Ladybug Migration at Redwood Regional Park

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We get some pretty exciting migrations in the bay area: whales, butterflies ans ladybugs. Yes, LADYBUGS.
From November through March, colonies of ladybugs clustered on trees along the Stream Trail at Redwood Regional Park, and you don't want to miss it.

As the cold weather sets in, ladybugs head for the hills to assemble in huge groups, fattening themselves up, and bedding down for winter. And to see thousands and thousands of ladybugs, all in one location, is fascinating.
While there are shorter trails, the one from Canyon Meadow Stage Area is the best for families with young children. It is 3 miles total (not loop trail), and took us about 2.5 hours, including a long stop at the ladybugs and for snacks.
Park at the staging area and start walking, pass the playground and right after the bridge, following the stream. About 1 mile in, you will cross another bridge, walk uphill for a short while and then down hill, and you’re there! (exact navigation coordinates - 37.820488,-122.167201).
Look around, at first you won’t notice the ladybugs, but a few minutes later - they are everywhere!! (Also, there are Ladybugs crossing signs, covered with, well, ladybugs)

After spending some time with the ladybugs, we started walking back. Along the Stream Trail there are many picnic tables and benches, so get your packed lunch, (or cake-pops, hot chocolate and mini marshmallows in our case), find a quiet spot and enjoy your meal.

On the way back, we stopped at the playground for a little bit, it is small, but fun for kids.

Right past the playground, there’s a small entrance to the left - “Create With Nature Pathway”. This is so great! Just grab logs, sticks and pinecones and create with nature!We found many cool creations, and created one of our own.
For more information about Redwood Regional Park and the ladybug migration visit or this cool ladybug hotel website:

Bay Area Day Trips for Each Month of the Year

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

With so many bay area places on your bucket list, it may be hard to decide where to go and when.
ReloMom's month-by-month travel guide features some of the most unique nature experiences the bay area has to offer, to get you inspired to get outdoors and explore nature.
January - Ladybug Migration at Redwood Regional Park
From November through early March, colonies of ladybugs clustered on trees along the Stream Trail at Redwood Regional Park.
While there are other shorter trails, I recommend taking the Canyon Meadow trail. It is 3 miles long, but it is more family-friendly.
This is pretty amazing animal migrations happening here in the Bay Area, that you do not want to miss.
February - Ano Nuevo State Park
The park’s natural preserve offers an extraordinary wilderness experience, where every year elephant seals return to breed, give birth, and molt their skin amongst the scenic dunes and beaches.
It's about 4 miles long, so definitely not an easy hike for a toddler, but it is stroller friendly (well, most of it, but there is a place to leave stroller for the short sand dune part).
Don't miss the visitor center! It's small and a few minutes will be enough, but it's nice.

March - Little Yosemite in Sunol
One of the East Bay’s best kept secret, Little Yosemite in Sunol is a scenic hike offering breathtaking oak lined canyon views and dramatic waterfalls. It's a short 2 miles upstream from the visitors center and this is the best trail to hit after the rain.

April - Uvas Canyon
Uvas Canyon reopened recently, this is very exciting, since we LOVE this park. The 1.5 mile Waterfall Loop Trail is where all the action is. This trail has several small waterfalls, that are best visited after the rain, which makes it a wonderful early spring day trip.
May - Wildflower Bloom at Russian Ridge Preserve
Sunny, grassy trail sections are typically best for spring wildflowers. This open space preserve is one of our favorite to visit in April and May, and view the colorful wildflowers.

June - Fruit Picking!
A popular spring option in the bay area is fruit picking - berries, cherries, apricots, and peaches -
there are many small locally owned farms around, and they are all wonderful!

July - Henry Cowell State Park
Featuring a variety of redwood forested areas, the San Lorenzo River, beautiful views, family friendly trails and magical picnic spots, Henry Cowell State Park is a great summer adventure for families.

August - County Fair Season
Get into the spirit of summer and visit one (or all!) of the county fairs in the bay area!
Corn dogs and carnival rides, fireworks and farm animals - there is something fun for everyone!

September - Pescadero
Pescadero is a great family day trip destination (and one of our personal favorites!) thanks to many natural attractions and a wonderful downtown.
In September, don’t miss the Dahlias u-pick, amazing beaches and the oh-so-good artichoke bread.

