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.
$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 AREA RAIL TRAILS A network of trails converted from unused railway corridors and developed by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.
BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE RAILROAD BED TRAIL -- This easy one mile long rail trail on Mount Diablo leads to many historic sites within the preserve. Suitable for walking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Accessible year round but may be muddy during the rainy season. Enter from the Park Entrance Station parking lot on the East side of Somersville Road, Antioch.
IRON HORSE REGIONAL TRAIL -- The paved trail has grown into a 23 mile path between Concord and San Ramon with a link into Dublin. The trail runs from the north end of Monument Boulevard at Mohr Lane, east to Interstate 680, in Concord through Walnut Creek to just south of Village Green Park in San Ramon. It will eventually extend from Suisun Bay to Pleasanton and has been nominated as a Community Millennium Trail under the U.S. Millennium Trails program. A smooth shaded trail suitable for walkers, cyclists, skaters and strollers. It is also wheelchair accessible. Difficulty: easy to moderate in small chunks; hard if taken as a whole.
LAFAYETTE/MORAGA REGIONAL TRAIL -- A 7.65 mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail line. This 20-year old trail goes along Las Trampas Creek and parallels St. Mary's Road. Suitable for walkers, equestrians, and cyclists. Runs from Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette to Moraga. The trail can be used year round.
OHLONE GREENWAY -- A 3.75-mile paved trail converted from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway. Suitable for walkers, strollers and skaters. It is also wheelchair accessible. The trail runs under elevated BART tracks from Conlon and Key Streets in El Cerrito to Virginia and Acton Streets in Berkeley.
SHEPHERD CANYON TRAIL -- An easy 3-mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail Line. The tree-lined trail is gently sloping and generally follows Shepherd Canyon Road. Suitable for walkers and cyclists. It is also wheelchair accessible. Begins in Montclair Village behind McCaulou's Department Store on Medau Place and ends at Paso Robles Drive, Oakland. Useable year round.
Free. (415) 397-2220, www.traillink.com.<
BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL The Bay Area Ridge Trail, when completed, will be a 400-mile regional trail system that will form a loop around the entire San Francisco Bay region, linking 75 public parks and open spaces to thousands of people and hundreds of communities. Hikes on portions of the trail are available through the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Call for meeting sites.
ONGOING EVENTS --
ALAMEDA COUNTY -- "Lake Chabot Bike Rides." These rides are for strong beginners and intermediates to build skill, strength and endurance at a non hammerhead pace. No one will be dropped. Reservations required. Distance: 14 miles. Elevation gain: 1,000 feet. Difficulty: beginner to intermediate. Pace: moderate. Meeting place: Lake Chabot Road at the main entrance to the park. Thursday, 6:15 a.m. (510) 468-3582.
ALAMEDA-CONTRA COSTA COUNTY -- "Tilden and Wildcat Bike Rides." A vigorous ride through Tilden and Wildcat Canyon regional parks. Reservations required. Distance: 15 miles. Elevation gain: 2,000 feet. Difficulty: intermediate. Pace: fast. Meeting place: in front of the North Berkeley BART Station. Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. (510) 849-9650.
Free. (415) 561-2595, www.ridgetrail.org.<
BERKELEY CITY CLUB TOURS Guided tours through Berkeley's City Club, a landmark building designed by architect Julia Morgan, designer of Hearst Castle.
Free. The last Sunday of the month on the hour between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley. (510) 848-7800, www.berkeleycityclub.com.<
BLACK PANTHER LEGACY TOUR A bus tour of 18 sites significant in the history of the Black Panther Party, conducted by the Huey P. Newton Foundation. By reservation only.
$25. West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., Oakland. (510) 884-4860, www.blackpanthertours.com.<
CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
HISTORY WALKABOUTS -- A series of walking tours that explore the history, lore and architecture of California with veteran tour guide Gary Holloway. Walks are given on specific weekends. There is a different meeting place for each weekend and walks take place rain or shine so dress for the weather. Reservations and prepayment required. Meeting place will be given with confirmation of tour reservation. Call for details.
