Western US

Things to Do in Silicon Valley: A Kid’s Guide to Tech and Science Fun

“What would you do with kids in Silicon Valley?,” people asked me when they heard we were planning on spending a few weeks there this summer. Sure, the nerd capitol of America doesn’t sound that thrilling at first. But just as we have to thank the geeks and nerds for bringing us great stuff like the smart phone, the internet and Pokemon Go!, having all those squares concentrated in one place means San Jose, Palo Alto, and the surrounding towns are jam-packed with some pretty awesome stuff for those of us who appreciate the geekier side of life.

Whether your family members are true technology buffs or just love a good science museum, there’s loads of fun from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto to get your geek on. Here are the top things to do in Silicon Valley for science and technology-loving kids:

 

11 Best US Aquariums for Your Next Family Vacation

A visit to a top-notch aquarium is a great way for kids to explore the secrets of the sea. New York tristate families are blessed with an array of regional aquariums. The New York Aquarium in Coney Island that's undergoing a renovation, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Adventure Aquarium with its new Shark Bridge in Camden are fine day trips.

If you’re looking for really fabulous odes to underwater environments and sea life that are simultaneously entertaining and educational, we’ve found them, from a 28-foot-tall kelp forest to a jellyfish invasion. The following 11 aquariums up the aquatic ante and are so worth the trip.

Hogwarts in Hollywood: Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Hollywood is the original home of Universal Studios, so it never really sat right that Orlando got not just one but two Harry Potter attractions before we did. The injustice is finally set right this week, as Southern California gets its very own Wizarding World of Harry Potter just off the Hollywood Freeway, where Hogwarts ought to be. The magical treat is included in normal theme park admission, though in the coming weeks calling admission to Universal Studios "normal" is a little optimistic. Most of opening weekend is completely sold out to potty Potter fans. Something else that isn't normal? I got to experience the entire attraction a day early with only a handful of press, a few cast members from the film, and not a single line to wait in. Not to gloat, of course: I only bring it up so I can tell you what wonderful wizardry you can expect to find at Hollywood's new Harry Potter World. And to share some cool stories of meeting the actors. And to help you to not vomit. But more of that anon.

Great Wolf Lodge SoCal: the Indoor Water Park Hotel in Orange County

If you've never been to a place where dinner attire is a mixture of pajamas, swim suits, and furry wolf ears, then it sounds like you've never been to a Great Wolf Lodge. Until this past weekend, I was one of those uninitiated, having only heard second hand of the popular indoor water park hotels. But this past weekend, Great Wolf opened its newest location here in Southern California, and I was invited (along with oodles of other press with progeny) to attend the opening and take the plunge. (Yes, that was a pun, and there may be more.)

25 Things To Do in Beverly Hills with Kids

Swimming pools, movie stars. If there are two things we all know about Beverly Hills, it's the swimming pools and the movie stars. And, oh yes, we know the zip code, too. (When I used to live in 90211, out-of-towners seemed to think my zip code was hilarious.) Guests come to visit, and they always want to see Beverly Hills; but for young kids, walking up and down Rodeo Drive is not much of a crowd-pleaser. Avoid the stress of controlling tots in Tiffany's by knowing a few low cost, high entertainment, kid-friendly activities in this suburb to end all suburbs, the gateway to the Westside, the home to the stars' homes, the small town where people dress up to go window shopping. Check out our favorite 25 things to do in Beverly Hills; even if you're a BH High graduate, there are bound to be a few items you haven't done yet.

25 Things to Do in Scottsdale with Kids

If you’re planning a family vacation to Scottsdale, Arizona, there are plenty of wonderful resorts with large pool complexes for plenty of fun in the sun—and there’s lots of sun. But, don’t go all the way to Arizona just to jump in a pool. Scottsdale offers loads of cultural and natural attractions to explore the unique Southwest. We visited to experience it for ourselves so we could share the best things to do with kids in Scottsdale.

 

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