Museums & Parks

Central Park and Japanese Garden, San Mateo

Located on a 16.3 acre property that was once the Kohl Mansion property, Central Park has been a highlight of many a visit to San Mateo since 1922 when the city took over the property and began developing it into the wonderful attraction it is today. As an integral part of the community many great events are hosted within the grounds, including the Central Park Music Series, the Eggstravanganza and the very popular 4th of July in the Park event.

The Japanese Garden is located within Central Park and is a jewel in California’s crown. Designed by Nagao Sakurai, landscape architect of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo the gardens are authentic right down to the granite pagoda, koi pond, bamboo grove, and tea house. As the gardens are always beautiful they are worth visiting at any time of the year, but particularly so in the early spring and late winter when the trees are abundant with cherry blossoms. After a leisurely stroll through the Gardens stop off at the Japanese Tea Garden for refreshments.

This gorgeous stretch of land and waterway are the perfect spot for strolling and taking photographs before stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch. With 15 miles of parkway to enjoy you can choose to wander just a small section of it or for those more energetic and adventurous you can take on the entire 15 miles. The northern end of the parkway trail is paved making it ideal for roller bladders and cyclists, and if horseback is the way you want to explore there is a specific trail that runs parallel to the paved trail for this very purpose.

a golf course

The Cinnabar Hills Golf Club is located within the hills overlooking Coyote Valley and is home to the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum. Opened in 1998 the museum houses the 40 year collection of golfing pieces of founder Lee Brandenburg. For golf enthusiasts the museum is the only one of its kind in the Western part of the United States. One of the highlights of a tour of the museum is the full-size, sterling silver and gold replicas of the major trophies The Masters, The U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup trophy, and the most recent acquisition, the U.S. Amateur Championship trophy.

The Discovery Museum is a great learning facility that encourages children to explore through touch, sight, sound, and imagination 150 interactive exhibits. Covering 28,000 sq. ft, the museum is a great place for parents and children alike to spend an afternoon of fun learning about the world we live in and how man impacts it. The Children’s Discovery Museum is one of the largest museums in the United States, catering to children of all ages all year round, and includes an outdoor play space. The museum is available to rent for special celebrations and events.

Though it may seem that the computer has been around forever the fact is that it is still a relatively new invention that has progressed at a fast pace. To learn about the history of computing there is no better place than the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Technology and computing buffs will feel right at home as they explore how computers were invented and get an understanding of the huge strides in improvements that have occurred over the years since the first computer was turned on. The museum is a great place for adults to reminisce about the early days of computer technology while children learn about how computers have impacted the world we live in today.

The Park is the perfect place for parents and children to have a picnic or barbecue before exploring the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. The younger children can enjoy seeing all of the wonderful animals and then watch a puppet show, and then view the koi in the koi ponds located within the Japanese Friendship Garden. Older children might enjoy the History Park which is a historical reproduction of a time gone by, including several homes, landmarks and businesses. See running trolleys, streets that are paved and then stop off at the O’Brien’s Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Shop for old-fashioned candy and ice cream.

With over 600 species of sea plants and animals on display there is plenty to see and do at the Aquarium. Get up close to the likes of jellyfish, stingrays, sea horses, sea otters and much more. This world-class aquarium has successfully managed to keep ocean sunfish in captivity, a feat that is challenging. You can also see one of the few bluefin and yellowfin tuna exhibits available worldwide. Viewing can be done from above and below the water line, giving visitors the opportunity to see how sea creatures live in their natural habitat. Over 47 million people have been through the award winning Monterey Bay Aquarium to date.

With 30 acres of serene lake and 65 acres of beautiful countryside to enjoy visitors can take advantage of some of the great fishing to be had or get out on the lake in a pedal boat to see the beauty of both the lake and the surrounding land from a different perspective. With lots of beautiful spots to spread out a blanket and relax with a picnic lunch, toss around a Frisbee or kick a ball the Almaden Lake Park is a peaceful place to spend a few hours and enjoy nature while letting go of the stresses of everyday life.