Tour Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory in Petaluma

Mrs Grossmans Sticker Factory in Petaluma
I’m a manufacturing geek so I was really excited to learn that we were not too far from the only sticker factory in the USA. Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory is about an hour drive from Berkeley, so I’d suggest pairing it up with another fun reason to head to Petaluma or Santa Rosa. For me, a stop at In-N-Out usually does the trick.

Make advance reservations to tour the sticker factory because walk-ins are not welcome. As of this writing, tours leave Monday through Thursday at 10:00, 11:00, 1:00 and 2:00 (Sorry, no weekends). The tour is just shy of an hour including the art activity.

Mrs Grossmans Sticker Factory in PetalumaEach tour includes a short video narrated by John Ratzenberger (who your kids might know — or not — as a character in every Pixar film) and a short walk around the factory floor. Guests get to see some really cool big machines and learn neat facts about company history and the way thousands of stickers (and wine labels!) are created. Nerd out as you see them printed, die-cut and perforated.

Your tour guide will tell you little-known sticker facts as you visit the various work stations trying hard not to touch anything:

  1. Printing (making the mold, shooting the ink)
  2. Rewinding and finishing onto rolls
  3. Packaging
  4. History wall of designs
  5. Hot foil stamping to get extra sparkly bits
  6. Fancy-cutting Laserweb (the highlight for my kids)

At each different stop along the tour, you’ll also get some more stickers. After the tour, we got dropped off in the gift shop with a few more stickers to make a souvenir and the option to purchase MANY more. The factory store has some bargains if you are in the mood. Overall, the vibe is low-key.

Mrs Grossmans Sticker Factory in PetalumaPricing and logistics:

  • Reservations Required (800) 429-4549
  • Admission $7 for 12 years-old and up; $5 kids under 12 years-old; Under 3 is FREE; Parking is free
  • WEB:
  • Address: 3810 Cypress Drive Petaluma, CA 94954

Bottom line: a ton of fun for sticker and factory enthusiasts. Energetic and handsy guests may get bored.

Did you have a great time? The Jelly Belly Factory Tour is fun and even more of a production.

[All photos by Heather Flett]

99 East Bay restaurants to try with your kids

Where to eat with kids in Oakland and Berkeley

If you’re a parent in Berkeley, Oakland, or some other part of the East Bay, odds are pretty good that you’ve been to at least five of the following restaurants with your kids. Over and over! And over! has profiled many of these spots within our archives, but consider this your community-generated cheat sheet to kid-centric eats. I love the diversity of flavors represented; it bears little resemblance to the stuff I grew up eating. We invite you to branch out and try a new place. And let us know about it.

Mexican Restaurants & More

The smallest of new eaters can usually manage some mashed up avocado or soft black beans. Even picky toddlers will go for quesadillas. Your favorite taquerías:

  1. Cactus (N. Berkeley + Rockridge) | Cactus is my go-to. Those tiny burritos and the great prices bring me back over and over again. It is the place I turn to when I don’t want to cook. - Whitney  {see also Picante smackdown} Website.
  2. Cancun (Berkeley) | Committed to fresh ingredients, lots of salsa choices. Website.
  3. Cosecha Oakland Website
  4. Juan’s Place (W. Berkeley) | My son had a beef taco and he LITERALLY attempted to lick the plate clean until I told him it wasn’t polite. - Lisa
  5. La Penza Azul (Alameda) | My daughters love the chips. – Rebecca. And they offer online ordering. Website.
  6. La Piñata (Fremont, Hayward, Newark, San Leandro) Website.
  7. Los Cantaros (Oakland)
  8. Picante (Berkeley) | {see also Cactus smackdown} I am personally in love with the online ordering and curbside pickup – Heather. Website.
  9. Rubio’s (Emeryville + El Cerrito) | Fresh and fast Mexican; known for fish tacos; kids activities on the placemat. Website.
  10. Taco Trucks (various) | Taco trucks are perfect wherever we can find them. We like one by Golden Gate Fields and another near Fruitvale/International Blvd. My son gets carne asada tacos and my daughter likes the quesadillas. – Sarah
  11. Tacubaya (Berkeley) | 4th street taqueria is a delicious respite from shopping and errands. Outdoor seating lets sound escape and don’t forget the trainspotting. ~ Heather Website.

Pizza & Italian

Lanesplitter Pizza kids meal and 99 other kid-approved East Bay restaurants

The kids meal at Lanesplitter

Can’t go wrong with cheese pizza, am I right? Well not for my son but for 79.5% of East Bay kids, it is the easy choice. Parents and kids like these place for getting tomato sauce on their faces:

  1. Arizmendi Bakery (Oakland + Emeryville) Worker-owned cooperative serves pizza by the slice in a daily flavor. Website.
  2. Benchmark Pizza (Kensington) – Menu aimed at kids and adults. Mini whiteboards are delivered with markers to help pass the time at the table. Website.
  3. Bobby G’s (Downtown Berkeley) | Website 
  4. Boot & Shoe Service (Oakland) | Can be crowded, so head to the back. Website
  5. Build (Berkeley) | Have it your way down to the number of cheese chunks; kids might even get experimental and try a topping, pricier than I’d like but delish. {See our review of Build}
  6. California Pizza Kitchen (Emeryville, Oakland or Walnut Creek)
  7. Cato’s Ale House (Oakland) | This pub on Piedmont Ave has just the right blend of kid-friendly while still being cool enough when you leave them at home; and the pizza’s pretty good too! Website.
  8. Cheeseboard (N. Berkeley) | The refined tastes might be too much for some little ones but the noisy grab-and-go ambiance can’t be beat. You can often ask for toppings to be left off, but not the core cheese or sauce. Check the pizza flavor before you go. Bring your pie to the Epicurious Garden across the street if the seats are taken.
  9. Gioia Pizzeria (N. Berkeley) | Take-out New York-style pizza by the slice.  Squash for the adults. My family lives on this stuff! – Whitney Website.
  10. Hot Italian (Emeryville) | Casual, good for a group. Website. {Or read about my kid’s birthday party at Hot Italian}
  11. Jupiter (Berkeley) | Terrific patio for casual summer evenings with wood-fired pizza and lots of beer on tap. Website.
  12. Lanesplitter (Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, or Albany for take-out) | Slices for kids, salad & wine for me. – Sarah M {See also Good value, Lanesplitter’s kids meals}
  13. Little Star Pizza (Albany) | Definitely my kids’ first pick. – Holly L
  14. Lo Coco’s Ristorante (Piedmont) | Authentic Sicilian and pizza place. Website.
  15. Macaroni Grill (El Cerrito) | Chain restaurant Italian, can handle large groups. Half-price wine during the summer. Website.
  16. Mission Pizza + Pub (Fremont) | With a huge selection of craft beers and arcade games, you’ll all have fun. Plus gluten-free pizza and beer. Website.
  17. Paisan (W. Berkeley) | High-end pizzas and pastas make this place just as good for date night as family dinner. {Our review of Paisan}
  18. Pasta Pomodoro (Emeryville, El Cerrito + Rockridge) | Kids eat free every Tuesday with adult entree purchase. – Sarah. Website.
  19. Pizzaiolo (Temescal) | Bocce ball, a fountain and chickens, oh my. – Tiffanie. Website.
  20. Zachary’s (Berkeley + Oakland) | My family’s favorite deep-dish place offers half-baked pizzas to cut short the waiting game. - Heather. Website.

