Minimizing Your Taxes and Managing Your Complex Affairs

kid friendly activities

Andrew’s Favorites

Some of you may know my day job is watching my toddler who is now walking. Keeping him entertained and safe is a harder task than working on complex tax issues.

Here are some ideas for affordable, safe and fun activities for your children (particularly toddlers) in San Francisco:

SALESFORCE PARK TRANSIT CENTER REOPENS

The park reopened July 1, 2019. Transit will return in August. The Park runs the entire length of the Transit Center’s nearly four-block stretch. Home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants arranged in 13 different botanical feature areas. The gondola tram from 1st and Mission to the roof is finally expected to open as well. The park opens at 7 and closes at 8 (9pm through October).

  • Gondola ride is at 1st and Mission and takes about 40 seconds to go up. No rides going down. The gondola does sway a lot due to the wind. Last gondola ride is 745 in the summer.

  • Walking trail around botanical garden from all parts of the world

  • Bus fountain - water shoots out when buses enter or leave the station

  • Children’s play area - climbing rope frame with padded flooring. It says ages 5-12 but most 3 year olds can navigate it.

  • Plaza with 3 carts (1) book cart with children’s books, adult books (which has some random 90s Marvel comic books), (2) art cart (with markers, crayons and colored paper for kids), (3) game cart with games such as Jenga, mah jong, Uno. The 3 carts close at 6 on weejdays and 4 on weekends.

  • There is a foosball table there as well. it’s cool that the foosball players are all women (the field say Barcelona). Foosball is available through closing.

  • Starbucks (open everyday from 630 AM - 730 PM) and Andytown coffee (at the 181 Fremont Building that has Facebook. Note: Closed weekends) are available.

  • Children’s event include Toddler Tuesdays (10-11), Tummy Time Thursday (which are singalongs or story time) from 10-1030 and Family Sunday (11-1230) which has been balloon animals, singalong, magic show or face painting).

  • Adult events including yoga, swing dancing (third Friday of month from 5-7) and live music (including Wed 5-6)

  • For my summary of events https://www.richardponcpa.com/news/bet4wfmfw6gbxk6czpap4zabpfbdxt

For the Park’s official calendar see

https://salesforcetransitcenter.com/events/

YERBA BUENA SUMMER FESTIVAL 2019

From May-October 2019. Programs will be at Yerba Buena Park (next to Metreon) on Mission between 3rd and 4th Street as well as at Yerba Buena Childrens Garden next to Creativity Musuem (Howard and 4th Street). ALL EVENTS ARE FREE

The adult events are generally 2-3 times a week including Tuesday lunchtime poetry and generally music on Thursdays and Sundays. Music includes many ethnic varieties.

SUMMER IN GOLDEN GATE PARK

Did you know there is a Golden Gate park orchestra that is free on Sundays (and sometimes other dates). Concerts are free of charge and take place at the Spreckels Temple of Music in the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park (between De Young and Academy of Science). Why not visit the Botanical Garden (free to SF residents) and listen to music while having lunch? For their website click

Regular Sunday concerts start at 1:00 p.m. and usually end between 2:30 and 2:45. There is no intermission.

September 1 Sunday and Monday September 2 – Labor Day Celebration

September 8 – [no concert]

September 15 Sunday – Irish Cultural Celebration – song, dance and more…

September 22 Sunday – A Celebration of the Dance and Music of Spain

September 29 Sunday – People, Places and Things …

October 6 Sunday – Season finale – Remembering 1969


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Public Knowledge Library

In collaboration, with the SF Public Library, this section of the Museum of Modern Art is FREE and does Not require museum admission. Besides the public knowledge library on Howard Street, their free exhibit is currently JR’s Chronicles of SF. A moving video with 1200 people the artist filmed from celebs (Draymond Green of the Warrors, Gov Newsom) to residents to those who work in SF.

The Public Knowledge Library is a temporary branch of the San Francisco Public Library housed within SFMOMA. It serves as the main hub for the Public Knowledge project, including installations related to artists’ activities in neighborhood library branches and resources such as books (however they can’t be checked out).

