ARDENWOOD HISTORIC FARM ongoing. Ardenwood farm is a working farm that dates back to the time of the Patterson Ranch, a 19th-century estate with a mansion and Victorian Gardens. Today, the farm still practices farming techniques from the 1870s. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free with regular admission.
ONGOING PROGRAMS --
"Blacksmithing," Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Watch a blacksmith turn iron into useful tools.
"Horse-Drawn Train," Thursday, Friday and Sunday. A 20-minute ride departs from Ardenwood Station and Deer Park.
"Animal Feeding," Thursday-Sunday, 3-4 p.m. Help slop the hogs, check the henhouse for eggs and bring hay to the livestock.
"Victorian Flower Arranging," Thursday, 10:15-11:30 a.m. Watch as Ardenwood docents create floral works of art for display in the Patterson House.
$1-$5; free children under age 4. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. (510) 796-0199, (510) 796-0663, www.ebparks.org.<
BAY AREA RAIL TRAILS ongoing. A network of trails converted from unused railway corridors and developed by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.
BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE RAILROAD BED TRAIL -- ongoing. This easy one mile long rail trail on Mount Diablo leads to many historic sites within the preserve. Suitable for walking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Accessible year round but may be muddy during the rainy season. Enter from the Park Entrance Station parking lot on the East side of Somersville Road, Antioch.
IRON HORSE REGIONAL TRAIL -- ongoing. The paved trail has grown into a 23 mile path between Concord and San Ramon with a link into Dublin. The trail runs from the north end of Monument Boulevard at Mohr Lane, east to Interstate 680, in Concord through Walnut Creek to just south of Village Green Park in San Ramon. It will eventually extend from Suisun Bay to Pleasanton and has been nominated as a Community Millennium Trail under the U.S. Millennium Trails program. A smooth shaded trail suitable for walkers, cyclists, skaters and strollers. It is also wheelchair accessible. Difficulty: easy to moderate in small chunks; hard if taken as a whole.
LAFAYETTE/MORAGA REGIONAL TRAIL -- ongoing. A 7.65 mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail line. This 20-year old trail goes along Las Trampas Creek and parallels St. Mary's Road. Suitable for walkers, equestrians, and cyclists. Runs from Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette to Moraga. The trail can be used year round.
OHLONE GREENWAY -- ongoing. A 3.75-mile paved trail converted from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway. Suitable for walkers, strollers and skaters. It is also wheelchair accessible. The trail runs under elevated BART tracks from Conlon and Key Streets in El Cerrito to Virginia and Acton Streets in Berkeley.
SHEPHERD CANYON TRAIL -- ongoing. An easy 3-mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail Line. The tree-lined trail is gently sloping and generally follows Shepherd Canyon Road. Suitable for walkers and cyclists. It is also wheelchair accessible. Begins in Montclair Village behind McCaulou's Department Store on Medau Place and ends at Paso Robles Drive, Oakland. Useable year round.
Free. (415) 397-2220, www.traillink.com.<
BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL ongoing. The Bay Area Ridge Trail, when completed, will be a 400-mile regional trail system that will form a loop around the entire San Francisco Bay region, linking 75 public parks and open spaces to thousands of people and hundreds of communities. Hikes on portions of the trail are available through the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Call for meeting sites. ALAMEDA COUNTY -- "Lake Chabot Bike Rides." These rides are for strong beginners and intermediates to build skill, strength and endurance at a non hammerhead pace. No one will be dropped. Reservations required. Distance: 14 miles. Elevation gain: 1,000 feet. Difficulty: beginner to intermediate. Pace: moderate. Meeting place: Lake Chabot Road at the main entrance to the park. Thursday, 6:15 a.m. (510) 468-3582.
ALAMEDA-CONTRA COSTA COUNTY -- "Tilden and Wildcat Bike Rides." A vigorous ride through Tilden and Wildcat Canyon regional parks. Reservations required. Distance: 15 miles. Elevation gain: 2,000 feet. Difficulty: intermediate. Pace: fast. Meeting place: in front of the North Berkeley BART Station. Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. (510) 849-9650.
Free. (415) 561-2595, www.ridgetrail.org.<
BERKELEY CITY CLUB TOURS Guided tours through Berkeley's City Club, a landmark building designed by architect Julia Morgan, designer of Hearst Castle."Becoming Julia Morgan," through Jan. 11, 8p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 5p.m. Sun. Bay Area premiere of the award winning play by Belinda Taylor, directed by Barbara Oliver with Janis Stevens in the title role. $24-30.
Free. The last Sunday of the month on the hour between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley. (510) 848-7800, www.berkeleycityclub.com.<
BLACK PANTHER LEGACY TOUR ongoing. A bus tour of 18 sites significant in the history of the Black Panther Party, conducted by the Huey P. Newton Foundation. By reservation only.
$25. West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., Oakland. (510) 884-4860, www.blackpanthertours.com.<
BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP ongoing. An interactive place where children, and adults, can learn how a stuffed animal is made, then choose an animal pattern from the offering of bears, elephants, dogs and rabbits; stuff the chosen animal; dress it; and create a birth certificate. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
$10-$25; clothing and accessories extra. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Broadway Plaza, 1248 Broadway, Walnut Creek. (925) 946-4697, www.buildabear.com.<
CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
HISTORY WALKABOUTS -- ongoing. A series of walking tours that explore the history, lore and architecture of California with veteran tour guide Gary Holloway. Walks are given on specific weekends. There is a different meeting place for each weekend and walks take place rain or shine so dress for the weather. Reservations and prepayment required. Meeting place will be given with confirmation of tour reservation. Call for details.