678 Mission St., San Francisco. (415) 357-1848, www.californiahistoricalsociety.org.<
CAMRON-STANFORD HOUSE The Camron-Stanford House, an 1876 Italianate-style home that was at one time the Oakland Public Museum, has been restored and furnished with appropriate period furnishings by the Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association. It is the last Victorian house on Lake Merritt's shore. Call ahead to confirm tours and hours.
$3-$5; free children ages 11 and under when accompanied by a paying adult; free the first Sunday of the month. Third Wednesday of the month, 1-5 p.m. 1418 Lakeside Drive at 14th Street, Oakland. (510) 444-1876, www.cshouse.org.<
CASA PERALTA Once the home of descendants of the 19th-century Spanish soldier and Alameda County landowner Don Luis Maria Peralta, the 1821 adobe was remodeled in 1926 as a grand Spanish villa, using some of the original bricks. The casa features a beautiful Moorish exterior design and hand painted tiles imported from Spain, some of which tell the story of Don Quixote. The interior is furnished in 1920s decor. The house will be decorated for the holidays during the month of December. Call ahead to confirm hours.
Free but donations accepted. Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 384 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro. (510) 577-3474, (510) 577-3491, www.ci.sanleandro. ca.us/sllibrarycasaperalta.html.<
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.
Center Admission: $10.95-$14.95; 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.; Also open on Tuesdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. after June 29. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 336-7300, www.chabotspace.org.<
CLOSE TO HOME: EXPLORING NATURE'S TREASURES IN THE EAST BAY -- -- A yearlong program of monthly talks and Saturday outings about the natural history of the East Bay. In this hands-on program learn about the plants, wildlife and watershed of the East Bay's incredibly rich and dynamic bioregion. The 11 Saturday outings will take place in either Alameda or Contra Costa counties. The 10 talks at the Montclair Presbyterian Church will be on the Monday prior to the Saturday outing. A notebook of relevant readings and resources for each outing is available to all participants for an additional $30 per person. The program is cosponsored by the Oakland Museum of California, BayNature Magazine and Earthlight Magazine. Fee for the year covers all outings, talks, site fees, orientation and a party.
"Beavers with Heidi Perryman," June 7. Join Heidi Perryman for a discussion about the Martinez beavers.
$375 per person for yearlong participation; $30 additional for binder with written materials. Montclair Presbyterian Church, 5701 Thornhill Drive, Oakland. (510) 655-6658, (510) 601-5715, www.close-to-home.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.<
EUGENE O'NEILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE Closed on New Year's Day. Visit Eugene O'Neill's famous Tao House and its tranquil grounds. Phone reservations required for a ranger-led, twoand-a-half-hour tour. Tours are given Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Please note: The National Park Service provides a free shuttle van for transportation to Tao House. Access via private vehicle is not available.
Free but reservations required. Wednesday-Sunday. 1000 Kuss Road, Danville. (925) 838-0249, www.nps.gov/euon.<
FIFTY-PLUS ADVENTURE WALKS AND RUNS The walks and runs are 3-mile round-trips, lasting about one hour on the trail. All levels of ability are welcome. The walks are brisk, however, and may include some uphill terrain. Events are held rain or shine and on all holidays except Christmas and the Fifty-Plus Annual Fitness Weekend. Call for dates, times and details.
Free. (650) 323-6160, www.50plus.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.<
GOLDEN GATE LIVE STEAMERS Small locomotives, meticulously scaled to size, run along a half mile of track in Tilden Regional Park. The small trains are owned and maintained by a non-profit group of railroad buffs that offer rides. Come out for the monthly family run and barbeque at the track, offered on the fourth Sunday of the month.
"Spring Open House," June 27.
