Holiday Train Rides

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Whether it’s a ride on a diesel train or steam engine, in the city or in the woods, whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas - riding a train decked out with lights is a magical holiday excursion. 

These train rides have proven to be very popular—be sure to book early, most of these train rides sell out in advance. Remember, trains don’t wait for anyone. Plan on arriving at the station at least twenty minutes before the scheduled time.

Caltrain Holiday Train
Decorated with 70,000 glittering lights, the dazzling show-train will visit nine Caltrain stations between San Francisco and Santa Clara over two nights in December, providing holiday entertainment and collecting donations of toys for local children who otherwise might not receive a gift during the holidays.
Saturday and Sunday, December2-3, 2017.

Times: 4pm-9pm, check the schedule here.

The Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train departs from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  
Vintage excursion cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll through the streets of Santa Cruz as passengers lend their voices to holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to musical entertainment while Santa visits the little ones, or the young at heart! Continue the merriment with a $6 MyBoardwalk card good for attractions, arcades and games in Neptune's Kingdom.
November 24-26, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-23, 2017
Adult - $31, Children - $25, 2 and under - free.

The Roaring Camp also offering Holiday Tree Walk - Get in the holiday spirit by bringing family and friends to ride Roaring Camp’s daytime steam train to Bear Mountain.  At the summit, guests may sip hot cider and delight in viewing a tree-lined walk of beautifully decorated holiday trees.
November 24-26, December 2-3, 9-10, 2017
Adult - $27, Children - $20, 2 and under - free. 

If you're celebrating Hanukkah, you don't want to miss the Hanukkah Train
Gather at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on the 5th night of Hanukkah for the lighting of the menorah at 6:15 pm, and then set off on an incredible 1-hour train ride on Roaring Camp’s vintage excursion cars adorned with thousands of shining lights and Hanukkah decorations.  
Sharing in Hanukkah traditions and ride the train through the streets of Santa Cruz listening to Hanukkah stories, playing dreidel and enjoying kosher refreshments provided by Chabad by the Sea.
December 14, 2017
Adult - $31, Children - $25, 2 and under - free.

Niles Canyon Railway Train of Lights
The Train of Lights offers a rare opportunity to experience a train ride through Niles Canyon at night. With one departure from Niles at dusk and a second departure from Sunol after dark, you can choose your favorite time to ride.
The Holiday Train at Billy Jones Railroad
Ride aboard the wildcat railroad through the enchanting Fantasy of Lights set up in Vasona Park.
Ride through large animated displays while listening to Holiday music. See the sights and sounds of an erupting volcano in the dangerously fun Dinosaur Den, cheer on Santa shooting hoops, wave at a pen of playful penguins, watch blazing Pirate Cannons and sail through tunnels of moving lights. Over 50 themed displays and a 90-foot twinkling tree will have you “oohing and aahing” throughout your adventure.
December1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31, 2017
Tickets are $6.00 and includes one train ride and unlimited carousel rides. Children 2 and under - free with paid adult. 
For more holiday events and festivals, check out our calendar! November and December.

Winter 2017 Family Outings - Ice Skating

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Whether your family is trying skating for the first time, or you've been practicing all summer, visiting an outdoor ice skating rinks is a great way to spend time with your family during the winter and holiday season. Check out the websites for classes, parties and more.

Downtown Ice San Jose
November 17, 2017 through January 15, 2018
$15-17, admission includes ice time and rental skates. 

Santa Clara Ice @ Central Park
November 17, 2017 through January 15, 2018
$10-15, children 3 & under free with a paying adult.

Winter Lodge Palo Alto
September 25, 2017 through April 15, 2018 (Closed November 23, December 24 & 25, December 31 (at 5pm), January 1,and April 1)

Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square San Francisco
November 1, 2017 through January 15, 2018

Embarcadero Center Ice - San Francisco
November 3, 2017 through January 7, 2018

November 11, 2017 through January 7, 2018


Winter 2017 Family Outings - Hanukkah Events and Menorah Lighting Ceremonies

The Bay Area is a great place to be for the Festival of Lights - lots of celebrations, festive workshops, menorah lightings, and more.

Hanukkah 2017 will begin in the evening of Tuesday, December 12, and ends in the evening of Wednesday, December 20.

Below is our annual Hanukkah planner, we will update it as events are published, so if we missed one - let us know!

Friday, November 10, 2017
Clay Menorah Workshop @ Color Me Mine, Alameda
From a lump of clay, you will be instructed, step-by-step, how to create your own Hanukkah Menorah and be able to use it this Hanukkah.
No experience necessary.

6pm, $36. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017  
Menorahs and Miracles at the Children's Discovery Museum
Museum visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of Hanukkah activities, hosted by the Addison-Penzak JCC.
12noon-4pm, regular museum admission fees apply.

