(credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Finding inexpensive fun things to do with kids in the pricey Bay Area can pose a challenge. Luckily, the Peninsula area is home to a number of affordable spots to entertain children. Options range from low-cost and free museums and zoos to hiking and an interactive farm. Here is a list of five of the best cheap activities to do with kids on the Peninsula.
1451 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301
One of Palo Alto’s best-kept secrets, the Junior Museum is great place for the kids to while away a couple of hours. The facility is divided into an outdoor zoo and indoor interactive museum. Kids with differing interests will enjoy learning about science, wind power and a variety of small mammals and birds. Admission is always free, but donations are happily accepted.
26870 Moody Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Tucked in the Los Altos Hills, Hidden Villa Farm is a non-profit farm devoted to educating the public about sustainable organic farming and animal husbandry. The large 1,600-acre property is home to not only extensive organic gardens, but also cows, sheep, chickens and hiking trails. Kids will love visiting with the farm animals on this working farm. Picnic areas are available and admission is free, but there is a $5 per car parking fee. For an enriched experience, check out Hidden Villa’s website for a full list of kids programs.
328 Lomita Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Well known for its open-air outdoor Rodin sculpture garden, the Cantor Arts Center is nestled within the Stanford University Campus and has a broad collection of international art. Open to the general public and always free, the center regularly holds special family programs every Sunday. Families can participate in museum tours, drawing classes and art creating studios. Each week has a special theme, and art supplies can be checked out for use throughout the museum.
Naval Air Station
Mountain View, CA 94305
Just inside the main entrance of Moffett Field, the NASA Ames Visitor Center is the spot to take any space-loving kid. On the smaller side, the visitor center can easily be perused within a couple of hours, and includes a few interactive exhibits. There are plenty of models and even a shuttle cockpit simulator. Museum admission is free, and there is a gift shop.
330 Distel Circle
Los Altos, CA 94022
The Mid Peninsula Regional Open Space manages an impressive network of undeveloped land within the Peninsula region. Much of the land is accessible to the general public and contains a vast hiking trail network. The MPROS website has an informative list of easy use trails that are accessible for strollers. Parents with both younger as well as older children can enjoy a number of hiking locations.