Free. Trains run Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Rides: Sunday, noon-3 p.m., weather permitting. Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Lomas Cantadas Drive at the south end of Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley. (510) 486-0623, www.ggls.org.<
GOLDEN STATE MODEL RAILROAD MUSEUM -- The museum, which is handicapped accessible, features extensive displays of operating model railroads constructed and operated by the East Bay Model Engineers Society. Covering some 10,000 square feet, steam and modern diesel-powered freight and passenger trains operate in O, HO and N scales on separate layouts as well as narrow gauge and trolley lines. Of special interest is the Tehachapi Pass and Loop on the N-scale layout showing how the multiple engine trains traverse the gorges and tunnels, passing over themselves to gain altitude to cross Tehachapi Summit just east of Bakersfield. The layouts include such famous railroad landmarks as Niles Canyon, Donner Pass and the Oakland Mole where transcontinental passengers were ferried across San Francisco Bay from their arriving trains. VIEW THE LAYOUTS ONLY ON WEDNESDAYS AND SATURDAYS; WATCH TRAINS RUN ON THE LAYOUTS ON SUNDAYS.
$2-$4 Sunday, $9 family ticket; free on Wednesday and Saturday. April-November: Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. December: layouts are operational on weekends. Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, 900-A Dornan Dr., Point Richmond. (510) 234-4884, www.gsmrm.org.<
GONDOLA SERVIZIO -- "Gondola Servizio." Weather permitting. Take a ride around Lake Merritt in a real Venetian gondola rowed by a Venetian-style gondolier. The boats of Gondola Servizio were built by hand in Venice. Each gondola seats up to six people and reservations are required.
Marco Polo: Bring a picnic lunch and/or a beverage to enjoy on this 30 minute private gondola tour. $45 per couple, $10 for each additional person.
Casanova: A 55-minute private gondola tour. Bring a picnic and/or champagne or another beverage to enjoy. Glasses are supplied along with blankets. $75 per couple, $10 for each additional person.
Promessi Sposi: This is perfect for special occasions like an engagement photo or wedding outing. Also used for photo and film shoots or any other occasion. $225 per hour for the first couple; $10 per additional person.
September-May: Wednesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-midnight; June-August: Daily, by appointment. Lake Merritt Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (866) 737-8494, (866) 737-8494, www.gondolaservizio.com.<
GREENBELT ALLIANCE OUTINGS A series of hikes, bike rides and events sponsored by Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area's non-profit land conservation and urban planning organization. Call for meeting places. Reservations required for all trips.
ALAMEDA COUNTY --
"Self-Guided Urban Outing: Berkeley," This interactive smart growth walking tour of central Berkeley examines some of the exciting projects that help alleviate the housing shortage in the city as well as amenities important to making a livable community. The walk, which includes the GAIA Cultural Center, Allston Oak Court, The Berkeley Bike Station, University Terrace and Strawberry Creek Park, takes between an hour-and-ahalf to two hours at a leisurely pace. Download the itinerary which gives specific directions by entering www.greeenbelt.org and clicking on "get involved'' and then "urban outings.'' Drop down and click on Berkeley. Free.
Free unless otherwise noted. (415) 255-3233, www.greenbelt.org.<
JOHN MUIR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE The site preserves the 1882 Muir House, a 17-room Victorian mansion where naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The house is situated on a hill overlooking the City of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. Take a self-guided tour of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home. Also part of the site is the historic Martinez Adobe and Mount Wanda.
ONGOING EVENT --
Public Tours of the John Muir House, Begin with an eight-minute park film and then take the tour. The film runs every 15 minutes throughout the day. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
MOUNT WANDA -- The mountain consists of 325 acres of grass and oak woodland historically owned by the Muir family. It offers a nature trail and several fire trails for hiking. Open daily, sunrise to sunset.
JOHN MUIR HOUSE, Tours of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home are available. The house, built in 1882, is a 14-room Victorian home situated on a hill overlooking the city of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The park also includes the historic Vicente Martinez Adobe, built in 1849. An eight-minute film about Muir and the site is shown every 15 minutes throughout the day at the Visitor Center. Self guided tours of the Muir home, the surrounding orchards, and the Martinez Adobe: Wednesday-Sunday, 1 a.m.-5 p.m. Public tours or the first floor of the Muir home: Wednesday-Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations not required except for large groups.
