ARDENWOOD HISTORIC FARM Ardenwood farm is a working farm that dates back to the time of the Patterson Ranch, a 19th-century estate with a mansion and Victorian Gardens. Today, the farm still practices farming techniques from the 1870s. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free with regular admission.
ONGOING PROGRAMS --
"Blacksmithing," Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Watch a blacksmith turn iron into useful tools.
"Horse-Drawn Train," Thursday, Friday and Sunday. A 20-minute ride departs from Ardenwood Station and Deer Park.
"Animal Feeding," Thursday-Sunday, 3-4 p.m. Help slop the hogs, check the henhouse for eggs and bring hay to the livestock.
"Victorian Flower Arranging," Thursday, 10:15-11:30 a.m. Watch as Ardenwood docents create floral works of art for display in the Patterson House.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Horse-Drawn Train Rides," Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Meet Jigs or Tucker the Belgian Draft horses that pull Ardenwood's train. Check the daily schedule and meet the train at Ardenwood Station or Deer Park.
"Country Kitchen Cookin'," Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy the flavor of the past with treats cooked on Ardenwood's wood burning stove. Sample food grown on the farm and discover the history of your favorite oldtime snacks.
"Animal Feeding," Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m. Feed the pigs, check for eggs and bring hay to the livestock.
"Toddler Time," Tuesdays, 11-11:30 a.m. Bring the tiny tots out for an exciting morning at the farm. Meet and learn all about a new animal friend through stories, chores and fun.
"Potato Harvesting," Learn the spectacular history of this New World native as you dig with your spade and help find the spuds.
"What's the Cluck About," May 8, 1-2 p.m. Learn about fine feathered friends and make a craft.
Lambs, Kids and Piglets -- Oh My,'' May 8 and May 29, 11 a.m-noon. Learn farm animal facts on a morning stroll.
"Old-Fashioned Games," May 9, 2-3 p.m. Try walking on stilts, marbles and jacks or compete in a sack race.
"Tussie-Mussie for Mom," May 9, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Select flowers for a special mother's day message.
"Zainy Brainy Weather Vaynes," May 9, 11:30-12:30 p.m. Make your own unique weather vane.
"Hay Hoisting," May 9 and May 30, 2:30-3 p.m. Make rope and help hoist hay bales.
"Flower Pressing Perfection," May 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Learn how to preserve precious petals by making flower presses.
"Kids and Lambs," May 9, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Learn to tell breeds of sheep and goats apart.
"Cool Crisp Kites," May 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Learn how to make your own kite and navigate it.
"Barnyard Buddies," May 15, 11 a.m. Feed the goats a snack and more.
"April Showers Bring May Herbs and Flowers," May 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Read a story about nature and plant your own herb or flower and watch it grow.
"Excellent Eggshells," May 16, 11 a.m.-noon. Use eggshells as flowerpots for seedlings.
"Play With Dough," May 16, Noon-1 p.m. Discover the fun of kneading pretzels.
"Hooray for Honeybees," May 16, Noon-1 p.m. Discover how special these insects are.
$1-$5; free children under age 4. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. (510) 796-0199, (510) 796-0663, www.ebparks.org.<
BAY POINT LIBRARY
"Monthly Craft Night," Last Friday of every month, 4-5 p.m. Each month features a different themed craft.
Riverview Middle School, 205 Pacifica Ave., Pittsburg. (925) 458-9597.<
BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE Originally the home of several Native American tribes, white men began coal mining in the area in the 1860s. The preserve today features old mines and displays of the history of the area.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Prospect Tunnel Picnic," May 8, 9 a.m.-noon. Carpool to the eastern reaches of the park to take a trip underground to see late bloomers.
"Painting in the Park," May 9, 10-11:30 a.m. Gather various minerals and elemtns and turn them into art.
"The Old Fashioned Cemetery," May 15, 10 a.m.-noon. View a nineteenth century burial grounds.
