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News and Features
March 28-April 4, 2007

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Goldies 2007:
Intro | Readers' choice | Burritos guide | Downtown public artworks | Downtown street performers | Late-night eateries | Low-budget weddings | Soup and sandwich spots | Taking the folks | Things to do with kids on holiday

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Goldies 2007: Critics' Picks

Best Thing to Do With Kids on Holiday

By Laura Mattingly

An unexpected holiday occurs, I don't know, some president died or something. And this provides justification for closing schools? What to do with these children? Preferably something to induce quality bonding time. Lets see what we can see, and get a little fresh air while we're at it.


Santa Cruz is a tourist town for a reason. And among the many reasons, West Cliff Drive is one of the best. A paved trail takes you from the wharf, along the cliffs overseeing the ocean (don't let the little guys climb the handrails or they might be in for an unwelcome dip), through the congregation of pooches in Lighthouse Field, and all the way to Natural Bridges State Park. (During the cooler months you can catch the Monarch butterflies there, a regular pit-stop in their migration.)


So one of your kids likes the twisty slides, and the other one gets twisty-sick and insists on straight slides; this may seem to be an impossible conundrum, except that in Santa Cruz there is a simple solution. Ocean View Park not only has both types of slides but also swings, a play set, a basketball half-court, grass, asphalt, an ocean view and some potties: the makings of an idyllic park experience.


A hike and a picnic don't sound bad. Wilder Ranch, located in north Santa Cruz, offers 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. In other words, it's a great place to get lost. So be sure to bring lots of water, and snacks, and because of the coastal location of some of the trails, a few layers of clothing might be in order. If it gets hot, peel!


Let's go see the penguins!!! Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the historical Cannery Row of Monterey (a great opportunity to tell the kids about Steinbeck, initiating a literary perspective early on in their development—which they won't remember two minutes later). Giant octopus, a variety of jellyfish, sea otters and a kelp forest, are just a few possibilities for seeing something you may never have before, but will never get tired of looking at. (The jelly fish are so trippy, you don't even need to smoke weed beforehand to make them look like aliens.)


This dance studio, founded by Frank Duncan, has a program especially for young people. It combines jazz and hip-hop into a "street dance style" meant to encourage kids to develop self-expression and discover the joy of movement. (The kid's programs classes are taught by age groups, 6-8, 9-12, and 13-16 yrs old.)

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