$3 general; free children ages 16 and under. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez. (925) 228-8860, www.nps.gov/jomu.<
LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY Scientists and engineers guide visitors through the research areas of the laboratory, demonstrating emerging technology and discussing the research's current and potential applications. A Berkeley lab tour usually lasts two and a half hours and includes visits to several research areas. Popular tour sites include the Advanced Light Source, The National Center for Electron Microscopy, the 88-Inch Cyclotron, The Advanced Lighting Laboratory and The Human Genome Laboratory. Reservations required at least two weeks in advance of tour. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Photography is permitted. Due to heightened security after Sept. 11, 2001, tour participants will be asked for photo identification and citizenship information. Tours are periodically available by special request. Contact the Community Relations Office, (510) 486-7292, for additional information. To add your name to a list of potential public tour participants, email email@example.com.
Free. 10 a.m. University of California, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley. (510) 486-7292, www.lbl.gov.<
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory offer two different tours of its facilities.
Livermore Main Site Tours are offered twice weekly. Highlights of the twoand-a-half-hour tour are visits to the Biology and Biotechnology Building, the National Atmospheric Release Center Advisory Center, and ASC/White, one of the nation's largest, most powerful supercomputers. All tours include a stop at the Lab's Discovery Center. Visitors must be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older. Two-week advance reservations required. Tours are available for non-U.S. citizens with 60 to 90 days advance reservation. Tours are on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.
Site 300 is the Laboratory's 7,000 acre non-nuclear explosive test facility just east of Tracy. Tours may include Western vantage points for observation of the site and surrounding properties, an external view of the Contained Firing Facility, and Environmental remediation facilities and wetlands. Visitors must be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older. Two-week advance reservations required. Tours are available for non-U.S. citizens with 60 to 90 days advance reservation. Tours are on the first and third Fridays of the month from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with the exception of June when the annual controlled burn takes place at the site. Reservations may be made online or by telephone.
NATIONAL LABORATORY DISCOVERY CENTER -- Tuesdays-Fridays, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Center is a window into the Laboratory where visitors can experience a broad-based display of the scientific technology developed at the Laboratory as well as highlights of the Lab's research and history in such areas as defense, homeland security, the environment, cancer and new energy sources.
There is no citizenship limitation or age limit for visiting the Discovery Center. Call ahead to confirm the Center is open. Located off Greenville Road on Eastgate Drive, just outside the Laboratory's East Gate. Free. (925) 423-3272.
Free. 7000 East Ave., Livermore. (925) 422-4599, www.llnl.gov.<
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.<
MOUNT DIABLO SUMMIT MUSEUM The museum is located in a historic stone building atop Mt. Diablo's highest peak and features ongoing exhibits that chronicle the history of the mountain. An instructional video examines the geological forces that created the mountain and panel displays describe the Native American history of the region. A diorama provides an overview of the mountain's ecosystems. Telescopes are mounted on the Observation Deck so visitors can enjoy one of the finest views in the world.
Museum: free; Park entrance fee: $5-$6 per vehicle. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Park hours: daily, 8 a.m.-sunset. Oak Grove Road or North Gate Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 837-6119, (925) 837-6119, www.mdia.org/museum.htm.<
MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY WALKING TOURS Take a three-hour, docent-led walking tour of this cemetery, designed by renowned architect Fredrich Law Olmsted, where many historical figures, both local and national, are buried.
"Eric Symons Concert," June 6, 4 p.m. Virtuoso Spanish guitarist Eric Symons will perform a special concert, with guest Wendy Loder on violin. Free.