Free unless otherwise noted; $5 seasonal parking fee on weekends. Daily, 8 a.m. to dusk Somersville Road, about five miles south of state Highway 4, Antioch. Information: (925) 757-2620, Tickets: (925) 555-1212, www.ebparks.org.<
AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM -- The museum's permanent exhibition of internationally renowned automobiles dated from 1897 to the 1980s. The cars are displayed as works of art with room to walk completely around each car to admire the workmanship. On long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institution is a Long Steam Tricycle; an 1893-94 Duryea, the first Duryea built by the Duryea brothers; and a 1948 Tucker, number 39 of the 51 Tuckers built, which is a Model 48 "Torpedo'' four-door sedan.
ONGOING EXHIBITS --
"International Automotive Treasures," An ever-changing exhibit featuring over 90 automobiles.
"A Journey on Common Ground," An exhibit of moving photographs, video and art objects from around the world exploring the causes of disability and the efforts of the Wheelchair Foundation to provide a wheelchair for every person in need who cannot afford one.
ONGOING EVENT --
Free Public Tours, Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Docent-led guided tours of the museum's exhibitions.
$5-$8; free for children ages 6 and under. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. (925) 736-2280, (925) 736-2277, www.blackhawkmuseum.org.<
BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP An interactive place where children, and adults, can learn how a stuffed animal is made, then choose an animal pattern from the offering of bears, elephants, dogs and rabbits; stuff the chosen animal; dress it; and create a birth certificate. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
$10-$25; clothing and accessories extra. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Broadway Plaza, 1248 Broadway, Walnut Creek. (925) 946-4697, www.buildabear.com.<
CHABOT SPACE AND SCIENCE CENTER State-of-the-art facility unifying science education activities around astronomy. Enjoy interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, indoor stargazing, outdoor telescope viewing and films.
ASK JEEVES PLANETARIUM -- The planetarium features one of the most advanced star projectors in the world. A daily planetarium show is included with general admission. Call for current show schedule.
"Space NOW!", Each week, this real-time ride through constellations, stars, and planets will reflect current happenings in our sky. Space NOW! will also tie in activities going on throughout the center. This is Chabot's first daytime guided tour of the universe.
"Tales Of The Maya Skies," "Tales of the Maya Skies'' is a new full-dome planetarium show that explores the cosmology of the ancient Maya, along with their culture and their contributions to astronomy. Starts November 21.
"Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity," Take a ride to the inside of a massive black hole and learn about the latest scientific evidence, which suggests that black holes are real. Narrated by Liam Neeson. Suitable for age 12 and older. Free with General Admission ticket.
"Immersive Space: Fly Through the Cosmos," Fridays, 8 p.m. Experience the "digital universe'' in a new full-dome system. Travel to the nearest star and beyond in seconds.
"Sunshine," A 15-minute planetarium show for children ages 5 and under. In the show, Sunshine, a lovable animated cartoon of the Sun, urges the children to sing and play along with his tricks. In the process, he introduces the colors of the day sky and the other suns of the night sky. Free with regular general admission.
"Secret of the Cardboard Rocket," Take a journey through the solar system with two young adventurers who turn an old cardboard box into a rocket. Recommended for ages 5-10.
"The Search for Life: Are We Alone?" A voyage from the ocean deep to the outer reaches of the cosmos in search of life, narrated by Harrison Ford.
"The Sky Tonight," Saturdays, 8 p.m. Take a live tour of the starry sky overhead on the night of your visit. The show includes a look at constellations, planets and special celestial objects.
"Sonic Vision," Friday-Saturday, 9:15 p.m. This show uses the latest digital technology to illuminate the planetarium with colorful computer-generated imagery set to today's popular music, including Radiohead, U2, David Bowie, Coldplay, Moby and more.
