20 Jan

We are always looking for some low-cost local activities.  We sometimes forget how much our community has to offer.  Below is a list of some places overlooked and some up coming activities you don’t want to miss.

PLAYLAND-NOT-AT-THE-BEACH:  Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is a temperature-controlled 9000-square foot building chock-full of amazing things to see and do. There are 30+ pinball machines set on Free Play, arcade games, video games, carnival games of skills where you can win prizes, penny arcades full of antique amusement devices, live magic shows, an amazing hand-carved miniature circus, side-show acts, miniature dioramas, Fascination games, and historic exhibits with artifacts from the Sutro Baths and Whitney’s Playland in San Francisco. Playland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Museum of Fun. Designed and built entirely by volunteers, the 20+ interactive exhibits celebrate the magic and history of America’s bygone amusements. Our goal is to educate newer generations about the bygone days and allow those who remember Whitney’s Playland and the Sutro Baths the opportunity to recapture the glorious sights and sounds of that marvelous era.  Open Saturday, Sunday & Monday 10:00-5:00pm  10979 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito, CA 94530   Call for more information (510) 932-8966  www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org

LINDSAY WILDLIFE MUSEUM:  The Lindsay Wildlife Museum is a unique natural history and environmental education center where more than 50 species of live, native California animals are on exhibit.  Admission: $7 general; $6 seniors, 65 and older; $5 children ages 2-17; and free for members and children younger than 2.Winter hours: Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek, CA.  For more information call 925-935-1978 or visit www.wildlife-museum.org 

PIXIELAND PARK:  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.  Hours (January & February): open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 (Presidents Day).  All dates are weather permitting. Admission to the park is free; ride tickets are $1.25 each (rides take one, two or three tickets) or purchase a fun pack starting at 10 tickets for $10.  2740 East Olivera Rd., Concord, CA 94519  Call for more information at 925-689-8841 or www.pixieland.com

FAIRYTALE TOWN:   A 2.5 acre children’s play park and outdoor children’s museum that brings fairytales and nursery rhymes to life! Located in William Land Park in Sacramento, Fairytale Town has delighted millions of guests, inspiring imagination, creativity and literacy since it opened in 1959.  Over 25 bright and colorful play sets, child-friendly slides throughout the lush grounds.  Home to a friendly menagerie of animals from the pages of favorite children’s stories, children can meet Peter Rabbit at Mr. McGregor’s Garden and see the sheep that Mary brought to school one day. Small gardeners can help water seasonal vegetable beds and seek out a sprouting alphabet of exotic plants. Small adventurers can join Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men in Sherwood Forest’s extensive play fort. Children can go down Jack’s Beanstalk, ride in Cinderella’s carriage, and burn off extra energy walking on The Crooked Mile, a favorite play structure for many generations.  Fall/Winter Hours are Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm weather permitting.  Weekday rates are $4 for anyone over 3 years of age.  Weekend rates are $4.50.  3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA  Call for more information at 916- 808-5233 or go to www.fairytaletown.org

RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN:  The three-acre 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 cactuses, Australian and Chilean trees and California shrubs.  January through March 28 — The garden is open for self-guided tours from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day that the garden is open 7 days a week weather permitting, and for docent-led tours at 10 a.m. Saturdays. Tour admission: $10 general; $7 seniors and students and free for garden members and children younger than 12.  North Entrance, 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek.  For more information call: 925-210-9663 (tour hot line) or www.ruthbancroftgarden.org.

JOHN MUIR NATIONAL SITE:  The site preserves the 1882 Muir House, a 14-room mansion where naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. Also part of the site is the historic Martinez Adobe, where the two downstairs rooms have exhibits about John Muir, the Martinez family and early California history, and Mount Wanda, a 325-acre tract of oak woodland and grassland historically owned by the Muir family.  Admission: $3 general; free for children ages 15 and younger, when accompanied by adult; good for seven days. The entry receipt received at John Muir NHS is good for same-day entrance at Muir Woods NM, and vice versa. A John Muir/Muir Woods pass is available to all visitors for $15, giving access to both parks for one year.  Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Parking at Local 1179 UFCW, across the street from the post office at 4121 Alhambra Ave.  For more information call 925-228-8860 or 925-229-3857, or visit www.nps.gov/jomu.