678 Mission St., San Francisco. (415) 357-1848, www.californiahistoricalsociety.org.<
CAMRON-STANFORD HOUSE ongoing. The Camron-Stanford House, an 1876 Italianate-style home that was at one time the Oakland Public Museum, has been restored and furnished with appropriate period furnishings by the Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association. It is the last Victorian house on Lake Merritt's shore. Call ahead to confirm tours and hours.
$3-$5; free children ages 11 and under when accompanied by a paying adult; free the first Sunday of the month. Third Wednesday of the month, 1-5 p.m. 1418 Lakeside Drive at 14th Street, Oakland. (510) 444-1876, www.cshouse.org.<
CASA PERALTA ongoing. Once the home of descendants of the 19th-century Spanish soldier and Alameda County landowner Don Luis Maria Peralta, the 1821 adobe was remodeled in 1926 as a grand Spanish villa, using some of the original bricks. The casa features a beautiful Moorish exterior design and hand painted tiles imported from Spain, some of which tell the story of Don Quixote. The interior is furnished in 1920s decor. The house will be decorated for the holidays during the month of December. Call ahead to confirm hours.
Free but donations accepted. Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 384 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro. (510) 577-3474, (510) 577-3491, www.ci.sanleandro. ca.us/sllibrarycasaperalta.html.<
CHABOT SPACE AND SCIENCE CENTER State-of-the-art facility unifying science education activities around astronomy. Enjoy interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, indoor stargazing, outdoor telescope viewing and films.
ASK JEEVES PLANETARIUM -- ongoing. The planetarium features one of the most advanced star projectors in the world. A daily planetarium show is included with general admission. Call for current show schedule.
"Space NOW!", ongoing. Each week, this real-time ride through constellations, stars, and planets will reflect current happenings in our sky. Space NOW! will also tie in activities going on throughout the center. This is Chabot's first daytime guided tour of the universe.
"Tales Of The Maya Skies," ongoing. "Tales of the Maya Skies'' is a new full-dome planetarium show that explores the cosmology of the ancient Maya, along with their culture and their contributions to astronomy. Starts November 21.
"Astronaut," ongoing. What does it take to be part of the exploration of space? Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut. Explore the amazing worlds of inner and outer space, from floating around the International Space Station to maneuvering through microscopic regions of the human body. Narrated by Ewan McGregor. 25 min.
"Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity," ongoing. Take a ride to the inside of a massive black hole and learn about the latest scientific evidence, which suggests that black holes are real. Narrated by Liam Neeson. Suitable for age 12 and older. Free with General Admission ticket.
"Immersive Space: Fly Through the Cosmos," ongoing. Fridays, 8 p.m. Experience the "digital universe'' in a new full-dome system. Travel to the nearest star and beyond in seconds.
"Sunshine," ongoing. A 15-minute planetarium show for children ages 5 and under. In the show, Sunshine, a lovable animated cartoon of the Sun, urges children to sing and play along with his tricks. In the process, he introduces the colors of the day sky and the other suns of the night sky. Free with regular general admission.
"Secret of the Cardboard Rocket," ongoing. Take a journey through the solar system with two young adventurers who turn an old cardboard box into a rocket. Recommended for ages 5-10.
"The Search for Life: Are We Alone?" ongoing. A voyage from the ocean deep to the outer reaches of the cosmos in search of life, narrated by Harrison Ford.
"The Sky Tonight," ongoing. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Take a live tour of the starry sky overhead on the night of your visit. The show includes a look at constellations, planets and special celestial objects.
"Sonic Vision," ongoing. Friday-Saturday, 9:15 p.m. This show uses the latest digital technology to illuminate the planetarium with colorful computer-generated imagery set to today's popular music, including Radiohead, U2, David Bowie, Coldplay, Moby and more.
CHALLENGER LEARNING CENTER -- ongoing. "Escape from the Red Planet,'' a cooperative venture for families and groups of up to 14 people, age 8 and up. The scenario on this one hour mission: You are the crew of a shuttle to Mars that has been severely damaged in a crash landing. Your replacement crew is gone, the worst dust storm ever recorded on Mars approaches, and air, food, and water are extremely low. The mission: get the shuttle working again and into orbit before the dust storm hits. Reservations required. Children age 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult; not appropriate for children under age 8. $12-$15; Does not include general admission to the Center. Reservations: (510) 336-7421."Dinner, Movie and the Universe," ongoing. Every Friday and Saturday evening. Enjoy a bistro-style dinner, then cozy up for a film in the 70-foot MegaDome theater and end the evening with a telescope viewing. Call to purchase general admission tickets and to make dinner reservations. (510) 336-7373.
"Chabot Observatories: A View to the Stars," ongoing. This new permanent exhibit honors the 123-year history of Chabot and its telescopes. The observatory is one of the oldest public observatories in the United States. The exhibit covers the three different sites of the observatory over its history as well as how its historic telescopes continue to be operated today. Included are informative graphic panels, multimedia kiosks, interactive computer programs, hands-on stations, and historic artifacts.
