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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

5 Must-Do Bay Area Activities for Families Before Summer Ends

Summer is almost over, and kids will return to school soon. Want to squeeze in a few more fun activities before summer is over? Here are some ideas.

San Francisco – Sunday Streets: 
Typically the weather gets much nicer in San Francisco as we get closer to September and October, so this makes it a perfect time to celebrate the outdoors with Sunday Streets, which has the bonus of being free. This casual outdoor festival means that the city closes down major streets to cars in the designated neighborhood, bringing out vendors, entertainment, crafts and other diversions to explore on foot or bicycle. The next two Sunday Streets are August 24 in the Mission, and September 14 in the Western Addition.

Marin – 5 Little Monkeys: 
Picking five things to do in the Bay Area wouldn’t be complete without including the children’s theater show 5 Little Monkeys, playing through September 7th at the Bay Area Children’s Theater in Mill Valley. Shows run Saturdays and Sundays, with several matinees each afternoon, making it easy to work around nap time. It’s recommended for kids ages 2-7.


East Bay – Swimming: 
Have you gone swimming yet this summer? Jump in a lake at these East Bay Park District facilities. Silliman Aquatic Center in Newark is an indoor pool complex with slides, a play structure and hot tub. This is especially great for when the weather is bad outdoors. You can guarantee hot weather for Waterworld California, located in Concord. It’s open weekends through mid-September. Aqua Adventure in Fremont is an outdoor water park with slides, a lazy river and kiddie area. It’s open weekends through the end of September.

Peninsula/South Bay – Produce Picking: 
Pick your own summer fruit and veggies. It’s a great way to show kids that fruit actually grows on trees – and bushes. It doesn’t just come from the grocery store. Since the produce growing throughout the season changes, make sure to find out whether the items you want are still being picked before you go. In August, the produce ripening is currently berries (blackberries, raspberries and blueberries), plus tomatoes and corn, and maybe apples too.

Various locations – Amusement Park: 
For us, summer isn’t complete without visiting a Bay Area amusement park. Fortunately there are several options for a day trip, and you’ll probably want to choose depending on your children’s age. The Santa Cruz boardwalk is a winner in my book because you can alternate rides with the beach. And there are plenty of options for all ages. Using the wristband or tickets, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee for those who would rather just watch. For fans of big coasters, head over to Great America in Santa Clara or Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Both parks also have kiddie rides too. And of course Gilroy Gardens, with its lovely circus trees and plantings. It also has many offerings for all ages, with a family atmosphere.

Staying Safe
Summer outdoor fun sometimes brings related medical problems, and sometimes it’s difficult to find time to see the doctor (especially after a long day out). Maybe you’re working, you have more than one child or you already have a full calendar, including nap schedules.

I recently learned about LiveHealth Online. As a medical writer (in addition to being a blogger), I’ve researched and written about telemedicine and other alternative forms of healthcare delivery. I really like the option and flexibility of having more than one way to see a doctor, especially for relatively minor healthcare issues like poison ivy (which someone in my family gets every summer), pink eye, headaches, rashes and the flu.

With LiveHealth Online, you videochat with a board-certified physician to get the diagnosis and medical help you need, even getting prescriptions called in if needed – and if your state allows that (California does). This is an awesome option when you’re traveling and aren’t close to your physician, and for those visiting you from outside the area.

Creating an account is easy and quick. Then you choose from the providers available, and you can see their backgrounds before deciding which one to connect to. Within minutes you will be talking with the doctor. This is much easier and faster than visiting an urgent care facility, and often easier than visiting your own doctor for something that’s routine. The cost? A reasonable $49 and it's the only telehealth app affiliated with a major insurer—Anthem Blue Cross. LiveHealth Online is a covered benefit for many Anthem Blue Cross PPO, EPO, and HSA plans. The cost is the same or less than a PCP office visit. They’ll even send your doctor a medical report from the online visit if you request. Interested in trying LiveHealth Online? Let me know what you think.

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by LiveHealth Online, but all opinions are my own.

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