eat and play at Emeryville Public Market: 99 East Bay restaurants loved by kids

Emeryville Public Market dining area for kids


You guys had way more go-to sushi joints than I was expecting with a strong emphasis on the boats (AKA bune). Growing up in Ohio, Asian food only meant Chinese, but no more.  Kid-favorite noodle and rice joints:

  1. Bowl’d (Albany + Oakland) | Korean. I love that they give little smoothies and kid chopsticks and bowls. - Anne C. Website.
  2. Burma Superstar (Alameda + Oakland) | My children will both eat coconut rice and mango slices. Protein? No thank you. But the grown ups are more than happy, so it’s all good. – Whitney. Website.
  3. Chefs (El Cerrito) | Eat in or carry out Chinese.
  4. Café Raj (Albany) | N. Indian + Pakistani. My daughter will eat Chana Masala and my son will eat something out of our fridge. – Whitney. Website.
  5. Coach Sushi (Oakland) | Solid sushi with highchairs available. – Art Website.
  6. Elephant Bar (Emeryville + Fremont) Website.
  7. Genki Sushi (Berkeley)
  8. Hana Japan (Berkeley marina) | Kids love the chef show. – Donna. {Our take on Hana Japan}
  9. Juhu Beach Club (Oakland) | Love the well-presented kids’ meals & yummy Mumbai street food. – Ruby K. Website.
  10. Kirin (Berkeley) | Another good option on the east end of Solano. Website
  11. Mint Leaf (W. Berkeley + Alameda) | Vietnamese restaurant, try the Cha Gio rolls. Website.
  12. Miyozen Sushi (Emeryville) | The sushi belt is always a hit. – Donna C. There is also a dedicated play room where children can watch a show or read a book. Website.
  13. Noodle Theory (Oakland) | Website.
  14. Ohgane Korean (Oakland) | Korean BBQ cooks meat in the center of the table. Website.
  15. Panda Express (El Cerrito + Oakland) | Takeout Chinese. Just keeping it real. – Wendy
  16. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (Emeryville) | Asian Fusion Chain. Dine in and kids get crayons and puzzles or you can try to order online or with their new app and take advantage of Bay Street’s 15 minute free parking for food carryout. Website.
  17. Renee’s Place (Albany) | Wonderful neighborhood restaurant where Renee herself enjoys greeting the regulars of all ages, and knows how to accommodate multi-generational parties very well. – Holly L. Website.
  18. Rikyu Sushi (Rockridge) | Website.
  19. Samurai Sushi Boat (Oakland)
  20. Shen Hua (Elmwood) | Tasty and noisy Chinese where your child’s voice blends into the background. – Heather Website.
  21. Shimizu Sushi (Oakland) | Website.
  22. Takara Sushi (Rockridge) | Another floaty boat place to delight your kids and serve them quickly. {See Heather’s review of Takara (with even more kid sushi faves)}

    Grab your sushi right off the carousel at Takara in Oakland
    Grab your sushi right off the carousel at Takara in Oakland

    1. Toss Noodle Bar (Berkeley) | Dress your noodles however you like. {See Whitney’s review of Toss}
    2. Tsuru Sushi (San Leandro) | Website.
    3. Vik’s Chaat House (Berkeley) | Website.
    4. Yojimbo Sushi (Alameda) | We love it for for the yummy sushi, anime art all over the walls, kid friendly vibe and awesome Japanese animated movies viewable from every table. – Chrissy C. Website.

    Diners & Cafes (more than just a coffee shop!)

    1. Au Coquelet (Berkeley) | My family sometimes goes just for the steamed milk. - Wendy Y Website
    2. Berkeley Bagels on Gilman | Our go-to breakfast on the weekends. – Whitney (and she’s a bagel snob!) Website.
    3. Bette’s Oceanview Diner | My totally favorite breakfast indulgence is perfect for early-rising families since they open at 6:30am. Late risers, wait in line. – Heather {See also Bette’s is best for early risers}
    4. Black Bear Diner  (Emeryville) | Don’t miss the ice cream concierge. - Lisa T. Website.
    5. Cafe Clem | Perfectly situated near the main Berkeley library, Habitot, YMCA, and the weekend Farmer’s Market, this little sister of La Note is a delicious treat. – Heather
    6. Cafe Leila (Berkeley) | High quality, fresh food and offers a large patio with enough room for dogs and strollers. Service can be slow. Dinner only on Thurs-Sunday evenings. Try brunch. – Whitney.
    7. Commonwealth Cafe & Pub (Oakland) Commonwealth is our family dinner favorite: great food with a lot of toddler-friendly options, great local beers for the grown-ups, and an ever-changing assortment of board books! – Art. Website
    8. Fatapples (Berkeley + El Cerrito) | Known for breakfast, burgers, and baked goods, this old-fashioned diner has lots of choices for food and even more for dessert (consider yourself warned). The El Cerrito location has much more dining space and parking. Website.
    9. Grand Lake Kitchen (Oakland) | Website
    10. Homemade Cafe (Berkeley) | A friendly place for eggs and baked goods with bottomless coffee. Small inside so there’s often a line on weekends. – Heather  Website.
    11. Lama Beans (Berkeley) | Magically delicious pancakes and plenty of other items on the menu. A big stack of shared coloring books to entertain the kiddos. Website. {See also Breakfast for dinner at Lama Beans}
    12. Rick and Ann’s (Elmwood) | Always a line. {See also Bette’s Oceanview Smackdown}
    13. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (Oakland + Emeryville) With early and late hours, you can eat here all the time. Placemat and crayons. Servers bring a bowl of cheerios to toddlers. {See also hipster brunch smackdown} Website.