Telescope Visions Class, ongoing. 7 p.m. This course introduces participants to the astronomer's main tool: the telescope. Classes are held in the Galileo Room twice monthly. $85-$95; reservations required. (510) 336-7373.
TIEN MEGADOME SCIENCE THEATER -- ongoing. A 70-foot dome-screen auditorium. Show times subject to change. Call for current show schedule. Price with paid general admission is $6-$7. Theater only: $7-$8. (510) 336-7373, www.ticketweb.com.
"The Living Sea," ongoing. The film celebrates the beauty, power and importance of the ocean. Produced in association with The National Maritime Center, the Ocean Film Network and Dr. Robert Ballard.
"Dinosaurs Alive," ongoing. A global adventure of science and discovery, featuring the earliest dinosaurs of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous, "reincarnated" life-sized for the giant screen. Audiences will journey with some of the world's preeminent paleontologists as they uncover evidence that the descendents of dinosaurs still walk (or fly) among us. From the exotic, trackless expanses and sand dunes of Mongolia's Gobi Desert to the dramatic sandstone buttes of New Mexico, the film will follow American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) paleontologists as they explore some of the greatest dinosaur finds in history.
"Cosmic Voyage," ongoing. A breathtaking journey through time and space. Zoom from the surface of the Earth to the largest observable structures of the Universe and back down to the sub-nuclear realm, a guided tour across some 42 orders of magnitude. Explore some of the greatest scientific theories, many of which have never before been visualized on film.
"Forces of Nature," ongoing. This film showcases the awesome spectacle of earthquakes, volcanoes, and severe storms as scientists continue their quests to understand how these natural disasters are triggered.
"The Human Body," ongoing. This show explores the daily biological processes that go on in the human body without our control and often without our notice. This amazing story is revealed in detail on the giant screen.
Center Admission: $14.95; $10.95 children 3-12; free children under 3; $3 discount for seniors and students. Telescope viewing only: free. Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Also open on Tuesdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. after June 29. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 336-7300, www.chabotspace.org.<
CHOUINARD VINEYARDS AND WINERY The winery features an exhibit of stone craft and baskets honoring the rich culture of the Ohlone Indians. Palomares Canyon was a summer home to the Ohlone Indians. The exhibit also includes historical photos and artifacts that document more recent colorful inhabitants to the canyon."Music at Chouinard," ongoing. 4:30-8:30 p.m. on select Sundays June-August. The rest of the year features live music in the tasting room on the second Sunday of each month. Enjoy the best of Bay Area artists at Chouinard. Bring your own gourmet picnic (no outside alcoholic beverages). Wines are available for tasting and sales. $40 per car.
Free. Tasting Room: Saturdays-Sundays, noon-5 p.m. 33853 Palomares Road, Castro Valley. (510) 582-9900, www.chouinard.com.<
CLOSE TO HOME: EXPLORING NATURE'S TREASURES IN THE EAST BAY -- A yearlong program of monthly talks and Saturday outings about the natural history of the East Bay. In this hands-on program learn about the plants, wildlife and watershed of the East Bay's incredibly rich and dynamic bioregion. The 11 Saturday outings will take place in either Alameda or Contra Costa counties. The 10 talks at the Montclair Presbyterian Church will be on the Monday prior to the Saturday outing. A notebook of relevant readings and resources for each outing is available to all participants for an additional $30 per person. The program is co-sponsored by the Oakland Museum of California, BayNature Magazine and Earthlight Magazine. Fee for the year covers all outings, talks, site fees, orientation and a party."Grand Loop Tour," Jan. 15. Seth Adams, director of land programs for Save Mount Diablo, leads a 5-mile loop hike below the summit.
$375 per person for yearlong participation; $30 additional for binder with written materials. Montclair Presbyterian Church, 5701 Thornhill Drive, Oakland. (510) 655-6658, (510) 601-5715, www.close-to-home.org.<
DEAN LESHER REGIONAL CENTER FOR THE ARTS TOUR ongoing. A behind-the-scenes tour of this multi-million dollar arts facility. Tours last for one hour and include walks on both the Hofmann and Lesher stages, a look at the Hofmann fly-loft, the dressing rooms, the Green Room and an amble down the Center's opulent spiral staircase. Reservations required. Call for tour dates and times.
$5 per person. 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. (925) 295-1400, www.dlrca.org.<
DUNSMUIR HOUSE AND GARDENS HISTORIC ESTATE ongoing. Nestled in the Oakland hills, the 50-acre Dunsmuir House and Gardens estate includes the 37-room Neoclassical Revival Dunsmuir Mansion, built by coal and lumber baron Alexander Dunsmuir for his bride. Restored outbuildings set amid landscaped gardens surround the mansion.
ESTATE GROUNDS -- ongoing. Self-Guided Grounds Tours are available yearround. The 50 acres of gardens and grounds at the mansion are open to the public for walking Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Booklets and maps of the grounds are available at the Dinkelspiel House. Free.
GUIDED TOURS -- Docent-led tours are available on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (except for July) and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. $5 adults, $4 seniors and juniors (11-16), children 11 and under free.
