My Monterey Peninsula - Great List on what to do with kids on the Peninsula!

by Bob Hamilton on 07/14/2018, 02:23 PM

Categories: Kids

The Monterey Peninsula is so full things to do for kids and families.  And Saddle Mountain Ranch is the perfect place to headquarter during your visit!  You can hike, play on the playground equipment, swim in the pool, play horse shoes, fooseball or badminton, but if you are ready for more, here are some activities that your kiddos will enjoy. 


Monterey Bay Aquarium  
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
(831) 648-4800

Open: Daily 9:30am-6pm (last entry 4pm)

My Museum
425 Washington St.
Tues–Sat 10am-5pm
Sunday 12-5pm
Closed Mondays
Central Coast Athletics - Batting Cages/Sporting Equipment

414 Adams St, Monterey
(831) 324-4239
Hours: M-F: 11am - 7pm; 
Sat-Sun: 11am - 6pm

Monterey Sports Center
301 E. Franklin Street
(831) 646-3730

One drop-in admission includes: Use of locker/shower room, Saunas, Gymnasium, Weight Training Center, Cardio Fitness Center, Sun Deck, and two Indoor Pools (one with a big slide). Group Exercise classes are available for an additional fee of $7.00 per class. Towel rental available for $2.50 per towel. 

Mon-Fri: 5:30a-9:30pm
Sat: 7am-6pm
Sun: 8:30am-6pm
Mon-Fri - 12N-1:30pm 18+ only
Pools close: 9:15pm Mon-Fri
5:30pm on Sat & Sun

CLOSED: Easter Sunday, July 4, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day 

Check for open swim pool hours:

General Information:

El Estero Park Complex
Dennis The Menace Park/Skate Park/Paddle Boats
777 Pearl St, Monterey
(831) 646-3860
El Estero Park consists of 45 acres that is packed with things to do, including renting a paddle boat for El Estero Lake, a large playground, a lighted ball field, a skate park, a youth center,  dance studio, large group picnic area, and a snack bar.  All of these activities are in close 
walking distance of each other.  No admission fee for the playground or the skate park.  Open 10am-Dusk.

- See more at:

Whale Watching

1.  Princess Monterey Whale Watching
96 Fisherman's Wharf #1
Their whale watching trips run year-round and are fully narrated by marine biologists/naturalists, all with 10 or more years experience on the Monterey Bay.

2. Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Fisherman's Wharf #1
Monterey Bay Whale Watch focus on learning about the whales and their environment, as well as conserving their habitat and being respectful towards them as living beings.
No pregnant women.  Welll behaved dogs allowed.

3. Chris' Fishing and Whale Watching
Fisherman's Wharf #1
Watch the amazing videos they have online showing whales, dolphins and killer whales.
Daily Departures 10am and 1:30pm (more activity in the morning usually)

"Chris' Whale watching tours is the oldest whale watching and fishing charter company on the Monterey Peninsula. We also have the most experienced skippers in Northern California."

Rates are $37 for adults and $22 for children. 

Special: $2.00 discount if you mention their website.

Adventures By The Bay 
(bike, kayak, paddle boarding rental)
Besides the rentals, Adventures By The Bay offer four different kayak tours and two different bike tours.  They also have electric bicycles and surrey bikes for 2-4 riders available.  They can accommodate beginners to advanced enthusiasts in both activities. 

Three locations in Monterey
210 Alvarado St · (831) 648-7235
299 Cannery Row #1 · (831) 372-1807
685 Cannery Row #210 · (831) 372-1807

Mirror Maze, 
Lazer Challenge, Arcade,

Black light Mini Golf
751 Cannery Row, Monterey,
831- 649-6293

Mirror Maze: Get lost in a psychedelic setting complete with high tech lighting and music.  A great opportunity for families and couples to solve this challenge together.  

Try Black Light Mini Golf with 3D goggles!  Various packages available so you can do it all!  Check out their website for coupons to save money on your admission.   Prices for groups.

Doc Wenzel's Old Time Portraits
700 Cannery Row M

Dressing up and taking a photo is so much fun!
Once you have it, the photo will be so wonderful to look back on year after year.  The studio has added new backgrounds and lots of new costumes.  There is something for everyone!

On The Beach Surf Shop
Surfboard Museum

693 Lighthouse Ave.  Monterey



The Art of Dr. Suess (gallery)
San Carlos between 5th & 6th, Carmel
Hours: Daily 10am-5:30pm

The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss is a collection of artworks Seuss created at night for his own personal enjoyment. These works were rarely, if ever, exhibited during his lifetime and provide a deeper glimpse into his art and life.

Harrison Memorial Children's Library in Carmel

Sixth Avenue & Mission Street 
(across from Devendorf Park downtown)
Carmel , CA

Monday: 1pm-5pm
Tuesday: 1pm-8pm
Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm
Saturday: 1pm-5pm
Sunday: Closed (schedule of planned activities)



Carmel Valley Youth Center Park and Swimming Pool
25 Ford Rd
(831) 659-3983

Pool opens June 4, 2016

The park has play structures, picnic tables and plenty of wide open space to spread out a blanket.   Call the Youth Center to make sure the pool is open or not closed for lessons only on that day/time.   

Fee:  $7/person non member  $5/person if you have a membership
Normal general swim hours:

Monday-Friday: Noon-4:00 PM

Saturday & Sunday: Noon-5:00 PM


Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
165 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove
(831) 648-5716

Daily 10am-5pm
Closed Mondays

The museum contains animals, plants and items found in Monterey County.  A great place for kids with a free scavenger hunt, a giant birds nest to sit in, a fossil garden to dig in and lots of life sized stuffed animals.

