San Leandro Public Library [Library Tour]

The next stop on our Library Tour Summer Series is the San Leandro Public Library. (This post is by Melody with italicized comments from Mom.)

I’ve had a lot of great memories at this library. When I was little, even though my parents worked a lot, my mom rarely missed bringing the four of us kiddos to the library on Saturdays to check out our books before going grocery shopping.

When you enter the library, there’s a sign that says, “Public Library” and a gift shop/cafe (aka Bookmark Cafe) on the right side. (Shown above. It’s the little area sticking out behind the bike racks.) On the left corner, there is a Friends of the Library bookstore. On the left side, there is a hallway that leads to a theater and some meeting rooms(?). On the left near the entrance, there is a police department office.

One of our favorite things at this library is the chair with the mom and her two kids. The mom is reading a book. I wonder what book it is? (I’m not sure the stories behind these statues, but we see them at all the libraries, and hopefully, I can do some “then and now” photos of the girls with them through the years.)

There are tables at the library as well as chairs. It’s a great place to study!

We saw this electronic sign flashing different events.

After we saw the sign, we walked up to the second floor.

At the library is a map of San Leandro. One time we saw one of Castro Valley and we tried to see where we lived.

These are some clocks showing the time in all different parts of the world.

I’m not sure if I ever saw this part before because we don’t usually go to the second floor, but there’s a lot of chairs and tables. Perfect for reading! Or studying!

Here is another view from the second floor.

We saw another sculpture that we hadn’t seen before, which is a girl reading to a boy.

Another view from the second floor of the library.

One of the library’s rooms is the History Room.

Be sure to follow these rules if you’re there! I think they’re good rules for a library.

San Leandro Marina Park [Parks + Playgrounds]

Next in our Parks + Playgrounds Summer Series is San Leandro Marina Park.

This is not a complete recap of our time at the San Leandro Marina Park. We were meeting friends at the playground after we took our walk around the loop/Faro Point, but I miscommunicated our exact location since there are two playground areas. And then, since I handed Melody the phone to message our friends while I was driving across to the other playground, she left the phone in the car, so I only had photos from our walk.

One-Mile Loop / Faro Point

One of our favorite parts of this park is this loop that stretches out into the Bay. It is a one-mile loop with stations for your workout, like jumping jacks, sit-up bench thingie (not the technical term), balance beam, jump-over bars (also not the technical term), pull-up rings, and more! Here we are at the starting line. I feel like they need to add some encouraging words on the ground where they mark every quarter-mile. It is always pretty breezy so hold on to your hats and wear layers!!! There have been many morning walks here where my face would be feeling the heat, but that Bay breeze starts you off with a chill.

On this particular day, there were a bunch of seagulls. I have never seen this many in this area before. We had to dodge a few of them. Yikes!

Emily likes to scooter so there were times when she just went on ahead.

Seeing all the planes fly in to land at OAK is another favorite thing about SL Marina!

Here we are coming to the final stretch of the one-mile loop!

….but then we continue on because we are following a walking program on my health phone app and was trying to walk 1.45 miles. After you walk past the 1.0-mile marker, you can keep walking forward and to your right, there is another path. I mostly see bicyclists go in this direction, but there is also a nice size dog park. I’m not familiar with dog parks but it looks like there is a plenty of space to run around.

Play Areas + Picnic Areas

So besides Faro Point, you also have the actual park areas. The play area closest to the loop is for older kiddos. Between the two area is PLENTY of grassy areas for picnicking and running. There is also a volleyball area with sand. The last time I looked, there was a net, but I can’t remember if it is always there.

At the other end (where you most likely will drive in from), there is a playground structure for younger kiddos. There is a path that goes around the play area for any kiddos who want to scooter or bike around. There are two small water-spraying statues that kiddos can/will climb when the water is or is not spraying. There are restrooms close by but they are not the best, but I’m never about any public restroom anyway. :/ FYI: The toilet paper is the super duper thin kind where you can only really pull out one “square” at a time or just go really slowly, and there is only a hand-dryer blower thing. Bring your own tissues and/or toilet paper if you think you may need some for your kiddos.

You can reserve the picnic areas and they have really nice new-ish grills available. There is not much shade where the play areas are strangely and unfortunately, but there are LOTS of big trees across the border of the grassy field as well as some of the picnic areas.

We’ll most likely be back, so maybe more photos will be added!! 🙂

Website | Yelp 1 | Yelp 2 | TripAdvisor | Great Kids Park

We have seen some amazing parks and playgrounds and would like to visit them all, but since we don’t really have time to do that, please share your pics with us! And we’ll be updating with pics from our mini-adventures!

