T+L Family Hot Tips: Cities, Parks & Arts
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T+L Family Hot Tips: Cities, Parks & Arts

kids' town: san francisco
Talk about a San Francisco treat: kids are holding court at the new Rooftop at
Yerba Buena Gardens, an urban playground atop the Moscone Convention Center. The
block-long recreation area— with an indoor ice-skating rink, bowling alley, and
a carousel— is a family outing smack in the middle of downtown San Francisco.
It's all built around a massive garden, where kids can learn about plants with a
horticulturist or explore a labyrinth made of hedges. At the colorful,
cone-shaped Zeum, a technology and creative-arts building within the complex,
junior techies and multimedia buffs can produce and star in a digital video,
concoct clay-figure animation shorts, and build Web pages. An exhibition area
shows the work of teen artists. Younger kids enjoy puppet shows, storytelling,
and animation screenings. It's all aimed at ages 18 and under, they say. Good
thing no one is checking ID. Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 Fourth St.;
415/777-2800.
—Heidi Lender

lingua, linguine
A just-launched Random House series gives cooking and driving
new meaning— in three languages. Learn Italian in the Kitchen teaches kids to
speak un po' d'italiano while making panini. Learn French in the Car will have
them singing "Sur le Pont d'Avignon." The car and kitchen titles are available in
Italian, French, or Spanish; each includes a 60-minute tape and an activity book.
The Learning Language series may not make your kids multilingual, but they might
offer to make dinner. $18.95 each; 800/733-3000.
—Hannah Wallace

made in the shade
Beaching it?Tote along these new sunscreens, perfect for young, sensitive skin:
Neutrogena's SPF 30 lotion and easy-to-apply sunblock spray. • Kiehl's Sunshield
(SPF 15), extremely mild and chemical-free. • Mustela's Hydrating Sunblock Cream,
in a convenient twist-top tube. • Johnson's Baby Lotion with daily UV protection,
for ages six months and up.
—Emily Berquist

plastic land
Denmark's favorite plastic theme park has come to our shores. At Legoland in
Carlsbad, California, kids can wander through a medieval castle, build Lego
plants in a garden, or sign up for driving school and tool around in mini-cars.
But the showstopper is Miniland: Manhattan, Mount Rushmore, Washington, D.C., and
San Francisco are constructed entirely out of the signature bricks. Legoland,
760/918-5346.
—Leslie Brenner

c'est magic!
If your child is a budding David Copperfield, you might want to plan a trip to
Blois, three hours by train from Paris. There, a major new museum has been
dedicated to Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (his fame as a magician was so
great that Harry Houdini swiped his name). The magic museum recounts the history
of the craft while wowing young visitors with illusions. La Maison de la Magie,
33-2/54-55-26-26.
—Christopher Petkanas

small-scale chic
Fashion-forward moms will be seething with envy when their tots
catch wind of two hip new Manhattan clothing boutiques that outfit kids up to age
10. Calypso Enfants, a pint-size offshoot of the seriously sexy Calypso St.
Barths, carries everything from the avant-garde (silk-and-lace chemises, boot-cut
pants) to the classic (cashmere cardigans, French sailor suits). The store Bu and
the Duck has a decidedly historical take on children's wear. Inspiration for its
signature three-button shrunken-wool jacket was found in old Ellis Island photos,
whereas its quintessential little-girl gathered dress was modeled after a similar
garment from the twenties. Calypso Enfants, 284 Mulberry St.; 212/965-8910. Bu
and the Duck, 106 Franklin St.; 212/431-9226.
—Georgine Panko

working girls (and boys)
Some of us could never quite figure out what a business trip entailed when Mom or
Dad returned, bags bulging with souvenirs. With all that evidence, it seemed as
if we should have been there too. Now the Junior Business Executive Package at
Denver's Brown Palace hotel puts children in charge of their own "business trip."
They check the family in, get their own portfolio of things to do (drop in on the
baby polar bears at the zoo, visit the Children's Museum), and handle room
service with their own Ben & Jerry's vouchers. And you thought your business
trips were hectic. Brown Palace, 321 17th St.; 800/321-2599 or 303/297-3111;
doubles from $195.
—Elizabeth Garnsey

bugging out
Here's something for the kid who has everything— or the kid who's seen A Bug's
Life
five times: the Ladybug Pop-Up Tent. This six-foot-long nylon wonder weighs
two pounds and folds into a small package (ideal for travel). Since there are no
life-threatening poles, children can set it up by themselves. If any boys think
it's only for "ladies," tell them to climb right in and borrow a line from
Francis, the movie's male ladybug: "Who you callin' lady?!" $59.95; 800/325-2502
to order.
—Jeffrey Bauman

get your pith helmet
Starting this summer, you'll be able to go on safari close to home at a 400-acre
wildlife preserve in Sonoma County. Safari West— founded by Nancy Lang, a former
San Francisco Zoo curator, and her husband— is opening a camp. Its 15 safari
tents, imported from South Africa, have hardwood floors and private baths
(several are family-size and sleep four). In the evening, sit on your deck and
watch zebras and giraffes grazing nearby. Naturalists take guests on hikes,
nature walks, bird-watching expeditions, and tours of Safari West's preserve,
which shelters 350 animals— all are African, some are endangered. It's like
having a piece of Kenya in California. Tent Camp at Safari West, 3115 Porter
Creek Rd., Santa Rosa; 707/579-2551, fax 707/579-8777; family tent $275,
including breakfast.
—Sharon Wick

high-tech trekking
Let the young expeditioners take charge on your next wilderness adventure. San
Francisco­based Wild Planet (800/247-6570) produces gadgets and gizmos
tailor-made for negotiating the outdoors. Need to know which way is north?The
Explorer's Watch ($10), with built-in compass, thermometer, and
stopwatch, will provide the answer. Getting dark out?The Night Scope binoculars
($14), with an attached spotlight that shines up to 50 feet ahead, are just what
the hiker ordered.
—J.B.

junior spacemen
Airlines are getting savvy these days, in order to help families on long-haul
flights. On British Airways kids are served food before the adults; there are
also Treasure Chests filled with games and books. Singapore Airlines keeps
youngsters in their seats with Nintendo games operated on individual TV screens.
El Al has a new family zone— no more angry stares from fellow passengers when
little Kim starts crying. United Airlines flies with the Golden Arches—
McDonald's Friendly Skies Meal for children older than two (parents need to place
the order 24 hours in advance on flights leaving the United States). Virgin
Atlantic
gives kids snacks the second they step on the plane. After liftoff, they
get a backpack stuffed with books, puzzles, baseball cap, and way cool
sunglasses.
—Catherine Doyle

kids in the city
New York and Los Angeles can be difficult to navigate with children, even for
natives. Here's help: Kids Take New York and— coming in May— Kids Take L.A. (Bookhappy Books, $15.95 each). Great sources for visitors and residents alike,
both guides cover the best restaurants, theaters, museums, and stores for kids,
as well as listings of free activities, such as playgrounds and bookstore story
times.
—Kimberly Robinson

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