Helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. founded the Hiller Aviation Museum with the future in mind, using history to inspire future generations to explore and create. He had firsthand proof of the innovative abilities of youth—his design for the first successful coaxial helicopter landed at age 19.
In the museum he established in 1998, 53,000 square feet of exhibits let visitors of all ages discover more than 40 aircraft without the dangers of encountering them in the wild. A narrated walking tour leads the way through them, tracing the history of flight from its humble beginnings in village jumping contests to today's supersonic jets. Fixed-wing and rotary aircraft designed by Hiller and others rest throughout the huge, bright space, while weekends beckon would-be pilots into a flight simulator equipped with huge monitors of bay views and realistic yokes, throttles, and pedals.
For more than three decades, ABC Tree Farms have provided the Bay Area with seasonal fun October through December. Summer inspires the first round of recreation in the form of Summer Fun Zones packed with inflatable bounce houses masquerading as castles and slides and fresh harvests of local cherries, peaches, melons, and other fruits. During October, they run 20 pumpkin-themed locations, some of which also feature inflatable bounce houses and other attractions. Once Thanksgiving passes, groves of Christmas trees spring up, having made their way south from Oregon and Washington. There they will stand until Christmas Eve, hoping to decorate homes or become the model that inspires a revamped line of evergreen air fresheners.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
At Boomers!, thrill-seeking families and fun-enabling friends can attack a variety of appealing attractions, including mini golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and the button-mashing joys housed inside the exhilarating game room. The Vista location entertains families of sharpshooters with a blacklight-illuminated laser-tag arena before little ones climb and crawl through the Kidopolis play area. The El Cajon and San Diego locations let rivals celebrate the spirit of competition as they fly past each other in speedy go-karts or have a snail-paced Ferris wheel race at the kid's county fair. Unlimited pass holders at the El Cajon location can also scale the 32-foot-tall climbing wall, which, like America, enables citizens to climb to the top via myriad routes.
Lead-footed motorists can experience unlimited access to Redwood City Malibu's high-performance rides and attractions. Go-karts zip around hairpin turns, pick up speed on straightaways, and fly across banked curves with a passenger in tow aboard Redwood's safe and speedy four-wheeled chariots. After an afternoon of speed, slow down with the thoughtful zen-like meditation that is miniature golf on the park’s whimsically appointed links, or calmly crash into someone else's vessel on the bumper-boat battlefield. Speed demons can contemplate déjà vu on the circular grand prix course while leaving opponents as confused and defeated as the English after UFOs helped America achieve independence.