Bay Area Bucket List

It’s always a great time to take advantage of the many local adventures offered here in the Bay Area. When was the last time you sailed the Bay or took your family swimming with dolphins? You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on plane fares and accommodations. If you’re looking for family fun close to home, here is a “bucket list” of ideas to take advantage of before the season ends.


1. Ride a Zip Line


There’s no reason to take an adventure vacation if you’ve always wanted to ride a zip line. Adventure Playground in Berkeley offers children ages 6 and older the opportunity to soar through the air before landing on a pile of sand. And the best part is that it’s free. Open weekends, 11am-5pm. Call for special hours and programs. 160 University Ave., Berkeley. 510-981-6720.


2. Try Bungee Jumping

Admit it, you’ve always wondered what it would be like to defy gravity. At Pier 39, families can safely jump up to 20 feet in their air (and maybe do a mid-air spin in the process) at Frequent Flyers. This bungee trampoline is open to everyone from 30-230 pounds. $10 per session. Hours of operation vary. Beach Street at Embarcadero, San Francisco. 415-981-6300.


3. Go Skydiving


If the thought of skydiving intrigues you, but you don’t see the point in jumping from a perfectly good airplane, consider visiting iFly in Union City. This indoor skydiving facility offers families the chance to experience skydiving using their vertical wind tunnel. With expert instruction, family members from ages 3 to 103 can enjoy the fun of skydiving without the risk. 2pm-11pm weekdays, 9am-11pm weekends. $49.95 per person for discount times (includes a training session, flight gear and the equivalent flight time of three tandem skydives.) 31310 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City. 510-489-4359.


4. Relive Your Childhood


Long before computer games, kids used to have fun sliding down hills on cardboard. Now you can relive that experience with your own kids at the Seward Street Slides in San Francisco. Bring your own cardboard and hold on tight to your little ones as you enjoy the ride of a lifetime. And it’s free! Open 9am-7pm. Seward and Douglass streets, San Francisco.


5. Sail the Bay


Sure, you drive by the water every day, but when was the last time you were actually out on the Bay? The Cal Sailing Club offers free monthly Introductory Sails where children ages 5 and older and their families can discover the joy of sailing. Bring waterproof clothes and a change of clothes in the event that you get wet. 124 University Ave., Berkeley. Check their website for dates and times,


Click next for 5 more bucket list worthy activites. &pagebreaking&

6. Swim With Dolphins


You don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to have a dolphin encounter. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo offers families the chance to meet the park’s dolphins in a two-hour Dolphin Discovery program that includes a one-hour classroom session and a one-hour meet-and-greet swim program that includes a training overview and photo. Participants must be 52 inches tall. $179.99 per person. 1001 Fairgrounds Dr., Vallejo. 707-644-4000.


7. Ride the New RocketBoat


If your family is feeling the need for speed, plan a ride on Pier 39’s new open-air rocketboat that runs at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. Families can enjoy twists and turns and spirals as they enjoy a 30-minute tour of the Bay. Children must be at least 40 inches tall. $26 adults, $21 children or $75 local family package for two adults and up to four children. Beach Street at Embarcadero, San Francisco. 415-773-1188.


8. Swing Over the Sea


The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s latest attraction is Sea Swings, where you can swing high over the beach with your feet dangling as you take in the ocean view below. A troupe of French-Canadian acrobats performs free entertainment July 12-Aug. 20. Free admission and $2.25 per ride tickets. Visit the Web site for special promotions and hours. 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. 831-423-5590.


9. Take A Safari


If you can’t make it to Africa this year, plan a safari closer to home at Safari West, a 400-acre wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa. Your family will travel in an open vehicle as you view over 400 wild animals and get up close and personal with rhinos, giraffes and more. $68 adults, $30 children ages 3-12, $10 infants ages 1-2. 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa. 707-579-2551.


10. Spend A Day on the Lake


At the Lake Merritt Boating Center, your family can rent a canoe, pedalboat, rowboat or kayak and spend a relaxing day on the lake, seeing the birds and other wildlife that live in the area. No certification is required. Lessons are available. Prices range from $8-$10 an hour for rentals. 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. 510-238-2196.


Linda Childers is a calendar editor at Bay Area Parent and the mother of an 11-year-old son.
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