What are your family’s favorite activities at the park or playground? Swings, carousel, rock wall, train ride, tube slide, bridge?

The Three Bears [Afternoon Art]

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is the story for the third art project for the Afternoon of Art Summer Series . (This post is by Emily.)

An Afternoon of Art

We were excited about our third art project from Home Art Studio (2nd Grade) because it had many parts – drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing.

Supplies + Materials

These are the things you need for the project.

Things you specifically need

What We Did

We started drawing.

Design Time! Bowls…

…and spoons!

Sharpie Trace!

This is me sharpening the design.

And CUT!

My sis cutting out her spoons and bowls.

Next, we paint!

And done!

One lesson that I learned is to use a lot of water and a little paint.

Note from Mom: With the watercolor, a little goes a long way. Not much was needed for painting the bowls. Just use a teeny, tiny, little “drop” of paint. You can see in the pic that we used Lakeshore glue. That is all we have, but we highly recommend Elmer’s glue instead.

Here are the materials we used:

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Pleasanton Public Library [Library Tour]

Pleasanton Public Library was the second library in our Library Tour Summer Series.

The front of the library had statues. The first one we thought was cool – a girl reading.

The second statue/s we saw was of a girl reading, too. I’m assuming it’s her brother she’s reading to. That reminds me of me reading to my little sister.

The last statue was kind of abstract – books stacked on top of each other.

This is the front of the Pleasanton Public Library. If you go there, please keep in mind: it’s not part of the Alameda County Library branches, so if you have a library card for those, you can’t check out anything from this one. (Or return, either!)

They’re planning to redo the entire downtown area which is where the library is. We saw some murals there just like in the Hayward downtown. Oh, and in the future downtown, there’s going to be a meadow! I’m excited!

Model of the future downtown – community center, City Hall, etc.

One of my favorite things about this library was that it had a whole entire wall dedicated to your finding a book! Located in the children’s section, the brochures are sure to keep you reading. (I took 2 home!)

There was a mural in the library. I love how it says “Track 9 3/4!”

There are baskets if you don’t have a library bag or forgot to bring yours!

On our way out we saw a seating area. I thought this was perfect for sitting to eat your lunch.

Hayward Mural Program

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Captions by: Melody (10)
Introduction by: Melody
Photos by: Mom Joyce

More info here –> hayward-ca.gov/residents/arts-leisure/mural-program

I’ve always known that Hayward has murals. Actually, the only one I think of is the one at the theater. You probably drive past them too. But do you ever wonder, do these murals have a history? For Memorial Day this year, my family and I got a chance to get an inside glance at some of Hayward’s murals.

#2 :: Hayward Historical Society Mural by Artist Josh Powell

This was supposed to be the 2nd mural on the self-guided tour, but we saw it first because we parked our car in a parking lot nearby. This mural shows how cars changed Hayward and started an era of rapid growth in Hayward’s history.

Downtown Utility Box (diagonal from the City Gateway Mural)

There are lots of utility boxes that are decorated, just like this one, with the trees on it. You just have to look.

#1 :: City Gateway Mural by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

This one was my favorite that we saw. I liked how the artist captured the light and made so many details. It almost feels realistic!

City Gateway Mural welcomes you to Downtown Hayward, where all of the murals are located.

#3 :: Russel City Mural by Artist Josh Powell

Russel City Mural reminds people of a long-lost erof music and community.

“The city may be gone, but the memories live on.” The city of Hayward still stands strong.

Downtown Utility Box (near Russel City Mural – Artist Jean Bidwell??)

Here’s another utility box that we admired. Since it has the Grand Ole Opry on it, all of the people on the utility boxes are country singers.

#4 :: El Taquito Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

The El Taquito Mural was outside of a restaurant, so that’s why we were in a parking lot. I like the graceful curves in this mural. If I were to paint a mural (I never will!) I would have no idea where to paint these tiles so they lined up correctly.

#6 :: Italian-Themed Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

As an Italian themed mural, you’d expect it to have some kind of Italian etched into it, right? Well, it does. A staircase with roses beneath it, Italian-style houses…the beauty brings you straight to Italy.

#8 :: Avalon Jewelers Streetscape Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

The first thing I thought when I saw this mural was, “Why is there a huge soda can being dumped on this mural?” and “Why does this mural show unusual things?”

As it turns out, life isn’t always happy. There is chaos and there are unusual things, like the pet frog. But I like how this mural tells the truth: One big happy family with all of our differences. (Like the pet frog, which Emily luckily spotted first.)
       

#9 :: Cinema Place Parking Structure Murals by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

All of the Cinema murals are theater-themed. I liked the one below because the artist used blending. I’m an artist myself so I know how hard it is to blend. How did he make the spotlights?

