This summer, if you want to save money but are looking to have fun, there are many activities available in the Bay Area. Whether your interests lie with arts/crafts projects, children’s activities, musical performances, the theatre, or other activities, here is a quick guide that will help you decide what you like.
Each city offers community centers with parks, recreation area, tennis courts, skate parks and more children’s entertainment. In addition, check out these sources for free classes and afterschool activities.
• The Public Library (http://www.sjpl.org) – visit the public library at one of 20 locations for free movies, DVDs, and books. Also offered are free events for teens, children, and adults such as “Legos @ the Library”, “Mixing the Math”, “Family Storytime”, “Homework Hour”, “Anime & Manga Club”, “Before You Buy: Fine Jewelry”, “Master Gardeners” and more!
• Barnes And Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com) – Barnes And Noble has “Storytime”, “NOOK Club” and “Dr. Seuss Storytime” recurring every week. Check your nearest store for specific timing information.
• Sunnyvale Community Center – Children’s afterschool programs and workshops (http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Departments/CommunityServices/ClassesandActivities/AfterSchoolPrograms.aspx)
• BEAT afterschool program at Mountain View Community Center (http://mountainview.gov/city_hall/comm_services/recreation_programs_and_services/afterschool_programs.asp)
• The Junior Zoo – A free museum featuring technological innovations and green energy solutions for children, along with a zoo featuring bobcats! (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/depts/csd/activities_and_recreation/attractions/junior_museum/default.asp) – The Junior Zoo is currently offering children’s fine art courses and workshops in Puppet Making, Chinese Brush Painting, Digital Photography and more!
Crafts and Art
These three great art museums have free admission and are currently exhibiting Heidi Brueckner, Lynn Powers, and more!
• Triton Art Museum ( http://www.tritonmuseum.org/index.php )
• Mohr Art Gallery ( http://www.arts4all.org/attend/mohrspace.htm )
• Palo Alto Art Center ( http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/depts/csd/activities_and_recreation/attractions/art_center/ )
• Michaels (www.michaels.com) – Michaels offers free courses “The Knack Family Event”, “Free Make-It Take-It” custom invitations, paper baby booties, yarn dolls, clay pot and saucer, trinkets, and “Bead Events”. Check your nearest store for schedules.
Lick Observatory (http://www.hallsvalley.org/lick/main/main.html) – Located on Summit of Mount Hamilton, this observatory is located 13 miles east of San Jose . It features a 36-inch refractor, 120-inch Shane reflector, and 36-inch historic Crossley reflector (presently the second largest of its type in the world). Admission is free.
Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Recreation (http://www.sjparks.org/#regional) – check out the numerous parks offered in the cities of Palo Alto , Mountain View , and Sunnyvale .
You can contact the recreation department for reserving picnic areas (https://recreationclasses.insunnyvale.org).
Also join one of these hiker’s clubs which offer no annual dues for camping, hiking, and outdoor adventures. (http://hiking.meetup.com/cities/us/ca/san_jose/)
Volunteering – The Bay Area offers many volunteering opportunities for individuals with special interests and skill set. These are some great organizations that provide numerous volunteering opportunities:
- Save The Bay – http://www.savesfbay.org/volunteer
- Stanford Blood Center-http://stanfordhospital.org/employment/volunteering/volunteerpositions.html
- YMCA – http://ymcasv.org/association/html/volunteering.html
- Community Service Agency – http://www.csacares.org/
- El Camino Hospital – http://www.elcaminohospital.org/About_El_Camino_Hospital/Volunteering
Whether you’re looking to take the whole family out for fun or for finding the right social group, check out one of the above places for great entertainment free of cost.