    Burgers & dogs

    My own kids love the local burger shops. Many of our sit-down dinners are to these places:

    1. Barney’s Burgers (2 in Berkeley + 2 in Oakland) | Burgers are made with high grade beef, other options include chicken, turkey burgers, portobello. Kids’ menu also includes a decent hot dog. Sweet potato fries cost extra. Website.
    2. Farm Burger (Berkeley) | Instant classic with hecka good burgers and kids play area, let’s hope they can keep it clean. {Our review of Farm Burger Berkeley}
    3. In-N-Out Burger (Oakland, San Leandro, Pinole) | My hands-down favorite fast food burger place; I have a location-finding app on my phone so I know when we’re nearby. – Heather. Website.
    4. Oscar’s (Berkeley) | Burgers and hot dog joint with a big window for people watching.
    5. Phil’s Sliders  (Downtown Berkeley) | These mini burgers are perfectly child-sized. Chalkboard walls give bored kids something to do. Bacon upgrade is tasty but expensive. - Heather {Our review of Phil’s SlidersWebsite.
    6. Top Dog (Berkeley + Oakland) | The Top Dog in CVS at Pleasant Valley is Old SKOOL in the best way – Sarah. Website.
    7. True Burger (Oakland) | Website.

    Other favorite places (from Louisiana to Ethiopia)

    So many of our favorite restaurants defy categorization so I lumped them all together and alphabetized them. Bon appetit!

    1. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen (Berkeley) | Website.
    2. Asmara (Oakland) | Asmara at 51st has a very friendly family atmosphere; it’s our go-to for great Ethiopian/Eritrean food.@UUBerkeley Website
    3. Bacheeso’s (Berkeley, Oakland) | We pair this organic Middle Eastern joint with a trip to Fairyland. - Kim D
    4. Cafe Colucci (Oakland) | Ethiopian. Cafe Colucci has always been great for us. – Dave Website.
    5. Cafe Platano (Berkeley + Oakland) | Salvadoran. They have a tiny play area. – Jessica  Website
    6. Cafe Romanat (Oakland) | Ethiopian. Cafe Romanat is our favorite Ethiopian with kids. – Erika Website.
    7. Chop Bar (Oakland) | For a less hectic vibe, come before 5:30. Website
    8. The Junket (El Cerrito) | Combines German and English food. Website
    9. Crepevine (Berkeley + Rockridge) | Many flavors to pick from as well as the basics. The N. Berkeley location passes out Wikki Stix instead of crayons to mix it up further. Website.
    10. Emeryville Public Market (Emeryville) | Pictured above, this food court has many flavors, a bunch of televisions, and a ball pit. {Our write upWebsite.
    11. Fenton’s Creamery (Oakland) | Of course kids love it here, they know their meal will end with a huge sundae! Pretty standard diner food. {Our write up on Fenton’s}  Website.
    12. Homeroom (Oakland) Mac + Cheese but fancy, now has a drive-through when you pre-order on a special app. Thank you! Website. {See also Homeroom sounds family friendly}
    13. Kensington Circus Pub (Kensington) | Enjoy a pint and some pub grub while your toddler explores the play area. Good times. Website
    14. La Fable (N. Berkeley) | Taking over the old Chester’s location, La Fable is fresh French food.
    15. Poulet (Berkeley) | Eat in or carry out chicken and tasty side dishes. Poulet is where I get fancy salads or frozen, oven meals for me and my husband and the kids will have plain pasta that night. – Whitney. Website.
    16. Pyramid Brewery (N. Berkeley) | Kids love the pasta, fries, and the cheese pizza; we love the beer. – Rebecca. Website.
    17. Saturn Cafe (downtown Berkeley) | Vegetarian with lots of gluten-free choices; reasonably-priced kids’ menu. Website.
    18. Saul’s Deli (N. Berkeley) | Large Jewish deli with many tasty options; favorites include matzo ball soup, potato latkes and applesauce. Website.
    19. Subway (multiple) Whenever my kids can talk me into it. – Anon.
    20. Sweet Tomatoes (Fremont) | Extensive salad and soup bar. The kid likes his fruit & Mac n cheese. – Tiffanie
    21. Telegraph (Oakland) | Family- and dog-friendly beer garden where the ‘rents can grab a coffee OR beer (and food) on the patio and my daughter sweet talks the cooks into fancy-shaped pancakes. – Ruby. Website.
    22. Westbrae Biergarten (N. Berkeley) | {Our review of Westbrae}
    23. WhipOut Food Truck (various) | We ate at Whip Out with a friend. My kids each had a slider (one burger, one BBQ pork no coleslaw) and shared bbq fries and chicken “lolipops”. I had fried chicken and bbq brisket sliders. All good! – Wendy. On Facebook.


    Eating out with kids in the East Bay

    Have you tried any new places based on our suggestions? Did we miss your kid’s favorite meal? Please share in the comments!

    This list of restaurants was generated by Heather and Whitney and our reader community of 510families. Nobody paid to be listed and we didn’t skip your favorite place on purpose.

Angel Island, family-friendly hike and more

This weekend adventure to Angel Island has a little something for everyone on your list – a boat ride (fun!), exercise, drinks, AND beautiful scenery. Sound good? Let’s go!

Angel Island with kids

Getting There

We took the 10am Tiburon Ferry - tickets were $15/adult, $5/child. The boat ride is a short 12 minute trip to the island – not too long to get sea-sick, and just long enough for your little ones to stay excited. I recommend catching the earliest boat to the island to leave enough time for activities, because the last ferry returns at 3:30pm. Also, arrive early enough to find proper parking. We were running late and ended up paying $15 to park right next to the ferry terminal. No good.

Angel Island with kids

What to Do

Angel Island is super family-friendly. Take a hike, throw a frisbee, drink a beer, or treat yourself to some ice cream. We easily hiked to the peak – Mt. Livermore – carrying our three and nine-month-olds, but I definitely saw grade-schoolers walking the trail. It’s a five-mile loop, and took us about two hours. Once at the top the views are beautiful. See all three bridges, the San Francisco city scape, and I bet you could even find your own house. Neat. Pack a snack (or even lunch) and relax at one of the many picnic tables at the top before heading back down. If you don’t think your little ones can manage the hike, no worries! There’s a paved path around the entire island that is stroller/bike friendly and still just as beautiful.

Angel Island with kids

After the hike we stopped at The Cove Cafe for a treat and a cold drink. We opted out of eating lunch on the island, but if you were hungry, the food didn’t look half bad – fish tacos, sandwiches, and pizzas for the kids. Next time we’ll pack a lunch and picnic on the huge green overlooking the bay. So pretty.

We were done just in time to take an earlier ferry home, but we totally could have stuck around a bit longer because there was still more to do. Next time we’d like to visit the Angel Island Immigration Station museum and when it’s warmer dip our toes in the sand at the secluded beach.

Angel Island with kids

What other family-friendly hikes are on your radar? We’re on the lookout for some good ones.

[All photos by Anna Azimi]

East Bay Summer Camp Guide (2015)

We’ve put together lists of camps in the East Bay, concentrated in Oakland and Berkeley. There’s still lots of time to register for most of these, you can use Activity Hero EasyEnroll to register for dozens of camps near Oakland/Berkeley that still have openings.