#7 :: Downtown Hayward Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

Everybody was in awe and amazed by this one. It’s not every day that you get an inside look (with a magnifying glass) at what Hayward is made up of. Take a look and see if you can spot anything familiar!

When we spotted this door, we were excited because it showed where all of the utility boxes were, and everything! Side note: Where can you spot Cal State East Bay?

   

Downtown Utility Box (near Downtown Hayward Mural)

Our last photo on the list was this utility box. My favorite color is purple, so I took a picture in front of it with my sister.

We went to the car after that and drove home. It was about a 2-mile walk, not including the ones that we missed (below) so you can probably take your kids if they don’t mind walking. It was cold that day, so that’s why I have my hood up. We did the self-guided tour, but you can always reserve the guided one, too!

We only made it to 9 of the 12 murals this day. The murals we missed are #10 Hayward Main Library Book Drop Boxes, #11 Grand Terrace Sund Wall Mural, and #12 Jackson Street Southern Retaining Wall Mural. There are also dozens of utility boxes, more murals around the city on walls and under freeways, as well as murals at (almost all) the schools in Hayward.

Have you been on a local mini-adventure lately? Where did you go?

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Dog Art Project [Afternoon Art]

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Our second project for the Afternoon of Art Summer Series is a dog painting. (This post is by Emily.)

An Afternoon of Art

We had a full Memorial Day weekend, so we opted out of going to the park in the morning. We had a chill morning and then jumped into doing our second art project from Home Art Studio (2nd Grade) on an oddly chilly May day. The teacher on the video read a European (link says German and I think she said Russian) folktale called The Three Dogs. And the art project was inspired by George Rodrigue’s blue dog painting.

Supplies + Materials

These are all the things we used for this dog art project. (You can see a list at the end of the post.)

There were the specific materials.

What We Did

We started drawing the basic shapes of the dog.

Then you erase some of the lines to create the outline of the dog’s body.

Then we started painting. I’ll tell you why later. 🙂

We painted eyes and nose yellow. I have no idea why they use yellow.

Then we started painting the other parts.

Then we mixed red and yellow to make orange. You don’t have to mix them together if you have orange paint.

You paint the background orange because on the color wheel it is across from blue. That makes it a complementary color!

One lesson that I learned is not to use too much paint because it can come out too dark. And don’t mix the colors too often because it will come out a different shade every time.

Note from Mom: This project was a little more involved than the watermelon project from the previous week. We had to “rewind” the video a handful of times to see exactly what she was doing. I wish there were a few more tips on how to get into the smaller spaces when painting. We did use flat brushes instead of round brushes since it doesn’t give the exact supplies you need for the project, but I think it still would have been hard for a newer art student to figure out on their own how to do some of the steps. And we couldn’t tell from the video if she had used orange paint or if she mixed red and yellow together, but we mixed it.

Here are the materials we used:

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Washington Manor Park [Parks + Playgrounds]

Next in our Parks + Playgrounds Summer Series is Washington Manor Park. This post is by Melody.

We’ve gone to Washington Manor Park before, but today was for our special Summer Series. So if you haven’t gone before, let me introduce you to the park!

They added a shaded seating area.

You can bring your scooters and bikes there too since there’s a path. It loops around the entire park, which includes: an outdoor water park, a toddler play area, an older kids area, and there’s also a sports area in the middle. And lots of grass, which is where there are lots of birthday parties on the weekend.

We found out when the best time to go is: Not during the weekend! We went on a Thursday (before school lets out for the day and for the school year). This is me with my mom. We like walking together.

This is the water park. I’ve only been in it once. But as you can see, it has a water slide and more different water fun off to the side. You can’t really see it, but there are lounge chairs on the left side, too.

Halfway through the loop, there are a few openings to the residential areas. I think maybe these people use it to their advantage and WALK to the park. I assume they know what time is the least crowded.

That’s the grassy area. On the weekends, it gets full with people! Can you imagine? But luckily, we went during a weekday, so as you can see, there’s no one there. Nice scenery!

The back park is mostly for older kids. Emily played there at the end.

I ended up riding Emily’s scooter because she was playing.

If I forgot to mention it, there’s also a ballpark there.

We used to go to this little kids playground.

Website | Yelp | Great Kids Park | Facebook

We have seen some amazing parks and playgrounds and would like to visit them all, but since we don’t really have time to do that, please share your pics with us! And we’ll be updating with pics from our mini-adventures!

What are your family’s favorite activities at the park or playground? Swings, carousel, rock wall, train ride, tube slide, bridge?