Adventure Playground in Berkeley


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Adventure Playground in Berkeley, this scrap junkyard turned playground can be found on the marina waterfront in Berkeley.

Adventure Playground

The adventure playground model, sometimes referred to as a “junk playground,” is to provide children with the resources to build and create without restrictions. The available tools include saws, hammers, workbenches, and nails, but the kids must perform tasks to earn these tools or paint.

How to earn tools

At Adventure Playground in Berkeley to earn tools kids must go in the playground, find and return one of the following, 10 nails, 5 wood splinters, 5 pieces of trash or 1 Mr. Dangerous. Every single play structure and fort were built by hand by the kids who participate at this park.

Kids and hammers

Kids and saws

It’s amazing to watch, and surprisingly injuries rarely occur at this site. My son loved using the hammer and my daughter enjoyed painting everything (including her dress). I especially liked this double decker slide with underground tunnel fort.

We literally stayed till closing and my kids can’t wait to go back. The best part is it’s FREE! Older kids can even be dropped off for blocks of time for a small fee.

Adventure Playground cost

For more information about Adventure Playground in Berkeley, check out their web page here.


Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary “The Secret Garden” Gateway Theatre in San Francisco


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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Katie Maupin as Mary Lennox

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

Almost a week later and my kids and I are still humming the tunes from 42nd Street Moon’s rendition of “The Secret Garden” playing at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco, now till December 24th. Even though “The Secret Garden” is a classic English children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and 42nd Street Moon’s version is intended to be family friendly, it was a bit dark and slow paced at points for my kids aged 7 and 4. I would definitely recommend this version of “The Secret Garden” to very theater savvy kids, kids that already familiar with the story, or kids at least 8 years old and older.

The Secret Garden Mary and Martha

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

From an adults perspective I thoroughly enjoyed this version of “The Secret Garden” the lyrics held my interest wanting to hear more, the acting of the entire cast was strong especially Katie Maupin who plays Mary Lennox she is just 12 years old. I would also happily have Martha over for dinner any night of the week, for the entertaining conversations alone. The props and scenery Were simple, but no more was needed to tell the story. I easily followed along with which characters were alive or dead, and any flash backs that occurred, this is where my young kids became a bit lost, but still watched along even if they were not completely following along.

The Secret Garden Mary and Colin

Photo by Ben Krantz Studios

I grew up knowing the story of “The Secret Garden”, In the late 19th century, 11-year-old Mary Lennox is orphaned in India and comes to Yorkshire to live with her reclusive uncle and invalid cousin. There she discovers a mysterious and seemingly enchanted garden, and all three come to know forgiveness, renewal and hope. However, this was the first time my kids have been introduced to “The Secret Garden”, the themes of death and grief were prevalent, and the mysterious cries from within the house initially spooked my 7 year old, till Colin was revealed towards the end of act 1. My son also could’t wait to see the kids enter the garden, so the excitement to see the second act after intermission was high.

In the end the story is still heartwarming, and the performances from the children actors, Katie Maupin as Mary Lennox and Tyler Groshong as Colin Craven, were especially top notch. As the garden grows the children grow into their own better selves, also prompting my kids to watch the movie and seek out the book.

I love that my kids get to see live theater, and seeing other kids living their dreams while acting in live theater is so valuable for continued art appreciation and support. I love how 42nd Street Moon‘s mission is to celebrate and preserve the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. Through their productions, educational programs, and community outreach, they are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.

Don’t miss this performance of “The Secret Garden” by 42nd Street Moon at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco this holiday season. Many shows are close to being sold out but tickets can still be purchased HERE or by contacting the box office at 415.255.8207



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Are your kids LEGO obsessed like my seven year old? Guess what 99% of his birthday presents were? LEGO’S, and he will happily build them all within the week and then ask for more. Even though LEGO has been around for 85 years, they are still just as popular today as they were when I was a kid, and when my parents were kids.