Hanukkah Festival – Congregation Beth Jacob Redwood City
A Family celebration featuring Andy Z. 11am-2:30pm, free.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017
Family ArtBash: Spinning Tales of Light and Magic – Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco  
A day-long festival, accessible for all families, celebrating Hanukkah and folktales, and filled with art-making, shadow puppets, dreidel playing, dancing, storytelling, and more.  Admission is free for two adults when accompanied by a visitor 18 and under.    

Hanukkah On Ice - Palo Alto  
Ice skating, crafts, olive oil pressing and more.  
11:30am, $28, or $10 without ice skating.   

Maccabeats Hanukkah Concert - OFJCC Palo Alto
Hear the Maccabeats perform songs from their hit albums, youtube videos and much more.
4pm, $25-35.  

Glow in the Dark Dance Party at the Marin JCC in San Rafael 
Enjoy dancing, arts & crafts, live music, delicious food, games, face painting, swimming, and more!
11:30am-2pm, free.

Menorah Workshop at The Home Depot in San Carlos
Home Depot + Menorah's what could be better? Build your own menorah, Music & Hanukkah refreshments, Activities, Free worker’s apron, Dreidels & Hanukkah Gelt.
All children must be accompanied by an adult. 
10-11am or 11am-12pm. FREE, RSVP required.

Menorah Workshop at the Home Depot - San Mateo
Home Depot + Menorah's what could be better? Build your own menorah, Music & Hanukkah refreshments, Activities, Free worker’s apron, Dreidels & Hanukkah Gelt.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.   
Sessions starts 2:30pm, 3pm or 3:30pm. FREE, RSVP required.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hanukkah Extravaganza Burlingame Ave.
Featuring: Live Performance by International Jewish Blues Star Saul Kaye, have fun in the (imported) Snow, Chanukah Jelly Doughnuts, selfie with the Dreidel-Mascot, hot Latkes, grand menorah lighting and more!  

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Hanukkah Train - Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz
Gather at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for the lighting of the menorah at 6:15 pm, and then set off on an incredible 1 hour train ride on Roaring Camp’s vintage excursion cars adorned with thousands of shining lights and Hanukkah decorations.  
Sharing in Hanukkah traditions and ride the train through the streets of Santa Cruz listening to Hanukkah stories, playing dreidel and enjoying kosher refreshments provided by Chabad by the Sea.
Adult - $31, Children - $25, 2 and under - free.

Hanukkah Celebration at Stanford Shopping Center
Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with musical performance by Isaac Zones of Shamati, arts and crafts for the kids, dreidel games, and a special candle lighting ceremony.
5:30-7:30pm, free. 

Community Hanukkah Celebration - Los Gatos JCC
The whole community is invited to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah in the JCC's main lobby. Candle lighting, singing, dancing, playing games, and more! Bring a dish to share and have a sufganiya (Hanukkah donut) for dessert.  
5-6m, free.

Saturday, December 16, 2017 
Latkepalooza - Peninsula JCC (Foster City)  
Annual community-wide Hanukkah celebration with live music, crafts and games for children and families, candle lighting ceremony and lots of Latkes.  
4-6:30pm, free.

Chanukah Parade  with Chabad Palo Alto
Watch/Join the parade of cars sporting Menorahs on top as we drive through Palo Alto spreading the Holiday light and joy! 
Heading out from Chabad, 3070 Louis Rd. 

Shir Fun Tot Shabbat Hanukkah at Shir Hadash Los Gatos
Rabbi Schwartz will lead a brief Shabbat Service with the story of Hanukkah in the main Sanctuary, followed by crafts, playtime, schmoozing and special latkes and sufganiyot for snack in the Oneg Room. 
9:30-10:30am, free.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Magical Hanukkah Family Celebration for Russian Speaking Families in Los Gatos
Hanukkah story, magic & lights show, dance performance, arts & crafts, latkes & doughnuts, menorah lighting and lots of fun.
4-6pm, $5-15. 

Hanukkah Festival at the Courthouse Square in Redwood City
Entertainment, music, latkes and donuts and more. 

The Hanukkah Miracle Puppet Show in SF (in Hebrew)
Learn about the Hannukah story in a fun and engaging way.  
11am, free.

2017 Bay Area Pumpkin Patch Guide

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Its fall, ya’ll!

After counting the days to our favorite season, and with Halloween right around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of Bay Area pumpkin patches.

With 30+ options to choose from, a visit to a local pumpkin patch is the best fall family outing. Gather the kids, pick your pumpkins and enjoy the fall festivals.

Check out the list below, or use this map for easy navigation.

