Big thanks to Jennifer Saranow Schultz in San Francisco for this helpful guest post; she blogs at HintMama.
CuriOdyssey is a science playground and zoo best suited for the smallest children. I like to think of CuriOdyssey — a science and wildlife center at Coyote Point in San Mateo — as a zoo and science museum in one, and an added bonus: It’s easy to see the whole center in an hour or less, making it perfect when we have limited time.
With a toddler or preschooler, the best half-day trip is one that allows me to squeeze in a learning experience, have fun myself, and get back home in time for that precious afternoon nap. Ever since my 2.5-year-old daughter could walk, a morning trip to CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point has been this kind of go-to spot for my family.
With a scenic jogging path, terrific playground, AND CuriOdyssey, we all have a great time.
Science play at CuriOdyssey
Meanwhile, the science section is engaging and child-size with just a couple exhibits on display. They rotate frequently and always include hands-on surprises.
The larger exhibit also changes periodically. Currently CuriOdyssey’s festive fall Pumpkin Days offers pumpkins galore and is going on now through the end of October (free with admission). There are plenty of opportunities for cute photos, plus little kids just love all the pumpkins and decorations everywhere. Wear a costume if that tickles your toddler’s fancy!
Animals at CuriOdyssey
Though CuriOdyssey cares for more than 100 animals, not all of them are on display for visitors in the center’s wildlife habitats, but just enough animals are out to captivate pint-sized visitors.
The otters can best be seen through a play cave; they tend to be a hit. My toddler especially likes to run around the wildlife center’s path. Since CuriOdyssey is nowhere near as big as an actual zoo, I feel comfortable letting her run around.
More family fun at Coyote Point
Running path around Coyote Point
My husband and I like to make the trip to the Coyote Point Recreation Center even more worthwhile by fitting in a family jog, each of us pushing a stroller (we also have an infant).
Magic Mountain Playground at Coyote Point
We typically begin our visit at the Magic Mountain Playground’s parking lot, then we run along the recreation center’s beautiful bayside nature trails to CuriOdyssey. After my daughter has had her fill of the exhibits, we jog back to the awesome castle-and-dragon-themed playground (complete with a big toddler area), where my daughter plays a bit before we head back home (we’re big fans of working playground stops into our trips whenever we travel).
For those who want to get a meal in before the trip is done, the fields around the playground would be a perfect spot for an outdoor lunch, or nearby Burlingame has a number of kid-friendly mealtime spots (I like the salads at Mediterranean restaurant Taste on Broadway). You’re also welcome to eat outside at the back of the museum looking out at the bay while watching planes landing at nearby SFO.
Plan a visit to CuriOdyssey
- CuriOdyssey is located at 1651 Coyote Point Dr, San Mateo, CA
- RATES: 0-17 months FREE; Adults $15.95; Children (18 months-17 years) $12.95 (though you’ll pay $6 per vehicle to enter Coyote Point) or $1 for Qualifying Persons through the Museums for All Program.
- HOURS: Wednesday – Sunday 10am to 5pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday.
- WEB: www.curiodyssey.org
Read more from Jenny on or her blog, HintMama, where she’s reporting daily hints to help make parenting easier and or cheaper.