DIABLO VALLEY LINES RAILROAD:  The Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society operates the Diablo Valley Lines Railroad, a model railroad that is HO scale and has standard gauge, narrow gauge, Alweg-style monorail and interurban (overhead electric) freight and trolley lines. Featured are nostalgic steam locomotives, modern diesels, a narrow-gauge logging road, and electric traction lines.  Admission:  $3 for adults, $1 for seniors and children ages 6-12, Children under 6 are free.  The railroad is regularly open to the public from 8-10 p.m. the last Friday of the month — Call for more information: 925-937-1888 or visit www.wcmrs.org.   2751 Buena Vista Ave., Walnut Creek, in Larkey Park off Geary Road.

BLACK DIAMOND MINES:  Coal mining began in the 1860s at Black Diamond Mines, which was originally the home of several American Indian tribes. The preserve today features old mines and displays of the history of the area.  The entire preserve is over 5,000 acres and is big enough for some great hiking, picnicking, and other recreational outdoor activities. 5175 Somersville Road Antioch, CA.  For more information call (510) 544-2750

OAKLAND ZOO:  The zoo includes a children’s petting zoo, the Skyride, a miniature train, a carousel, picnic grounds and a gift shop, as well as the animals in site-specific exhibits, which allow them to roam.The Wild Australia exhibit with animals from Down Under, near the Outback Express Train Depot in the rides area of the zoo, is an Australian-themed exhibit featuring wallaroos and emus. Admission for the train is $2.50 per person.  Admission: $12.50 general (ages 15-54); $8.50 seniors (ages 55 and older) and children ages 2-14,  free for children younger than age 2 (special discounts for groups of 12 or more); $7 parking fee. Hours: open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Knowland Park, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland.   For more information call 510-632-9525, www.oaklandzoo.org.

The Jungle Fun & Adventure is a premier indoor family entertainment center for children under 12 and their parents. We provide you with a “WOW” entertainment experience in our jungle themed 20,000 sq. ft. play facilities. You’ll find a massive play structure, a wide variety of hosted party experiences, skill games, homemade gourmet pizzas, other family dining choices and hands-on activities all in a fun-filled environment that is adult friendly, clean, and secure.  Parents always play FREE!  Monday-Friday all day Unlimited Play $7.95 Toddlers (1-2 years) $5.95, Saturday all day and Sunday before 5pm Unlimited Play $8.95 Toddlers $6.95, Sunday-Thursday after 5pm all children $5.95, Toddler Tuesday children1-2 years $3.48 all day.  1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord  Call for more information at 925-687-4386 or www.thejunglefun.com

BLACKHAWK MUSEUM:  The museum’s permanent exhibition in its auto galleries includes more than 90 internationally renowned automobiles dating from 1897 to the 1980s. Free public tours, docent-led guided tours at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.  Museum admission: $10 general; $7 seniors and students, and free for children ages 6 and younger, and active military personnel. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. Call for more information 925-736-2280 or 925-736-2277 or visit www.blackhawkmuseum.org.

California State Railroad Museum:  Located in Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is a complex of historic facilities and unique attractions. First opened in 1976, the 225,000 square facility houses many exhibit.   Beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives throughout history.  Some of the cars are open to board which allows you a unique look into the past.  Widely regarded as North America’s most popular railroad museum, there is something here for everyone!  The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.  $9 Adults, $4 children ages 6-17, 5 and under are free.  125 I Street, Sacramento, CA  Call for more information at 916- 445-6645 or www.csrmf.org