Free. Second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. (510) 658-2588, www.mountainviewcemetery.org.<
NIMITZ WALK A level, paved walk originally constructed when the army was considering putting a missile site in the hills above Berkeley. Near Inspiration Point; from San Pablo Dam Road turn west onto Wildcat Canyon Road in Orinda. The entrance to the walk, and a parking lot, is at the top of the ridge. This is an easy hike for people of all ages and especially ideal for the very old, the very young, and the disabled. Bicycles and roller blades are allowed.
Free. Daily, sunrise-sunset. Tilden Park, near Inspiration Point, Berkeley Hills. (510) 525-2233, www.ebparks.org.<
OAKLAND ARTISAN MARKETPLACE www.oaklandartisanmarketplace.org/. A weekly market featuring the fine arts and crafts created by local artists. Included will be handmade jewelry, sculptures, ceramics, paintings and drawings, photography, dolls, floral arrangements, clothing, soaps, and greeting cards. The three weekly markets are at different sites in Oakland.
Free. (510) 238-4948.<
OAKLAND CASTING CLUB MEETINGS The Oakland Casting Club and Department of Parks and Recreation present free fly-casting clinics in this monthly meeting. Experts of the club will be on hand to offer tips and training techniques for youths and adults. Everything from basic casting to advanced techniques will be taught. Beginners or experienced anglers welcome. No registration or appointment necessary, but please e-mail ahead (and include relative skill level) to give notice of your participation, if possible.
Meetings are held at McCrea Park, located at Carson Street and Aliso Avenue (just off Hwy. 13), Oakland.
Third Saturday of the month March-July. Oakland. www.oaklandcastingclub.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.<
OLD MISSION SAN JOSE Take a self-guided tour of the Mission, a replica of the original mission church that was one of a chain of California missions begun by Father Junipero Serra in 1769. Mission San Jose was founded in 1797. The mission chain stretches from San Diego to San Rafael. The tour includes the church, grounds, an adobe building and historic memorabilia.
$2-$3. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Closed New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont. (510) 657-1797, www.missionsanjose.org.<
PARAMOUNT THEATRE TOUR The historic Paramount Theatre is a restored art deco masterpiece from the movie palace era. The two-hour tour covers areas not usually accessible to the public. Cameras are allowed. Children must be at least 10 years old and accompanied by adult chaperones.
$5. First and third Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. Meet at the 21st Street Box Office Entrance, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. (510) 465-6400, (510) 893-2300, www.paramounttheatre.com.<
PARDEE HOME MUSEUM The historic Pardee Mansion, a three-story Italianate villa built in 1868, was home to three generations of the Pardee family who were instrumental in the civic and cultural development of California and Oakland. The home includes the house, grounds, water tower and barn. Reservations recommended.
$5; free children ages 12 and under. House Tours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays by appointment. 672 11th St., Oakland. (510) 444-2187, www.pardeehome.org.<
RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN One of America's finest private gardens, the Ruth Bancroft Garden displays 2,000 specimens from around the world that thrive in an arid climate. Included are African and Mexican succulents, New World cacti, Australian and Chilean trees, and shrubs from California.
DOCENT TOUR SCHEDULE -- Saturdays, 10 a.m. Docent-led tours last approximately an hour and a half. Plant sales follow the tour. By reservation only. $7; free children under age 12.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS -- Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-noon; Friday, 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. Self-guided tours last two hours. No reservations required for weekday tours; reservations required for Friday and Saturday tours. Plant sales follow the tours. $7; free children under age 12.
Gardens open only for tours and special events listed on the garden's telephone information line. 1500 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 210-9663, www.ruthbancroftgarden.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.<
SHADELANDS RANCH HISTORICAL MUSEUM Built by Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman, this 1903 redwoodframed house is a showcase for numerous historical artifacts, many of which belonged to the Pennimans. It also houses a rich archive of Contra Costa and Walnut Creek history in its collections of old newspapers, photographs and government records.
$1-$3; free-children under age 6. Wednesday and Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; Closed in January. 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 935-7871, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us.<
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.<
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
$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.<