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Friday, April 28, 2017

Hacks for Universal Studios Hollywood

Guest post by Dori Kaplan

This spring break, our family headed to Universal Studios Hollywood for our first time, and I can comfortably say it will be our last. While we enjoyed ourselves, we found the lines to be too long, and there wasn't that much to do. The few rides they had were mostly simulators (note: anyone who gets motion sick easily should probably not go. My mom and aunt get nauseous on spinning rides and boats, so they were done with most of the rides pretty quickly. Even the Studio Tour included several 3D simulators that shook us around). Here are some nuggets of wisdom we can pass on after visiting the park.

The entrance for the Simpsons Ride. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
1. Buy your tickets online 

Disneyland Tips: How to Make the Most out of Your Day at Disney with the Family

This is a guest post by Dori Kaplan.

My family is not one to dilly dally when it comes to Disney. Our motto is: structured, organized fun. In our most recent visit, we managed to go on all of the best rides within three hours of arriving at the park. Not only that, but we did not wait in a single line longer than half an hour. Those of you familiar with Disney lines will understand how big of an accomplishment this is, especially for a beautiful day during spring break. To help out other families who are hoping the maximize their day at Disney, here are some tips from my family.
Every 15 minutes, It's a Small World has a little clock show. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
**Note: usually we go to California Adventure and Disneyland - each for one day - but this year we just went to Disneyland. These tips apply for both parks.

Sephora Focus Group for Teen Girls

This one is right on the money for my teen girl! Sephora is looking for girls ages 13-18 for a 90 minute opinion study on May 8, 9 or 10 - at 6 or 7 p.m. in San Francisco. They're offering a $100 Sephora gift card for participating.

Parents or daughters can fill them out (one survey per child). You'll be contacted if you qualify. Here's the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SHLZPTL

Friday, April 21, 2017

iD Tech Discount Code for Summer 2017: Why Should Your Child Attend iD Tech?

This post offers an iD Tech discount code for summer 2017 at the bottom. Read why you should consider iD Tech this summer.


Last year we signed my son up for a computer game programming day camp at a community college. It’s an understatement to say that he was bored and frustrated by the inferior level of education and experience in general. A friend of mine told me about her son’s positive experience at iD Tech camp in Palo Alto, one of the few camps her son really liked and was excited to return to. He’s a really smart kid and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Her recommendation counted for a lot, so when my son was looking into week-long summer camp options, iD Tech came to mind.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Focus Group: $175 for moms of infants

Pregnant in the City is hosting a focus group in the Bay Area right now (through 4/20). They're looking for moms of babies 1-6 months old. The focus group lasts two hours, and will cover issues with being a mom to an infant. You'll get $175 if you qualify and participate. For more info, contact Gabriela at info@pregnantinthecity.guru.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Butterflies and Blooms - Release Your Own Butterflies

Would you and your kids like to release a newly emerged butterfly? You can do this at the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. In this exhibit you'll see 20 species of butterflies, including monarchs. They'll be flying all around you. You'll also see butterflies in all the different life stages.

You'll get a docent-led show and tell of butterfly metamorphosis, and a pair of people-sized antennae to wear and take home (pictured). The experience is available at any time during their regular hours which are now longer for the spring/summer season, .
 
When: through June 30, 2017, 10-6 Tuesday through Sunday
Where: Conservatory of Flowers
Cost: $20 plus regular admission of $8 or less depending on age (discounts for SF residents)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Coming Up: Family Day at Contemporary Jewish Museum

This Sunday, the Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates authors with free admission for SF Public Library card holders - and they'll have lots of family-friendly activities.

The event encourages a love of books and reading. The Green Bookmobile will be parked in front of The Museum throughout the event so families can sign up for new library cards and check out books.
They'll have a special Book Arts activity with the San Francisco Center for the Book in the Art Studio. Families can work together to design and make their very own book art.

Here's the schedule:
11:00 - free performance of Kate and the Beanstalk by Acrolele—part acrobatics, part storytelling, part ukulele
12:30 and 1:30 - storytimes with Puppy Dog Tales. Listen to a variety of children’s books and meet the lovable canines from the SPCA’s Puppy Dog Tales program
11–1 - stand-up comedians ages 5–18 can tell their best jokes for a chance to be included in the first ever Museum Kid Comics video, which will be screened in the Zim Zoom Family Room through the run of the upcoming exhibition Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs.
11­–2 - view the enchanting collection of books created by San Francisco public school students as part of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition.