The Museum is located at the corner of Forest and Central Avenues.


Monterey Zoo
400 River Road
Salinas, CA  93908

(Formerly known as "Wild Things" "Monterey Zoo" is dedicated to providing professionally & humanely trained wild/exotic & domestic birds and animals for film, television, live productions, education and much much more. Monterey Zoo takes great pride in offering sanctuary to many animals that can no longer participate in entertainment or would otherwise not have a home or family. 

Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad Museum
26 Station Place, Salinas CA 93901

A full-size locomotive, caboose and rail cars have been restored by volunteer members. The  museum also features interactive exhibits focused on the history of the Railroad in Monterey County. A miniature diorama with working trains occupies more that two-thirds of the museum space and depicts the Monterey Bay & Salinas Valley railroads circa 1950s.

They are open to the public every Thursday evening from 6pm-9pm, the 1st Friday of every month from 4pm-8pm and the weekend following the 1st Friday, from 10am-4pm. Admission is free, though donations in any amount are gratefully accepted and much appreciated. The museum also offers tours for school groups, community groups, visitors, and is available for special events.



Sanctuary Rock Gym
1855A East Ave., Seaside  

Mon-Fri  2pm-10pm
Sat-Sun  10am-6pm


Molera Big Sur Trail Rides

Andrew Molera State Park
Highway One, Big Sur



400 Beach St, Santa Cruz
(831) 423-5590

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an oceanfront amusement park in Santa Cruz, CA. Founded in 1907, it is California's oldest surviving amusement park and one of the few seaside parks on the West Coast of the United States

There is no admission price to the Beach Boardwalk, however, tickets or a wristband are needed to get on the rides.

Pets are NOT allowed on the Boardwalk or on the beach. 

Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach  6:30pm and 8:30pm
June 17-September 2, 2016
Rock out to Top 40 bands from the '70s, '80s, and early '90s FREE on the Beach Bandstand!   Alcohol is not allowed on the beach. 

Free Wednesday Movies on the Beach 9pm
June 22-August 17, 2016

Calendar of hours and events:


Roaring Camp Railroads

5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton

The area's first railroad, the Santa Cruz & Felton, began carrying tourists to the Big Trees and the beach in 1875.  Now these historic narrow-gauge steam trains run through the redwoods and to the Boardwalk.


The Mystery Spot

465 Mystery Spot Road, Santa Cruz
The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. Come experience these phenomena for yourself!
Tours every half hour 
10am-4pm daily


Redwood Canopy Tours
17 Conference Drive, Felton
Ziplines and suspension bridges 150 feet up in the redwoods.  Different courses for different ages and abilities. Party packages available.



Elkhorn Slough Safari

See sea Otters, harbor Seals, birds of all kinds
Pontoon boat tour, quiet and relaxing
A must take trip for those who love to photograph nature. 


Gilroy Gardens
Check out the website to check to see what days the park is open and its hours. 

An amusement park in a wooded, garden setting.  There are playgrounds and a rock maze, paddle boats, splash gardens and so much more.  The park also offers several camp night packages throughout the season including scout camp nights, father's day camp night and halloween camp night.    Rent a cabana and have a place for the family to headquarter. 

RVs are welcome for day use only, but there is no overnight parking. 
RV parking is $12.00 per vehicle.
The rides:

Go To The Beach:

Carmel Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches in California.  Soft, white sand, clean water and lots of wildlife.   Dogs are allowed to run free off a leash while on the beach.  They must be leashed from the car to the beach.    No BBQ's or fires allowed on the beach. 

The following beaches are all connected a bike and hiking trails.: 

Lover's Point in Pacific Grove
The park is  4.4 acres and is a great spot for swimming, volleyball, kayaking, scuba diving and surfing. Snack bar on site. 

Monterey Beach in Monterey
Near Fisherman's Wharf.  Big grassy area.  Picnic tables, bike and hiking trails. 
Volleyball courts.

Monterey Beach in Seaside
The closest beach to the RV Park in the Laguna Seca Recreation Area is the beach in Seaside.   No dogs allowed. 


Go Hiking:

Saddle Mountain Ranch has it's own amazing trail that takes you to several vista view points at the top of the mountain.  Round trip is approximately five miles.   

Garland Park is located just a couple miles on the right on Carmel Valley Road.  Horseback riding is also allowed there. 

Point Lobos is located on the right on Highway One as you head toward Big Sur.  No dogs allowed.  Beautiful ocean views, hiking, whaling station and a cove that reportedly inspired Robert Lewis Stevenson's book, "Treasure Island".

Go to the toy store:

The two closest toy stores are in Monterey and Carmel

1.  Thinker Toys
7th and San Carlos in Carmel
(831) 624-0441

2.  Thinker Toys
480 Del Monte Center
Del Monte Shopping Center Monterey
(831) 643-0907

3. Toys R Us
370 Northridge Drive
Northridge Mall Salinas
(831) 443-4455

Go to the movies:

1. Del Monte Shopping Center(Monterey)
See what's playing:

2. The Dunes on Monterey Bay
(831) 384-1002

This is the newest and most advanced theater in the area featuring plush stadium seating, extreme digital and 3D floor to ceiling, wall to wall screens.  

See what's playing:

For both theaters listed above:
Monday is Seniors Day...all tickets $6.25 all day.
First Daily Matinee before noon pricing: $6.75