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(Site Photos) TrainGarden3.jpgThings That Roll: Toy Trains

An Enduring Tradition!


     Friday, December 19 is opening day for the interactive toy trains show at MAH.  Members of the Over the Hill Gang have been planning the biggest ever 3rd Annual Toy Train Show for toy train lovers, all ages.  Thursday they will be putting up the large train table with several circuits of tracks, model buildings, animals and people.  All along the edge of the table are buttons that make things move.  A volunteer makes sure every child gets a chance to run the trains with a remote control.


     (Site Photos) Train3Boy.jpgFor those who enjoy the history of trains in America, there are wonderful displays of reproductions of old ads and catalogues and photos of trains in Santa Cruz. 


     Most intriguing of all is a display devoted to garden trains.  Imagine what a wonderful family project it would be to create an outdoor train circuit in the garden. 


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"Garden railroading is truly a family hobby. It offers something for everyone; whether it is collecting trains, running trains, gardening, model building, water gardening, rock gardening, electronics, miniatures, and so on." [Bay Area Garden Railroad Society] Why you could even plant carrots and radishes for greenery.


MAH, 705 Front St, Santa Cruz, Dec 19-Jan 4.

Closed Mondays, Christmas & New Years Day


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In bringing up children,

spend on them half as much money and twice as much time.
               - Author unknown


   This quote rings true and is especially inspiring as we reassess our lifestyles and budgets, staying closer to home, attending neighborhood and community activities and reaching out to help others in greater need than ourselves.


(Site Photos) OceanViewAveParkSlides.jpg     I met a dad and his children who were running up the stairs and racing down the slides at Ocean View Park.  He told me he takes every Wednesday afternoon off to have dad/kid time.  He was making a project of visiting every park in the county with his children. 


     He inspired us to provide you with a special section, Parks A-Z.  We also have separate sections for State, County and Neighborhood Parks, but you can access all of them in the Parks A-Z section.  We found over 95 distinct parks, ranging from huge acreages to little pocket parks.  We have photos of some of them and are hoping you will send us photos of your children in the parks so we can include them in the descriptions.



(Icons/Graphics) LadyDetectives.jpgEvents

December is full of fun events!

Try our Parent Planner for Easy Planning.

See full Calendar for Events Details!

(Icons/Graphics) ChristmasSanta.jpgSanta is at Marini's Weekends, Come visit Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and enjoy all the festive environment of one of Santa Cruz' oldest businesses. Santa will be waiting for you, each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm-6pm through December 23rd.


Thurs, 12/18 1-4pm, Garden Crafts, UCSC Life Lab
Bring your family to Life Lab's astounding Garden Classroom and spend an afternoon together learning to make beautiful, homemade crafts and holiday gifts from the garden. Projects will include pressed leaf candles, lavender bath salts, dried herb biscuit mix, nature print gift wrap, and more! Cost: $25/person. Ages 6 and up only please.


(Holidays) ChristmasMontereyonIce.jpgThurs, 12/12 - 1/4 Ice Skating in Monterey Monterey On Ice is located in the Custom House Plaza near Historic Old Fisherman's Wharf.



(Special Event Page Graphics) Nutcracker.jpgSat, 12/13 11am, The Nutcracker, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre will bring this beloved holiday classic to the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium stage, augmented by eighty local dancers and performers, plus 55 professional musicians conducted by John Larry Granger.

Sat, 12/13, 6:30pm-8:30pm, 8pm, Gaelic Christmas Concert, Holy Cross Church The Cór Ainglí (Choir of Angels), now in its third year, is a locally based Gaelic choir made up of people who love the joy of singing Christmas carols in the Irish language, some familiar, others very old. After Cór Ainglí sings in Irish Gaelic and the Winterberry Carollers sing predominantly in English, the two choirs will come together with a performance in Irish Gaelic featuring the two choir directors as soloists. $15 general, $8 seniors & under 16

See full Calendar for Events Details!


(Special Event Page Graphics) ChristmasWildThings.jpgFri-Sun, 19-21, 26 & 27, 6:30-8:00 pm Wild Things presents a Christmas Celebration, Do animals celebrate the holidays? Theirs do! Take a night time flashlight tour of the Wild Things wild animal park. Warm refreshments served after the tour and candy canes for the kids. Special appearance by Santa and his reindeer!



