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A 5-Year-Old's Adventures in Campbell

How family-friendly is Campbell, really?

Like many in Campbell, I am also a parent and last week my 5-year-old was on spring break.

It's a high-stress time for many parents like myself because we are faced with trying to figure out what we are going to do with our kids for the week--, daycare, family?

For myself, I am lucky to have family locally to help out, but on April 12 I was on my own to juggle hanging out with my child and getting some work done.

I decided to test something out. Something that's talked about, but that I wanted to see first hand: how kid-friendly is Campbell, really?

Turns out, it really is! My son and I hung out all day in the Orchard City, posting photos along the way and getting suggestions/ideas/input from our Facebook readers.

Our first stop was a late breakfast at at . Carver loves coming here because of the coloring sheets and of course, the Mickey pancakes. I like the restaurant because its low key and many parents bring their kids, so if mine is getting a little loud, I don't stress.

I asked readers what they liked most about Hobee's and this is the conversation that ensued:

  • Roni Depue Coffee cake, but just found out I'm gluten intolerant, so no more coffee cake for me :-(
  • Clifford White Coffee Cake with their Palo Alto Omelet... it rocks!
  • Edward Gerard Fike My awesome employees and customers...and the food, of course! (Thanks for your visit, Campbell Patch!)
  • Edward Gerard Fike ‎@Roni, while we don't have a gluten-free coffeecake (yet), make sure to ask for our Gluten-Free Menu featuring pastas, pancakes, quesadillas and more!
  • Carrie Kandasamy Schneider Kids eat free Wed! Last night they put out an arts and crafts table with painting!

Our next stop was a quick visit at the . Carver LOVES books. I mean, we have been reading to him since he was in-utero so he has a strong attachment to books. Of course, he also loves toys (like most kids) and really just got into Legos.

What I personally like about this particular bookstore is that not only does it have many of his favorite books but also has nice-sized section of board games and Legos. We always tell him that if he sees something he really likes, he needs to put it on his "list" for Christmas. This not only keeps us from having to buy things constantly but also makes it easier for him to take, rather than a straight no.

However, it was me that ended up picking up a set of Shrinky Dinks for us to make when we got home later (which was totally worth is!)

I asked our Facebook readers what does a bookstore HAVE to have to get its business and this is what they had to say:

  • Selvi Katir Great selection as well as prices. We usually hit up the Recycle Bookstore in Campbell.
  • Cheryl Blankenship Kupras I also love ones that will order books for you with knowledgeable, well read, staff that will make suggestions.
  • Lydia Habr Plenty of places to sit, good lighting '& peace & quiet!

From here, we jumped in the car and drove to downtown Campbell. I always park at the Second Street Garage because I'd rather not have to remember if my time is up. That and I like the walk. Luckily, so does my son.

We went to to take a look, since I had made the promise earlier in the week. I have only one rule when it comes to candy shops, and my son is pretty good about not throwing a fit over it: only one item. So he grabbed a red bucket and went to work.

I don't mind candy in moderation. After all, he's a kid and part of childhood IS the candy.

Our next stop was . I love this store because it always has the best "smalls." What I mean by that is that the store carries lots of goodies that appeal to both mommy and daddy AND Carver.

My husband is a photographer and since Carver wants to be just like daddy, I picked up a camera key chain for him that had a real button, made the sound of an old camera shutter being clicked and had a small LED light that went off like a flash. He loved it.

Armed with candy and a mini-camera, we headed to so that mommy could take a break and get caffeinated.

The best part about this particular coffee shop, for a parent, is the space and that really cool coffee roaster. When it's on, you could see kids standing around it, looking at it in awe.

We asked our fb readers what makes a good cup of coffee and here's what they had to say:

  • Selvi Katir Hahaha my son was doing the exact same thing this morning when we were there. He's also 5.
  • Dave Molloy Not being a Starbucks is a good start to good coffee....
  • Janine Payton Any cup of coffee I have with friends.

Next on our list, burn off some of that extra energy from the candy. We headed up to the where Carver ran up and down the amphitheater section, then up the stairs to the , our next stop.

The library, along with having a great children's section had a Lego table, so my son was sold. He built tower after tower before being ready to go to our next stop.

I asked readers what they liked most about the Campbell Library and this is what they said:

  • Elisabeth Halliday Karen the Librarian. She's so kind and helpful and is amazing with the kids.
  • Karen Goffrier Hoyt I used to go to the library there in Campbell years ago when our oldest son was first born (1977) :D
  • Heather Dublin Storytime on Wednesday evenings (soon to be Tuesday evenings). My daughter LOVES this weekly trip :-)
  • Cheryl Blankenship Kupras Definitely the wonderful, helpful friendly staff like Cheryl Houts, Karen Armor and of course, I miss Terri Lehan.
  • Carrie Kandasamy Schneider Preschool reading time. The librarians bring out the old movie reels;)

My husband and I love to go to museums. This didn't change when we had Carver. He came along as an infant and now really enjoys going to "see the art show." So our next stop was to take in the . Carver loved it. Most everything was hands-on, with a creative twist so he had a blast drawing with chalk, doing rubbings of old tiles and playing with the fake fruit and vintage piggy banks.

Before the day had begun, I had really wanted to take Carver to Santa Cruz to play in the sand. He's always been a big sand baby so I was bummed when the forecast said rain. I brought a sand bucket and shovel in the car just in case and since it decided not to rain in Campbell, I knew exactly where we'd finish our day: Virginia Park.

This little park is really designed for a much younger set but it has a great big sand pit, complete with faucet so I took a gamble and won. My son was in heaven getting the sand wet, putting it in his bucket and making little castles. I'm glad I made that call.

Campbell has many, many parks to choose from and I decided to ask one last question of our readers before I left: what park do you like to bring your kids to burn off steam? Here's what they had to say:

  • Bethany Curran is our favorite, but we also like Virginia Park since it's so close and is fenced in. When you have 2 little ones that like to go opposite ways, that's a big help ;)
  • Janet Martinez when my sons were little but haven't gone there in years and then San Tomas Park is walking distance too :)
  • Melissa Lee Bell . Also the park off of Radio.

I love to hear from you and your ideas on how to keep the little ones busy. Feel free to answer any of the questions above in the comments below.

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