"Astronaut," What does it take to be part of the exploration of space? Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut. Explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space, from floating around the International Space Station to maneuvering through microscopic regions of the human body. Narrated by Ewan McGregor. 25 min.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Space Day," May 8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Chabot's Space Day celebration will include activities and demonstrations, along with "public missions'' in the Challenger Learning Center. $5-$10 for "Missions''
"Make Mother's Day Bloom," May 9, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Join Chabot to celebrate moms and Mother Nature, and have a photo taken in the "Beyond Blastoff'' exhibit, then craft the picture into flower pots. Before the workshop, treat mom to brunch in the Starlite Bistro. Reservations required. $10 per child (510) 336-7373.
SPECIAL EXHIBITS --
"Chabot Observatories: A View to the Stars," This new permanent exhibit honors the 123-year history of Chabot and its telescopes. The observatory is one of the oldest public observatories in the United States. The exhibit covers the three different sites of the observatory over its history as well as how its historic telescopes continue to be operated today. Included are informative graphic panels, multimedia kiosks, interactive computer programs, hands-on stations, and historic artifacts.
TIEN MEGADOME SCIENCE THEATER -- A 70-foot dome-screen auditorium. Show times subject to change. Call for current show schedule. Price with paid general admission is $6-$7. Theater only: $7-$8. (510) 336-7373, www.ticketweb.com.
"The Human Body," This show explores the daily biological processes that go on in the human body without our control and often without our notice. This amazing story is revealed in detail on the giant screen.
"Dinosaurs Alive," A global adventure of science and discovery, featuring the earliest dinosaurs of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous, "reincarnated" life-sized for the giant screen. Audiences will journey with some of the world's preeminent paleontologists as they uncover evidence that the descendents of dinosaurs still walk (or fly) among us. From the exotic, trackless expanses and sand dunes of Mongolia's Gobi Desert to the dramatic sandstone buttes of New Mexico, the film will follow American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) paleontologists as they explore some of the greatest dinosaur finds in history.
"Forces of Nature," This film showcases the awesome spectacle of earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms as scientists continue their quests to understand how these natural disasters are triggered.
"The Living Sea," The film celebrates the beauty, power and importance of the ocean. Produced in association with The National Maritime Center, the Ocean Film Network and Dr. Robert Ballard.
"Cosmic Voyage," A breathtaking journey through time and space. Zoom from the surface of the Earth to the largest observable structures of the Universe and back down to the sub-nuclear realm, a guided tour across some 42 orders of magnitude. Explore some of the greatest scientific theories, many of which have never before been visualized on film.
Center Admission: $9-$13; free children under 3; Movies and evening planetarium shows: $6-$8. Telescope viewing only: free. Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 336-7300, www.chabotspace.org.<
CHILDREN'S FAIRYLAND A fairy tale theme park featuring more than 30 colorful fantasy sets. Designed especially for children ages 10 and under, there are gentle rides, a train, the "Peter Rabbit Village,'' puppet shows, story-telling and lots of slides and animals. Admission price includes unlimited rides, special shows, guest entertainers and puppet shows.
OLD WEST JUNCTION -- Children's Fairyland's newest attraction is a Wild West-themed town sized just for children, with a livery stable, bank, jail and a water tower slide.
PUPPET SHOWS -- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. All shows are at the Open Storybook Theatre. Free with regular Fairyland admission.
ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTER -- Activities on Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.
ANIMAL OF THE DAY -- Saturday and Sunday, 1-1:20 p.m. at the Humpty Dumpty Wall. Learn about one of Fairyland's animal friends.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Animal of the Day!" Saturdays and Sundays, 1-1:20 p.m. Come up close and learn about Fairyland's creatures.
"Arts and Crafts," Noon-3 p.m. Event features arts and crafts projects for children and their families. $6.
"Puppet Show: Perez and Mondinga," through May 2 and May 8 through May 2, 11 a.m., 2 and 4 p.m. It's fiesta time in Mexico. Mondinga, the cockroach, wants to marry and share her hacienda with someone special. Rooster, Pig and evil Cat all want to marry her, yet none is right. Finally she meets Perez the gentle mouse and marries him. This is the silly story of their meeting, marriage and mishaps, just in time for Cinco De Mayo! Ole'!Scenery & Puppets by Lewis Mahlmann
"The Blue Fairy," May 8 through May 9, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Jacquelyn Lynaugh as The Blue Fairy appears with her puppet pal Pinocchio and her guitar, Prince Charming. She will be performing well known folk songs and helping children make wishes come true with her crystal wand and fairy dust.
