Getting your kids out in culture can be an enriching experience. From small community plays to large Broadway musicals, from the sit-in-your-seat, get-dressed up for The Nutcracker ballet to the exotic street and stage performances of the Renaissance Faire, there is something here for everyone.

Palo Alto Children’s Theater

1305 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto CA 94301
(Part of the Lucie Stern Community Center, at the corner of Middlefield Rd. and Melville Ave.)
Box Office: 650-463-4970
$12 adult, $8 Child
Palo Alto Children’s Theater

This theater and school has been around for 79 years, with productions for family audiences performed by children. Their lineup for 2010-2011 includes Cinderella, Madeline’s Christmas, Ferdinand the Bull, Metamorphosis, Charlotte’s Web and Lord of the Flies. They also have short performances at their “Saturday Playhouse” series for children aged 3-6.

Sunnyvale Theatre at the Sunnyvale Community Center

(Part of the California Theater Center)
550 E Remington Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
(408) 245-2978
$12 at the door or $11 in advance
Family ticket coupons are available for additional savings
Special school pricing applies for the school series

Sunnyvale Theater features a school series Mondays through Friday mornings and a family series on Saturdays and some evenings. Productions are done by adults and are loaded with physical comedy. The 2010-2010 season includes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Amelia Earhart: Flights of Fancy, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Frog Prince, and many more.

Young Performers Theater

Fort Mason Center, Bldg C
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 346-5550
$7 for kids under 13, $10 for adults
Young Performer’s Theater

Saturday and Sunday shows at this theater include for 2010-2011 Pinocchio, Dracula’s School for Vampires, and Alice in Cyberland. This troupe also travels to schools for “touring shows.”

Shrek The Musical

Orpheum Theater
1192 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 551-2000

Shrek The Musical, translated from the Shrek animated film, is coming to the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco starting December 2010. This ogre fairy tale should be a hilarious show on the big stage.

The Nutcracker at the San Jose Ballet

San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95113
Runs December 11 – 26, 2010

A special “Family Series” has the full performance at a reduced cost for $21 – $47 for adults, $5 off for youth (Dec 11th at 1:30, Dec 21st at 1:30 and Dec 26th at 1:30)

Near “Christmas in the Park” and the Outdoor Ice Rink in downtown San Jose, this Nutcracker performance features the Mouse King and The Sugar Plum Fairy posing for photos with children and their families before and after the show.

Northern California Renaissance Faire

At Casa de Fruita
10021 Pacheco Pass Hwy 152, Gate 6
Hollister, CA 95023-9541
(408) 847-FAIR
Open September 18th – October 17th, 2010
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
$25 for general admission, kids under 12 are free

Take a little day trip south of San Jose to Casa de Fruita and enter another world of the Renaissance Faire. Street and stage performers, not to mention musicians of all kinds, can be found at every turn.