Fall is the perfect season for outdoor activities in San Francisco and nearby Bay Area locales. The weather is generally at its best and daylight is still pretty long, so time out with the kids is almost guaranteed to be a success. The only thing that would make the time even better are free activities everyone can enjoy, and the Bay Area has plenty of those too. Read on for five free family-friendly activities this fall.
320 Bowling Green Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Date: Oct. 27, 2013
San Francisco Animal Care & Control presents this fun and festive event now in its 20th year. Meet the fluffiest tail-wagging citizens around and the humans who love them. This event has it all: assistance dogs from Canine Companions for Independence that help U.S. veterans nationwide, DiscDoGG and its talented flying dogs, onsite SF Animal Care & Control veterinarians offering $10 rabies vaccines, dog licenses and free microchips for licensed dogs and the Friends of SFACC Photo Booth whose professional photographers will capture a shot of precious Fido. Visit the website to learn more about this unique family-and-dog-friendly event.
Halloween Family Fun Fest
377 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
Date: Oct. 29, 2013
No tricks, just treats! Mommy & Me provides an enjoyable morning of games, crafts, entertainment and educational activities especially designed for parents and their school-aged kids. Come to this fun event wearing a costume and treat-or-treat on The Row. There will be pumpkin decorating, Halloween picture-taking and a lot more surprises. It will be a perfect morning for face painting, music, balloon art, art and crafts and story time along with the other activities just for families.
1 Zoo Road
San Francisco, CA 94132
Date: Nov. 6 and Dec. 4, 2013
The San Francisco Zoo is Northern California’s largest zoological park and conservation center, and it is open 365 days of the year. This multi-faceted recreation area is a center for wildlife providing care for rare and endangered species. As an educational center, the Zoo provides formal and informal learning programs for both children and adults. There is more than the wonderful wildlife here as the Zoo is also a bird sanctuary and a true bird watcher’s paradise. Spend time at this nature center among the native plants and gardens as you wander and learn about the amazing wildlife that lives here. The San Francisco Zoo offers free entry to San Francisco residents periodically, with November 6 and December 4 as the remaining free days in 2013. Check the website calendar for free dates in 2014.
Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation
298 Garden Hill Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Date: Nov. 16, 2013, 5 p.m.
Did someone special promise you the moon and the stars? Well it’s time to pay up, and take the kids along too. Join Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation docent Jennifer Snedeker for a dreamy outing under the moon and the stars on paved Martin Murphy Trail. Here is a super opportunity to watch for wildlife, identify constellations overhead and be privy to many secrets of the night. Meet other hikers at the Harvey Bear entrance parking lot at Coyote Lake. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight too. Call for additional information.
Jack London Square Pavilion
Oakland, CA 94607
Date: Nov. 24, 2013
This festival is a nice change that the whole family can enjoy. The Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival highlights emerging local artists, craftspeople and designers, along with DIY craft workshops and awesome food from the best food trucks around. Over 100 jury-selected vendors will be on hand selling a selection of handmade items as you sway with the music streaming over from the Indie music stage. The venue, Jack London Square, is right on the water with the Sunday farmers market in full swing, where you can grab some organic produce or a light meal from the market’s artisan food purveyors if you prefer. Check the website for detailed information.
Related: Best Pumpkin Patches In South Bay
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.