$6; free for children under age 1; $2 for a Magic Key. No adult admitted without a child and no child admitted without an adult. Summer (June through Labor Day): Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fall and Spring: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Winter: Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CLOSED DEC. 25-JAN. 4. 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (510) 452-2259, www.fairyland.org.<
COYOTE HILLS REGIONAL PARK The park is located on the shoreline of Fremont Bay and features rich wetland areas as well as Ohlone Indian shellmound sites. Hiking in the park allows scenic views of San Francisco Bay and southern Alameda County. The 12-mile Alameda Creek Trail runs from the Bay east to the mouth of Niles Canyon and features an equestrian trail as well as a bicycle trail; hikers are welcome on both. The park conducts naturalist programs and has a visitor center with a nature store and Ohlone, natural history and wildlife exhibits.
SPECIAL EVENTS -- Free unless otherwise noted.
"Do Butterflies and Bees Have Knees," May 8, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Observe these animals as they are absorbed with feeding.
"Focus on Wildlife: A Photo Exhibit," May 9, 10:30 a.m.-noon. View the best of Coyote Hills wildlife photographs.
"Lends on Wildlife: Tips and Tricks," May 9, 1-2:30 p.m. Join experienced photographers in the nectar garden to learn tips and tricks for capturing stunning photos of birds and butterflies.
"Coyote Cubs," May 11, 10-11:30 a.m. Encourage your child's "wild'' side and join the fun.
"Nature Bytes for Busy Families," May 15, 2-3 p.m. Get to know the natural world with activities.
"Shutterbugs," May 15, 10 a.m.-noon. Learn to photograph bugs and other natural wonders.
"Reptiles With Styles," May 16, 11 a.m.-noon. Get up-close and personal with reptiles.
"Animal Defenses," May 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Learn about how animals protect themselves.
Free unless otherwise noted; A parking fee may be charged. Registration required for events. April through October: daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; October through April, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless otherwise posted. 8000 Patterson Pass Road, Fremont. (510) 636-1684, (510) 795-9385, www.ebparks.org.<
CRAB COVE VISITOR CENTER At Crab Cove, you can see live underwater creatures and go into the San Francisco Bay from land. You can also travel back in time to Alameda's part. The goal is to increase understanding of the environmental importance of San Francisco Bay and the ocean ecosystem. Crab Cove's Indoor Aquarium and Exhibit Lab is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the East Bay.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Sea Siblings," Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Explore the natural world and take part in a theme related craft. Designed for the 3-5 year old learner. Registration is required. $4. (888) 327-2757.
"Catch of the Day," Sundays, 2-3 p.m. Drop by to find out more about the Bay and its wildlife through guided exploration and hands-on fun.
"Sea Squirts," 10-11:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Discover the wonders of nature with your little one. Registration is required. $6-$8.
"Concerts at the Cove," May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Celebrate with free music and family fun.
"Native Plant Gardening," May 15, 3-5 p.m. Spend an afternoon planting in the Visitor Center.
Free unless otherwise noted; parking fee may be charged. 1252 McKay Ave., Alameda. (510) 521-6887, www.ebparks.org.<
DUNSMUIR HOUSE AND GARDENS HISTORIC ESTATE Nestled in the Oakland hills, the 50-acre Dunsmuir House and Gardens estate includes the 37-room Neoclassical Revival Dunsmuir Mansion, built by coal and lumber baron Alexander Dunsmuir for his bride. Restored outbuildings set amid landscaped gardens surround the mansion.
