March 24, 2012

Swim Lessons

We recently restarted swim lessons for both boys and as G’s parents moved last summer we decided to forgo lessons at the PJCC and try La Petite Baleen Swim School in San Bruno as it is a bit closer to home.  This week will be our third class and so far we are really happy with it.  It is different from our previous lessons as the focus is very much on learning to swim rather than just getting used to the water.

   Our three year old is in the pool with a teacher and three other kids and has learned to be comfortable without a parent in the water, hold his breath (balloon face) and swim around 6 feet on his own.  He looks forward to going to the class and also enjoys the train table he gets to play with while we are waiting for his younger brother. Our one year old is in the water with his dad and by the end of the class is exhausted. He spends his time in class getting used to being in the water, and putting his face underwater. A lot of the focus is on safety and learning the basics a simple repetitive nature. For example, he learns to climb out methodically, elbow - elbow - tummy - knee - knee; and while he can't quite do it on his own he definitely is getting the idea.

One funny thing is that they have the kids wear goggles and fins, have to admit it is pretty darn cute to see them in their gear ready to go! 

March 20, 2012

Half Moon Bay State Beach

We have close friends who live in San Jose so one of the things we are often looking for is fun places easy driving distances from both San Francisco and San Jose and one of our recent favorites is the state beach at Half Moon Bay.  The beach is never crowded, the sand is great for building castles and our kids love playing in the waves. Be warned they are stronger than they look and we all got at least the bottom halves of our pants wet when a stronger than expected wave hit!

The last time we went we spent a few hours on the beach and then headed up the hill to enjoy some BBQ at the tables overlooking the ocean with a great view of the surfers. Be warned that the seagulls are fierce and are determined to get your food at any cost.  We had the toddlers running circles around our table and that still was not enough commotion to keep them at bay!

It costs $10 per car to get in for the day but with lots of picnic tables, bathrooms (and showers if you brave the water) and BBQ facilities it is great value for a super fun day.  They also have camping, we’ve never stayed overnight but should try one day!

For more information you can check out their website here!

Magic Mountain Playground at Coyote Point

We decided to try a new playground a few weeks ago and as it was foggy and cold in San Francisco we decided to head south.  We thought that Coyote Point would be a good option and after looking online found information on what sounded (and proved to be) and amazing playground called Magic Mountain.   

Magic Mountain is basically designed and based on a gigantic purple dinosaur and castle.  It consists of big and baby swings, at least 6 slides and a ton of other things to climb.  The ground is covered with that soft rubber materials a lot of modern parks are using these days which is perfect as our boys both tend to take a lot of tumbles.  As soon as we arrived our three year old was up the multistory structure and while he would not go down the long tunnel side on his own he had a great time climbing and expended a lot of his energy.  Another of our kids favorite things was the dinosaur’s mouth where they could actually get inside and climb on the teeth. 

The only downside of this trip was the cost.  It was $6 to get into the conservation area which was totally reasonable but there was an additional $25 fee to use one of the picnic tables beside the playground which we needed to BBQ.  Had we known about the cost we would have just brought sandwiches and had a picnic on the grass but we were excited to use our Cobb BBQ and had been looking forward to the idea of hot food on a slightly chilly day.

Overall a great day and a really fun playground!

March 15, 2012

Why we love the zoo!

Friends have often heard me profess the benefits and value of our San Francisco Zoo membership. For $95 a year a family of two adults and upto 5 children get to go as often as they want and have access to the member only benefits and events. 

Since we bought our membership we have met Spider-man, Captain America, Elmo and Cookie Monster as well as the Easter Bunny (ok – it was actually the Nesquick bunny but our kids did not know the difference and were excited none the less).  We’ve seen musical shows featuring Fisher Price’s Little People and been present for the arrival of Santa’s reindeer two years in a row. 


In terms of set up and animals SF Zoo does not have the awe of the San Diego Zoo (which is amazing) but as a family with two very energetic toddlers the open space, good sight lines and lots of things at their level it is the perfect day out.  We generally spend a lot of time in the children’s zoo which includes a bug house and a petting zoo along with a bunch of kid type animals.  One of our favorites is the muir cats and prairie dogs who are usually out and about doing their thing and happy to show off their entertaining personality.  We also love the petting zoo, the main attraction are the goats and sheet wandering around who are pretty mild mannered and used to kids throwing themselves on them.  There is also a building within the petting zoo where they raise chicks and you can see the eggs in the incubators, we’ve been lucky and actually seen one hatching one morning during our visit.

Another advantage is free parking on Sloat Street.  It may require a bit of extra walking but we’ve never had trouble finding a space less than 10 minutes walk and appreciate the chance to save the $10 parking fee.