East Bay Summer Camp Guide

STEM | Art, Design + Cooking | Classic | Music, Dance + Performing Arts| Language + Culture  | Eco + Outdoor skills | Sports | Overnight camps

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) camps

Biology, academics, engineering, coding, and more

Camp Galileo

Galileo Innovation Camps (Alameda, Oakland, El Cerrito, other Bay Area locations)
Drawing from processes developed by the Stanford, these imagination-sparking programs are for kids from pre-K through 8th grade: Camp Galileo (pre-K – 5th graders), Galileo Summer Quest (5th – 8th graders), The Tech Summer Camps (4th – 8th graders). Budding innovators spend time doing art, science, and outdoor activities. Over 25 Bay Area locations.
Website >
Hours: Mon–Fri, 9am–3pm. Extended care from 8am - 6pm.
Price: $399/week for core program; Discounts for multiple-weeks or signing up early.

Alexa Cafe Summer Camp

Alexa Café (Mills College, Oakland)
All-girls summer program for ages 10-15, offering creative courses in coding, web design, and more. Campers learn code, design, film, and engineering atop beanbags and around café tables. Collaboration takes place in small, close-knit clusters alongside tech-savvy mentors in 8:1 ratio.
Website >
Hours: Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm. Overnight camp adds $549 and includes meals.
Price: $949/week; Discounts for multiple-weeks or referrals.

Destination Science Camp

Destination Science (El Cerrito, Glenview, Piedmont)
Science day camp for curious kids age 5 to 11. Campers rock out with the science of sound; build and battle their own dino-robot; launch rockets; so much more. Each day is filled with fun, hands-on science activities with projects to bring home.
Website >
Hours: 8am – 3:30, before care and after care available
Price: $369 a week with early bird discounts available

“This is the best camp that my son has attended ever! The program is interesting and well planned – no down time for kids to wonder what to do next. It is stimulating, educational, and, best of all, FUN! My son LOVES to go to camp every day.” ~ Karen Phelan – Berkeley

Tech Know How Summer Camp

TechKnowHow LEGO and Technology (Alameda and other Bay Area locations)
Teacher-led instruction followed by hands-on learning build camper’s confidence in problem solving. TechKnowHow Summer Camp classes include LEGO projects with motors, K’NEX, NXT Robotics, Arduino, iPad Movie Making and Game Design, and each class features high-interest, age-appropriate projects which teach technology and science skills for children ages 5 to 16.
Website >
Hours: Half Day (9am to noon or 12:30 to 3:30) or Full (9am – 3:30) with extended care 8:30 to 5pm.
Price: $365 to $495/week for full day; Discounts for multiple-weeks and for early registration.

Sarah's Science Camp

Sarah’s Science Camp (Tilden Park, Berkeley and Roberts Park, Oakland)
Each day at camp, kids make and take home a fun science project while exploring complex science topics ranging from physics to chemistry and beyond. Camp also includes hiking, music, art, games, and swimming. For children over age 5. CIT program begins at age 11.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm, plus before care and after care
Price: $380/week or $90/day with sibling and multi-week discounts available

“We love, love, love Sarah’s Science and attend for several weeks every summer. My kids love the projects, the outdoor time and the traditional camp fun (games, hikes and songs). They come home happy, full of new knowledge, dirty and tired!” ~ Mom of 7 & 10 year-old campers.

Camp Edmo

Camp Edmo (Alameda, Oakland, Fremont)
Makers, Arts & Science, Tech & Nature programs for pre-K through 4th grade with 10 unique weekly themes. Each week’s themes are designed by Edventure More in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences and Children’s Creativity Museum. Every week includes Costume Day, Wacky Wednesday, Family Friday and The Vibe Game.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm, before care and after care available
Price: $359/week depending on location (First-time campers save $50 with code FIRST51015). Significant discounts for multiple week enrollment.

“We said it last year and we’ll say it again, Camp Edmo is a great experience for both children and parents; Camp Edmo is a place where they THRIVE. Thank you for the thought and energy you put into making my kid happy and fostering a love of learning and connecting with other people.” ~ Nicole M., 3rd Grade Oakland Parent

Camp EdTech

Camp EdTech (Alameda, Oakland, Fremont)
Digital Media Art camp for entering 5th – 8th graders who will create, direct, edit & star in their own short films and animations, develop 2-D and 3-D Video Games or express their unique perspective of the world in a digital photography program.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm, before care and after care available
Price: $459/week depending on location (First-time campers save $50 with code FIRST51015). Significant discounts for multiple week enrollment.

“Spending summer at camps like Edmo/EdTech has helped my son to be a critical thinker. He asks ‘why’ and has learned how to reason and figure out concepts on a deeper level. 4th grade was a heavy Math and Social Studies year, so I think it’s been timely for him and his development.” ~ Donna C., 5th Grade Alameda Parent

Oakland Zoo Summer Camp

Oakland ZooCamp (Oakland Zoo)
Expect an exciting week of outdoor nature discovery, animal adventures, and fun! Summer Camp activities include zoo tours, interactive stories, puppet play, games, craft projects, science activities and of course, animals up close. Oakland Zoo takes great pride in creating age-appropriate programs for campers in PreK – High School.
Website >
Hours: Full-day programs 9am – 4pm. Half day also available.
Price: $326/week for non-members. Discounts available to members.

iD Tech Camp

iD Tech Camps (Berkeley, Hayward, Oakland, Moraga)
Campers age 7-17 go deep into coding and technology through weeklong, day and overnight programs held at area college campuses. Campers learn code, game design, app development, robotics, web design, film, photography, and more in a fun camp setting. Only 8 students per instructor.
Website >
Hours: Weeklong, day (full and extended) and overnight.
Price: Varies by course and location. Programs start at $879/week.