ESTATE GROUNDS -- Self-Guided Grounds Tours are available yearround. The 50 acres of gardens and grounds at the mansion are open to the public for walking Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Booklets and maps of the grounds are available at the Dinkelspiel House. Free.
GUIDED TOURS -- Docent-led tours are available on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (except for July) and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. $5 adults, $4 seniors and juniors (11-16), children 11 and under free.
Dunsmuir House and Gardens, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. (510) 615-5555, www.dunsmuir.org.<
FOREST HOME FARMS The 16-acre former farm of the Boone family is now a municipal historic park in San Ramon. It is located at the base of the East Bay Hills and is divided into two parts by Oak Creek. The Boone House is a 22-room Dutch colonial that has been remodeled several times since it was built in 1900. Also on the property are a barn built in the period from 1850 to 1860; the Victorian-style David Glass House, dating from the late 1860s to early 1870s; a storage structure for farm equipment and automobiles; and a walnut processing plant.
Free unless otherwise noted. Public tours available by appointment. 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. (925) 973-3281, www.ci.sanramon.ca.us/parks/boone.htm.<
HAYWARD SHORELINE INTERPRETIVE CENTER Perched on stilts above a salt marsh, the Center offers an introduction to the San Francisco Bay-Estuary. It features exhibits, programs and activities designed to inspire a sense of appreciation, respect and stewardship for the Bay, its inhabitants and the services they provide. The Habitat Room offers a preview of what may be seen outside. The 80-gallon Bay Tank contains some of the fish that live in the Bay's open waters, and the Channel Tank represents habitats formed by the maze of sloughs and creeks that snake through the marsh. The main room of the Center features rotating exhibits about area history, plants and wildlife. Part of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.
ONGOING EXHIBIT --
"Exploring Nature," An exhibit of Shawn Gould's illustrations featuring images of the natural world.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Weekend Weed Warriors," 1-4 p.m. Help the shoreline to eliminate the non-native plants that threaten its diversity. Ages 12 and older. Registration required.
"Nature Detectives," 11 a.m.-noon. An introduction and exploration of the world of Black-Crowned Night-Herons. Ages 3-5 and their caregivers. Registration required.
"Waterfowl of the Freshwater Marsh," 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Join an expert birder to go "behind the gates'' to areas of the marsh that are not open to the public.
Free. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward. (510) 670-7270, www.hard.dst.ca.us/hayshore.html.<
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF THE EAST BAY
"Shabbat Celebration for Young Children," Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Join other families with young children to sharethis weekly Jewish holiday of joy and renewal.
1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. (510) 848-0237, www.jcceastbay.org/.<
JUNIOR CENTER OF ART AND SCIENCE A center dedicated to encouraging children's active wonder and creative response through artistic and scientific exploration of their natural urban environment. The center's classes, workshops, exhibits and events integrate art and science.
EXHIBITS -- Three educational exhibits are mounted in the "Children's Gallery'' each year. A docent-led tour, demonstrations, hands-on activities and art projects are available to school groups throughout the year.
"Jake's Discovery Garden," Jake's Discovery Garden is a new interactive studio exhibit designed for preschool-aged children and their adult caregivers that teaches young visitors about the natural environments found in their backyards, playgrounds and neighborhoods.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
Free; programs and special exhibits have a fee. September through May: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June through August: Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 558 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (510) 839-5777, www.juniorcenter.org.<
LAKE CHABOT REGIONAL PARK The 315-acre lake offers year-round recreation. Services include canoe and boat rental, horseshoe pits, hiking, bicycling, picnicking and seasonal tours aboard the Chabot Queen. For boat rentals, call (510) 247-2526.
Free unless noted otherwise; $5 parking; $2 per dog except guide/service dogs. Daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 17930 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
LAWRENCE HALL OF SCIENCE
ONGOING EXHIBITS --
"NanoZone," Discover the science of the super-small: nanotechnology. Through hands-on activities and games, explore this microworld and the scientific discoveries made in this area.