Andrew has met cool friends (children and adults) here. A special thank you for Trina for curating the awesome selection of children’s books and poster art.

Features: Children’s book area (with padded rug where Andrew crawled day after day), vintage record player (currently playing jazz music) and adult books (art, technology, activism and cities).

Hours: The temporary branch is open through November 2019 and is open during normal museum hours. It’s on the second floor behind the elevators.

Sunday - Tuesday 10-5

Wed Closed

Thursday 10-9

Friday 10-5

Saturday 10-9 (this is the summer hours)


Discover and Go - museum passes from your local library

Museums in the Bay Area can be expensive. Discover & Go is a partnership between libraries and cultural attractions offering library cardholders free and low-cost tickets to world-class museums, aquariums, zoos and science centers.

If events are sold out for the month, try again the first of every month as tickets are usually added on the 1st of the month.

Some institutions only provide tickets to families with children. In some cases, you may be be able to get tickets even if you don’t have children. Some attractions are limited to one pass per year (such as Exploratorium or Academy of Sciences). I recommend both parents get a library card to double up on the number of free tickets.

Most libraries in the Bay Area belong to this program including San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa county libraries. Each library has different passes. For example, the Alameda library has Oakland Zoo passes but the SF library doesn’t. So if you’re able to get library cards from different counties you might be able to obtain passes for activities throughout the Bay.


San Francisco Public Library

The SFPL has 27 branches and 4 bookmobiles. Besides books they have audiobooks and DVDs (including the latest Hollywood blockbusters and children’s DVDs. Can’t wait to start watching Scooby Doo and Avengers with my son) Each branch has story time for children (and some in particular for babies or toddlers). The coolest thing about the library is you can reserve an item from any branch and have it delivered to your local branch.

Some of the branches have children’s sections with padded carpets and some small activities (magnetic blocks, crayons, etc.)

For San Francisco Public Library’s monthly kids events (storytime, Lego time, etc.) see

https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1100000001&a=1

For the branches I bring Andrew to (Mission Bay & North Beach - which by coincidence I think are the newest branches) story time is quite popular with people lining up an hour early for Thursday morning story time at Mission Bay. I go to North Beach branch more often than MIssion Bay since it has a new playground (opened summer 2017) next door. One of these days I will take a picture of Andrew sitting in a chair with my name in the North Beach branch. I frequent the library system a lot, so I’ve donated to different construction efforts. (I have a brick at the Marina library with my name on it)

The Mission Bay branch events calendar is at

https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000172901&loc=12

The North Beach branch events calendar is at

https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000172901&loc=14

Ongoing events at North Beach branch include:

Weekly Storytimes
Family Storytime: Ages 0-3 years
Toddler Tales & Playtime: Ages 16 months-3 years
Preschool Storytime: Ages 3-5 years

Regular Children Programs
Build It! LEGO Club (Biweekly): You can build anything!
Family Films (Monthly): Light refreshment may be provided!

For San Francisco Public Library’s monthly teen events (book groups, music, etc.) see

https://themixatsfpl.org/events

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES

I think the crown jewel of the library system is their electronic resources which include:

Flipster app: I save hundreds of dollars now by reading my favorite magazines on their app for free. For example, Time, Business Week, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Forbes are magazines I no longer buy and just read on Flipster.

Hoopla Digital: Movies, books, comics and music brought to you by your local library. Great comic book and graphic novel selection (particularly from DC Comics and Image Comics)! It includes books and videos for children and teens. A limit of 20 items per month.

Kanopy: Independent films, documentaries and some foreign films.

Kanopy Kids which has children’s videos including videos to learn foreign languages. Kanopy Kids has no limit on how many videos you can check out per month.

For the SFPL’s electronic resources, click here.


