The best adventures we had this summer were visiting spots recommended to us by friends and family. We'd say 100% of the time those hometown tips were what gave our trips to that extra certain specialness.
With the help of our two kids (14 & 8 years old) we came up with our 5 must-see spots in our hometown of Berkeley, Ca,...Just in case you ever find yourself in the neighborhood:
Adventure Playground: This is our family's favorite place in all of Berkeley. Think Swiss Family Robinson meets Lord of the Flies. Here your kids have few limitations (one tool at a time) and endless possibilities. Kids have access to building materials, including saws and paint. It's not unusual to see kids erecting massive forts with VIP areas. TIP: Dress your kids in clothes you don't mind getting dirty (because they will) and wear closed toe shoes. FREE TO ENTER
Tilden Regional Park: From hiking, mountain biking, lake swimming (w/snack shack), riding a 100+ year old carousel, visiting a small, working farm, riding a miniature steam train, there's so much to see and do in this park. TIP: We recently discovered there is a fairy treehouse/post office on one of our favorite hikes. The "fairy-made" home is truly magical & the roundtrip hike is approximately a 3 mile loop.
Little Farm: Although this small, working farm is in Tilden Regional Park we feel it's such a great place it deserves it's own shoutout. Families can wander around for free visiting all sorts of farm animals. TIP: Bring plenty of celery to feed the animals (just not the rabbits). Afterwards, take the 1.30 mile loop around Jewel Lake. Perfect frolicking spot, you're sure to spy turtles sunbathing on rocks and, if you're lucky, a deer or two sipping water from the lake.
The Bone Room: This natural history store has all sorts of cool and odd things to check out--fossils, bones, exotic bugs, taxidermic animals, butterfly collection and more. My kids always find the fossilized animal droppings to be the most entertaining--weirdos. Next door is their art gallery and lecture hall which is usually open to tour. TIP: Be prepared to be grossed out and fascinated all at the same time.
CREAM:We wanted to finish our list with ice cream because all great adventures should end with ice cream. The name stands for "Cookies Rule Everything Around Me," which we find adorable. Located on Telegraph Avenue, you can build your own tasty ice cream sandwich for as little as $2! Say your kid wants to build his ice cream sandwich with green mint chocolate chip ice cream stuffed between a turtle cookie and snicker doodle cookie? They can do that! There are vegan and gluten-free options available as well. TIP: Bring cash and be ready to order.
Those are our picks. We hope, if you ever visit Berkeley, you'll find our hometown as wonderful a place as we do.