Dunsmuir House and Gardens, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. (510) 615-5555, www.dunsmuir.org.<
EAST BAY FARMERS MARKETS
ALAMEDA COUNTY --
HAYWARD CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy local organic produce and baked goods.
Hayward: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At Main and B streets.
Hayward Kaiser: Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At Hesperian Boulevard and W. Tenneyson Road. Main and B Streets, Hayward. (800) 897-FARM.
BERKELEY CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy local organic produce, baked goods and flowers. The three markets operate rain or shine.
Tuesday Market: April-October: Tuesdays, 2-7 p.m.; November-March: Tuesdays, 2-6 p.m. At Derby Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Thursday Organic Market: Thursdays, 3-7 p.m. At Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street.
Saturday Market: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. At Center Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Shattuck Avenue & Rose Street, Berkeley. (510) 548-3333.
PLEASANTON SATURDAY CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (800) 949-FARM. West Angela and Main Streets, Pleasanton.
"Oakland Claremont Ave Sunday CFM," ongoing. Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 5300 Claremont Ave. (DMV parking lot), Oakland. (510) 745-7100.
ALAMEDA CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKET -- ongoing. A chance to buy local organic produce, baked goods and flowers. Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Taylor Avenue and Webster Street, Alameda. (800) 949-FARM.
FREMONT CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy local organic produce, baked goods and flowers.
Irvington Market: Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At Bay Street and Fremont Boulevard.
Kaiser Market: Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At 39400 Paseo Padre Parkway.
Nummi Market: May-November: Fridays, 2-6 p.m. At Grimmer and Fremont boulevards. (510) 796-0102. Fremont Boulevard and Bay Street, Fremont. (800) 897-FARM.
Fremont Centerville Certified Farmers Market, ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Bonde Way and Fremont Boulevard, Fremont. (510) 796-0102.
UNION CITY CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more.
Kaiser Market: Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At 3553 Whipple Road. (800) 949-FARM.
Old Alvarado Market: May-November: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At Ceasar Chavez Park, Watkins and Smith streets. (800) 949-FARM. Union City.
OAKLAND CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy local organic produce and baked goods.
East Oakland Market: May-November: Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At 73rd Avenue and International Boulevard. (510) 638-1742.
East Oakland Senior Center Market: Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. At 9255 Edes Avenue. (510) 562-8989.
Sunday Fruitvale Market: Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. At 34th Avenue and 12th Street. (510) 535-6929.
Thursday Fruitvale Market: June-November: Thursday, 2-7 p.m. At 34th Avenue and 12th Street. (510) 535-6929.
Grand Lake Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. At Splash Pad Park, Grand Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. (800) 897-FARM.
Jack London Square Market: May-October: Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At Broadway and Embarcadero. (800) 949-FARM or www.jacklondonsquare.com.
Kaiser Market: Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At Howe Street between MacArthur Boulevard and 40th Street. (800) 949-FARM.
Mandela Market: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. At Fifth Street and Mandela Parkway. (510) 776-4178.
Millsmont Market: May-October: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At MacArthur Boulevard at Seminary Avenue. (510) 238-9306.
Montclair Market: Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At La Salle and Moraga avenues. (510) 745-7100.
Old Oakland Market: Fridays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. At Ninth Street and Broadway. (510) 745-7100.
Temescal Market: Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At DMV Parking Lot, 5300 Claremont Ave. (510) 745-7100. Oakland.
SAN LEANDRO BAYFAIR MALL CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKET, ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Bayfair Mall, Fairmont Drive and 14th Street, San Leandro. (800) 806-FARM.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY --
MARTINEZ CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more.
Thursday Market: May-November. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At Court and Main Streets. (800) 949-FARM.
Sunday Market: May-September. Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At Main and Castro Streets. (925) 431-8361.
Kaiser Market: Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At 200 Muir Road. (800) 949-FARM. Martinez.
EL CERRITO CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKET -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more.
Tuesday Market: Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. El Cerrito Plaza, San Pablo and Fairmont Avenues., El Cerrito. (925) 279-1760.
WALNUT CREEK CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more.
Sunday Market: Sundays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. At North Broadway and Lincoln Avenue. 925-431-8351.
Rossmoor Market: May-October: Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon. At Golden Rain Valley Road and Tice Valley Boulevard. 800-806-FARM. Broadway and Lincoln Avenue, Walnut Creek.
CONCORD TUESDAY AND THURSDAY FARMERS MARKETS -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more.
Tuesday Market: Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thursday Market: May-October. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m. Todo Santos Park, Willow Pass Road at Grant Street, Concord. (800) 949-FARM.
RICHMOND CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKET -- ongoing. A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, baked goods and more. Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Civic Center Plaza Drive and McDonald Avenue, Richmond. (510) 758-2336.
"Walnut Creek Kaiser CFM," ongoing. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
1425 S. Main St., Walnut Creek.
"Kensington CFM," ongoing. Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
303 Arlington Ave., Kensington. (510) 525-6155.
EUGENE O'NEILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE ongoing. Closed on New Year's Day. Visit Eugene O'Neill's famous Tao House and its tranquil grounds. Phone reservations required for a ranger-led, twoand-a-half-hour tour. Tours are given Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Please note: The National Park Service provides a free shuttle van for transportation to Tao House. Access via private vehicle is not available.