South of Market (SOMA) Family Resource Center

The Soma FRC is a great resource for Andrew. It’s aimed at children under 5 but some programs are good for kids in the 5-10 age range. It’s sponsored by the City of SF so virtually all events are FREE. The entrance to the FRC is located in between the Yerba Buena Bowling Alley and the Children's Creativity Museum (next to Moscone Center). A special thank you for Liz, Sandro, Yessy, and Griselle for all the wonderful activities.

Events include:

Quarterly Parent Cafe event. Basically its a parent peer group to listen or to get tips on their struggles as a parent. They let the parents bring the kids and the pre-school teachers in the affiliated preschool will watch them while parents talk and share their experiences as a parent. Dinner is provided.

Fridays (11-12:30) Play Learn & Grow. Playtime (for ages 0-2) in September and November. Snacks are provided. Limited to 15 kids and sometimes they do reach capacity.

Infant Massage classes (for 0-1 age).

Wednesday Night Express Yourself Art classes: They generally hold it 3 times a month at 3 different SoMa locations from 5:30-7 pm. Pizza is included. They are held at satellite sites. Sometimes the same event is held at all 3 locations during the month. However, some months each site has a different event. The 255 Fremont Street event is crowded as many kids live in that building. I started taking my son there at 11 months. Obviously he can’t do the activity but we help him and he enjoys getting out at night. Generally I would say the classes are good for kids 3-8 years old. Generally, these programs are at:

The 2nd Wed at the Judith Baker Child Development Center (685 Natoma Street near 8th Street)).

The 3rd Wed at the Natalie Gubb Commons (255 Fremont Street by Howard).

The 4th Wed at 1009 Howard Street by 6th Street. It’s next to Bini’s Kitchen which has Nepalese dumplings.

Parenting classes. They also have cohort classes (same parents in each group) for 8 weeks (0-2 range) and 12 weeks (children 2-7 range).

For the Soma FRC calendar of events, click here.


San Francisco Playgrounds

There are many playgrounds in the city. Here are a few that Andrew enjoys:

Yerba Buena Playground (next to Creativity Museum and Moscone Center) - padded flooring, slides for kids and a tot lot. A small garden is set to reopen in June 2019. There is a circular grass area where some parents picnic or kids play soccer. No swings. No night-time lights (it’s only on maybe 1 night a week). A few benches and 2 small tables between the tot area and the big kid area.

South Park: Small playground in SoMa’s South Park Street (between 2nd & 3rd streets and Bryant and Brannan Streets). Very small play area. A rope climbing obstacle and one hammock-swing. One bench. no tables by the playground area. However, the rest of South Park does have some tables.

Mission Bay Playground: A relatively new park built in 2017. Super clean park and neighborhood. Swings, multiple slides for children of different ages and even a see-saw. There is a sandpit which is quite wet since the water fountain is right next to it. There are 3 sections with about 2 or 3 tables (some sections have multiple tables) that can be reserved on the weekends.

North Beach Playground: A relatively new park remodeled in 2017. Swings and slides. There are a few picnic tables just outside the gate. Great location as a library, public pool and small recreation center is next door. I believe they have Friday toddler playtime as well in the Rec Center here. For kids under 2, Washington Square Playground is 1 block away. North Beach playground is situated next to the North Beach library, North Beach Pool and North Beach rec center. The adult side of the playground has basketball and tennis courts.

Washington Square Playground: SF’s newest park remodeled in Dec 2018 for infants and small toddlers. New play equipment featuring: a slide, tot swings, nest swing, babble drum, balancing disks, monkey bars, a tunnel, sculptural play elements, and a red-masked parrot. There are benches. For kids older than 2, North Beach Playground is 1 block away.

Marina Playgrounds: 2 playgrounds on Chestnut Street. The older one which is for ages 2-12 is near Webster Street between the library and Moscone Rec center (which does programs for children 5-18 in the summer time). There are benches and I think 3 tables.

Down the block by the corner of Laguna Street is another Marina playground more for ages 1-3 and it was remodeled in the fall of 2018. I don’t think there are any tables or benches here.

Marina playgrounds are situated next to the Marina library and Moscone rec center. The adult side of the playground has basketball and tennis courts and a baseball field.

