A good spot for younger kids is the Paso Robles  Children’s Museum at the Volunteer Firehouse (623 13th St., Paso Robles, 805/238-7432, www.pasokids.org , Mon., Thurs.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., adults $7, children $6). As much a playground as a museum, the space offers themed interactive exhibits with a slight educational bent for toddlers and elementary school-aged children. Kids can draw, paint, climb, jump, play, and learn in one of the few spots in Paso Robles dedicated entirely to the younger set.
It’s not the biggest or most diverse, but you’ll have fun exploring the Charles Paddock Zoo (Lago Ave. at Hwy. 41, Atascadero, 805/461-5080, www.charlespaddockzoo.org , daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m., adults $5, children $4). Plan an hour or two to make a leisurely tour of the fierce tigers, funky prehensile-tailed raccoons, and famous slender-tailed meerkats.
You can also visit the aviary to enjoy the twitters and squawks of more than a dozen varieties of common and exotic birds. The Zoo makes a fun destination if you’ve brought your kids to the largely adult playground that is Paso Robles .
The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum (2010 Riverside Ave., 805/239-4556, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org , Thurs.–Sun. 1–4 p.m.) celebrates the settlement of San Luis Obispo County. Exhibits have a distinctly Western Americana flavor and includes some larger displays of carriages, farm equipment, and even an old one-room schoolhouse.