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Located right next to the picturesque Professorville neighborhood, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo has been a reliable source of family fun since 1934, when it was established as the first children's museum west of the Mississippi. The zoo houses around 200 species of animals, including snakes, reptiles, tortoises, sharks, raccoons, bats, a red-tailed hawk and two bobcats. A total of 14 hands-on museum exhibits are designed to educate children about physics, earth science and math. It is also a popular destination for field trips and birthday parties.
The Elizabeth Gamble Garden is a 2.5-acre (one hectare) property that includes a historic Victorian home, carriage house, tea house, a gazebo, and formal and demonstration gardens. The garden is home to fruit trees, a herb garden, several varieties of irises, perennials, roses, wisterias and a Mediterranean garden. If you come at just the right time of year, you may even see the garden at the peak of its cherry blossom season! Home gardening classes taught by master gardeners are offered throughout the year, and tours are available for groups of eight or more who call in advance; the property is also a popular site for weddings and wedding receptions. Admission is free to the public every day during daylight hours, though the office is only open during weekdays.
Founded in 1990 from the private collection of Frank Livermore, the Museum of American Heritage is housed in the historic Williams House, a 1907 Craftsman-style home right across from scenic Heritage Park. The museum's exhibits display technology and inventions from the 19th and 20th Centuries in an era-appropriate setting. Special exhibits rotate through the gallery several times a year highlighting certain historical artifacts, from toasters to toys. The museum also offers children's summer camps and several special events throughout the year. Another plus: admission is free, though donations are welcome and appreciated. For your tiny tots the Lego Exhibit is worth a watch, there is also a pretty garden at the back of the museum. A visit to Museum of American Heritage will make you ponder over how life used to be 100 years ago.
Bryant Street Gallery offers for sale a variety of paintings, sculptures and photography by local Bay Area artists in addition to other American artists. They occasionally hold artists' receptions when new exhibits are installed so visitors can meet the artist. Even if you aren't in the market to purchase a work of art, visitors are welcome to just browse. The gallery also offers framing services.
Located on the Stanford University campus, Hoover Tower offers a small museum at its base and excellent views of the Bay Area at the top at an extremely reasonable price. Visit the museum and then take an elevator ride to the top while a guide tells tidbits of trivia about the tower's history. At 285 feet (87 meters) tall, the tower is a must-visit attraction. Be sure to check out the carillon of 48 bells housed at the top of the tower. Stanford students get in free with ID!
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University at Stanford University is a historic art museum incorporating pieces from the original private collection of Leland Stanford himself. Known widely for its assemblage of over twenty bronze statues in the Rodin Sculpture garden, the museum is the third largest Rodin collector in the world. The Cantor Arts Center also exhibits many diverse visual art displays varying from California artists to international cultural pieces. Visitors can also enrich their educated palette and refresh themselves in the charming museum cafe.
One of the United States' premier educational establishments, Stanford University's heritage, expansive curriculum and highly-qualified faculty attracts some of the brightest minds from all across the planet. Founded in the year 1891, student life is given tremendous importance by fostering a love for the literary, performing and visual arts, while athletics and fitness facilities abound throughout the campus. Spread across close to 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) of hilly land, its Spanish architecture inspired residential campus is one of the finest in California. The Stanford Memorial Church, the Lou Henry Hoover House, the Hoover, and 'The Dish' are some of its campus' most famed attractions. Notable alumni include the likes of Elon Musk, Reese Witherspoon and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Under the direction of Jane Stanford, the Stanford University Memorial Church was completed in 1903 in memory of her husband Leland Stanford. Located in the center of the university, it is a jewel of the campus and a beautiful attraction. It is one of the oldest interdenominational churches in the western United States. The building was designed by Charles A. Coolidge in the Romanesque style, and constructed by John McGilvray, who also was in charge of San Francisco's City Hall.
Byxbee Park is a great place to spend a few hours away from the city. What was once a landfill is now an urban park filled with various modern concrete sculptures. It's also a great place to ride bikes along the trails, go birdwatching, or watch the windsurfers.
The Baylands Nature Preserve is known for its birdwatching and is considered one of the best birdwatching areas on the West Coast, offering both tidal and fresh water habitats. This park boasts of a total of 1940 acres (785 hectares) of swampland, which is the largest tract of undisturbed swampland remaining in the Bay Area, and 15 miles (24 kilometers) of trails. Besides birdwatching, visitors can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking or windsurfing in the ponds and lakes. Educational signs have been put up in place to educate visitors about natural habitats. Kids will love Baylands too as it is home to the Palo Alto Duck Pond and the trails too vary in difficulty levels. This park is open daily from 8a till sunset.
The Computer History Museum traces the growth of the information age. Opened in 1996, this museum houses an impressive collection of computing artifacts and software, some of which date back to the 1950s. Exhibits, photographs and films on the history of the computer industry are a great insight into the technological revolution and its role in shaping society. The Software Arch, Revolution exhibition, PDP-1 minicomputer and Cray-1 supercomputer are the museum’s highlights.
A fabulous mix of undulating savanna grassland and evergreen forests, Enid Pearson-Arastradero Preserve teems with wildlife and natural bounty. Hugging the Arastradero Lake, the grassy knolls and hills make way for forested areas and nature trails. Much favored among bikers and hikers, most of the trails in the park are open through the year. Mountain lions, bobcats and deer are found aplenty here, so are many species of birds that flock around its pristine water bodies.