California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 77

38
Family
Learning
Adventure

With the diversity of experiences on
this trip, kids might not even notice
that they've been learning

EXPLOR ATORI UM

STA R T YO U R E D U C AT I O N A L O DYS S E Y AT P I E R 1 5 I N S A N F RA N C I S C O, where the
beloved Exploratorium invites visitors to experience science in action-like standing in a fog cloud or
walking into the totally dark Tactile Dome. Next, stop at the nearby California Academy of Sciences, a
combination of a natural history museum, planetarium, and aquarium located in the city's garden-andlake-dotted Golden Gate Park. Don't miss the domed, four-story rainforest exhibit, with free-flying birds,
butterflies, amphibians, and even an Amazonian tree boa.
Heading south along San Francisco Bay, you'll notice the transition from cityscape to Silicon Valley,
the Northern California brain trust lined with green foothills. At Mountain View's Computer History
Museum, learn about the birth of the computer, driverless cars, and tech heroes such as Ada Lovelace.
Then head into the urban hub of San Jose and the interactive Tech Museum of Innovation to build your
own robots or play cyber detective. For some outdoor learning, head to the nearby Children's Discovery
Museum of San Jose, where kids can blow giant bubbles and learn about rain catchment systems.
The next leg of the trip takes you south more than 30 miles toward the hybrid terrain of coastline,
redwood forests, and mountains that flank the college town of Santa Cruz-a natural magnet for families,
thanks to the old-fashioned amusement park on the boardwalk. It's also home to the century-old Santa
Cruz Museum of Natural History, set above Seabright Beach. Stop in for the touch pool-with living, local
inter-tidal plants and animals-and then visit the live honeybee exhibit or the Ohlone exhibit that shows
life in the pre-colonial Central Coast (bonus: admission is free for kids). Next, get onto Highway 1 and
start enjoying the dramatic coastline of the Central Coast on the way south to the world-class Monterey
Bay Aquarium. Check out tours, like the surface scuba diving or the behind-the-scenes fish feeding.
Next, make your way northwest about 20 miles to Salinas, home of the National Steinbeck Center.

PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF EXPLORATORIUM

Even if the kids aren't old enough yet to have read The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men, this
engaging museum will give them a vivid introduction to the author. Continue north on U.S. 101, passing
S TA R T
Pier 15,
San Francisco

2-3 315
days

miles

small towns and farmland-count all the cows-on the way to Mission San Juan Bautista, a classic among
the 21 Spanish missions built in California between 1769 and 1834. Learn about the Spanish era and
interesting facts about the mission. Among them: It sits next to the San Andreas Fault, and was featured
in the Hitchcock thriller Vertigo.
As you continue up the 101 to the garlic-loving town of Gilroy, ask the kids to guess which crops are
growing in the surrounding farmland-it could be anything from greens to grapes to olives. Then, marvel
at quirky theme park Gilroy Gardens. Zoom and twirl on agriculturally themed rides like the Artichoke
Dip and check out the 25 incredible Circus Trees, grown in nature-defying shapes.

FINISH
Fresno
Chaffee Zoo

Cruise west to reach Highway 99, then head south toward the city and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. This
recently revamped attraction has a seriously global community of wildlife, with red kangaroos and
wildebeests-and don't miss the chance for the kids to feed giraffes.

77



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover3
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover4
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