by Rubin 110
California has its theme parks, but where can you take the kids in California besides the usual trips to Disneyland or SeaWorld?
Here are three examples of great getaways for holidays, or for any other time of year that you can take the kids along.
San Francisco has a plethora of attractions for the small-fry ranging from theme parks to museums to aquariums to islands where you can enjoy great hikes and spectacular views of the bay. While many see San Francisco as a romantic city, the truth is you can have just as much fun when you take the kids along.
Start by booking a Kids Suite, like the one we reserved at the Hotel Union Square in the heart of the city. It’s not likely you’re going to see a bunch of kids running through the hallways, or teens congregating in the lobby. This is a more sophisticated hotel that just happens to offer some of its accommodations in a special format that appeals to families.
While parents will love the fact that this is a boutique hotel – with all the extras that the term implies such as brick walls, mosaic murals, warm colors and stylish furnishings – the kids who share the Kids Suite with Mom and Dad are in for an extra special treat. The suite actually is a spacious high-ceiling corner room that has been subdivided into a parents area and a kids area. A free-standing partition also serves as a storage device where games, toys, dolls and anything your kids could want are ready to use anytime.
There is a bed for the kids, and on the kids desk is a Mac computer ready to fire up and play games on the internet. But the piece de resistance is the 47″ flat panel HD TV hanging on the wall with a Wii game system attached – an incredibly fun diversion for kids and adults alike. The Wii system lets you play tennis, baseball or golf or other sports by holding remote controls in your hands and “hitting” the ball with the same physical movements you would use in the real sport. We literally spent hours playing these games with our eight-year-old – one of the most unusual and fun experiences we’ve ever had with our kids in a hotel room.
When you do venture outside, there are many family activities in the city, especially near Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39: Aquarium by the Bay, an arcade-like atmosphere and real up-close animals such as the sea lions lounging by the pier. From here, you can take a ferry to Angel Island, a popular island where visitors hike trails and visit more than 100 historical buildings. Another great attraction in the city is the hands-on science center called the Exploratorium, located near the Presidio at the end of the waterfront near the Golden Gate Bridge. And then there’s Golden Gate Park, where there is a children’s playground including a restored carousel, Alcatraz Island, where you can take a self-guided tour of the famous prison that was closed in 1963, and the San Francisco Zoo, which offers hours of enjoyment for the whole family.
For more information on Hotel Union Square, phone 1-800-553-1900 or visit www.hotelunionsquare.com.
Resort at Indio
Another “adult” place that can also be fun for the kids is the Greater Palm Springs area. On our most recent trip to the desert we