12/19 & 20, The Velveteen Rabbit, California State University Monterey Bay World Theater
Enchanting music, imaginative costumes, and athletic, passionate dance bring to life this classic 1922 children's tale about the strong relationship between a boy and his stuffed rabbit. $8- $22


Sat, 12/20, 11am-7pm, Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Faire, SC County Animal Services
Rescued, medically ok'd dogs, cats and bunnies from c will pull your tender heartstrings; also, free pro advice on care; Capitola Mall near the Sears store.

See full Calendar for Events Details!

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Sat, 12/20, 4pm, "Do As You Otter" CD Release Party, Cayuga Vault, Heal the Planet with Music and Science. Celebrate the release of "Do As You Otter" with the Singing Scientist, Dr. Peter Weiss! $10 adults, $8 kids


Sun, 12/21, 7pm, Contra Dancing Santa Cruz Contra Dance, Vets Hall Ages: 7+,Contra Dancing, also called Traditional New England Folk dancing, involves couples dancing in two facing lines while following the directions of the dance caller. Each dance is about 10 minutes long, after which everyone changes partners. Be here at 6:40pm for a Beginner's Introductory Workshop before each scheduled evening of dance for those who have never before experienced traditional partner dancing.


Sun, 12/21, 2pm, Santa Cruz Harp Festival, Community Music School of Santa Cruz presents an exquisite festival of harps for the Winter Solstice. Students from the harp orchestra will offer an instrument "petting zoo" at intermission for audience members who would like to see the harps up close. Jesse Autumn's new CD "Uisce (Water)" - world music performed on double harp - will be released at the concert.


(Special Event Page Graphics) HolidayLightsTrain.jpgFri, Sat, & Sun - 12/12, 13 & 14 Holiday Lights Train, Boardwalk,The beautiful, decked-out Holiday Lights Train makes a roundtrip from the Boardwalk through the streets of Santa Cruz with music, hot cider, and Santa. It's festive fun for kids of all ages. Children under 3 are free.


(Holidays) ChristmasCarriageRides.jpgDec 7-Dec 31, Horse-drawn Carriage Rides, Downtown Santa Cruz, Clip-clop through Downtown Santa Cruz via the original form of horsepower. Fridays, 6-9pm; Saturdays, 4-8pm; Sundays, 1-4pm $5


See full Calendar for Events Details!



(Site Photos) SukiWessling.jpg

Suki Wessling's Blog

A Homeschooling Sort of Day

Another homeschooling mom gave me great me advice about what to do when homeschooling isn't going well. She spent weeks just taking her child on long walks. It's amazing how much education can happen on a walk!


The thing about homeschooling that's particularly difficult for me, and ...   (click to continue)


Suki Wessling, Aptos, CA,

Writer, stay-at-home mom, educator, web designer, homeschooling parent.

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Chirstmas_Mistletoe.jpg


Local Perks


for You!


Our Sponsors



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Samantha Raves


Fresh Prep



"I selected my menu online, placed my order with Fresh Prep Kitchens and came home with 12 family meals ready to freeze and pull out whenever we need them over the holidays.  What a time saver  ...and a money saver too!  Now I have more time to do fun things with the kids. Thanks Jody! Oh yes, we already ate the chicken pot pie and it was soooo delicious!"  Samantha


Fresh Prep


When you want to

save time & money!


504 B Front St, Santa Cruz



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(Business Logos) Kajeet.jpg


kajeet is the only cell phone service especially for kids!

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Made for teens and tweens whose parents want them to have a cell phone but want to maintain control over it. kajeet is a stand-alone, pay-as-you-go phone with no contract, no activation fees and no surprise bills at the end of the month. kajeet allows parents to keep track of calls and text messages and gives parents the option to block calls and/or texts from specific phone numbers that you don't want your child to receive. 


An optional GPS system gives parents the ability to find the phone at any time. kajeet runs on the Sprint PCS nationwide network, providing quality service and coverage.  Phone plans starts as low as $4.99/month and you are able to add or remove services at any time.


Visit: for more details!

Enter coupon code: SCPARENT at check out and receive FREE Shipping and 15% OFF your order. Check the Local Perks for another Bonus discount when you activate your new phone!



Parks A-Z

State, County, Cities



Winter Camp

Lots of fun!

Gymnastics and Games

Sibling discounts

Santa Cruz




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Tyrolean Inn

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Christmas Eve Dinner

Presents for Children

Gluhwein is here!

Traditional spiced red wine to warm your

soul and toes!

Tyrolean Inn

9600 Hwy 9

Ben Lomond



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'Tis the season

to give!

Share us

with a friend!

(Site Photos) DogChristmasBow.jpg


Frank & Donna's Little Garden Train

(Site Photos) TrainGardenFrankDonna.jpg

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Santa Cruz, CA