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Food-Related Field Trips in Northern California

These Bay Area food related field trip destinations have been recommended by homeschooling parents and kids alike. If you have a favorite that isn't listed here please call us at 650-365-9425 or E-mail Homefires Editor. While we hope that this information is accurate, please do call to confirm.

Anheuser Busch Brewery

3101 Busch Drive Fairfield, CA
Telephone: 707-429-7595
Tour Hours: Sept. - May, Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tour Hours: June - August, Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reservations: Not needed
Cost: Free

Tours begin every hour on the hour. Age restrictions: Children under five are not allowed on the packaging floor but can take the rest of the tour. Tour length: 45 minutes. What you'll see: Video about brewing; three bottling lines and beechwood aging cellars. Free beer samples for adults.

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, CA
Telephone: 510-796-0199
Hours: Tuseday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission: $2.00/adults, $1.00/students (4-17), free for ages 3 and under. Special Events programs cost about $8.00/general. Check website for details.

Learn about 19th century farming and agriculture activities. Civil War reenactment once each year. Train rides through Butterfly Forest. Arden Station and Deer Park Station: Board the horse-drawn train here. The ride takes kids more than 100 years back in time on a ride into the park with docents dressed in period costumes. Hay rides. Crafts & activities. Homeschool tours available.

Carrier's Beekeeping Supplies

601 South Baywood Avenue, (at Moorpark) San Jose, CA
Telephone: 408-296-6100

Carrier (the owner) has a working active hive. He gives 20-30 minute talk about bees free of charge, and sells a large variety of colored honeycomb wax sheets for under $2 each to make home made candles. His business is part of his home. Eccentric character and worth repeated visits.

Take a 1-hour guided walking tour through the manufacturing facility and learn how ice cream gets from cow to cone. Watch a video, then tour the manufacturing plant, a possible walk through the giant freezer (brrrr) and the packaging area. Includes a stop by the tasting room for spoonfuls of your favorite Dreyer's flavor.

Fantozzi Farms

Patterson, CA
Telephone: 209-402-0839

Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch in Patterson, CA. We are open every October and offer educational and FUN field trips for all ages! Our field trips include the following:

  1. An interactive lesson on the life cycle of pumpkins and corn
  2. Educational displays
  3. Audio-narrated hayride (which teaches students about the farming equipment used to raise the maze as it drives by each piece of equipment)
  4. Corn maze
  5. Pig races
  6. A playground area that includes hay pyramids to climb on, corn seed boxes to play in, a haybale maze, and a large picnic area.
  7. Each student picks out his or her own small pumpkin to take home
  8. Each teacher receives a curriculum packet to take back to class

Fortune Cookie Factory

261 12th Street, Oakland, CA
Telephone: 510-832-5552
Tour hours: Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reservations needed for groups larger than 10.
Cost: $1 per person. No age restrictions.

Offers 15-30 minutes tour to see how a fortune cookie is made. The Fortune Cookie Factory, makes over 50,000 fortune cookies daily, shipping them to destinations as far as Australia, England, Japan and Hong Kong.

Heildrick AG History Center

1962 Hayes Lane, Woodland, CA 530-666-9700
Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Admission $4-6
This new attraction/museum features 130,000 square feet of displays (interactive, computer, etc.) on the history and contributions of agriculture, complemented by a gift shop and outdoor display area.

Herman Goelitz Jelly Belly Factory

2400 N. Watney Way, Fairfield. 707-428-2838
Tour hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed in late June and early July. Reservations not needed. Free. No age restrictions; one adult needed for every 6 children. Take 40-minute tour of Jelly Belly Candy Manufacturing plant. See sculptures made of jelly beans. Free Jelly Belly beans! Buy "Belly Flops" way below retail.

Hidden Villa

26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills. 650-949-8644.
Educational biodynamic farm and wilderness preserve dedicated to teaching environmental values. Several tours offered. Families & small groups welcome. Youth Hostel on premises.

Luther Burbank Gardens

Corner of Santa Rosa and Sonoma Avenues, Santa Rosa
Hours: Daily -- call for hours on tours, etc.
Admission: Free -- some fee associated with special events.
Famed horticulturist Luther Burbank conducted plant-breeding experiments that brought him world fame at this site where he also made his home. His objective was to improve the quality of plants and increase the world food supply. He introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants. The gardens include a rose garden, fruit trees, raised demonstration gardens, a drought-tolerant garden, and other features. The Luther Burbank home is at this site as well. The carriage house contains a museum open spring through fall - admission free. Docent-led tours every hour include historical info, a look inside Burbank's greenhouse, and a walk through his home.

Marin French Cheese Factory

7500 Red Hill Road Petaluma. 800-292-6001
Tour hours: Daily, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour.
Best time to visit is on the weekend, when cheese is being made. Reservations for groups of 10 or more. Free. No age restrictions. Tour length: 15-20 minutes. See Cheese-making and packing rooms. Free tasting.

Mee Mee Bakery

1328 Stockton Street, (between Broadway and Vallejo) San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-362-3204
Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Reservations: Not needed.
Cost: Free

Small children must be accompanied by an adult on this 5-10 minute tour to see how fortune cookies are made. This is really fun in the cramped, tiny space. The proprietors do a heavy sales pitch to get you to buy cookies -- which is okay cause they are so cheap.

Noah's New York Bagels

Locations throughout Bay Area and beyond.
Sunnyvale Store: 783 E El Camino, Sunnyvale
408/730-9517 Ask for the manager and he can arrange tours.
Some stores give a short 10-15 minute tour complete w/free bagels and cream cheese! They do take groups - about 15 people max.

Olivera Egg Ranch Tour

3315 Sierra Rd., San Jose. 408-258-8074
Everything you every wanted to know about eggs, and how they get from chickens to the market. Free.

Pepsi Manufacturing Plant

1-510-781-3600 x 1045
29000 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
See how Pepsi (and other sodas) are made, bottled, canned, packaged, and shipped. Free soda too!

The Pez Museum

214 California Drive, Burlingame. 650-347-2301
Hours: Tues-Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-5pm.
Admission: Free. Website: www.burlingamepezm-museum.com
Every kind of Pez candy dispenser ever manufactured.

The Randall Museum

199 Museum Way, San Francisco 415-554-9600
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Admission: Free (Workshops are $4)
Changing exhibits, ongoing programs for kids and their families, Saturday workshops for kids. You can meet the animals, watch the animals eat, participate in arts and crafts including family ceramics classes.

Slide Ranch -- Organic Farm in Marin

2025 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach, CA
Phone: 415-381-6155

Milk a goat, explore tide pools, hike among wildflowers, feed farm animals, dig around in an organic garden. This non-profit educational center teaches children and families an understanding of our connection and respect for nature with practical lessons about basic human needs -- food, clothing, shelter and community. Daycamps and overnights for school or homeschool groups. Weekend family programs. All available from fall to spring.

University of California at Santa Cruz

Farm/Garden Agro-ecology Program -- Tour the 25 acre organic farm with docents or on your own. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Tours by reservation. Call 831-459-4140 or 831-459-3248