Shore Havin' Fun 

Take 'em to the water


Embedded in the mudflats and marshes of the Hayward Regional Shoreline is a fascinating bit of history. In the 1850s, salt was gathered from the marshes here to preserve food and to use in silver mining. You can still see remnants of landings that were built to transport passengers, salt, and farm products by ferry to San Francisco. The Hayward Shoreline is also one of the best places for witnessing how the tides affect the bay. If you're not in a hurry, you can watch as the marshes transform from low-tide mudflats to high-tide shallows. The Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, a wooden building supported by piers above a marsh, offers changing exhibits on the shore and marsh environment, aquariums, an interactive computer exhibit, microscopes, an observation tower, and wall murals depicting life in the bay. The center believes that education about the shoreline should start early: two events this week are designed for newborns to three-year-olds and their caregivers. On Saturday, Nature Detectives examines the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly, with a craft project. Sunday afternoon's Bayside Bicycling, for the whole family (with helmets), involves a leisurely ride through the marshland with bird-watching. On Tuesday, bring the stroller for a comfortable nature walk with the Stilts and Strollers Club. Some of these activities require a small fee, as well as advance reservations, so call 510-881-6751 for more information. The center is located at 4901 Breakwater Ave. in Hayward. -- Sarah Cahill

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Flutterby Time

Curious kids have two chances to spread their wings and learn about monarch flutterbys this week at Ardenwood Historic Farm (34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont) during New Year's Day with the Butterflies (Thursday, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) and Meet the Monarchs (Sat., 1-2 p.m.). Both days, kinder can view a slide show about butterflies' development before taking a half-mile walk to the park's monarch butterfly overwintering site to view clusters of the orange-and-black beauties hanging from the eucalyptus trees and learn about their migration. Call 510-796-0663 or e-mail for further information. -- Stefanie Kalem


Choc Full o' Tricks

The New Year starts with something gooey at Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. On Thursday (12 noon to 2 p.m.), Candy: Not Just for Eating Anymore gives kids a chance to sculpt chocolate -- using chocolate-flavored clay -- and make candy mosaics. At last, a use for leftover holiday sweets. Then on Friday (noon to 1 p.m.), storyteller and naturalist Ane Carla Rovetta entertains youngsters with her scientific folklore tales. Saturday at noon and 1 p.m., nationally known magician and comedian Jay Alexander wows the assembled children with magic tricks, then shows them how to perform the tricks themselves. Now if only you could make those candy bars disappear. All shows are free with admission: $6.50 for youth 5-18; kids 3-4, $6.50; kids under 3, free. Info: 510-642-5132 or -- Kelly Vance


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