Kidtastico | Best Family Fun Children Activities in Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Monterey

Stillwell’s “Snow in the Park” in Pacific Grove – Snow Play, Sleigh Rides, Petting Zoo, Jump Houses, Carnival Games, Kid’s Christmas Shopping

This has got to be the best kept secret in the Monterey Bay. Located in Pacific Grove, and off the beaten path in Caledonia park, Stillwell’s Snow in the Park must be seen to be believed. The event starts early when the snow machine shows up and covers a basketball court with a ten foot high pile of snow. They then blow another huge pile for the giant snowman. Then they set up a petting zoo, some jump houses, the horse carriage rides, and maybe some pony rides. Oh and it’s all FREE. Yep, that’s not a typo. Even the parking is free because it’s in a neighborhood. Now this is...
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Christmas in the Park in San Jose – Ice Skating, Holiday Dioramas, Carnival Rides, and Light Displays

Every December, the Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown San Jose is turned into a winter wonderland. Non profit groups create displays in a friendly competition. Some have a polished Disneyesque quality to them and some are just funky and fun with a cool hand made vibe. They also build an ice skating rink, bring in some carnival rides and have  a variety of scheduled low key family events. Little kids will have plenty of fun just looking at the displays, cranky teenagers may be a bit bored, and adults will appreciate the logistics and effort that went into putting it all together. Great fun but parking is...
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Vasona Park Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos – Drive Through or Take The Mini Train and See An Amazing Christmas Lights Display

This is a fun event. You drive through Vasona park while listening to Christmas music on your car radio. The displays are huge and many incorporate animations. There’s dinosaurs and an erupting volcano, a pirate ship, and a few tunnels among the dozens of displays. Takes about 20 minutes to drive through. Dress warm as you’ll probably have your windows down. But here’s the kicker. This event is very popular and all the cars start lining up in the street before hand. But they won’t let you line up too early. So you’ll want to find a side street or a parking lot with a...
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Dennis the Menace Park – Slides, Climbing Wall, Full Size Train, Paddle Boats

Located by the beach in Monterey, Dennis the Menace Park is an old school park with some new school flair. It’s loaded with artifacts from a bygone area before the lawyers, the social engineers and the child development specialists took over our parks and pretty muck killed anything that was unique and hand made. The park used to be completely old school, but they ripped out some of the stuff and replaced it with the attorney approved stuff. How you feel about that will depend if any of your favorites were destroyed. Fortunately, there are still some old school favorites. So what will you find?...
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