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Travels with children in the Bay Area

Trip Report: Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo

Coyote Point Museum, which encompasses a lovely forested park with picnic areas and a small playground, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, exhibit hall and wildlife habitats, sits on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. The animals in the wildlife habitats are kept only because, for some reason, they cannot be returned to the wild. My family also enjoys the swimming area on the Bay. The buildings and grounds are open daily except Mondays.

Coyote Point's focus is on the natural history of the Bay Area. The museum sponsors many nature-related activities and arts programs appropriate for young children. There are also trips, a day camp in summer, and a wonderful docent program for older kids.

A family membership at Coyote Point costs $45, which includes unlimited admission for two adults and children under 21 from the same household, a 10% discount at the museum store, and free admission to over 200 science and technology centers nationwide.

The family membership is a great deal, especially if your family frequents other attractions like Coyote Point. Reciprocal arrangements in our area include: California Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science, Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the SF Zoo, and the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

For more information, contact:
Coyote Point Museum
1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401-1097

Trip Report: Coyote Point Museum -- September 13, 1998

Coyote Point Museum was at its best on September 13 when we visited. The weather was warm and sunny, but slightly breezy. The sailboats were out in force on the bay and the airplanes clearly visible over it.

Some of us picnicked outside before we met at the reptile exhibit in the central hall. There, the sea turtles splashed away, lizards lounged in large, lovely terariums, frogs frolicked, and snakes slithered. It really was a remarkable assortment of interesting, small creatures, displayed in a way that even small children could easily view.

Our visit coincided with a Family Activity Day. Most of our children enjoyed making frog houses and other crafts. Free-form painting kept two of our youngest busy for at least half an hour.

The presentation about endangered sea turtles was a little too sophisticated for our mostly-young crowd. We had more fun when we wandered out of doors to enjoy the air and see the gardens and other live animals on display.

In general, Coyote Point's Family Day activities and special events are well designed, well organized and well executed. By the time you read this, the reptile and amphibian display will be gone. But keep Coyote Point in mind for educational, thoughtful recreation with a great view.

Trip Report: Coyote Point Museum -- January 11, 1997

It was a cool, somewhat overcast Saturday when our intrepid band of mothers, spouses and kids convoyed over the hill to the Coyote Point Museum. We stopped to fortify ourselves with brunch at the Good Earth Restaurant, because we knew the weather was too cool for a picnic and Coyote Point forbids food inside.

An understanding waitress expedited our service, and we arrived at the Museum with plenty of time to re-arrange the Museum store's diverse collection of rubber amphibians and stuffed animals before proceeding to the Feeding of the River Otters. Ignoring the slight chill, we followed our guide, Miriam, 10, who had attended the museum's day camp this summer and knew her way around, to visit the menagerie. We observed birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, all of which, Miriam informed us, are kept at the museum because they cannot be released into the wild for some reason, and some insects, which mostly serve as food for menagerie denizens. Highlights of this part of our trip included turning on and off the lights in the cages of the nocturnal animals, turning on and off the sounds of the frogs, and pretending to be burrowing owls in the cave under the burrowing owl's cage. (The real owl even came eye to eye with the kids.)

At one, the Family Day activities began, and we arrived just in time. At 1:10, the crafts room was empty and we started right in on a variety of ocean-related projects. By 1:30, the room was filled with children coloring, cutting, and experimenting. We spent about an hour, and had not explored all we might have wanted, when hunger pangs set in and half of us headed home. By that time, the sun had come out, and if we'd had the energy (and had brought along some food!) we'd have explored the lovely grounds of Coyote Point. The others stayed to explore the museum.

Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo
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