Staying Local: Spend the Day in Hayward

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sometimes you want to stay local, yet experience it all: nature, attractions for kids, and beautiful setting for a family picnic. This day trip to Hayward may be exactly what you need :)

We started the day at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. Inside the centers there is a nice exhibit for kids, with aquariums with leopard sharks and other fish, microscopes and  lots of other things for kids to get hands-on with. We spent there almost about 45 minutes and had a great time. 
We then went on a walk. The Bill Lockyer trail is nice, fun for kids with great views.
When planning your trip, make sure to check the website and join a naturalist on one of the many weekend interpretive programs offer.
Center hours: Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm, Tuesdays-Fridays by appointment only. Entrance is FREE.
While on the smaller side, Hayward Japanese Garden is really nice. Location is very convenient, and lots of parking. It is very quiet, and very peaceful. With lots of Koi fish and turtles, walking paths and gazebos, it's a great place for families.
The Japanese Gardens is open daily from 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., except Christmas Day. Entrance is FREE.
If your children are high on energy, skip the Japanese Garden and head to Greenwood Park. The park was recently remodeled and features many great amenities: beautiful unique shaded structures, awesome musical play structures for children, open space areas and picnic areas.
Other option is Jumpity Bumpity - a great indoor recreation center for kids with a playground for bigger kids with fun slides, climbing tubes, obstacle course, and a play area for toddlers. We visited this play place on another occasion and enjoyed it very much!
Open 10am-8pm during the week, and in the afternoon during the weekend.
Admission is $11 per hour (less during weekdays) and $5 for each additional hour. 
Sulphur Creek Nature Center - At this center, volunteers are taking care of birds, rabbits, a coyote, snakes, frogs, and other wildlife animals that are sick, orphaned, or injured. With lots of animals to visit and great programs, this is a must visit place for families.
Open daily, 10am-5pm. Entrance is FREE.
If you are not tired by now, take a family hike at the Garin & Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks: With lots of trails and other park features, you can spend here the entire afternoon.
Don't miss the Garin Barn Visitor Center where you can see a blacksmith shop, a tool shop and other displays to explore. An interesting collection of antique farm machinery outside the barn augments the display. 
We didn't have time to explore the park, but we will be back for sure!

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