Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tales from San Francisco: Part 2: Kid-Friendly City Outings

Our oversized sense of adventure took us to San Francisco to visit my sister and her family for the week between Christmas and New Year's.  After roughly 36 hours of celebrating Christmas, we popped our five kids on a plane for six day stay in my sister's two bedroom apartment.  As my Dad so eloquently put it, "Well Ker, I'm sure it will be quite an experience."  And indeed it was!

We survived the six hour flight with very few hiccups; we sailed through security (who else would be traveling at 8:00 on Christmas night?), changed the kids into their PJs before boarding (much to the horror of our fellow travelers in the Continental lounge that night - sorry folks and really, I swear, there was nothing but pee in those diapers I tossed in the pail on my way out!), caught a few z's while inflight (thank you to our Christmas angel who let Ciara sleep on her lap!) and even found our luggage when we landed (God knows they better get your bag there if they're going to charge you $25 for it!). 

With our bags and sense of adventure in tact, we were ready to see all San Francisco had to offer and, while we most certainly didn't do it all, I thought I'd share a few highlights that anyone heading to San Francisco with tots on board shouldn't miss:

Fisherman's Wharf.  Sure it's cheesy and touristy but hell, when you're making the rounds with five kids in a city that's not your own, why not be a cheesy tourist?!  When we woke up to the shining sun on Day One, we hit the streets -- quite possibly looking more like a Stroller Strides class than a family on vacation!  In any case, we had a great morning that included a walk through Fort Mason and a romp on the beach.  We had a great lunch at Boudin Bakery ( followed by a personal necessity pitstop... you guessed it, potty break!  As I've mentioned in prior posts, hotels make for the perfect rest area and should you ever find yourself in the area and needing to change a diaper (or two or three!), visit The Argonaut Hotel ( -- we took turns on diaper duty and warming our hands by the fire, all the while pretening to be guests... which I one day aspire to be! 

With the potty break behind us, we did what any tourist in close proximity would do and walked over to Pier 39, where the sea lions did not disappoint and held the tots rapt attention for longer than any Baby Einstein video ever could! 

The San Francisco Zoo ( is sure to be a crowd pleaser and is a great way to spend a day... or half a day, at least! Located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, you can hear the waves crashing from the parking lot and feel the ocean breeze (or, gale force winds, depending on the day!) as you wander past Madagascar-worthy lemurs and kid-pleasing penguins, giraffes and lions -- try to catch the feedings if you can!
 Stay tuned for Part 3:  Road Trips!  Yes, it's true... after a 3,000 mile flight and with only five true days in San Francisco, we did spend two of them on the road... I mentioned our sense of adventure, right?  More to follow! 

The Discovery Musuem (, located in Fort Baker just over the Golden Gate Bridge, was another day out that did not disappoint.  There was an interactive, hands-on playroom for the toddler set while the "big kids" were happy outside on the pirate playground.  There were more exhibits than we had time to take in but you could spend a whole day here if you wanted to... especially since the cafe had moderately priced, majorly tasty organic entrees for lunch and the views were simply stunning.

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