Emerald Playground (Fremont and Harrison Street) - Private park offered by the apartment building that is open to public during daylight hours. There is padded flooring and a playset for toddlers which has a slide, small rock climb, small bridge to walk. Next to it is a small grassy area which has a soccer net for kids to practice their kicks. I think there are 2 benches but no tables.

It’s on a hill so one side has a fence. If you are afraid of heights don’t look down as the drop to the condo next door is about 50 feet.

Sue Bierman Park (next to Justin Herman Plaza by Embarcadero 4) - padded flooring, slides for kids and slides for toddlers. 4 swings. 1 big climbing sphere. It’s sunny here so bring sunscreen. I think there are only 4 benches and no tables. Watch out many parents leave the gate open so kids do try to get out. It’s next to a grassy park area that does have homeless.

San Francisco Botanical Garden - free every day to San Francisco residents with proof of residency (ID or paystub) inside Golden Gate Park.

  • Bean Sprouts Family Days. Every Saturday, April through October, 1 - 4 p.m. Free (with regular admission which is always free for SF residents)

Enjoy new adventures and favorite activities as Bean Sprouts Family Days. Join staff and teen interns to dig, plant, play, learn and relax in the Children’s Garden. Family musician and teaching artist Charity Kahn brings her special brand of family fun to the Garden on April 13 – come dance, sing, enjoy!

  • Story Time & Family Garden Walk. 1st & 3rd Sunday of Every Month!

    Looking for a fun, free and easy-to-coordinate activity? Join us in our cozy children's book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life.

SF Park & Rec Pools - several pools have been remodeled in the past decade. I think there are 7 pools in the city. Swimming is $1for kids under 18 and adults are $7. The Discover & Go program from the SF library has free passes.

Mountain Lake Park - In the Inner Richmond (Lake near 12th Avenue). This park was rebuilt in 2018 and features 2 sections that are on protective padding (Section 1) for ages 2-5 (which I think should be ages 0-2. This has a chalk wall, teeter-totter, wooden dogs to ride on, 2 slides on a very steep foam hill and 2 baby swings with the full seats) and (Section 2) for ages 5-12 which has 2 rope climbing structures, 2 swings, 8 bouncy boards for jumping, a dangerous concrete slide and a rock climbing wall next to the slide. there is a tennis court that can accomodate 4 matches.

There are benches and 3 tables. a restroom is here. There is a trail that runs through the Presidio as well as the lake that you can see ducks.

Victoria Manalo Draves Park. This park is near 6th and Folsom. It opened in 2006 and has a large children's playground, a grassy field for running or playing with your dog, a softball field, a basketball court, a community garden and picnic areas which I have never seen used.

The children’s playground is on padded foam and is split into 2 sections. Each section looks to be about the same age range but I suspect the intended range is 0-3 for Section 1 and 3-12 for Section 2. The playground is not well kept as there is always litter. Section 1 has a playset which includes 2 slides. This section also has stone furniture with couches and tiny loveseats. Section 2 is more popular with the kids and also has a playset with 3 slides. There is a large jungle gym which I have never seen used. It’s about 18-20 feet high and quite intimidating and I think only kids 4 and up will even have the strength to climb it.

This park does feel dangerous as many parents don’t close the playground fence. Outside the fence many dogs run off-leash which I don’t think is allowed. Outside the park you will definitely encounter homeless.

Salesforce Park : The park reopened July 1, 2019. Transit will return in August. The Park runs the entire length of the Transit Center’s nearly four-block stretch. Home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants arranged in 13 different botanical feature areas. The gondola tram from 1st and Mission to the roof is finally expected to open as well. The park opens at 7 and closes at 8 (9pm through October).

  • Gondola ride is at 1st and Mission and takes about 40 seconds to go up. No rides going down. The gondola does sway a lot due to the wind. Last gondola ride is 745 in the summer.