Free but reservations required. Wednesday-Sunday. 1000 Kuss Road, Danville. (925) 838-0249, www.nps.gov/euon.<
FENTONS CREAMERY Fenton's Creamery, founded in 1894, offers "backstage" tours that show how ice cream is made, how flavors are created, and all that goes into their famous sundaes. The history of Fenton's is also covered. Tours last 20-30 minutes (including samples). Children must be 6 years and accompanied by an adult.
"Arctic Tour," ongoing. 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. daily, except Sundays. This backstage 20-30 minute tour shows how Fenton's handmade ice cream is made and flavored. As well, the tour will give some history about this venerable ice cream parlor, a 100-year-old staple for families with a desire for ice cream sundaes and sodas. Tour participants can taste ice cream at its various stages, step into the minus 25 degree blast freezers, and receive a soda jerk's hat. Minimum of eight people for a tour, maximum of 12-- larger groups are welcome, but will be split into multiple tours. No children under age 5. Reservations required.
For those who wish to have ice cream after the tour, the following prices apply:
Arctic tour plus kid's dish of ice cream, $6.95 plus tax and tip.
Arctic tour plus kid's sundae, $7.50 plus tax and tip.
Arctic tour plus kid's lunch and kid's sundae, $11.95 plus tax and tip.
Arctic tour plus kid's lunch and sundae bar, $15.95 plus tax and tip. $3.95. (510) 658-8500.
4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. (510) 658-7000, www.fentonscreamery.com.<
FIFTY-PLUS ADVENTURE WALKS AND RUNS ongoing. The walks and runs are 3-mile round-trips, lasting about one hour on the trail. All levels of ability are welcome. The walks are brisk, however, and may include some uphill terrain. Events are held rain or shine and on all holidays except Christmas and the Fifty-Plus Annual Fitness Weekend. Call for dates, times and details.
Free. (650) 323-6160, www.50plus.org.<
FOREST HOME FARMS ongoing. The 16-acre former farm of the Boone family is now a municipal historic park in San Ramon. It is located at the base of the East Bay Hills and is divided into two parts by Oak Creek. The Boone House is a 22-room Dutch colonial that has been remodeled several times since it was built in 1900. Also on the property are a barn built in the period from 1850 to 1860; the Victorian-style David Glass House, dating from the late 1860s to early 1870s; a storage structure for farm equipment and automobiles; and a walnut processing plant.
Free unless otherwise noted. Public tours available by appointment. 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. (925) 973-3281, www.ci.sanramon. ca.us/parks/boone.htm.<
GOLDEN GATE LIVE STEAMERS ongoing. Small locomotives, meticulously scaled to size, run along a half mile of track in Tilden Regional Park. The small trains are owned and maintained by a non-profit group of railroad buffs that offer rides. Come out for the monthly family run and barbeque at the track, offered on the fourth Sunday of the month.
Free. Trains run Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Rides: Sunday, noon-3 p.m., weather permitting. Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Lomas Cantadas Drive at the south end of Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley. (510) 486-0623, www.ggls.org.<
GOLDEN STATE MODEL RAILROAD MUSEUM -- ongoing. The museum, which is handicapped accessible, features extensive displays of operating model railroads constructed and operated by the East Bay Model Engineers Society. Covering some 10,000 square feet, steam and modern diesel-powered freight and passenger trains operate in O, HO and N scales on separate layouts as well as narrow gauge and trolley lines. Of special interest is the Tehachapi Pass and Loop on the N-scale layout showing how the multiple engine trains traverse the gorges and tunnels, passing over themselves to gain altitude to cross Tehachapi Summit just east of Bakersfield. The layouts include such famous railroad landmarks as Niles Canyon, Donner Pass and the Oakland Mole where transcontinental passengers were ferried across San Francisco Bay from their arriving trains. VIEW THE LAYOUTS ONLY ON WEDNESDAYS AND SATURDAYS; WATCH TRAINS RUN ON THE LAYOUTS ON SUNDAYS.
$2-$4 Sunday, $9 family ticket; free on Wednesday and Saturday. April-November: Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. December: layouts are operational on weekends. Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, 900-A Dornan Dr., Point Richmond. (510) 234-4884, www.gsmrm.org.<
GONDOLA SERVIZIO ongoing. "Gondola Servizio.'' Weather permitting. Take a ride around Lake Merritt in a real Venetian gondola rowed by a Venetian-style gondolier. The boats of Gondola Servizio were built by hand in Venice. Each gondola seats up to six people and reservations are required.
Marco Polo: Bring a picnic lunch and/or a beverage to enjoy on this 30 minute private gondola tour. $40 per couple, $10 for each additional person.
Casanova: A 50-minute private gondola tour,$65 per couple, $10 for each additional person.
Promessi Sposi: For photo or film shoots. Perfect for engagement photos, family portraits, or any other occasion. $225 per hour for the first couple; $10 per additional person.
Group Tours: $150 per hour for groups of 13 people or more. Multiple mini tours are given within the hour to accommodate a group of any size. Call for more details.
September-May: Wednesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-midnight; June-August: Daily, by appointment. Lake Merritt Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. (866) 737-8494, (866) 737-8494, www.gondolaservizio.com.<
GREENBELT ALLIANCE OUTINGS A series of hikes, bike rides and events sponsored by Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area's non-profit land conservation and urban planning organization. Call for meeting places. Reservations required for all trips.