Quantum Camp

QuantumCamp (Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland)
QuantumCamp offers exciting, hands-on, discovery-based math and science camps exploring the fundamental concepts of both subjects for 1st through 9th graders. In addition to academics, campers take breaks for games, teacher-led science demos, joke telling time, free play, and lunch.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 4pm, plus after care until 5:30
Price: $599 a week with significant earlybird discount available

“THANK YOU for all your work in building such a safe, amazing place for kids to learn and be themselves…”

SPCA animal camp

East Bay SPCA (Oakland, Dublin)
Through hands-on lessons, interactions with a variety of animals and fun animal-themed activities (beekeeper, dog trainer!) children entering grades 1 through 8 will spend a week doing everything animal at the adoption center. Purr-fect experience before you add a furry friend to the family.
Website >

“Our daughter absolutely LOVED the summer animal camp. And we felt so good about sending her to a camp like this especially knowing that the proceeds would go to such a good cause. The animals are amazing, the humans are amazing, and the camp is amazing.” ~ Nicholas W. Castro Valley

Play-Well Teknologies

Play-Well Engineering using LEGO (Albany, Piedmont, Alameda, Fremont & other locations)
Play-Well TEKnologies teaches kids ages 5-13 the concepts of engineering, physics, architecture and robotics through building with LEGO. Learn about fundamental STEM principles in both core (i.e. Pre-Engineering, Engineering FUNdamentals) and themed (i.e. Jedi Engineering, Mine Craft Build, Mindstorms Robotics) camps.
Website >
Hours: Half-day camps, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm (some locations have full-day camps)
Price: Half-day camps start at $175/week (varies by location & curriculum)

“What made the program more than ‘just LEGO?’ The instructors were so well-schooled in engineering, vehicle anatomy (axles, bushings, all kinds of gears, pins, etc), and even a little physics. They brought battery packs, remote control devices, and tons of sophisticated LEGO parts I never knew existed.” ~ Judy R.

ATDP, Academic Talent Development Program (Richmond, Berkeley)
Elementary and middle school scholars take three-week sessions of activity-based academic enrichment like Math-MAGIC or Greek Myths. Each course focuses on one specific subject, allowing students to gain deep knowledge while having fun. Camp is offered as a single three-week block where courses are half-day and not on Wednesdays. Cal Sports and additional “explorations” make camp feasible for working families. Application involves essay, recommendations, and scores.
Website >
Application Deadline: Returning elementary applicants by 3/11; new apps by 3/25. Different schedule for secondary school.
Hours: Morning classes are from 8:30 AM to noon, and pm classes are from 1:00 to 4:30 PM. Each class meets on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Price: $650-$700 covers one session; discounts for siblings. Financial aid available by application.

Lawrence Hall of Science Camp (LHS, Berkeley)
For kids ages 4 up through high school, LHS offers half-day camps on fun topics such as building, oceanography, dinosaurs, game design, and potions.
Website >
Hours: Half day from 9am to noon or 1pm to 4pm. Full-day camps available by combining two sessions and adding supervised lunch. Extended care until 5pm.
Price: $510 per week of full-day ($255 for half-day week); discounts for members or multiple weeks. Need-based scholarships available by application.

SEEK, Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (MLK Elementary, Oakland)
3rd through 5th graders work in student teams designing and building machines using engineering principles. Sponsored by the NSBE (National Society for Black Engineers) to build STEM skills.
Website >
Application Deadline: New students registration February 3, 2015 at 10am EST until all spaces are filled.
Dates: June 22nd- July 10th, must be able to attend the entire session
Hours: 8:30am-3:30pm
Price: FREE for 3-week session

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Art, Design, and Cooking

Hands-on arts, crafts, tinkering, clay, paint, and making food


CAMP 510 (Oakland)
From the producers of the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, comes an engaging, hands-on summer day camp for curious and creative kids ages 6-14. CAMPers will explore studio arts, tinkering, sewing, building, cooking, movement, music, welding, leather-working, river-building, mini-golf course designing, and more. Projects are led by professional artists, makers, performers, gardeners, teachers and chefs in the spirit of D-I-T (do it together).
Website >
Hours: 9-3 with am/pm extended day options
Price: $370-$425/week for 6-10 year-olds; $440-$460 per week for 11-14 year-olds; early bird discounts available

Camp 510 is *the best* camp I can imagine. My 6-year-old had an amazing summer full of rich adventures. She attended every week and loved every minute of it. She’s already talking about how she can’t wait to go next summer! ~ Alisa B. on Yelp

4Cats Arts Studio Summer Camps

4Cats Arts Studio Summer Camps (Kensington)
4cats is a professional art studio for artists ages 2-15. Clay, potter’s wheel, painting, papier mâché & more are just some of the things we might explore! Campers create lots of cool stuff using professional art materials.
Website >
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30pm – 4:30pm, 2 camps running each day in the AM & PM; Extended morning and afternoon options available.
Price: Basic program ($195/Mon-Thurs) is half-day, but if you’re looking for an all day camp, you can enroll your child in both the AM & PM camps at a discounted rate. Please contact the studio for pricing details.

Our daughter has attended summer camp, classes and had her birthdays at 4Cats class in Kensington. She looks forward to every session and comes home with stories about artists and she talks with excitement about the projects she is making. We would highly recommend 4Cats to all the budding artists out there. Rachel from Berkeley

Brushstrokes Studio Summer Camp

Brushstrokes (Berkeley)
Set in a paint-your-own pottery studio, this art camp offers kids a chance to explore all sorts of materials in order to express their own visions and stories. Expect access to lots of clay and paint in addition to canvas, ink, and more. For kids 4-11. Afternoon program for teens and tweens.
Website >
Hours: 9 am – 1 pm for 4-11 year olds
Price: $335/week for half-day camp; $350/week includes camp until 3pm

Richmond Art Center Day Camp

Richmond Art Center Camp (Richmond)
Campers, ages 6 to 13, will use their imaginations in the Richmond Art Center’s summer art camps with hands-on activities ranging from painting, drawing, clay, weaving and collage. Expect small classes with professional artist-instructors and a nurturing environment. Teen camps, ages 12+, feature metals, jewelry, screen-printing, and glass work.
Website >
Hours: Morning is 10am-1pm; Afternoon is 1:30pm-4pm; supervised lunch available
Price: $324-$385 for 3 week-sessions of kids camp; teen camp is priced differently.

Cooking Round the World

Cooking Round the World (Oakland and other East Bay locations)
Campers age 6 to 13 learn about the flavors and cultures around the world with occasional foodie field trips. Cooking Round the World Summer Camps combine hands-on cooking instruction with cultural education to provide a fun and engaging experience. From soups to entrees and desserts, children will learn culinary skills alongside international games and language acquisition.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm or 9am to 1pm
Price: $400 full day; $250 half day, $10/day for before-care

Sticky Art Day Camp

Sticky Art Camp (Berkeley)
Sticky Art Camp offers a mix of structured design and build time, free-play tinkering with exciting reuse materials, outdoor and leisure time in a fun urban studio..
Hours: 9 am to 4 pm, plus after care 4 to 5:30 pm for $10/day
Price: $320/week or $70 daily

Westside art camp

Westside Studio (Berkeley)
Westside camp creates a unique setting for a multi-aged group of young artists to spend warm summer days exploring new ways to paint, draw, make prints, sew, sculpt, and collaborate.
Website >
Hours: 9 to 3 with extended care until 5pm.
Price: $395/week includes all supplies, snacks and trip fees. $100 per week for aftercare until 5 pm or $12 per hour for drop-in.