"Forces That Shape the Bay," A science park that shows and explains why the San Francisco Bay is the way it is, with information on water, erosion, plate tectonics and mountain building. You can ride earthquake simulators, set erosion in motion and look far out into the bay with a powerful telescope from 1,100 feet above sea level. The center of the exhibit is a waterfall that demonstrates how water flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay. Visitors can control where the water goes. There are also hands-on erosion tables, and a 40-foot-long, 6-foothigh, rock compression wall.
"Real Astronomy Experience," A new exhibit-in-development allowing visitors to use the tools that real astronomers use. Aim a telescope at a virtual sky and operate a remote-controlled telescope to measure a planet.
"Biology Lab," In the renovated Biology Lab visitors may hold and observe gentle animals. Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
"The Idea Lab," Experiment with some of the basics of math, science and technology through hands-on activities and demonstrations of magnets, spinning and flying, puzzles and nanotechnology.
"Math Around the World," Play some of the world's most popular math games, such as Hex, Kalah, Game Sticks and Shongo Networks.
"Math Rules," Use simple and colorful objects to complete interesting challenges in math through predicting, sorting, comparing, weighing and counting.
HOLT PLANETARIUM Shows on Saturdays and Sundays. Programs recommended for ages 6 and up unless otherwise noted. $2.50-$3 in addition to general admission.
"Constellations Tonight," Learn to identify the most prominent constellations of the season in the planetarium sky with a simple star map.
"Mysteries of Missing Matter," Investigate the complexity of the universe and learn why astronomers now think that most of the matter in our universe mysteriously invisible to us.
"Journey to the Moon," Experience a time traveler's view of the changing shapes of the moon as it waxes and wanes in the planetarium. Ages 4-7.
$5.50-$10; free children ages 2 and under. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. University of California, Centennial Drive, Berkeley. (510) 642-5132, www.lawrencehallofscience.org.<
LINDSAY WILDLIFE MUSEUM This is the oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center in America, taking in 6,000 injured and orphaned animals yearly and returning 40 percent of them to the wild. The museum offers a wide range of educational programs using non-releasable wild animals to teach children and adults respect for the balance of nature. The museum includes a state-of-the art wildlife hospital which features a permanent exhibit, titled "Living with Nature,'' which houses 75 non-releasable wild animals in learning environments; a 5,000-square-foot Wildlife Hospital complete with treatment rooms, intensive care, quarantine and laboratory facilities; a 1-acre Nature Garden featuring the region's native landscaping and wildlife; and an "Especially For Children'' exhibit.
WILDLIFE HOSPITAL -- September-March: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hospital is open daily including holidays to receive injured and orphaned animals. There is no charge for treatment of native wild animals and there are no public viewing areas in the hospital.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
$5-$7; free children under age 2. Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. (925) 935-1978, www.wildlife-museum.org.<
THE MARSH BERKELEY
"The World's Funniest Bubble Show," through June 27, Sunday, 11 a.m. Bubble Man Louis Pearl presents his fun and family-friendly antics. $7-$50.
The Gaia Building, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. Info: (415) 826-5750, Tickets: (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org.<
MUSEUM OF CHILDREN'S ART A museum of art for and by children, with activities for children to participate in making their own art.
ART CAMPS -- Hands-on activities and engaging curriculum for children of different ages, led by professional artists and staff. $60 per day.
CLASSES -- A Sunday series of classes for children ages 8 to 12, led by Mocha artists. Sundays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
OPEN STUDIOS -- Drop-in art play activities with new themes each week.
"Big Studio." Guided art projects for children age 6 and older with a Mocha artist. Tuesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. $5.
"Little Studio." A hands-on experience that lets young artists age 18 months to 5 years see, touch and manipulate a variety of media. Children can get messy. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $5.
"Family Weekend Studios." Drop-in art activities for the whole family. All ages welcome. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. $5 per child.
FAMILY EXTRAVAGANZAS -- Special weekend workshops for the entire family.
"Sunday Workshops with Illustrators," Sundays, 1 p.m. See the artwork and meet the artists who create children's book illustrations. Free.
