Out & About: Adventure Parks

Summer has officially arrived, and a family adventure is the perfect way to truly embrace the season. Check out Shaheen Bilgrami's selection of both well-known and under-the-radar Bay Area parks and play spaces to liven up your week (or weekend)!

Adventure Playground

Kid-designed play structures make this one of the best and most creative play spaces in the country. Targeted to children aged 7 and above, younger children can play if accompanied by an adult.

ADDRESS: 160 University Ave., Berkeley

COST: Free

California’s Great America

With its gentler rides, shows, visits from Peanuts characters, and entry into Boomerang Bay water park, there is never a dull moment at this huge theme park.

ADDRESS: 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara

COST: tickets start at $39.99/person (ages 3 and up) when purchased online.

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

This charming little park is perfect for younger children. Highlights include unlimited rides, a petting zoo, playgrounds, and puppet shows. Visitors with SF Zoo membership cards receive a discount.

ADDRESS: 1300 Senter Rd.,San Jose

COST: $14.25 (children under 2 free); parking is $10.

Pixieland Amusement Park

This small, independent theme park is well-suited for ages 8 and under. Attractions include a miniature train, carousel, roller coaster, games, and a duck pond.

ADDRESS: 2740 E. Olivera Rd., Concord

COST: Free to enter and park; individual ride tickets, discounted ticket books, or an unlimited ride wristband are available for purchase.

Safari West

Take your family on safari to this 400-acre wildlife preserve where you will have a chance to observe some of its inhabitants “in the wild.” With more than 900 mammals and birds including zebras, giraffes, and cheetahs, animal-loving kids and adults alike will enjoy this outing. There are some age restrictions, so check online before setting out.

ADDRESS: 3115 Porter Creek Rd., Santa Rosa

COST: Prices vary; advance reservations are required.


An adventurous museum that is specifically designed for babies and children under 6. The themed exhibits include an interactive area for water play, a wiggle wall, a wind tunnel, and an infant-toddler garden for kids aged 20 months and under. Take along extra clothes for when your kids get wet in the Waterworks exhibit!

ADDRESS: 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley (closed Sundays)

COST: $12 (children under 12 months free).

Shaheen Bilgrami is a mom, freelance writer, and editor. Contact her through her website, www.shaheenbilgrami.com. 

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of GGMG Magazine. Photo via Flickr.


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