  • Walking trail around botanical garden from all parts of the world

  • Bus fountain - water shoots out when buses enter or leave the station

  • Children’s play area - climbing rope frame with padded flooring. It says ages 5-12 but most 3 year olds can navigate it.

  • Plaza with 3 carts (1) book cart with children’s books, adult books (which has some random 90s Marvel comic books), (2) art cart (with markers, crayons and colored paper for kids), (3) game cart with games such as Jenga, mah jong, Uno. The 3 carts close at 6 on weejdays and 4 on weekends.

  • There is a foosball table there as well. it’s cool that the foosball players are all women (the field say Barcelona). Foosball is available through closing.

  • Starbucks (open everyday from 630 AM - 730 PM) and Andytown coffee (at the 181 Fremont Building that has Facebook. Note: Closed weekends) are available.

  • Children’s event include Toddler Tuesdays (10-11), Tummy Time Thursday (which are singalongs or story time) from 10-1030 and Family Sunday (11-1230) which has been balloon animals, singalong, magic show or face painting).

  • Adult events including yoga, swing dancing (third Friday of month from 5-7) and live music (including Wed 5-6)

  • for my summary of events https://www.richardponcpa.com/news/bet4wfmfw6gbxk6czpap4zabpfbdxt

For the Park’s official calendar see

https://salesforcetransitcenter.com/events/


FREE MUSEUM & PARK DAYS

San Francisco Botanical Garden - free every day to San Francisco residents with proof of residency (ID or paystub)

Bean Sprouts Family Days. Every Saturday, April through October, 1 - 4 p.m. Free (with regular admission which is always free for SF residents)

Enjoy new adventures and favorite activities as Bean Sprouts Family Days. Join staff and teen interns to dig, plant, play, learn and relax in the Children’s Garden. Family musician and teaching artist Charity Kahn brings her special brand of family fun to the Garden on April 13 – come dance, sing, enjoy!

  • Story Time & Family Garden Walk. 1st & 3rd Sunday of Every Month!

    Looking for a fun, free and easy-to-coordinate activity? Join us in our cozy children's book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life.

Randall Museum - FREE every day (Closed Sun & Mon) but there is a suggested donation box. The Randall Museum is a natural history museum, science museum and arts center in one, offering hands-on learning through exhibits and classes in science, nature and art to all ages. The museum has many fun things to do with kids and adults alike, including live animals (chickens, duck and bunny and raccoon, falcon, crows, snakes in cages) and drop-in activities (ceramic class and art classes do have fees). Downstairs has some aquariums with clams and small fish. An exhibit for earthquakes featuring Legos you can stack and a huge model train set that you can watch move from section to section. A small train area showing old SF is available (you need to rent the toy train for $5 per hour).

Note: If coming from Castro Muni Station, it’s a 10 minute walk but uphill so pack light if you are walking with a stroller. Since it’s on a hill the view is breath taking. There is also a hiking trail that continues uphill. The Museum has a cafe with outdoor seating only. On the walk to the museum, you will pass an old playground (6 swings, 2 slides and monkey bars) with sand instead of padding as well as tennis court, basketball court and I think an off-leash dog park.

Exploratorium: Free Days: Groundhog Day (Saturday, Februray, 2, 2019); Pi Day (DAYTIME ONLY: Thursday, March 14, 2019); Mother's Day (Sunday, May 12, 2019), Community International Peace Day (Saturday, September 21, 2019) and Community 50th Anniversary Founder's Day (Sunday, October 20, 2019)

Palace of Legion of Honor - San Francisco residents have free admission on Saturdays with proof of residency. General museum admission is free every first Tuesday of the month.

De Young Museum (in Golden Gate Park) - San Francisco residents have free admission on Saturdays with proof of residency. General museum admission is free every first Tuesday of the month.

Free First Tuesdays - many museums also provide free admission on the first Tuesday of the month. For example, the Cartoon Art Museum (now in Fishermen’s Wharf) has a pay what you want on the First Tuesday of the month.

Asian Art Museum -Courtesy of Target, general museum admission is free every first Sunday of the month. Additional entrance fees apply to special exhibitions . Kids under 12 are free every day.

