Family Fun in Napa

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Five Kid-Friendly Wine Country Activities
By Courtney Cochran

Napa may not seem like the obvious choice for families with kids in tow, but it turns out there are a number of activities tailor-made for touring with little ones.  Read on for a few of our favorites.  

Oxbow Market
Home to several retailers with mega kid appeal (Kara's Cupcakes, anyone?), downtown Napa's popular Oxbow Market place is a natural fit for your little ones.  Start your visit with famously good burgers at adjacent Gott's Roadside Tray Gourmet before heading into the market for free live music (Tuesday and Friday evenings) and face painting by Popo the Clown (first Tuesday of every month; $2 per child).  Sample oysters at Hog Island and wines at the Oxbow Wine Merchant while your kids wrap up their evening with a scoop of Three Twins Ice Cream.

Sterling Vineyards
With its hilltop tram ride and self-guided tour (so you and your little ones can go at your own pace), Sterling Vineyards is easily one of the valley's most intriguing spots to taste with kids.  Follow the tour path through art galleries, overlooks and elevated walkways as you and your family learn the winemaking process from grape to glass; motion-activated flat-screen televisions provide detailed explanations along the way (not to mention ample fun for active youngsters). Wrap up your visit in the tasting room, which offers juice boxes for thirsty tykes.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Vallejo)
Just a short drive from Napa proper takes you to Six Flags' Discovery Kingdom, a kids' paradise that beckons tykes with the likes of thrill rides, animal performances and other attractions.  Whether your little one has an affinity for tigers, giraffes, kangaroos, water-skiing shows or sharks, he'll find a place to enjoy it all at one of the Bay Area's most popular family destinations.  Just 30 minutes from Napa, Six Flags is also an easy drive back to the Valley - which means that you, too, can enjoy yourself with a little tasting at the end of the day.

Napa Valley Opera House
With an assortment of plays, musical theater, opera and dance performances, the historic Napa Valley Opera House offers entertainment fun for the whole family.  Reopened in 2002 after going unused for 88 years, the spot that was once home to readings by Jack London and performances by John Philip Sousa's band is today a lively city seat pairing professional revues with children's workshops and other family-friendly fare.  

di Rosa Preserve
Home to some 2,000 works of art by more than 800 renowned Bay Area artists, this nature preserve-cum-art-exhibit rests on 217 scenic acres in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley.  Access the Preserve's permanent collection, sculpture meadow and di Rosa residence (housed in the property's converted circa 1886 stone winery) by private tour Wednesdays through Saturdays; kids under 12 are admitted and tour for free.

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1 Comments

Hey! More family fun can be had the last weekend of June! Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be performed at the Lincoln Theatre in St. Helena~. This show features the star of Fame and two dancers from "So You Think You Can Dance." It's a must-see in my book!!

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