5 Family-Friendly Attractions in California

It's tough to find something everyone in the family can enjoy, especially when you have small children. Each of these attractions offers experiences that are fun for little ones, while also keeping the interest of adults and older kids with educational content about science, nature, and history. With so much to explore, you may find the kids are the ones dragging you away at the end of the day. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Destinations in California Perfect for Families

Attraction Location Features
Children's Fairyland Oakland Storybook sets, rides, animals, and gardens for visitors of all ages, especially young ones, as well as educational offerings like the Monarch Magic Program that teaches all about raising caterpillars
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Santa Barbara 78 acres of plants, 5.5 miles of walking paths, the historic Mission Dam and aqueduct, an authentic Japanese Teahouse and Tea Garden, and a grove of coast redwoods
Children's Museum of Sonoma County Santa Rosa Hands-on exhibits and programs for kids, including an art studio, garden, the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation Science & Imagination Gallery, and a custom play space for small children
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park Oakland Indoor and outdoor exhibits on the people who make up California, a native plant garden, and the "Undocumented Heart" exhibition about workers from Mexico and Central America
Chabot Space & Science Center Oakland Planetarium, multi-sensory observation deck, exhibits about the sun, stars, & space travel, and areas where kids of different ages can explore, build, and create

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In Depth

It's no coincidence that California is widely referred to as the Golden State. California has a widely diverse range of landscapes that include a desert, coastline, and mountains. You can truly experience life across different worlds within the state borders. For children, there are so many fun-filled attractions such as theme parks, camps, and museums that you might be confused on where to start. In no particular order, here are some children-centered institutions that have made strides in creating safe environments for kids to play, learn, and have fun.

Starting off the list at #1 is Children's Fairyland. First opened in 1950, the idea to create the park came to Arthur Navlet, a businessman who wanted an alternative to existing amusement parks that were full of teenagers. Fairyland has since become an iconic space for young children to create, imagine, and play in a magical world of fantasy. It has over 55 storybook sets, more than 15 friendly animals, and many rides for kids all sitting on 10 acres of land in Oakland, California.

Fairyland also has a kid's theater where the young ones can watch original puppet shows, and there are three dedicated areas where parents can plan, and host their kids' birthday parties, while accommodating friends and family members. The institution offers a learning experience for kids by having frequent storytelling sessions and organizing educational field trips for children from under-served communities. Make a donation to help keep Children's Fairyland running for generations to come.

The institution offers a learning experience for kids by having frequent storytelling sessions and organizing educational field trips for children from under-served communities.

Coming at #2 is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. As a botanic garden and a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the S.B.B.C is widely recognized as a living museum. The reason behind this is because it documents and stores collections of living plants for the purpose of conducting research and conservation. Resting on 78 acres of land in Santa Barbara, the center has a stunning display of plants categorized on sectional displays, with more than 1,000 specimens of those plants native to California.

The S.B.B.C offers a wide range of learning programs for individuals, schools, and botany enthusiasts of all ages. The organization aims to introduce children from a young age to the wonders of nature, by providing them with opportunities to learn and interact with plants and the science of ecology. It also has a library with over 15,000 books and journals as well as collections of rare horticultural catalogs, manuscripts, and pictures. Help the garden sustain operations by volunteering as a gardener or educator.

Next up at #3, is the Children's Museum of Sonoma County. Established in 2005, the C.M.O.S.C offers hands-on exhibits and programs for kids aged ten and below, with the goal of inspiring a spirit of curiosity and creativity within them. It has since evolved into a famous family destination not only for Sonoma County residents, but for the entire region. Located in the town of Santa Rosa on a 7,000 square foot campus, the museum welcomes an amazing 150,000 visitors every year.

Established in 2005, the C.M.O.S.C offers hands-on exhibits and programs for kids aged ten and below, with the goal of inspiring a spirit of curiosity and creativity within them.

All exhibits at the center made available for the children are themed across art, science, and nature. Mary's Garden for instance, educates children on environmental conservation and renewable energies. The institution also has programs for both toddlers and school going kids, such as playdates and interacting with exhibits. These programs are meant to inspire creativity and a sense of wonder by giving the young ones access to tools such as musical instruments and science exploration kits. Support C.M.O.S.C by paying for a thing or two on the museum's wishlist.

For #4 we have Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, which first opened to the public in 1996 with the aim of promoting cultural understanding among the diverse people that live within the local community. Landscape architects, historians, educators, and community representatives partnered to create a space for local residents and tourists to enjoy. The park has programs designed to engage with young people such as the Youth Making History program that challenges kids to explore their roots and study the historic changes of the community.

Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an environment where people can involve themselves in enjoying the ancient features on display, cultural celebrations, and educational workshops. It has three fundamental areas that include the 1870 Peralta House, the Creek natural area that provides a shaded space for outdoor activities, and a historic core adobe area with exhibits, a native plant garden, and themed play centers for kids. Make a difference by sponsoring a program to keep the work going at the park.

Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an environment where people can involve themselves in enjoying the ancient features on display, cultural celebrations, and educational workshops.

Finally, at #5 is Chabot Space and Science Center, a non-profit organization based in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland that was first opened to the public in August of 2000. The center is dedicated to motivating and educating children of all ages about science, space, earth and the universe at large. It seeks to achieve this by giving kids access to space artifacts, interactive exhibits, good telescopes, and a Challenger Learning Center.

Chabot has many programs for teens and kids to explore and indulge themselves in interactive content. For example, it has three telescopes that provide viewers with a special means of experiencing the amazing wonders of the universe. It also houses an observation deck where viewers can see the sun and listen to sounds collected from certain places in the universe. You can help the center by volunteering to help create a fun and informative science experience for everyone.