ALAMEDA COUNTY --
"Self-Guided Urban Outing: Berkeley," ongoing. This interactive smart growth walking tour of central Berkeley examines some of the exciting projects that help alleviate the housing shortage in the city as well as amenities important to making a livable community. The walk, which includes the GAIA Cultural Center, Allston Oak Court, The Berkeley Bike Station, University Terrace and Strawberry Creek Park, takes between an hour-and-ahalf to two hours at a leisurely pace. Download the itinerary which gives specific directions by entering www.greeenbelt.org and clicking on "get involved'' and then "urban outings.'' Drop down and click on Berkeley. Free.
Free unless otherwise noted. (415) 255-3233, www.greenbelt.org.<
JOHN MUIR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE The site preserves the 1882 Muir House, a 17-room Victorian mansion where naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The house is situated on a hill overlooking the City of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. Take a self-guided tour of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home. Also part of the site is the historic Martinez Adobe and Mount Wanda. Public Tours of the John Muir House, ongoing. Begin with an eight-minute park film and then take the tour. The film runs every 15 minutes throughout the day. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
MOUNT WANDA -- The mountain consists of 325 acres of grass and oak woodland historically owned by the Muir family. It offers a nature trail and several fire trails for hiking. Open daily, sunrise to sunset.
JOHN MUIR HOUSE, ongoing. Tours of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home are available. The house, built in 1882, is a 14-room Victorian home situated on a hill overlooking the city of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The park also includes the historic Vicente Martinez Adobe, built in 1849. An eight-minute film about Muir and the site is shown every 15 minutes throughout the day at the Visitor Center. Self guided tours of the Muir home, the surrounding orchards, and the Martinez Adobe: Wednesday-Sunday, 1 a.m.-5 p.m. Public tours or the first floor of the Muir home: Wednesday-Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations not required except for large groups.
$3 general; free children ages 16 and under. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez. (925) 228-8860, www.nps.gov/jomu.<
LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY ongoing. Scientists and engineers guide visitors through the research areas of the laboratory, demonstrating emerging technology and discussing the research's current and potential applications. A Berkeley lab tour usually lasts two and a half hours and includes visits to several research areas. Popular tour sites include the Advanced Light Source, The National Center for Electron Microscopy, the 88-Inch Cyclotron, The Advanced Lighting Laboratory and The Human Genome Laboratory. Reservations required at least two weeks in advance of tour. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Photography is permitted. Due to heightened security after Sept. 11, 2001, tour participants will be asked for photo identification and citizenship information. Tours are periodically available by special request. For reservations call (925) 424-4175, or register online.
Free. 10 a.m. University of California, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley. (925) 424-4175, www.lbl.gov.<
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY ongoing. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory offer two different tours of its facilities.
Livermore Main Site Tours are scheduled on most Tuesdays, 8:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Highlights of the three hour tour are visits to the National Ignition Facility, National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, and Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. All tours begin at the Lab's Discovery Center, located at the intersection of Greeneville Road and Eastgate Drive in Livermore. Visitors must be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older. Twoweek advance reservations required. Tours are available for non-U.S. citizens with 60 to 90 days advance reservation.
Site 300 is the Laboratory's 7,000 acre non-nuclear explosive test facility in the Altamont Hills southwest of Tracy. Tours may include Western vantage points for observation of the site, an external view of the Contained Firing Facility, and environmental remediation facilities and wetlands. Tours are conducted on an as-requested basis. Visitors must be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older. Two-week advance reservations required. Tours are available for non-U.S. citizens with 60 to 90 days advance reservation.
NATIONAL LABORATORY DISCOVERY CENTER -- ongoing. 1-4 p.m. Tues. - Fri.; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturdays. The Center is a window into the Laboratory where visitors can experience a broad-based display of the scientific technology developed at the Laboratory as well as highlights of the Lab's research and history in such areas as defense, homeland security, the environment, cancer and new energy sources.
There is no citizenship limitation or age limit for visiting the Discovery Center. Call ahead to confirm the Center is open. Located off Greenville Road on Eastgate Drive, just outside the Laboratory's East Gate. Free. (925) 423-3272.
Free. 7000 East Ave., Livermore. (925) 424-4175, www.llnl.gov.<
LINDSAY WILDLIFE MUSEUM This is the oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center in America, taking in 6,000 injured and orphaned animals yearly and returning 40 percent of them to the wild. The museum offers a wide range of educational programs using non-releasable wild animals to teach children and adults respect for the balance of nature. The museum includes a state-of-the art wildlife hospital which features a permanent exhibit, titled "Living with Nature,'' which houses 75 non-releasable wild animals in learning environments; a 5,000-square-foot Wildlife Hospital complete with treatment rooms, intensive care, quarantine and laboratory facilities; a 1-acre Nature Garden featuring the region's native landscaping and wildlife; and an "Especially For Children'' exhibit.