Chinese Culture Center of SF - hidden inside the Hilton Hotel (750 Kearny St across from Portsmouth Square Garage) - free museum open Tuesdays to Saturday

Pacific Heritage Museum in San Francisco (open Thursday-Saturday 10-4) in downtown San Francisco (Montgomery Street near Sacramento). It’s a very quiet corporate sponsored museum so there is always room for strollers. FREE EVERY DAY.

Bay Area Discovery Museum - Sausalito museum with free admission on first Wednesday. of the month Activities are indoors and outdoors (with their grounded fishing boat as the centerpiece). They do charge for babies older than 6 months ($13.95) and other admission is $15.95. Apparently, they have a preschool here as well.

San Francisco Zoo - sporadic free days for SF residents with ID

Curiodyssey Science Playground & Zoo in San Mateo. A small zoo & science museum at Coyote Point. Besides paying for admission, there is a parking fee cor Coyote Point. Upcoming Free Community Days: Tuesday, September 24, 2019; Wednesday, December 11, 2019; Friday, January 24, 2020

Presidio Officers Club Museum which is extremely clean place to relax. Currently through November 2019 they have an exhibit on Japanese internment. The docents can also provide advice on the many trails within the Presidio recreation area. ADMISSION IS FREE. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm


YERBA BUENA CULTURE FOR COMMUNITY FREE DAY THURSDAY SEPT 19, 2019

Experience all of these locations for free including the SFMOMA. SOME MUSUEMS ARE FREE ONLY FROM 5-8 PM. MOMA IS FREE ALL DAY.

The organizations comprising Culture for Community range in size, mission, and scope, and involve visual arts organizations, cultural entities, and community focused groups, including:

  1. 111 Minna, https://111minnagallery.com/events/

  2. California Historical Society, https://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/

  3. Children’s Creativity Museum (FREE FROM 5-8PM ONLY)  https://creativity.org

  4. The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), https://thecjm.me/2TEgwXg

  5. Crown Point Press,

  6. Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), https://www.moadsf.org/

  7. SFMOMA, https://www.sfmoma.org/CFC

  8. SOMArts, https://www.somarts.org/

  9. SPUR, https://www.spur.org

  10. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), https://www.ybca.org/whats-on

  11. Yerba Buena Alliance, https://yerbabuena.org/third-thursday/

  12. Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, https://ybgfestival.org/events


CHILDREN’S CREATIVITY MUSEUM (Howard & 4th Street next to Moscone Center South in San Francisco)

One of Andrew’s favorite places. Open Wed-Sun (Tue-Sun from June-Aug). T

The first floor has a cool “AR Sandpit”, a foam play-area, crayons and markers for young artists, a cool visual wall where premade sketches can be colored and posted on a rotating screen, a ceramics room class, a reading room, toy train, lego wall, magnetic blocks that you can take short videos of, and Tegu magnetic blocks.

The first floor has a small outside eating area. No food is sold here except for some vending machine snacks. The second floor is their music lab, mystery box challenge and toy robot coding lab.

Ticket prices are $13 per person (for anybody over age 2) so getting a family membership is recommended if you will come here often. There is also a carousel (open everwhere from 10-5) with rides at $4 ($3 for members). Each ride allows you to go through 2 songs -for a total of about 6 minutes. Adults who accompany their children on the carousel must pay as well (unless they stand)


SAN FRANCISCO PRIVATELY OWNED PUBLIC SPACES (POPOS)

Need a space downtown to eat or relax when your baby is sleeping in the stroller?

Many downtown buildings have public spaces (generally M-F from 9-5) that can be outdoors or indoors. In fact, since I work from home, I occasionally use these spaces to meet with clients.

Unfortunately, some of these spaces are misused by the landlords and dont always let people have access (such as the 1 Kearny roof or the space in Millenium Tower building)

For a list and reviews of these POPOS see

https://sfpopos.com

https://www.spur.org/sites/default/files/migrated/anchors/popos-guide.pdf