January 21-22 & 28-29 is the “Side by Side by Sondheim” — 8 p.m. Jan. 21-22, 28-29 and Feb. 4-5; 2 p.m. Jan. 23, 30 and Feb. 6. Presented by Hapgood Theatre Company. This musical review highlights the early works of Stephen Sondheim featuring songs from “Company,” including “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Follies” and “Gypsy.” Nick Rodriguez Theatre, 213 F St., Antioch. Opening night includes a champagne reception $35, adults $25, seniors and students $15. Tickets and more information at: 925-219-8545 or www.hapgoodtheatre.org

January 22 & 23rd at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach:  Professor B’s Flea Circus at 1:15pm and 3:00pm.  A live Flea Circus, Professor B has been training fleas from around the world for many years and has put together the most amazing congress of unusual acts you have ever seen.  Bring a camera and show everyone that a Flea Circus does exist.  Open Saturday, Sunday & Monday 10:00-5:00pm  10979 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito, CA 94530   Call for more information (510) 932-8966  www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org

January 22nd at 8pm is “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles” — “Hotel California” recreates the music and mystique of the Eagles experience. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. Gold circle (first three rows) $40,  adults $28, seniors 62 and older $25, youths 17 and younger $15.  Call for more information at 925-757-9500 or www.elcampaniltheatre.com

January 22nd at 2:oopm the Brentwood Concert Band under the direction of Susan Stuart and Carey Hurst presents the 3rd Annual Benefit Concert for the Bruce Stuart Music Fund Performances by The Brentwood Concert Band and The Liberty High School Symphonic Band.  Proceeds go towards developing young musicians. Donations welcome! Liberty High School, Allan E. Jones Performing Arts Center, 850 2nd Street, Brentwood.  Reception to follow  For more information call 925634-3521

January 23rd the Black diamond mines are having  “Hazel-Atlas History Hike” — 9:30 a.m.-noon. From seaside to hillside to tabletop, this area’s rocks have been on a journey. Discover the region’s ancient and modern roots as we journey two miles above and peer into the hills. Ages 8 and older. $4 parking. 8 a.m. to dusk; 5175 Somersville Road, about five miles south of Highway 4 in Antioch. Call 510-544-2750, e-mail bdvisit@ebparks.org or visit www.ebparks.org.

January 27th is the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Black Oak Casino Trip — Meet in church parking lot at 7:30 a.m. and return 5:30 p.m.  Proceeds benefit church programs. Includes treats, games and a movie during the bus ride. $30; get back $10 for games and $5 for food. 500 Fairview Ave., Brentwood. Bill Goldsby,  Call for more information at 925-513-9309. 

January 29th the Lindsay Wildlife Museum is having a special event from 6-9pm.  “Wild Night at the Museum” fundraiser with food, beer and wine tasting, and dessert buffet; Peter Gros from Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” with live animals such as a black-throated monitor lizard, an American alligator, a kangaroo and a porcupine; fun and food for the whole family; raffles with great prizes; story telling, children’s crafts and face painting; and meet an alpaca and a photo opportunity with a Lindsay Wildlife Museum animal ambassador. $50 adults; $10 children younger than 18. Supports the museum’s programs in education and wildlife rehabilitation. Visit www.wildlife-museum.org/wildnight, or call 925-935-1978. 

January 29th at 6pm is the Hot Shot Crab Feed — Proceeds benefit girls softball programs. Food raffles and more. Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St., Antioch. $50. Tickets: Call Kelley for more information at 925-382-7315.

February 5th is the Club Gourmet Pasta Dinner — Cocktails 5:30 p.m.; dinner 6 p.m.  Proceeds benefit community programs sponsored by the Ambrose Lions Club. Lions Center for the Visually Impaired, 175 Alvarado Ave., Pittsburg. $20; $1 donation for wine and cocktails. Call for tickets and more information at 925-709-0557 or 925-642-7158. If you need to order an alternate meal, call Ken Gurley, 925-642-7288. 

February 5th is the Deer Valley Band Boosters Crab Feed — 6-11 p.m.  Proceeds benefit Deer Valley High School band programs. Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, Sunset Hall, 1201 W. 10th St., Antioch. $45 Tickets:  Call for more information at 925-754-3520.


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