pier 39 is a definite "must see" when you are visiting San Francisco. Website: www.pier39.com
San Francisco - San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo, located right next to the Pacific Ocean, is Northern California's largest zoo. You’ll find 245 different animal species in naturalistic surroundings, as well as many Zoo activities & events.
Newest habitats include the 3-acre African Savanna; the Lemur Forest; Koala Crossing; Gorilla Preserve; Penguin Island; Australian WalkAbout; and the Lion House where the big cats are fed every day at 2:00 p.m. You can also enjoy the historic steam train and the newly restored Dentzel Carousel.
Santa Clara - California Great America
Located near San Jose (about 45 miles south of San Francisco), Great America offers "something for everyone:" Thrill rides for the daring; Family rides based on Nickelodeon characters; Nickelodeon Central's live characters that interact with kids; KidZville rides for parents and kids to enjoy together; Live shows, concerts and stage productions; and the Boomerang Bay water feature that provides welcome relief from the summer sun.
Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
This attraction is located about 30 miles south of San Jose (or 75 miles south of San Francisco). Voted the "World’s Best Seaside Amusement Park" in 2007, the 101-year old Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic amusement park that's located on a mile of beautiful sandy beach. The Boardwalk features both modern and classic thrill rides such as roller coasters and carousels, as well as Video Arcade Games, Laser Tag, Miniature Golf, Carnival Games, Bowling, Live Concerts, Fireworks and more. Admission to the Boardwalk is free and there's plenty of free summer entertainment. This is a truly unique California experience full of old-fashioned fun.
Santa Cruz - Seymour Marine Discovery Center
This center is an ocean science laboratory. It includes exhibit halls, an aquarium, touch tank and unsurpassed views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. You can hold a sea star and view the world’s largest whale skeleton.
This impressive public facility is dedicated to ocean science and conservation. Exhibits focus on research conducted by scientists on site and around the world. You can enjoy daily tours and hands-on programs!
Vallejo - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Located off Highway 37, about an hour northeast of San Francisco, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom can be reached by car, ferry, train, bus or BART. This is a 135-acre amusement park and animal park that combines wildlife, oceanarium and thrill rides into one action-packed package. The animal park has over 30 fabulous animal attractions, 197 different species and 1,700 animals (from zebras to sharks to dolphins to alligators to butterflies to elephants to cheetahs to penguins), some performing in amazing shows and others in their natural habitats. The amusement park has rides for young children and rides for families to enjoy together, as well as gravity-defying roller coasters for the bravest thrill seekers. This place could keep me entertained for days!
Sacramento - Fairytale Town
Located in William Land Park in Sacramento (1/4 mile off Interstate 5), Fairytale Town first opened in 1959. Designed for children from pre-school through 7 years old, this 2.5 acre park is based on popular fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The attractions include a Children's Theater, live performances, 20 colorful three-dimensional play sets, farm animals (Peter Rabbit, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Three Little Pigs, Eeyore the Donkey, The Cow that Jumped Over the Moon, The Little Red Hen House and Mary's Sheep) and a collection of colorful children's gardens (such as Mr. McGregor's Garden, which brings the "Tale of Peter Rabbit" to life).
Sacramento - Funderland Children's
Located in Sacramento's Land Park area (near Interstate 5 and Highway 99), Funderland is an old-fashioned, small-scale amusement park that's designed for children aged 2 to 12. Attractions include the Funderland Train, Dragon Coaster, Ocsar the Fish, Tea Cups, 2 Carousels and the Log Flume.
Sacramento - Scandia Family Fun Center
Located in Sacramento right on Interstate 80, Scandia is best known for its two 18-hole award winning miniature golf courses that play through ponds, streams, fountains and gardens. Both courses include obstacles (such as the giant windmill) that are hand-made replicas of actual buildings located all over the world. Other attractions include bumper boats, batting cages, gas power raceway, a grand arcade and the Scandia Screamer, which is a high-impact, 3 ½ “G” force, 65 mph thrill-ride. Scandia also has parks in Fairfield and Rohnert Park.
Vacaville - Nut Tree Village & Theme Park
The Nut Tree is located about 60 miles northeast of San Francisco (30 miles southwest of Sacramento) right off Interstate 80. In addition to shopping and dining, the park offers simple pleasures such as riding a traditional hobby horse, sailing and old-fashioned toy boat or playing bocce, as well as amusements such as the 44 year old Nut Tree Train, the classic carousel, the Harvest Express roller coaster, bumper cars and a hot air balloon ride.
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