October - Hiking The Bear Gulch Trail At Pinnacles National Park
While hiking the Bear Gulch Trail is very exciting year long, around mid-october the cave is open to the public and it is quite an amazing expirience. This time of the year the famous cave is closed to protect the bats, but the trail is fun with lots of nooks, stairs and crannies which create a fun adventure for everyone. We rested at the lake mid trail, had a snack and finished the loop, 2 miles total, in about 2.5 hours.
Stop by the visitor center and bring swimming suits, as they have a small pool to chill in. Entry fee is $25, and there is a free shuttle from the visitor center to the trail head.
The drive to Pinnacles is a little less than 2 hours from the South Bay, but a great destination for a day trip.

November - Natural Bridges and the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve
The monarch butterflies come back at the Natural Bridges State Beach every October, as they migrate from Canada to warmer climate areas in California and Mexico, and by the end of November thousands of fluttering monarch butterflies will arrive to their winter home.
You can take a short walk to see the butterflies yourself, or join a weekend guided tour. After your visit, have a picnic at the picnic area with the most amazing view, or on the beach.

December - Snow Days
It’s winter baby! And just 3 hours away, you can get to the most amazing winter wonderland. Leland Snowplay is geared towards kids, and it’s the perfect choice for families with young children, who don’t ski (that would be us! haha!).
This is not a bay area easy one day trip, but it should be your new family tradition. I know some families are able to drive and come back same day, but we like to spend the night, and make it more of a weekend getaway. 

What is your favorite spring hike? The most awesome summer adventure? Your go-to winter activity? The best fall stroll around?

Please share in the comments, I love to hear your ideas! :)

2018 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies - Bay Area Guide

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Christmas tree lighting ceremonies are a great way to kickoff the holiday season with family and friends. Enjoy live music and make some special memories. Here is the schedule of events in the Bay Area (In order by date).
If I missed one, please post in the comments or email me at

San Jose
Christmas in the Park - Friday, November 23, 6-8pm
Quinlan Community Center - Friday, November 30, 6-8pm

Menlo Park
Fremont Park - Friday, November 30, 5:30-7pm

Downtown Sunnyvale - Saturday, December 1, 5-7:30pm

Redwood City
Courthouse Square - Saturday, December 1, 5:30-8pm

Main Street - Saturday, December 1, 3:30-8:30pm

Los Altos
Holiday Barn Lighting at Westwind Community Barn - Sunday, December 2, 2-5pm 

Santa Clara
Central Park - Friday, December 7, 5-9pm


Pictures With Santa Around the Bay Area

Friday, November 2, 2018

It’s almost winter and the best way to get into the holiday spirit is with a photo with the big guy in red of course. This list will help you find the Santa that is just right for you! Don't see your favorite Santa on the list? Post in the comments or email me at

Santa at Westfield Valley Fair San Jose
Santa has flown in from the North Pole to visit all his friends. Make sure to reserve your time with Santa online to skip the line!
Santa at Bass Pro Shop San Jose
Santa's wonderland is all about holiday magic! Decorate a Santa Stocking, Paint your own Christmas drawstring bag, play with the elfs, lots of games and activities, and take a studio quality picture with Santa! All FREE. We love Bass Pro Shop, and this is going to be such a wonderful event!
November 11-December 24, 2018.
Santa at Westgate Center San Jose
The Holiday Cheer is here and Santa has arrived to Westgate Center!
November 17-December 24, 2018.
Santa at Christmas in the Park San Jose
Visit Santa Claus inside the North Pole themed Santa Booth. Visits are free with your own camera, or you can also purchase a photo with a professional photographer.
November 23-Decemnber 25, 2018.
Santa at Westfield Oakridge Mall San Jose
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen have escorted the Jolly Elf down from the North Pole to Westfield Oakridge. Bring your family to Macy's Court (a.k.a. Santa's Cave) to capture holiday portraits with Santa Claus.
Make sure to reserve your time with Santa online to skip the line! 
Santa at Stanford Shopping Mall Palo Alto
Share wishes and snap pictures with Santa. Make sure to reserve your time with Santa online to skip the line!

Holiday Train Rides

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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, December 1-2, 2018.

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

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 23-24, December 1-2, 8-9, 15-23, 2018.
Adult - $33, Children - $28, 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 23-24, December 1-2, 8-9, 2018.
Adult - $29, Children - $23, 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 3, 2018.
Adult - $33, Children - $27, 2 and under - free.

For details and tickets -->

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.
Trains depart from Niles at 4:30PM and Sunol at 7:30PM every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the holiday season (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Tickets are $30. For more information and tickets -->
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.
The Holiday Train will run Thursdays through Sundays from December 6th to the 23rd. 6:00 to 9:00pm.
Tickets are $5.00. Children 2 and under - free with paid adult. 
For more information and tickets -->
For more holiday events and festivals, check out our calendar -->