Bay Area Forest Playgrounds and Zip Lines

If your kid is a tree-climber who loves adventures in the woods, there are some great options around the Bay Area for all age levels. Whether it’s thrill-seeking on a zip line or crawling through logs, there’s forest fun for all to enjoy.
Mount Hermon Adventures – Enjoy aerial adventures and zip lining through the beautiful redwoods near Santa Cruz. You can traverse rope and timber obstacles between redwood trees high above the forest floor. Or you can get your adrenaline pumping on a canopy tour on zip lines and suspension bridges among the towering redwoods. It includes safety training. For ages 10 and up. $79 aerial adventure, $99 canopy tour. 17 Conference Drive, Felton. 831-430-4357. 
Sonoma Zipline Adventures – Nestled deep in the redwood forests of Sonoma, it has two courses, each a two-and-a-half hour tour that includes multiple lines, sky bridges and a spiral staircase. Options include: the Tree Tops Tour which is the fastest, longest and highest tour; Forest Flight Tour allows you to see redwoods at 200 feet above ground; or you can zip through the trees at night with the Night Flight Tour. You can also stay overnight in a tree house among the redwoods. The tours include safety training. Children must be 10 and weigh 70 pounds to zip line. $109-149. 6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental. 888-494-7868. 
For Little Ones
“Gumnut Grove” at Bay Area Discovery Museum – Kids can go on an adventure through the treetops at one of the museum’s newest additions. The play structures are modeled after gumnuts which are the seed pods of a eucalyptus tree. Kids can play in three treehouses nestled in a canopy. They can slide down a giant slide. For ages 5 to 10. Open Wed.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $15-18 (capacity is limited, advanced tickets required). 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. 415-339-3900. 
“Wander Woods” at The California Academy of Sciences – This new outdoor exhibit in the museum’s East Garden features gnarled branches of old-growth cypress trees and beautiful native plantings where kids can build on their fine motor skills, critical thinking and creativity. They can play on giant logs and boulders, meander through tree trunk mazes, navigate wheelchair-accessible paths and check out a whimsical nest structure. There are also water tables, logs to climb through and a variety of spaces for kids to activate their senses and investigate the world. The exhibit is scheduled to open soon. Proof of COVID vaccination for ages 12 and up or negative COVID test are required. Open Mon.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $32.25-39.25. Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. 415-379-8000. 


The Bay Area’s Best Festivals for Families

While many cities have their own annual festivals with food vendors, arts and crafts and kiddie amusements, these are some of the region’s best festivals for families that are worth a trip. As many festivals were on hiatus due to COVID-19, check websites for additional information.

Family-Friendly Theater Performances

Bringing your kids to a theater performance can be a great bonding experience and a good way to spark an interest in the performing arts. Fortunately, there are shows for even the youngest of theater goers. Before you go, check for COVID protocols. Some theaters may require attendees to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID test.

Free Museums, Live Music and More

While it does cost a lot to live in the Bay Area, there are quite a few fun things to do for free. Check out these museums, live performances, crafts and more offered at no cost.

Winners of Our Cutest Pet Contest 2020

Get ready to smile! These are the winners, selected by Bay Area Parent readers, of our recent Cutest Pet Contest.

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