LEGO Birthday 7

My Strange Family LEGO #KeepBuilding

Whenever we visit family in Southern California the kids request to go to LEGOLAND CA. It’s even better if their cousins join them too. We have been going since my son was a baby and he finally can go on all of rides, making it that much more fun. Designed for children ages 2 to 12, LEGOLAND is a world of fun and adventure where the emphasis is placed on rides and attractions suitable for families with young children. It also looks like a new LEGOLAND will be opening in New York in 2020!

Legoland 2017

Another fun event coming to NYC is LEGO LIVE February 16-18. This LEGO experience event is geared towards LEGO fans of all ages, with interactive, life-size builds, workshops with Master LEGO Builders, iconic LEGO activities, and more.


A must-attend event for any LEGO fan, LEGO LIVE NYC will include a range of interactive themed play zones, each offering a distinct experience – from classic building challenges to using coding and robotic technology to program a multifunctional model. Fans will also be able to meet LEGO Master Builders at the Master Lab Help Desk, where builders can get one-on-one advice and show off their creations. Show guests can explore the latest LEGO building sets, compete in exciting building challenges, and take photos with LEGO models based on beloved characters from iconic films and LEGO properties such as Star Wars™ and NINJAGO. Among the many experiences, families will find:

· LEGO Life: Maximize your show experience via the LEGO Life app, a safe, social network for kids who love to build. The app will offer details on show activities and insider tips, and the LEGO Life team will host exclusive opportunities to build, capture and share unique LEGO creations made at the show with the broader community of LEGO fans in the app.

· Meet the Masters on the Main Stage: Meet a LEGO Master Builder and learn building tips and tricks in live demonstrations, competitions and Q&A sessions.

· LEGO Architecture: Build together to create the iconic skyscrapers that make up the Manhattan skyline in this community building area.

· LEGO Minecraft™: Journey with Steve to build your way through the iconic and ever-popular Minecraft universe with the thousands of specialty LEGO pieces found in this creative building zone.

· Coding Corner: Build, code and play with the new LEGO BOOST and heritage LEGO MINDSTORMS toolkits to test your skill in creating your own LEGO robot.

· LEGO Shop: Browse a huge selection of LEGO sets for builders of all ages, or select from an assortment of “show only” souvenirs.


Tickets are now available and can be purchased at $30 General Admission, $45 VIG (Very Important Guest) and $75 VIK (Very Important Kid) ticketing options are available.

Prescribing sunshine and compliment with yellow


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Seeing this giant yellow room at the Color Factory in San Francisco, instantly transported me back to my childhood. I couldn’t wait to jump right in, and after a few minutes I was sweaty from chasing after the kids, and trying to save them from drowning in happiness. This massive ball pit is filled with over 200,000 yellow balls and is 3 and a half feet deep. I am happy to report that no kid was lost in the process of having sunshine fun.

lilstrange yellow ball face

harrison yellow ball face

silly lilly hair

H and L Ball pit

Prescribing sunshine

This was definitely our favorite room in this pop-up Instagram worthy museum. We easily could have spent hours in the sun, playing in the Color Factory yellow ball pit.

The Wonder Sound is sight to see


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The Wonder Sound is a work of art by Wes Sam-Bruce, that you physically enter into and discover. Drawing influence from tree houses, empowered neighborhoods, canyons at night, and sacred plants. The Wonder Sound is sight to see children explore. After crawling through a labyrinth of dark rooms, and small nooks I went through one last curtain to find lilStrange making music, from thousands of spoons hung from the ceiling at different lengths. The light from an open window lit up her face from the darkness, and the cool breeze coming through helped to make an original score.

hanging spoons

The Wonder Sound: A World Unfolding, is a feature documentary film by Bryan Bangerter that follow the path of the creation of a World Within a World. Diving into the content and characters involved. It threads together the ideas, heartbeat, and intent behind the large-scale, village-like installation at The New Children’s Museum.

The Wonder Sound

18,000 hand-cut wooden shapes were used to make The Wonder Sound at the New Children’s Museum.

The New Children's Museum

A labyrinth of ropes to explore

This exhibit at The New Children’s Museum is not to be missed.