When: April 9 from 11-3
Cost: cardholders will receive free admission for themselves and one guest.
Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Easter Activities in the San Francisco Bay Area 2017

If you're looking for some fun things to do to celebrate Easter with the family in the San Francisco Bay Area, here's the place to start.

Please add your favorites in the comments section!

SAN FRANCISCO 
What: Spring Eggstravaganza (egg hunt, inflatables, carnival rides, entertainment, carnival rides, food for sale, rib cook-off)
Where: Sharon Meadow at Golden Gate Park
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017 from 11-3 Cost: $8/person (free 2 and under)

What: Union Street Easter Parade (and festival with face painting, climbing wall, activities, characters)
Where: Union Street in Cow Hollow, San Francisco
When: April 16, 2017 from 10-5, parade at 2
Cost: Free

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Coming Up: Sunday Streets

This Sunday is Sunday Streets! It's in the Bayview Dogpatch neighborhood. Come for 3 miles of car-free fun on with free activities for the whole family. Look for activity hubs (and GOATS) on 22nd Street, Cargo Way, Oakdale, and Bancroft Streets, with dozens of free activities in between, from local merchants. This is  one of the longest routes in the Sunday Streets season!

When:  April 9th from 11-4
Where: Southbound lanes of 3rd Street from 22nd Street to Donner Avenue

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Coming Up: Fly Guy the Musical

Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) opens its world premiere production of Fly Guy, the Musical, this Saturday, April 8.

"An insect for a pet? Flies are pests, not pets, right? Well, young Buzz and his new friend, Liz, know otherwise, and their adventures with their zippy, winged companions have the whole town, umm, buzzing! Inspired by the popular Fly Guy books by author and illustrator Tedd Arnold, this rollicking new musical will have families cheering for Fly Guy and his pal, Fly Girl, and delighting in their antics, as their caring friendships help them overcome all the challenges they face. "

Where: Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley
When: Weekends through May 7, 10:30 and 1:30.

Where: San Ramon, at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road
When: May 13-14 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m

Where: San Francisco, at the Children's Creativity Museum Theater, 221 4th Street
When: Weekends, May 20-June 11, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Ages 4+
Tickets: $25/adults, $23/seniors, $20/kids, $15/groups (minimum 15)
Online at www.bactheatre.org or call (510) 296-4433

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Coming Up: Art Sale from UESF and Sharon Art Studio

Looking for some new art for your home? The United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and Sharon Studio’s is hosting its Retired Teacher's Sale. To me that sounds like they're selling retired teachers, but I won't go there. Oops, already did.

The retired teachers will be selling hand-made art and crafts in like jewelry, textiles, photography, glass and mixed media.

Plus, there's FREE ceramics hand-building in the ceramics studio open to all ages, from 11-3. Children under age 10 should be accompanied by a parent.

When: Sunday, March 19 from 10-5
Where: Sharon Art Studio, 300 Bowling Green Drive, SF


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Grand Opening: STEMful San Francisco

A local mom is opening a community play and education space, called STEMful - San Francisco

Check out the 2,475 SF facility on opening day, Saturday, March 11 starting at 9:30 a.m. 

It's a two-level community space designed with as a play space for parents and kids ages 3.5-12 years old, to enjoy STEM toys, STEM books (there's a reading nook), a classroom for learning STEM concepts, and a kitchen/private party room (1,000 sq ft) for parties and events. 

They'll be offering Spring Break and summer camps for 3.5-5 year olds, and are developing programs for those in the 6-12 year range for the fall session. Get a $40 discount for their upcoming Spring Break or summer camps for 3.5-5 years old, plus party bookings through May 1, by entering in “STEMful Opening” online or when ordering by phone.

Where: 30 29th St between Mission St and San Jose St.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Get 'Yer Tickets: The Teenage Brain with Frances Jensen

For those of you with teenagers or kids who will someday be teenagers, this looks interesting.

"For years, scientists were driven by the assumption that brain growth was nearly complete by the time a child began kindergarten, leading them to believe that the adolescent brain was essentially identical to that of an adult—only with less mileage. However, new research shows the importance of formative teen years for brain development. Motivated by personal parenting experience (as the mother of two teenage boys), renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen gathers discoveries about adolescent brain function, wiring, and capacity in a groundbreaking new book, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents. Jensen explains how these eye-opening findings dispel commonly held myths about the teenage years and provides practical suggestions to help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent neurobiology.

