When we were in the process of moving to California we did tons of searches for kid friendly activities and outings in the area. Menlo Park was where we were most interested based on proximity to Chris’s work, but my Google searches were not telling me much about the area at all!
I am kicking off a series to correct this! I’m starting with Menlo Park but will also be covering Redwood City, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and more!
I don’t imagine many (or any) people are planning their dream vacation to Menlo Park, but I do know that plenty of folks are ending up here for business trips or looking for a place to live. Hopefully, this will help with that! Menlo Park is a fantastic place to live if you have young children. Where we live we can walk to parks, playgrounds, grocery stores, restaurants, and schools. The playgrounds are always full of children and you’ll pass families everywhere you go.
Oh, and of course there are hundreds of things to do that are just a short drive from Menlo Park, but this is only things you can do without leaving town!
What to Do With Kids in Menlo Park, California
#1 Visit the local playground
One area where California really shines is quantity and quality of playgrounds. You find them everywhere here! Menlo Park has some amazing ones and we make use of them daily! Here are our favorites:
- Burgess Park
- Flood Park
- Nealon Park
- Marketplace Park
- Hamilton Park
- Jack W. Lyle Park
#2 Visit the Allied Arts Guild
The Allied Arts Guild is a great place to walk around with the kids and explore the gardens. Various artists have storefronts here and you can even have lunch by the fountain.
#3 Attend Storytime at the Library
Be aware that some of the Menlo Park storytimes require registration in advance. You can expect all of them to be high quality, entertaining, and educational.
#4 Browse the Menlo Park Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday year-round from 9-1 the whole family can browse fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat downtown at the Local Harvest Farmer’s Market.
#5 Explore Bedwell Bayfront Park
Go for a walk, have a picnic, and enjoy the views of the San Francisco Bay. Bedwell Bayfront Park is a great place to experience nature right in the middle of Silicon Valley.
#6 Take a Swim at Burgess
My kids take lessons year round, but you can also stop by for family swim time during the summer. They have a lap pool, free swim area, baby pool, and a grassy spot in the shade for enjoying a picnic.
#7 Visit the ducks at Burgess
You can’t feed them, but your kids will still love watching the little ducks waddle around! Especially in the spring when they are followed by a whole line of ducklings.
#8 Walk around the Lake at Sharon Park
Let the kids run and explore the walking path or throw rocks into the lake. They will love to see the fountain and play on the playground here.
#9 Attend a Menlo Park Event
In the summer they have a Summer Concert Series and a Summer Movie Series. For holidays they will host special events as well as annual events like Summerfest or the Menlo Park Downtown Block Party.
#10 Facebook Public Events
Generally, the Facebook sweet shop and restaurants are only open to guests of Facebook employees, but several times a year Facebook Festivals hosts an event for the general public. This summer this includes 5 great events from May to October.
#11 Annual Carnival at the Nativity School
If you’re in the area around June, check out the annual Carnival at the Nativity School. They have been hosting it since 1980. They have a Ferris wheel, rides, games, and plenty of food trucks. Admission is free.
#12 Paint a Pot at Color Me Mine
You can stop at Color Me Mine to pick a ceramic piece to paint. Once it’s painted they will fire it and you can pick it up in a week to use or display. They also host Kid’s Night Outs and birthday parties.
#13 Page to Play at Cheeky Monkey
Besides just browsing or shopping at this fun toy store, you can also attend a weekly story time. Cheeky Monkey hosts this story plus play time on Tuesday throughout the year.
#14 Grab a Treat at the Yogurt Stop
In addition to delicious frozen treats, the Yogurt Stop has a little play area with books and blocks. Keep the kids occupied while I get on the free wi-fi? Yes, please!
#15 Find JoJo at Trader Joe’s
As far as grocery stores go, Trader Joe’s is my favorite. It might not be where I stack up on meat or household products, but it’s where I go the most often. They have a stuffed monkey (complete with Trader Joe’s uniform) that they hide throughout the store. If the kids find him they can return to the sample corner and ask for a lollipop or a small orange. Sometimes they even get both!
#16 Play at Zoe’s Cafe
This cafe is small but if you walk all the way through to the back patio, you’ll find a little play house and some toys to keep the kids occupied while you sip your coffee!
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