WILDLIFE HOSPITAL -- September-March: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hospital is open daily including holidays to receive injured and orphaned animals. There is no charge for treatment of native wild animals and there are no public viewing areas in the hospital.$5-$7; free children under age 2. June 16-Sept. 15: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sun.; Sept. 16-June 15: noon.-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. (925) 935-1978, www.wildlife-museum.org.<
MOUNT DIABLO SUMMIT MUSEUM ongoing. The museum is located in a historic stone building atop Mt. Diablo's highest peak and features ongoing exhibits that chronicle the history of the mountain. An instructional video examines the geological forces that created the mountain and panel displays describe the Native American history of the region. A diorama provides an overview of the mountain's ecosystems. Telescopes are mounted on the Observation Deck so visitors can enjoy one of the finest views in the world.
Museum: free; Park entrance fee: $5-$6 per vehicle. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Park hours: daily, 8 a.m.-sunset. Oak Grove Road or North Gate Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 837-6119, (925) 837-6119, www.mdia.org/museum.htm.<
NILES DEPOT MUSEUM ongoing. The Niles Depot, built in 1904 to replace a depot that had occupied the site since 1869, served as a passenger station until the 1950s and as a freight station until the 1960s. It was moved to its current location in 1982 and houses a small railroad library plus railroad artifacts. The Tri-City Society of Model Engineers operates HO and N scale model railroad layouts at the depot. The model trains run when the museum is open.
Free but donations requested. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sundays 36997 Mission Blvd., Fremont. (510) 797-4449, www.nilesdepot.org.<
NIMITZ WALK ongoing. A level, paved walk originally constructed when the army was considering putting a missile site in the hills above Berkeley. Near Inspiration Point; from San Pablo Dam Road turn west onto Wildcat Canyon Road in Orinda. The entrance to the walk, and a parking lot, is at the top of the ridge. This is an easy hike for people of all ages and especially ideal for the very old, the very young, and the disabled. Bicycles and roller blades are allowed.
Free. Daily, sunrise-sunset. Tilden Park, near Inspiration Point, Berkeley Hills. (510) 525-2233, www.ebparks.org.<
OAKLAND ARTISAN MARKETPLACE ongoing. www.oaklandartisanmarketplace.org/. A weekly market featuring the fine arts and crafts created by local artists. Included will be handmade jewelry, sculptures, ceramics, paintings and drawings, photography, dolls, floral arrangements, clothing, soaps, and greeting cards. The three weekly markets are at different sites in Oakland.
Free. (510) 238-4948.<
OAKLAND CASTING CLUB MEETINGS ongoing. The Oakland Casting Club and Department of Parks and Recreation present free fly-casting clinics in this monthly meeting. Experts of the club will be on hand to offer tips and training techniques for youths and adults. Everything from basic casting to advanced techniques will be taught. Beginners or experienced anglers welcome. No registration or appointment necessary, but please e-mail ahead (and include relative skill level) to give notice of your participation, if possible.
Meetings are held at McCrea Park, located at Carson Street and Aliso Avenue (just off Hwy. 13), Oakland.
Third Saturday of the month March-July. Oakland. www.oaklandcastingclub.org.<
OLD MISSION SAN JOSE ongoing. Take a self-guided tour of the Mission, a replica of the original mission church that was one of a chain of California missions begun by Father Junipero Serra in 1769. Mission San Jose was founded in 1797. The mission chain stretches from San Diego to San Rafael. The tour includes the church, grounds, an adobe building and historic memorabilia.
$2-$3. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Closed New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont. (510) 657-1797, www.missionsanjose.org.<
PARAMOUNT THEATRE TOUR ongoing. The historic Paramount Theatre is a restored art deco masterpiece from the movie palace era. The two-hour tour covers areas not usually accessible to the public. Cameras are allowed. Children must be at least 10 years old and accompanied by adult chaperones.
$5. First and third Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. Meet at the 21st Street Box Office Entrance, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. (510) 465-6400, (510) 893-2300, www.paramounttheatre.com.<
PARDEE HOME MUSEUM ongoing. The historic Pardee Mansion, a three-story Italianate villa built in 1868, was home to three generations of the Pardee family who were instrumental in the civic and cultural development of California and Oakland. The home includes the house, grounds, water tower and barn. Reservations recommended. Group tours may be arranged between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tues.-Sun.
Private Tours and Teas: Take a private tour followed by tea in the Pardee family dining room (available for 4-12 persons).
Tour with light tea: $12 per person
Tour with high tea: $25 per person.
High tea without tour: $20 per person.
$5-$25; free children ages 12 and under. House Tours: 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday and second Saturday of each month; 2 p.m. the second Sunday or each month. 672 11th St., Oakland. (510) 444-2187, www.pardeehome.org.<
PIXIELAND AMUSEMENT PARK ongoing. This amusement park for children features pixie-sized rides such as a dragon roller coaster, swirling tea cups, a carousel, red baron airplanes, an antique car ride and a miniature train among other attractions sure to please the little ones. Classic carnival-style food and souvenirs round out the experience. Admission to the park is free; ride tickets are $1.25 each or 10 tickets for $10; Day wrist band for unlimited rides, $25. Specials and season passes are also available.
Dec. 1-12 2010: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Closed Dec. 13-Jan. 8. 2740 E. Olivera Road, Concord. (925) 689-8841, www.pixieland.com.<
PREWETT FAMILY WATERPARK ongoing. There are pools and water slides for all ages, from the Tad Pool for toddlers to Boulder cove for older swimmers. In addition to fun pools and slides there are fitness pools for lessons and exercise, lawns for relaxing, locker rooms, community room and kitchen. Lap lanes are open year round. Food and beverages are not permitted in the park. Picnic tables are available outside the park.