"Saturday Stories," 1 p.m. For children ages 2-5. Free.
SPECIAL EVENT --
"Saturday Stories," 1 p.m. For ages 2-5. Free.
Free gallery admission. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 538 Ninth St., Oakland. (510) 465-8770, www.mocha.org.<
OAKLAND ZOO The zoo includes a Children's Petting Zoo, the Skyride, a miniature train, a carousel, picnic grounds and a gift shop as well as the animals in site specific exhibits, which allow them to roam freely. Included are "The African Savanna,'' with its two huge mixed-animal aviaries and 11 African Savanna exhibits; the Mahali Pa Tembo (Place of the Elephant), with giraffes, chimpanzees and more than 330 other animals from around the world; "Simba Pori,'' Swahili for "Lion Country,'' a spacious 1.5-acre habitat offering both a savanna and woodland setting for African lions; "Footprints from the Past,'' an anthropology exhibit showcasing four million years of human evolution and an actual "footpath'' of the first hominids to emerge from the African savanna; "Sun Bear Exhibit,'' a stateof-the-art space the zoo has developed for its two sun bears; and Siamang Island, a state-of-the-art, barrier-free area that emulates the gibbons' native tropical rain forest habitat. Also see the Malayan Fruit Bats from the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Florida that are now roosting in trees at the zoo. In addition there are special exhibits and events monthly.
ONGOING EXHIBITS --
"Valley Children's Zoo," The three-acre attraction offers a completely interactive experience for both children and adults. The exhibits include lemurs, giant fruit bats, otters, reptiles, insects and more. Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Endangered Species," An exhibit of photographs about the most endangered animals on the Earth and what can be done to save them. At the Education Center. Open daily during zoo hours. ONGOING EVENTS --
"Valley Children's Zoo," Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The three-acre attraction will offer a completely interactive experience for both children and adults. The exhibits include lemurs, giant fruit bats, otters, reptiles, insects and more. Free with regular Zoo admission.
"Wildlife Theater," Saturday, 11:45 a.m.; Sunday, 1:45 p.m. On Saturday mornings listen to a story and meet a live animal. On Sunday afternoon meet live animals and learn cool facts about them. Meet in the Lobby of the Zoo's Maddie's Center for Science and Environmental Education. Free with regular Zoo admission. (510) 632-9525, ext. 142.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
$7.50-11; free children under age 2; $6 parking fee. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Knowland Park, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. (510) 632-9525, www.oaklandzoo.org.<
POINT PINOLE REGIONAL SHORELINE The 2,315-acre parkland bordering Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo offers views of Mount Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline and San Pablo Bay. There are trails through meadows and woods, and along the bluffs and beaches of San Pablo Bay. Visitors can hike, ride bikes or take the park's shuttle bus to reach the 1,250-foot fishing pier at Point Pinole.
$5 per vehicle; $4 per trailered vehicle; $2 per dog (guide/service dogs free). Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise posted. Giant Highway, Richmond. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
ROBERT SIBLEY VOLCANIC REGIONAL PRESERVE East Bay residents have several volcanoes in their backyard. This park contains Round Top, one of the highest peaks in the Oakland Hills.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 6800 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
SCHARFFEN BERGER CHOCOLATE FACTORY This hour-long tour covers the history of chocolate making, from the cultivation of cacao beans to the finished product. After a chocolate tasting, visitors take a walking tour of the factory floor. Open to children 10 and up. Reservations required.
Free with reservation. Every hour on the half-hour, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 914 Heinz Ave., Berkeley. (510) 981-4066, www.scharffenbergertour.com.<
SHADOW CLIFFS REGIONAL RECREATION AREA The 296-acre park includes an 80-acre lake and a four-flume waterslide, with picnic grounds and a swimming beach. Water slide fees and hours: (925) 829-6230.