Frances E. Jensen, MD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She was Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Translational Neuroscience and Director of Epilepsy Research at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Senior Neurologist at Boston Children’s and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. She lectures widely about the teen brain at science museums, TEDMED, and high schools. Adam Savage is an industrial special effects designer and former co-host of The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters with Jamie Hyneman."

This is part of the Conversations on Science series at City Arts and Lectures.

What: The Teenage Brain with Frances Jensen in conversation with Adam Savage
When: Monday, May 15, 2017, 7:30 pm
Where: Nourse Theater
Tickets: (415) 392-4400 or online

Thursday, March 2, 2017

National Day of Unplugging

A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the benefits of unplugging for Rodale's Organic Life. As I talked to experts and did some research, I realized how important this actually is - for adults AND for kids.



The National Day of Unplugging is coming up, March 3-4. Consider doing this with your family. With your free time you can play games, read, explore outside (hopefully the weather cooperates), cook together, bake some cookies, do some crafts or come up with your own ideas!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pier 39's 39 Week Anniversary Celebration

Turns out that Pier 39 is celebrating its 39th Anniversary. They have some upcoming fun in March, so take advantage!

39 Free Caricatures – Friday, March 3; Personally I hate when there's a limited number available and you have to fight to get there first, but that's what Pier 39 is doing for this. So if you're one of the first 39 people to present a special coupon/redeem the coupon at the Caricatures Cart, you'll get a free cartoon portrait drawing. The Caricature Cart is on Level 1 near the Carousel. Here's the coupon. You have to print it out.

Buy One Scoop, Get Second Scoop Free – Friday, March 10; Buy one scoop and get a second scoop on the same cup or cone free at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Shop or the Waffle Cone Shop. Here's the coupon. (one offer per person)

Bring a Friend for Free – Friday, March 24; Bring a friend (or your kid?) and play for free on Friday, March 24! Buy one admission ticket at participating Pier 39 attractions and get a second admission ticket of equal or lesser value free. Here's the coupon.

Outdoor Movie Night – Forrest Gump – Friday, March 31; Life is like a box of chocolates! The free outdoor movie night is at the bay end of the Pier, and the movie starts at 7:45, weather permitting. Before the show, stop by the Carousel Stage for Forrest Gump trivia, special coupons and prizes from Bubba Gump, and a chance to take a souvenir picture with Louis the Shrimp.

Monday, February 27, 2017

SF Rec and Park Summer Resource Fair 2017

I used to have summer camps all figured out by early February. I'm not so organized anymore. So in case you're not so organized either, check out the check out the San Francisco Recreation and parks
Spring Program and Summer Day Camp Registration day.


Their Summer Day Camp registration begins March 18 at 10 a.m.-- online and at 13 sites around the city. They have more than 80 different camps, including traditional camps like Pine Lake and Silver Tree, as well as  new camps like Rock Climbing, Urban Pickers Camp at Alemany Farm, and girls sports camps. Click here for more info on SF Rec and Park summer camp programs.

The 2017 Summer Resource Fair is coming up too. It's on March 11, 2017 from 10-2. It's at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park. That's 1199 9th Avenue, SF. They'll have representatives from 150+ summer programs, plus a Kid Zone, book giveaway, food trucks and entertainment.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Coming Up: Lunar New Year Celebration at SF Zoo

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster this weekend at the San Francisco Zoo.

Activities include:
--traditional Chinese lion and folk dance performances at 11:00 and 1:30 (Saturday) and 12:30 (Sunday) near the Lion Fountain.
--Zodiac Scavenger Hunt through the Zoo to learn fun facts about the animals found on the Chinese calendar.
--See "Mac" the Zoo rooster at the Family Farm

Plus, those born in the Year of the Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017) will receive free Zoo admission that day.

Cost: free with admission


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Coming Up: Free Family Concerts - SF Chamber Orchestra

Travel back in time with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra to say hello to Mr. Bach and Mr. Mozart, two famous composers from the music history books. Then, head back to 2017 and meet a soon-to-be-famous composer of today—UC Davis professor of composition Laurie San Martin! Actor/clown Tristan Cunningham brings Bach and Mozart to life in this Family Concert, which also features our three young Debut Artists.

Here's where the free family concerts are:

January 21 - 2 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry (1021 Sanchez St, San Francisco). Doors open at 1:30 (general admission, first-come first-served).