Jen Burke is one of the most gifted art teachers around. My daughter has gone to her camps for 5 years and spends a big chunk of her summer at Jen’s Westside Studio. For someone whose life is art, I couldn’t recommend her camps enough!~ Terri Friedman professor at CCA

Kalen Meyer Art Camp

Kalen Meyer Art Camp (Berkeley)
Eight individual weeks of exploring art subjects such as book making, printmaking, photography, fabric arts, clay making and more! Projects vary all summer; every week we work on new assignments. Camp classes are small, limited to 18 students, with a 6 to 1 student teacher ratio. For ages 6 to 12.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3pm
Price: $335/week includes all materials.

“It’s amazing what the kids produce in just one week! Not only do the kids love making the art, but their summer projects decorate the walls of our home and impress our guests.” ~ Mother of 2 boy campers

COOK! Culinary Camp (Emeryville)
Morning program builds to a balanced lunch each day where all students cook and clean. Campers will learn knife skills and knife safety, basic cooking techniques set in commercial kitchen with ample workspace and ovens. Weekly themes include Italian, French, Vegetarian, and Desserts. The last day of class includes a meal celebration for parents. For kids 9-16.
Website >
Hours: 9 am – 2 pm for basic program
Price: $540/week

Dancing Paintbrush Studio (Berkeley)
Children ages 5-17 will be exposed to a variety of materials and techniques to nurture artistic development. This small camp (15-20 kids per session) provides lessons on color theory, introduces famous artists in history, takes field trips, and hosts special guests to spark the creative process.
Website >
Hours: 9am-3pm (Before and after care are available from 8am-6pm for an additional fee).
Price: $375/week with all fine art materials included, discounts for bringing a friend along

Kids ‘N Clay (Berkeley)
Campers age 7+ can explore their creativity while learning the art of ceramics.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm
Price: $385/week

Kala Art Institute (Berkeley)
Campers age 6-17 have the opportunity to explore a new medium, learn how to think visually, or simply have fun being creative. Camp Kala includes hands-on art making, gallery tours, and outdoor activities based in West Berkeley. Programs are divided up by age to allow teens to pursue more challenging mediums
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm
Price: $325/week with some discounts available (Tell ‘em 510families sent ya!)

Camp Reel Stories, Media camp for teens (Oakland School for The Arts) Camp Reel Stories is a one week summer camp designed to give 13-18 year old women the skills to empower them to create their own media, to view current media critically and thoughtfully, and to aspire to leadership in their field. Working in small, collaborative groups and utilizing accessible technologies, the campers will be encouraged to actively participate in creating their own short film from leaders in the film industry!
Website >
Dates: June 16-21; July 14-19
Hours: 9 to 5:30
Price: $475/week Financial Aid Available

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Classic Day Camps

Body moving, outside, running around, old-fashioned fun (formerly called “general”)

Sarahs Science outdoor day camp
Sarah’s Science Camp (Tilden Park, Berkeley and Roberts Park, Oakland)
Each day at camp, kids make and take home a fun science project while exploring complex science topics ranging from physics to chemistry and beyond. Camp also includes hiking, music, art, games, and swimming. For children over age 5. CIT program begins at age 11.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm, plus before care and after care
Price: $380/week or $90/day with sibling and multi-week discounts available

“We love, love, love Sarah’s Science and attend for several weeks every summer. My kids love the projects, the outdoor time and the traditional camp fun (games, hikes and songs). They come home happy, full of new knowledge, dirty and tired!” ~ Mom of 7 & 10 year-old campers.

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Camp

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym (S. Berkeley)
For ages 3 to 8, We Rock the Spectrum – Berkeley Summer Camp offers 1 to 4 ratio, fun structured indoor play, arts & crafts, dance, fitness, music. Parents to provide snacks, lunch & drinks plus change of clothes. Call to reserve your spot: (510) 845-9787.
Facebook >
Hours: 9am – 2pm, plus after care available until 5pm
Price: $59/day and $12/hour for extended care hours

Roughing it day camp

Roughing It (Lafayette Reservoir, free pickup from many {510} locations)
Roughing It Day Camp is an all-outdoor summer day camp for children age 4-16. Activities include instruction in horseback riding, swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, overnight camp outs and more! Free transportation from many convenient Bay Area locations. Four and eight-week sessions available.
Hours: 9am-3pm; extended care available
Price: Prices vary, see dates and rates. Discounts for early birds, siblings, and friend referrals.

“I believe there’s a lot to be said for a camp that celebrates kids being kids, under the watchful eye of people who have been doing this for years” ~ Damon M., Camper ParentSt Pauls Day Camp
St. Paul’s Day Camp (Oakland)
St. Paul’s Summer Camp, located just a few steps away from Lake Merritt in Oakland, hosts a variety of thematic one-week camps such as Art, Basketball, Fun In the Sun, and Medley camps (lots of fun stuff in one busy day). Two academic camps offered for students entering kindergarten and sixth grade. Programs offered for grades K through 6.
Hours: 9am – 3pm for the core program; extended care available 7:30 – 6pm 9:00am–3:00pm.
Price: $350 – $375/week; $40/wk for before-care; $120/wk for after-care. Discounts for siblings and if you mention 510families.

Gan Israel Camp

Camp Gan Israel (Berkeley)
Gan Israel offers a fun-filled and enriching camp for kids of all Jewish backgrounds and affiliations with swim lessons, ceramics, field trips, baking, and warm counselors. Transportation provided from North Berkeley BART. Ages 4 to 13.
Hours: 9am – 3:30pm for the core program; extended care available
Price: $300/week or $850/3 week session

Girls on the Go Camp

Girls on the Go! (Berkeley, Oakland)
Girls ages 9 to 13 explore the Bay Area in a series of fun field trips (e.g. mini-golfing, ice-skating, ferry rides, movies, and baseball games) and workshops led by women leaders (e.g. cooking, lip balm making, needle felting, henna, and dance). Travel via public transportation empowers the girls to gain more independence in a safe way. Staff co-creates fun, supportive community so girls feel connected.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm with aftercare available
Price: $420/week

“Uplifting. What can I say about this camp but I LOVE IT!! My daughter has been going for 3-4 years now and looks forward to it every summer. The excursions they chose are perfect for that age range.” ~ Negar from Activity Hero

Monkey Business Camp

Monkey Business (Berkeley, Oakland)
Tilden Park Programs for Ages 4½ -15. Campers will experience art, games, cooking, and outdoor activities dictated by weekly themes. Days are spent entirely outdoors with 1-2 days swimming each week. Ages: 4.5-10 campers, 11-15 for youth leaders. See also Papaya program for 3-4 year olds. Registration information not yet available.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3pm with extended from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Price: $420/week

“Monkey Business is camp the way camp is supposed to be: a talented and warm staff, in a beautiful location, offering the variety of fun that summer camp should have: games, songs, crafts, water play, tie dying, hiking, drama, and other adventures!”