$4-$11. Sunday through Friday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Aug.23-27, 30-31. 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch. (925) 776-3070, www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CitySvcs/Prewett.<
RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN One of America's finest private gardens, the Ruth Bancroft Garden displays 2,000 specimens from around the world that thrive in an arid climate. Included are African and Mexican succulents, New World cacti, Australian and Chilean trees, and shrubs from California.
DOCENT TOUR SCHEDULE -- ongoing. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Docent-led tours last approximately an hour and a half. Plant sales follow the tour. By reservation only. $7; free children under age 12.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS -- ongoing. 9:30 a.m.-noon Mon. - Thurs.; 9:30 a.m. Fri.; 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sat.; 5 p.m. Sunday. Self-guided tours last two hours. No reservations required for weekday tours; reservations required for Friday and Saturday tours. Plant sales follow the tours. $7; free children under age 12.
Gardens open only for tours and special events listed on the garden's telephone information line. 1500 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 210-9663, www.ruthbancroftgarden.org.<
SHADELANDS RANCH HISTORICAL MUSEUM ongoing. Built by Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman, this 1903 redwoodframed house is a showcase for numerous historical artifacts, many of which belonged to the Pennimans. It also houses a rich archive of Contra Costa and Walnut Creek history in its collections of old newspapers, photographs and government records.
$1-$3; free-children under age 6. Wednesday and Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; Closed in January. 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 935-7871, www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us.<
SULPHUR CREEK NATURE CENTER A wildlife rehabilitation and education facility where injured and orphaned local wild creatures are rehabilitated and released when possible. There is also a lending library of animals such as guinea pigs, rats, mice and more. The lending fee is $8 per week. "Toddler Time," ongoing. Learn about animals by listening to stories and exploring. Themes vary by month. Call for schedule. $7 per family.
"Day on the Green Animal Presentations," ongoing. Meet an assortment of wild and domestic animals. Wildlife volunteers will present a different animal each day from possums to snakes, tortoises to hawks. Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
CHILDREN'S EVENTS -- ongoing.
Free. Park: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Discovery Center: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Animal Lending Library: Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: daily, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1801 D St., Hayward. (510) 881-6747, www.haywardrec.org/sulphur_creek.html.<
USS HORNET MUSEUM ongoing. Come aboard this World War II aircraft carrier that has been converted into a floating museum. The Hornet, launched in 1943, is 899 feet long and 27 stories high. During World War II she was never hit by an enemy strike or plane and holds the Navy record for number of enemy planes shot down in a week. In 1969 the Hornet recovered the Apollo 11 space capsule containing the first men to walk on the moon, and later recovered Apollo 12. In 1991 the Hornet was designated a National Historic Landmark and is now docked at the same pier she sailed from in 1944. Today, visitors can tour the massive ship, view World War II-era warplanes and experience a simulated aircraft launch from the carrier's deck. Exhibits are being added on an ongoing basis. Allow two to three hours for a visit. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb steep stairs or ladders. Dress in layers as the ship can be cold. Arrive no later than 2 p.m. to sign up for the engine room and other docent-led tours. Children under age 12 are not allowed in the Engine Room or the Combat Information Center. "Limited Access Day," ongoing. Due to ship maintenance, tours of the navigation bridge and the engine room are not available. Tuesdays.
"Flight Deck Fun," ongoing. A former Landing Signal Officer will show children how to bring in a fighter plane for a landing on the deck then let them try the signals themselves. Times vary. Free with regular Museum admission.
"Protestant Divine Services," ongoing. Hornet chaplain John Berger conducts church services aboard The Hornet in the Wardroom Lounge. Everyone is welcome and refreshments are served immediately following the service. Sundays, 11 a.m.Closed on New Year's Day.
"Family Day," ongoing. Discounted admission for families of four with a further discount for additional family members. Access to some of the areas may be limited due to ship maintenance. Every Tuesday. $20 for family of four; $5 for each additional family member.
"History Mystery After Hours Tour," ongoing. 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Explore the USS Hornet after hours and learn the history of this ship while it is illuminated in red lights used for "night ops." Also, hear stories about the ships' legendary haunts. Reservations required. (510) 521-8448 X282.
"Flashlight Tour," ongoing. 8:30 a.m. Receive a special tour of areas aboard the ship that have not yet been opened to the public or that have limited access during the day. $30-$35 per person.
"Living Ship Day," Jan. 15. Kick off the Celebration of the 100th year of Naval Aviation with guest speakers; special exhibit openings and simulated flight operations. Participate in mission briefings; meet former crew; and sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet!
$6-$14; free children age 4 and under with a paying adult. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Pier 3 (enter on Atlantic Avenue), Alameda Point, Alameda. (510) 521-8448, www.uss-hornet.org.<
WATERWORLD CALIFORNA ongoing. `
$19.95-$31.95 General Admission; Season pass: $39.99-$59.99. Park closes in October and reopens in May. 1950 Waterworld Parkway,, Concord. (925) 609-1364, www.waterworldcalifornia.com.<