January 22 - 12 noon at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (388 9th St (Suite 290), Oakland). Doors open at 11:30 (general admission, first-come first-served).

January 22 - 3:30 p.m. at Hillsdale High School Theatre (3115 Del Monte St, San Mateo). Doors open at 3:00 (general admission, first come first-served)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Coming Up: SF Symphony Celebrates Lunar New Year

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with the San Francisco Symphony. Kids will love the festival reception included for all with tickets. The pre-concert festivities start at 3, and include crafts, lion dancing, games, free food (including dessert) and a tea bar. The concert starts at 4, with the Chinese Dragon Dance and traditional folk music, along with orchestral works by Asian composers.

Preconcert crafts, included with your ticket. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony

When: February 4, 2017
Where: Davies Symphony Hall on Van Ness in SF
Tickets: $32-$76 at sfsymphony.org or by phone at (415) 864-6000.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Coming Up: Pippi Longstocking

The Bay Area Children’s Theatre presents Pippi Longstocking, which opens January 21.

"Annika and Tommy are in for some excitement when they meet their new neighbor, Pippi Longstocking, who has crazy red pigtails, a horse, a pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson, and a tendency to get caught up in one outrageous adventure after another. Families can join in Pippi ‘s adventures when revered Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s classic heroine comes to the Bay Area in a rollicking production of Pippi Longstocking."


When: January 21-February 12
Where: Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. Weekends at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

When: February 18-19
Where: San Ramon. Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road. Performances at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

When: February 25-March 19
Where: San Francisco, Children's Creativity Museum Theater, 221 4th Street. Weekends at 0:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Who: Recommended for age 5 and up.
Tickets: $25/adults, $23/seniors, $20/children, $15 groups (minimum 15). Tickets online or call (510) 296-4433.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A few things to do on MLK Day 2017 in the San Francisco Bay Area

Teach the kids about what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for and how he helped our country. Here are a few things going on in the San Francisco Bay Area for MLK Day 2017.

Museum of the African Diaspora
Visit MOAD for free on Monday, 1/16/17. They'll offer related programs throughout the day, including art (including family drop-in art activities) film and musical performances. See the schedule here.

Playland Not at The Beach
They're offering a freedom-themed treasure hunt and special quiz testing your knowledge of our country's Civil Rights leader. These activieis take place 1/14-16 (they're normally not open on Mondays, but are for the holiday). Fees are $15/adult, $10/child or senior. Fabulous Frank will be on hand to perform "funny" magic.

East Bay Regional Parks Day
The parks offers a day of service on Monday, 1/16, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will help restore Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Grove and their marshes by cleaning and removing invasive plants in order to support and care for wildlife and their natural habitat. Your efforts will benefit the environment and our community. Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes and closed-toed shoes. To cut down on the use of plastic, please bring a refillable water bottle and a bucket to pick up litter. For more information, please email volunteers@ebparks.org and register on the website.

San Francisco Rec and Park
Volunteer for MLK Day of Service with SF Rec and Park, Habitat for Humanity and the Bayview YMCA. You'll be beautifying and maintaining Youngblood Coleman Park (Hudson Ave. and Mandell St.) on Saturday, January 14, 9 a.m. to noon. Snacks and lunch will be provided. Contact Laurel Caplan at (415) 919-4050 or email lcaplan@habitatgsf.org for more information. You may also signup online here. Note that all volunteers must 16 or older.

National Parks
It's free National Park entrance day on January 16 at 100 National Parks. If you don't want to go too far, you can try Yosemite, Muir Woods, Pinnacles or San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. More info on National Park MLK activities here.

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Lots of volunteer opportunities for all ages!

More Resources
Check out more MLK activities:
Norcal MLK site
Bay Area Parent

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coming Up: Free Workshop - Talking to Your Kids About Sex

At some point, you'll have to talk to your kids about sex. If that time is coming up, check out the free workshop "how to talk to your kids about sex without freaking out" at the Portrero Branch library in SF.

It's lead by Anya Manes, a parent coach and educator from talkingaboutsex.com. Here's what she covers: "Are you ready to answer your children’s questions about sex with calm confidence? Do you know what conversations to initiate and how to start them so that everyone feels comfortable? Join us for a skill-building workshop in which you’ll learn how to start conversations about sex and how to answer zinger questions - without gagging!"

When: Saturday, January 14th, 2017, at 2 pm
Where: Potrero Branch, San Francisco Public Library - 1616 20th Street (near Connecticut), San Francisco
Cost: Free, no registration required