$6 per vehicle; $2 per dog except guide and service dogs. May 1 through Labor Day: daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; shortened hours for fall and winter. Stanley Boulevard, one mile from downtown, Pleasanton. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
SULPHUR CREEK NATURE CENTER A wildlife rehabilitation and education facility where injured and orphaned local wild creatures are rehabilitated and released when possible. There is also a lending library of animals such as guinea pigs, rats, mice and more. The lending fee is $8 per week.
ONGOING EVENTS --
"Toddler Time," Learn about animals by listening to stories and exploring. Themes vary by month. Call for schedule. $7 per family.
"Day on the Green Animal Presentations," Meet an assortment of wild and domestic animals. Wildlife volunteers will present a different animal each day from possums to snakes, tortoises to hawks. Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
CHILDREN'S EVENTS --
Free. Park: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Discovery Center: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Animal Lending Library: Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: daily, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1801 D St., Hayward. (510) 881-6747, www.haywardrec.org/sulphur_creek.html.<
TILDEN REGIONAL PARK This park is large and contains hiking trails, a golf course, a miniature scaled train to ride, The Brazilian Building and picnic areas.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Reptile Rendezvous," May 9, 2-3 p.m. Learn about the reptiles that call the nature area home.
"Chicky Chickens," May 15, 2-3 p.m. Visit, feed and pet our country pals.
"Wonderous Wildflowers," May 16, 2-3 p.m. Familiarize yourself with local wildflowers.
Free unless otherwise noted. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Entrances off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Berkeley. (510) 525-2233, www.ebparks.org.<
USS HORNET MUSEUM Come aboard this World War II aircraft carrier that has been converted into a floating museum. The Hornet, launched in 1943, is 899 feet long and 27 stories high. During World War II she was never hit by an enemy strike or plane and holds the Navy record for number of enemy planes shot down in a week. In 1969 the Hornet recovered the Apollo 11 space capsule containing the first men to walk on the moon, and later recovered Apollo 12. In 1991 the Hornet was designated a National Historic Landmark and is now docked at the same pier she sailed from in 1944. Today, visitors can tour the massive ship, view World War II-era warplanes and experience a simulated aircraft launch from the carrier's deck. Exhibits are being added on an ongoing basis. Allow two to three hours for a visit. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb steep stairs or ladders. Dress in layers as the ship can be cold. Arrive no later than 2 p.m. to sign up for the engine room and other docent-led tours. Children under age 12 are not allowed in the Engine Room or the Combat Information Center.
ONGOING EVENTS --
"Limited Access Day," Due to ship maintenance, tours of the navigation bridge and the engine room are not available. Tuesdays.
"Flight Deck Fun," A former Landing Signal Officer will show children how to bring in a fighter plane for a landing on the deck then let them try the signals themselves. Times vary. Free with regular Museum admission.
"Protestant Divine Services," Hornet chaplain John Berger conducts church services aboard The Hornet in the Wardroom Lounge. Everyone is welcome and refreshments are served immediately following the service. Sundays, 11 a.m.
SPECIAL EVENTS -- Closed on New Year's Day.
"Living Ship Day," Experience an aircraft carrier in action, with simulated flight operations as aircraft are lifted to the flight deck and placed in launch position. Some former crewmembers will be on hand.
"Family Day," Discounted admission for families of four with a further discount for additional family members. Access to some of the areas may be limited due to ship maintenance. Every Tuesday. $20 for family of four; $5 for each additional family member.
"Flashlight Tour," Receive a special tour of areas aboard the ship that have not yet been opened to the public or that have limited access during the day.
"Heroes of the Pacific," May 16, 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The USS Hornet pays tribute to the soldiers who survived the desperate days of the Pacific Campaign with a screening of the finale of the HBO miniseries "The Pacific,'' along with guest speakers, including some of the Hornet's very own World War II veteran crew who will share their experiences.
$6-$14; free children age 4 and under with a paying adult. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Pier 3 (enter on Atlantic Avenue), Alameda Point, Alameda. (510) 521-8448, www.uss-hornet.org.<