South Bay
Spina Farms (Santa Teresa Blvd. and Bailey Ave., San Jose)
Lot Hours: Sunday thru Thursday - 9am-6pm; Friday and Saturday - 9am-7pm;
Description: Get ready for a spectacular sight as you wander through thousands of Spina-grown pumpkins. Fun family activities includes hay rides, train rides, barrel train rides, petting zoo and pony rides (Petting zoo and pony rides – weekend only).
Admission Fee: Free, activities require tickets.

Moreland Pumpkin Patch (4835 Doyle Rd, San Jose)
Lot Hours: Open Saturday and Sunday, hours vary. Check the schedule online;
Description: All the schools in the Moreland District work together to create a magical Pumpkin Patch where kids can play games, explore, get spooked, try new foods, listen to stories, and work on crafts.
Along with the traditional pumpkin sales and family-friendly events, an amazing team of actors and Halloween enthusiasts who will transform the Moreland Woods into Grimm's Hollow, a scenic trail that will be open to the public.
Admission Fee: Free entrance. Grimm's Hollow Trail: $10 each, or $8 when you purchase 4 or more; Carnival games - $0.5-1; Face painting - $3-6; Crafts - $0.5-4; Tattoos - $3-5;

Webb Ranch (2718 Alpine Rd, Portola Valley)
Lot Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10am to 6pm, most rides and activities start at 10am; September 28-October 31.
Description: Enjoy a day full of fun activities that both parents and children can enjoy. Every weekend enjoy the haunted house, bounce houses, face painting, hay rides, train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, and pumpkin slingshot. On weekdays only the bounce house and haunted house are open.
At the pumpkin patch you will find a great variety of different colors and sizes of organic pumpkin.
Admission Fee: Free, rides require tickets, most of them are $5 each.

Swank Farms (New location! 4751 Pacheco Pass Highway  Hollister)
Lot Hours: Open daily 10:00am - 6:0pm, with extended hours for the after dark experience; September 28-October 31.
Description: Go into the field to find your perfect pumpkin, the challenge of "Maniac Maze" with confusing twists and turns, and try to find all 27 hidden spots to complete the story on your Game Map!
The Kiddy Corral has a Spookley Maze and other fun activities designed for younger kids: Giant Jumping Pillow, Pedal Karts, Cow Train, Pumpkin Slingshot, Corn Cannon, Mining, and more!
If you like to be scared, try the after dark experience Terror in the Corn, Notorious New Orleans, but defiantly not with toddlers!
From daytime fun to nighttime thrills there really is something for everyone at Swank Farms.
Admission Fee: Kiddy Corral - $7; Daytime Maniac Maze - $11; Other activities - $1-5; Combos available. Print this coupon and bring it with you to get $3 off Park Passes Monday-Thursday!!! Beat the weekend crowds and get FREE parking!

Uesugi Farms (14485 Monterey Hwy #1, San Martin)
Lot Hours: Open daily, hours vary. Check the online calendar for hours.
Description: Take a nostalgic train ride, visit Morgania, where our scarecrows live, meet Pumpkin Pete and travel through some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring lands of Uesugi Farms, visit Pumpkinland, take a hay ride or cow train, get silly at the corn maze, enjoy the carousel, petting coral and much more!
Admission Fee: Free. There is a $5 parking fee on weekends. Attractions: Train - $4.5, Cow train - $3.5, Hay ride - $5 ,Butterfly valley - $4, Corn Maze - $2, Carousel - $3.5, Pumpkin blaster - $5, Petting zoo - $4, Pony ride - $5. Honey hut, Pumpkin Lab, Pumpkin pyramid, hay jump – free. Park passes available.

ABC Pick of the Patch
ABC Pumpkin Patch usually include pumpkins for purchase and inflatables, with rate per 30 minutes or 1 hour, $12-20. Locations in Mountain View, Santa Clara and San Jose:
3590 Benton Street, Santa Clara (OPEN)
Lawrence Square Shopping Center (3503 El Camino Real, Santa Clara) (OPEN)
Moonlight Shopping Center (2740 El Camino Real, Santa Clara) (OPENING 9/30/17)
2501 Tully Rd, San Jose (OPEN)
1832 Hillsdale Ave. San Jose (OPEN)
444 N Capitol Ave., San Jose(OPEN)
605 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose (OPEN)
Mountain View: 870 Leong Drive, Mountain View (OPENING 10/7/17)

Lemos Farm (12320 San Mateo Rd, Half Moon Bay)
Lot Hours: Open October 1-31, daily 9am-5pm.
Description:  Large pumpkin patches with hundreds of beautiful pumpkins for you to choose from.  Ride the spooky Ghost Train (not too spooky, fun for the whole family), visit the Scare Zone with Haunted House for little kids.
Activities include haunted houses, pony rides, hay rides, ghost train rides, playtown, dig zone, wagon ride and petting zoo.
Admission Fee: Free. Haunted houses - $4, pony rides - $8, hay rides - $4, ghost train rides - $4, playtown - $5, petting zoo - $1. Day passes are $15 per child and $5 per adult.

Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm (850 Cabrillo Hwy N, Half Moon Bay)
Lot Hours: Open mid-September through Halloween, 9am-5pm daily.
Description: Located just off of Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay, Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm offers a fun, family atmosphere in a relaxing country setting where everyone is welcome. Come see the diverse varieties of pumpkins, including the Atlantic Giant! Enjoy being outdoors on a working farm, with the sights, smells, and pleasure of pumpkins.
Admission Fee: Free.

Arata's Pumpkin Farm (185 Verde Rd, Half Moon Bay)
Lot Hours: Sunday thru Thursday – 9am-7pm, Friday and Saturday – 9am-10pm.
Description: You can lose yourself in the 6 acre corn field and Pumpkin River. Try to challenge yourself in the 2 acre world famous Minotaur's Labyrinth Hay Maze, take a walk on the wild side and adventure into the Haunted Barn, relax and enjoy yourself on Hay Ride, or you can let the kid's play in the Play Land playground with Miniature Hay Maze, on the Children's Train Ride or have fun with the animals in the Petting Zoo.
Admission Fee: Free, attraction prices vary.

ABC Pick of the Patch
ABC Pumpkin Patch usually include pumpkins for purchase and inflatables, with rate per 30 minutes or 1 hour, $12-20. Locations in San Carlos and San Mateo:
San Carlos: El Camino Real between Central Ave and White Oak Way, San Carlos
4140 S.El Camino Real, San Mateo (OPEN)

East Bay
Perry Family Pumpkin Patch (34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont)
Lot Hours: Monday thru Friday 12:00pm – 7:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am – 7:00pm.
Description: J.E. Perry Farms is a working vegetable farm and pumpkins are one of many crops growing on the farm this time of year. Come on out and see a real working farm and search for the perfect pumpkin.
Fun activities include kids maze, tire patch, hay pyramid for great climbing fun and more.
Admission Fee: $1.00, Children 2 and under – Free.

G&M Farms (487 E Airway Blvd, Livermore)
Lot Hours: Open October 1-31, Monday thru Friday 2-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm (Cornfield Maze hours are different and changes daily, check the online calendar).
Description: Find your way through the maze, then enjoy G&M Farms’ huge Pumpkin Patch with pumpkins of all sizes. The little ones will love G&M’s farm animals and the free straw bale maze and corn box. Weekends feature Pony Rides, Pedal Carts, and the new attraction The Barnyard Blasters! Don’t forget to ride G & M Farms’ famous Cow Train!
Admission Fee: Cornfield maze pricing is $7-10, kids 5 and under – free.

Joan's Farm and Pumpkin Patch (4351 Mines Rd, Livermore)
Lot Hours: Open October 1-31, Daily 9am – 6pm.
Description: Maze, Old West Town, Hay Ride, Farm Animals, Gem Panning, Antique Museum, Pumpkins, Gourds, Indian Corn, Corn Stalks, Straw Bales, Nuts, Refreshments, Gift Shop, and more.
Admission Fee: Free.

Speer Family Farms: Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch (2153 Ferry Point, Alameda)
Lot Hours: Open October 1-31, daily 10am-10pm.
Description: Family owned and operated farm. All of the pumpkins are sourced locally from small to medium sized farmers. Visit the pumpkin patch for a variety of pumpkins and choose the one to take home!
Attractions include 4 story ship slide, petting zoo, jumpy houses, kid play areas, mazes and more.
Admission Fee: Free, attraction ticket prices vary.

Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm (1060 Pine Ln, Clayton)
Lot Hours: Open October 1-31, daily 9am-8pm.
Description: Different varieties of pumpkins to choose from and lots of wonderful photo opportunities!
Attractions include the Plumpkin Playland (giant tunnel of straw, 3 giant pots filled with lima beans, a Farmer’s Phonebooth, “Ball Return”, and more), Little Carver’s Barnyard (play area with the popular old-fashioned games), train rides, farm animals, and more.
Admission Fee: Free. Attraction tickets: Plumpkin Playland - $7-9, Little Carver’s Barnyard - $7-9, train rides - $3, petting zoo – free.

ABC Pick of the Patch
ABC Pumpkin Patch usually include pumpkins for purchase and inflatables, with rate per 30 minutes or 1 hour, $12-20. Locations in the East Bay:
4020 Fremont Hub, Fremont (OPENING 9/28)
15555 East 14th Street, San Leandro (OPEN)
1090 Oak Grove Rd., Concord (OPEN)
1550 Solano Way at Marsh Drive, Martinez (OPEN)
Delta Fair Blvd. at Century Blvd., Antioch (OPEN)
4000 San Pablo Ave, Hercules (OPENING 9/29)