Valentine's Day is, of course, celebrated as a day of romance. A time to connect with the person most important in your life, buy them flowers, take them to dinner, and toast the love you have for each other.
But there's nothing that says you can't make the most romantic day of the year a family affair.
In fact, Valentine's Day is one of the best times for families to come together, spread the love, and turn February 14th into a day the whole family will cherish. The Bay Area has plenty for families to see and do before, during, and after Valentine's Day.
Here are the seven best family-friendly Valentine's Day events near the San Francisco Peninsula.
Belvedere Tiburon Library
1501 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon
Date: Saturday, February 8th, 2020
Admission: $35 per attendee, buy 10 tickets to secure a reserved table, purchase tickets at the times linked above
Start your Valentine's Day celebration a week early at the Belvedere Tiburon Library's annual Valentine's Teddy Bear Tea. Every year, this cherished event sets out to recreate the classic children's tea party by transforming the library's Founders Room into a Secret Garden.
After the hot chocolate "tea" and snacks, the children get a meet-and-greet with the event's namesake teddy bear, who will then lead them into a special craft project (bear-themed, of course) and storytime.
This popular event is Saturday, February 8th and benefits the Belvedere Tiburon Library. Tickets are $35 per attendee over the age of one, and with only five time-slots and limited availability, be sure to book early. Early arrivals can also take part in the teddy bear raffle.
Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
Date: Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
Time: 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Admission: This event is free but does require a ticket, which can be purchased through Eventbrite.
Best capturing the true spirit of Valentine's Day, Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley is hosting a playdate for children with special needs and their immediate families, relatives, and caregivers.
Scheduled for Wednesday, February 12th, the exclusive, three-hour event features interactive exhibits, heart-themed crafts, and plenty of smiles in a safe, welcoming environment. Children attending the free event also receive a complimentary book to take home.
22 South Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos
Date: February 1st, 12th, 13th, and 15th, 2020
Admission: Pricing varies, and tickets can be purchased at the times linked above
Few things bring people closer together than time spent in the kitchen, and Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to sharpen up those baking skills with the ones who appreciate it the most — your kids. Cucina Bambini, which caters to the burgeoning cook in all of us, hosts special classes teaching young and old how to produce delicious Valentine treats.
Their Lil' Chef program, for kids aged three to five, creates red velvet cupcakes on Saturday, February 1st, and post-Valentine's Day pig cookies on the 15th (trust us, they're cuter and tastier than they sound). In between those classes, there is the Valentine's cooking craze for ages six and up on February 12th, and a parent-child workshop on macarons the following day.
Should parents need a date night after all the baking, an exclusive, adult's only Valentine’s date night happens on February 14th. Note that all event dates and times are for Cucina Bambini's Los Gatos location. The San Jose calendar can be found here.
445 Geary Street, San Francisco
Date: Through July 12th on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Time: Performance schedule
Admission: From $59, purchase tickets through the Curran website
Let's face it, every family has at least one Harry Potter fan, and the vast majority have far more than that. So what better time to gather up the brood and take in Potter's latest adventure than the week of Valentine's Day.
As luck, or maybe a bit of magic, would have it, the fourth engagement of the widely celebrated play is on stage at San Francisco's historic Curran Theater. The show is presented in two parts, both nearly three hours, so consider this an outing for the older kids in your family. Regardless of whom you bring, though, the show is well worth the time and price of admission.
Although performances currently run through July 12th, expect tickets to be at a premium for the week of Valentine's Day. The full show can be taken in during a single day on Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday or split between part I on Thursday nights and part II on Fridays.
Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Date: February 14th and 15th
Time: February 14th - 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, and 12:30 PM; February 15th - 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM
Admission: Tickets are $11 for individuals and $6.50 per ticket for groups of 10 or more, additional fees may apply; you can purchase them here.
Should you dare to not spend Valentine's Day with the Queen of Hearts, who knows what the consequences will be? Revisit the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland with a new generation at the Peninsula Youth Theatre's adaptation, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
With a cast composed of youths from around the Bay Area, the PYT promotes a strong family atmosphere that captures the attention and applause of all ages. Equal parts fantasy and adventure, each one-hour performance is at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts with three shows on Friday, February 14th and two more Saturday, February 15th.
El Cerrito Community Center
7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito
Date: Saturday, February 1st, 2020
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Admission: $7 per person or $20 for a family of four
Is it really Valentine's Day if you don't partake in a sweetheart dance? Lucky for you, the folks at El Cerrito Parks and Recreation have it covered with the perfect event to kick off the month of February — their annual Family Sweetheart Dance.
A laid-back, fun atmosphere awaits you and your favorite toe-tappers at the El Cerrito Community Center in San Francisco's East Bay. The two-hour event includes music, refreshments, and a photo booth for the entire family to enjoy.
California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
Date: February 12th to 14th, 2020
Time: Each day at 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM
Admission: Included with admission into the Academy
Date: February 8th, 14th (adults only), and 21st
Time: Check-in begins at 6:00 PM; the sleepover runs through 8:00 AM the following morning
As one of the most family-friendly destinations on our list, the California Academy of Sciences offers a little something for everyone, no matter their age. More interactive science fair than it is a museum, the Academy boasts an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum — all under one roof.
Known for its year-round schedule of activities, the week leading up to and after Valentine's Day is especially festive at the Academy. From February 12th to February 14th, Penguin Valentines are handed out and passed between penguin couples showing that love isn't restricted to humans.
Some of the more popular events at the Academy are their sleepovers, which allow guests to sleep overnight in an exhibit area. In February, there are three such events. February 8th and February 21st, sleepovers are available for children aged 5 to 17 (along with an adult chaperone 25 or older), and an exclusive adults-only sleepover occurs on February 14th.
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