First of all, Silicon Valley is huge, which created quite a culture shock for my family, but the kids absolutely loved this road trip. To save money, we chose to drive rather than fly out, and enjoyed snacking on homemade hoagie lunches until we reached Palo Alto, where we spent the most of our time. Aside learning how to deal with the traffic as we are from a small town in Wyoming, we had a wonderful time. The kids enjoyed the trip most of all.
I wanted to see the art museums, being a ‘redneck’ family. We visited the Cantor Arts Center, mainly to see the sculptures. They have a fun sculpture garden there, and the exhibits are quite beautiful. Seeing as we were on a tight budget, we appreciated the free admission, though we did make a small donation. We had a tour guide who showed us everything there was to offer so we wouldn’t miss a thing. A fun experience for the whole family, although I must admit the kids got bored after a while. I wanted to visit other art galleries, but was quickly vetoed by the kids. Instead, they wanted to go to a nearby restaurant to eat.
Seeing as how we have never had Brazilian food, my husband was stoked to take us to Pampas, which was nearby. Since he lived in Brazil for a few years back in the day, he warned us that Brazilian restaurants are typically nothing but meat, meat, and even more meat, that travels around on a stick to your table. Pampas was exactly that, and while I tried some beef varieties, I was more happy to just get a glass of wine and a salad and enjoy putting my feet up for a while (we wandered all over the Stanford University campus area where the art gallery was and my feet were tired). The kids loved being able to scarf down food they couldn’t even pronounce, and just like the Brazilian culture, the staff and servers were super sweet. You do need to make a reservation, but we got in just fine. I almost fainted when I saw the bill for nearly $200, but with a family of 6 in Palo Alto, this must be the norm. Like I said before, we are from Wyoming and not used to the ‘fancy’ stuff.
We didn’t have to go far after eating to find more stuff to do. By stuff, I mean ‘free entertainment’ as we had spent so much money on lunch. A short cab ride (another first for us, how weird to be driven around by strangers) and suggestion from the driver led us to the Baylands Nature Preserve, which is a trail surrounding water with lots of birds to look at. We set down a blanket and took a little nap, then sat around and watched the water fowl around us. Plenty of ducks and geese and pelicans. We even saw a snake slithering on the trail. This must be a popular place to go for the locals, as there were lots of people walking dogs and riding their bikes. It felt nice to have a sense of belonging while were in this park. It also felt nice to work off a bit of the food we stuffed ourselves with. After the walk and browsing, we were ready to continue on with our little road trip.
We didn’t stay long in Palo Alto as we were traveling to Needles to see family, but it was a wonderful stop. I would love to see more of Silicon Valley as there is just such a different culture there than my family is used to. We enjoyed our free entertainment, good food, and took many pictures to remember the trip by. The next time we go to California, Silicon Valley will be our main stop so we can spend more time there. I would suggest to anyone traveling through to experience as much fun entertainment as they can with their kids. This way, you can get a little more creative with where you stop.
- Can Silicon Valley boot camps get you a $120K job? (tech.fortune.cnn.com)
- Fortune Asks ‘Why Does America Hate Silicon Valley?’ (siliconvalleywatcher.com)
- Silicon Valley keenly awaits latest Lego robot kit (bigstory.ap.org)