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San Francisco Summer Attractions!

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Planning a trip to California this summer? Before you head off on your vacation, take a look at some of the coolest attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area - it'll save you from reading through all those tourist brochures!

San Francisco - Paramount's Great America

Located in Santa Clara (just half an hour outside of San Francisco), Paramount's Great America is a giant amusement park that includes tons of rides and attractions. Visit with all your fave Nickelodeon characters at the Nickelodeon Celebration Parade, splash around at Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay Beach Club and take a spin on mind-numbing rides like Top Gun and Invertigo! Paramount's Great America is open every day and has special events throughout the summer. For more info, head to www.pgathrills.com .

San Francisco - Santa Cruz Board Walk

Spend a day at the last old school carnival on the Californian coast - the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. This amusement park has been around since the beginning of the 20th century and has continued to be a popular tourist attraction. To celebrate their roots, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk has 1907-themed nights every Monday and Tuesday throughout the summer where all rides, hot dogs, cotton candy and Pepsi's are just 65 cents! At those prices, it shouldn't be hard to convince the 'rents to drop in for some real family fun. Also, if you're looking for some Friday night fun, check out the weekly free concerts on the beach at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk - you're bound to have a blast! For more information, head to www.beachboardwalk.com .

San Francisco - Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the perfect destination for any one interested in marine biology. Get up close and personal with some of the world's most interesting creatures like different species of sharks, a giant octopus, jelly fish and much more! Explore the tallest aquarium exhibit in the world - the Monterey Bay Kelp Forest - and discover sea life you've never seen before. If you're looking to get even closer to the marine life, head over to the Splash Zone where you can hang with penguins and even watch them get fed two times a day! To plan your trip to the aquarium head to www.mbayaq.org .

San Francisco - Hearst Castle

Built over the span of 20 years, Hearst Castle perches on the hills of San Simeon. It was the vision of wealthy media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who dreamt of having his own European-style castle. He made it reality with the help of architect Julia Morgan. Throughout his life, Hearst entertained the rich and famous at his castle and lived there until he was in his 80s. The castle is now open to the public with daily tours of this vast estate. Your tour also includes a ticket to see the National Geographic movie, Hearst Castle: Building the Dream. Be sure to check out the various pools, gardens and guest houses around the castle as well. This is a must-see for anyone visiting the Bay Area. To book your tour of Hearst Castle, head to www.hearstcastle.com .

San Francisco - Exploratorium

Visiting the Exploratorium in San Francisco is like conducting hundreds of science fair projects all in one afternoon. From the science of music to the history behind the Mayans, you'll find it at the Exploritorium! While visiting, you should try battling your brain by taking a sip out of the toilet water fountain. It's completely clean, fresh water, but it comes out of a toilet, tricking your brain into thinking it's dirty! This is a great place to check out on a rainy day. Want more info? Head to www.exploratorium.edu .

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