On our way down to Monterey for a weekend with sealife and my parents, we stopped at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose, a well executed interactive children's museum. We could have spent twice as long there in terms of how much there was to do, but our life still centers around a mid-day nap and we had to head back to the car after about 90 minutes.
Upon entering, my kids climbed right onto the fire engine that's parked inside the front door. They put on fire jackets and hats and sat in the driver's seat. Then we checked out a streetlight that is mounted down low for kids to see.
The water play area is huge, mindblowing fun, and part of it is sectioned off for toddlers so that they don't get trampled by big kids. My son talked about this fountain for months.
We spent a long time exploring an exhibit about circles and pushed and pulled on almost everything in that room. Even science concepts that were too sophisticated for my kids, ages 3 and 5, offered them something to test out or touch.
We peeked into the impressive baby room, remembering a previous visit in which we spent a long time in there, and we all agreed it was a thing of the past for us.
Upstairs, we enjoyed the super deluxe pretend pizzeria kitchen which teaches children about eating a rainbow of colors. Vegetables from red pepper to eggplant are displayed on the wall and available (in plastic form) for pizza decorating.
A staff member demonstrated making little dolls from tamale husks. My son and I made ours into a superhero with a cape. We called him Super Tamale Man but sadly left him at the Mexican restaurant we went to for lunch. (Or maybe he stayed there on purpose.)
For a post-museum meal, I recommend Aqui Cal-Mex, which serves natural, organic Mexican food. Order at the counter and sit on the patio if weather permits.
Ask anyone who knows me: I dread driving to the South Bay, but if you're up for a little road trip, the Children's Discovery Museum is a worthy destination.
photo credit: pkobayashi on flickr