Today, in my ongoing campaign to keep the kids entertained and out of the house while I’m playing single dad, I took the kids to the Coyote Point Museum, in San Mateo. It’s in a very nice park. I tend to forget that there are these nice little parks scattered on the Peninsula, especially along the water. And the museum (technically the Museum for Environmental Education) is surprisingly good: it’s got a little zoo/habitat, a museum with hands-on exhibits, and a permanent exhibit on the ecosystems of the Bay Area.

The whole place is very striking. The building looks like something from Portola Valley Ranch.

Exterior of Coyote Point
via flickr

The ecosystems exhibit alternates between drawing aesthetic inspiration from flyers for 1970s UC Davis environmental science courses, and posters you’d see in a Santa Cruz vegan restaurant.

Environment exibit
via flickr

The quotes used in the exhibits range from Aldo Leopold to Vandana Shiva. In other words, the place is a perfect microcosm of northern California culture.

Environment exibit
via flickr

It’s pretty striking that there are so many of these little, but high-quality, museums and zoos in the Bay Area. The San Francisco zoo gets the attention, but the Palo Alto zoo is excellent for little kids (it’s all small animals), and Coyote Point is less overwhelming than San Francisco.