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Fabulous for families: California

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California (courtesy nplugd on Flickr CC)

It is certainly difficult to narrow down a list of family-friendly, educational travel attractions in the massive Golden State, but I gave it a try….

Kid-friendly fun and learning in California is now posted on Education.com.

Here are four of the 21 items that I featured, to whet your family travel whistle:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium– Located on author John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, this world-famous aquarium submerges visitors into watery California marine habitats and offers close-up encounters with hundreds of sea creatures, enhanced by special programs and hands-on activities for kids. Bonus: drive some of the Pacific Coast Highway around scenic Big Sur while you’re there.
  • Butterflies – The migratory paths of the Monarch butterfly bring them to California from about mid-October through March. See them at state parks like Point Mugu, Leo Carillo, Malibu Lagoon State Beach and the town of Pacific Grove.
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall– The twisty, curvy Frank Gehry-designed metallic home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic appeals to kids not only with its looks, but also the Saturday morning Toyota Symphonies for Youth.
  • Love Your Food– The modern movement to “eat local” can be credited to Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Older kids might enjoy sampling the imaginative rotating menu (lunch in the more casual Café at Chez Panisse might be the best bet.) Another way to introduce great fresh food is to visit the San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building Marketplace on Tuesday and Saturday, when local restaurants bring samples and California farmers are out in force.

The other 17 recommendations are here on Education.com.

The state has long drawn adventurers (Gold Rush, anyone?) and is famously tolerant of the unusual, but that’s precisely why I love it.