Berkeley Day Camp (Berkeley)
This general day camp provides a chance for children ages 5-12 to explore our local parks. A typical week includes two days in Tilden Park and two days at the Berkeley Marina. Swim Day occurs every Friday and campers visit various beach locations, such as Lake Anza in Tilden Park or Crown Beach in Alameda (by bus, not your car).
Hours: 9am – 3:30pm for the core program; extended care available at Willard Clubhouse 7:30 – 6pm
Price: $169/week for core program to Berkeley residents and $202/week for non-residents.

Crestmont Summer Camp (Richmond)
Crestmont Summer camp is open to the whole community not just students of the school. Camp strives to give children, K – 6th grade, a balance between structured & unstructured time. Themes make each week different; each Tuesday involves swimming.
Hours: 9am – 4pm; extended care available
Price: $280/week with discounts for multiple weeks.

Julia Morgan Girls Camp (Mills College)
Julia Morgan School for Girls (JMSG) summer camp offers 3 summer sessions to girls entering 4th through 6th grade based on a theme and supporting different learning styles. Campers can enjoy dance, music, sports, science, poetry, art and crafts, games that include a creative component, group work, and opportunity for self-reflection.
Website >
Hours: 8:30am to 3:30pm with extended care available
Price: $400 with discounts available to earlybirds. Financial aid available.

Camp Kee Tov (bus pick up in N. Berkeley and Oakland, camp at Beth El)
Camp Kee Tov is a traditional Jewish camp in which participants spend their days deep in the woods doing skits, singing, and having good, safe fun without realizing they’re learning leadership and social skills. Each age group has an age-appropriate overnight trip. Camp Kee Tov welcomes children of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Sessions are four weeks long. As of February, some age groups are already full, waitlist is open.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3pm with extended from 7:30am to 6pm
Price: Choose 1 or 2 four-week sessions (1) Jun 22 – Jul 17 or (2) Jul 27 to Aug 21, $1125-$1600, discounts for Beth-El members. Financial aid available before March 31.

Camp Tzofim (Oakland Hills with drop off in N. Berkeley available)
Campers will experience traditional camp activities focusing on play while celebrating Jewish traditions. Expect outdoor play, songs and games and for your camper to come home dirty. Occasional late night or overnight depending on age group. 5th-9th grade groups enjoy a week of onsite fun and field trips, followed by 2-4 nights of overnight adventures around California. For pre-K through CIT in 11th grade. Sessions are two weeks long.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm, Extended care available 8am to 6pm at either N. Berkeley or Oakland JCC locations.
Price: Find prices on this page; rates vary by age and JCC membership status; early bird and sibling discounts also available.

Steve and Kate’s (Berkeley at The Berkeley School; Oakland at Park Day School)
This multi-disciplinary camp has a unique kid-driven agenda, and a parent-friendly schedule. Kids plan their own day at a Steve and Kate’s camp, attending whichever activities interest them, including sports, film-making, cooking, and more. Extra staff guide the youngest campers through their day. No sessions are required and you can switch locations as needed. (There are sites in San Francisco and Marin as well as the East Bay.)
Website >
Hours: Doors are open from 7:30 am to 6 pm but you can use any portion of the day within that window.
Price: Pay by the day for $89/day. 5-day packs are $79/day. 20-day packs are $69/day. $2,415 gives you unlimited access for the summer.

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Music, Dance and Performing Arts

Instruments, singing, dance, circus arts, and theater

Aurora summer camp

Aurora Theater Arts Camp (Oakland)
A unique theater camp focused on community building, with an original production of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” for the 2015 summer. Runs for 4 weeks in July. Additionally, they offer 3 week-long general camps at the beginning and end of summer.
Website >
Dates: Theater Arts camp runs from July 6 to July 31. Other programs are in June and August.
Hours: 9am-3pm with am/pm extended day options from 8am to 6pm
Price: $350 – $375 per week with discounts available for multiple weeks and early birds.

My son LOVES Aurora Camps! He has been coming for years and every year there are new art, music and sport camp offerings for him to choose from. The camp instructors are loving people whom I can trust to take great care of my son. ~ Happy mom of a 5-year Aurora Camps participant

Crowden summer camp

Crowden Music Camps (Berkeley)
Crowden Music Center in Berkeley offers fun and inspiring music camps for ages 3-22: Instrument Discovery, Summer Strings, Piano Partners & more!
Website >
Dates: One week programs vary for ages, hours and prices.

This was my favorite music camp ever! – Liliana, age 7

Mr D Music camp

Mr.D’s Music and Arts Summer Camp (Oakland)
A playful approach to the exciting world of performing and fine arts for kids of all abilities, ages 8-13. Children explore their vocal abilities, listen to their favorite songs, learn and design their own dances, create original art, learn yoga, play games, go on field trips, and put on a performance in a safe and supportive environment. With special guest artists every day.
Website >
Hours: 9 am-3:30 pm. Extended Care hours are 8am-9, 3pm-5pm for $7 per hour.
Price: $325 per week. Early Bird discount before May 31. Multi-week discounts, sibling discounts, and referral discounts available.

Like Mr. D himself, it is a one-of-a-kind camp… a place where magic happens. If you are looking for a place for your child to giggle, celebrate life, sing, giggle and sing some more… THEN THIS IS THE CAMP! ~ Bibi J. Oakland 2013

Go Girls camp

Go Girls! Camp (North Oakland Community Charter School, JCC of the East Bay in Oakland, and Lincoln Middle School in Alameda)
Go Girls! Camp is not just a summer camp, it is a movement to ignite compassion by helping girls take center stage. During two-week sessions, rising 1st-6th graders make and perform their very own peaceful and powerful plays that we believe will change the world.
Website >
Hours: 9am-4pm; Aftercare is only available at the JCC of the East Bay site.
Price: $670 per 2-week session

Audition Skills Summer Camp (Grand Lake, Oakland)
A two week intensive summer audition skills program for intermediate thru advanced vocal and theater performers ages 10-18 to fully prepare for auditions and GET IN!
Website >
Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM
$985 for a two-week session; early bird discount

BandWorks Summer Camp (Oakland)
For kids 8+, BandWorks Rock n’ Roll Camp is open to young beginners through advanced, older teen players. Professional musician-instructors create a fun and supportive environment while they teach kids the skills they need to play in a rock band-and make new friends in the process. Campers may enroll for a 1/2 day or full day. All instruments welcome! By the end of the week, students are performing.
Website >
Hours: AM session: 9am-12noon; PM session: 1pm-4pm, (campers signing up for full day will be provided lunch supervision); before care and after care available
Price: $275 – $300 per week

Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s Summer Performers Camp (Alameda & Piedmont)
Campers learn acting, singing, and dancing skills as they rehearse Peter Pan. Whether novice or seasoned performers, this fast-paced, two week musical theater production camp will prepare you for final performances in front of your family and friends. Skill building and stage confidence will be emphasized along with group participation. Little Performers option is a one week, half day camp that teaches basic theater skills and includes final performances in Peter Pan Jr.
Website >
Hours: Young Performers: Ages 7 – 14, 9am – 4pm (PM extended care optional); Little Performers: Ages 5 – 6, 9am – 12pm
Price: $525 Young Performers (2-week program); $180 Little Performers (1-week program)

Camp Central (Richmond)
A collaboration between three Richmond-based kid classes results in a day camp that provides Art + Gymnastics + Dance.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 5pm with before and after care available to reach a 7:45am to 6pm day
Price: Half-day – $200/week; Full Day – $390/week

Children’s Fairyland (Oakland)
Children aged 5 (entering kindergarten) through 10 can explore the Fairyland theme park –- animals, plants, puppets, rides! -– develop social, emotional and conflict resolution skills, and use their imaginations and teamwork to create original end of the week plays (themes change each week and range from princesses to outer space) in a nurturing camp environment.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 5pm with am/pm extended day options
Price: $300 non-members; $275 for members

Doug’s Drama (Oakland Hills)
Full day theater camps in two-week sessions for students entering grades K-8 culminating in a full-length evening performance at the end of the session. In addition to creative drama and storytelling, camp includes lots of outdoor playtime. First two sessions are K-4 and third session is for grades 3-8.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 3pm, before and after care available
Price: $590 K-3 or $630 Grades 3-8 per two-week session

Fiddlekids (Berkeley) One week only
Fiddlekids is a summer day camp devoted to traditional fiddle music. Campers will explore bluegrass, Appalachian, Celtic, jazz, and other traditional styles through tunes and songs. In addition to fiddling, Fiddlekids offers art and dance classes in small groups. Camp culminates in a Saturday performance at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. Fiddlekids is open to violin students ages 7 to 14 with at least one year’s playing experience.
Website >
Dates: June 22-June 26 (final concert on Saturday, June 27, from 9am–11:30am)
Hours: 9am-3:30 at Berkwood Hedge School except final show
Price: $520 for full week, early bird and sibling discounts available.

Ha Ha This A-Way (Berkeley)
For ages 5 to 9 years old, this day camp offers dance, acting, circus arts, clowning, field trips with plenty of time for free play. The primary goals are to promote movement confidence, balance and performance skills in a low pressure environment. One 4-week session concludes with a performance.
Website >
Dates: July 13 to August 7
Hours: 9am to 3pm with no aftercare
Price: 4-week sessions /$1250

Kids ‘N Dance (Oakland-Redwood Heights/Laurel District)
Kids ‘N Dance ‘N Theater Arts offers dance, musical theater, gymnastic/circus arts and general day camps for pre-school through middle school students.  Full day, part day, and puzzle-piecing two camps in one week are all available options, with and without field trips. Visit the website to discover all that Kids ‘N Dance Theater Arts has to offer this summer.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Price: Call for details

Kinetic Art Center (Oakland)
Campers days are filled with clowning, trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, climbing and general circus happiness.
Website >
Hours: 9 am to 4 pm
Price: $420/week, significant early bird discount for Feb registrations

Luna Dance Summer Camps (Berkeley)
Luna Dance offers a mini camp for 5-7 y/o, a full day camp for 8-11 y/o, and a teen choreography workshop intensive. Students discover, invent, perform & respond through the ART of dance.
Website >

Shawl Anderson Half-day Dance Camps (Berkeley)
Half-day dance camps are offered for different ages and dance specialties throughout the summer including middle school and high school age. Dance Camp for ages 6-9 will offer all styles of dance and take place as a morning camp during one week. Hip Hop Camp for ages 9-11 will take place in the morning only. Find more details on the website.
Website >
Hours: Morning sessions are 9am-12:30pm; afternoons are 12:30-4pm
Price: $225/week

Trapeze Arts (Oakland)
Trapeze Arts Circus Camp is for kids ages 7-14, campers learn flying trapeze, trampoline, aerial arts and more and put on a show every Friday for families and friends!
Website >
Hours: 9-3 with aftercare available
Price: $375/week

Language & Culture

Writing, reading, speaking, and immersion into other cultures

Young Writers Camp

Young Writers Camp (Albany, Oakland & other Bay Area locations)
Sponsored by the Bay Area Writing Project and UC Berkeley, camp offers kids entering 3rd through 9th grades a unique opportunity to develop their creative abilities and writing talents in a relaxed camp atmosphere. Teen writing camps also available.
Website >
Hours: 9am – noon
Price: $550 for three-week session

EFBA French immersion camp

EFBA French Immersion (N. Berkeley & other Bay Area locations)
Education Française Bay Area offers week-long immersion in French for grades K-5 exploring French-speaking cultures through sports, cooking, games, music, art, and more. Pre-teen program offered through 8th grade.
Website >
Hours: 8am or 9am – 3pm (morning welcome is free) with extended care until 6pm
Price: $410 per week with discounts for current students, multiple weeks, early registration

“My 6-year-old daughter was very happy with this summer camp.The staff was great, nurturing and loving. The activities were fun and engaging, the kids had a lot of fun. She learned songs and played games I used to play when I was a kid in France” ~ Caroline J, parent

Edah Jewish camp

Edah Summer Camp (Berkeley)
Edah Berkeley is a high quality Hebrew language, Jewish experiential summer camp and after-school learning program for children K-5 and their families.
Website >
Dates: Edah Hebrew Adventure: June 15-19th
Hours: Mon-Thur 9am-5:15pm & Fri 9am-4:15pm; early drop-off available
Price: $395 / Edah Members $350

SF Clinical Psychology Camp

Clinical Camp (San Francisco State)
Staffed by professional therapists, Clinical Camp is an opportunity for bright and motivated teenagers to learn more about how they experience themselves and the world through discussion of Freud, subjectivity, and other psychological principles. For curious 9th through 12th graders. Note: this is not a therapy camp.
Website >
Dates and Hours: June 15-26, 2015 M, W, F 9:00am-1:00pm
Price: $750 per session

“H. has really enjoyed the class, and I have enjoyed hearing about it. It reminds me how interesting the study of psychology is and may even motivate me to take a local college class on the subject next year.”

EBI Spanish Summer Camps

Escuela Bilingüe Internacional Spanish Summer Camp (Oakland, Emeryville)
EBI campers will explore art, music, science, gardening, movement and dozens of other enriching activities in Spanish. For children ages 3 to 15 (potty trained). No prior Spanish speaking experience required for the first two sessions. Choose themes during registration. Sessions are part-day and two-weeks long.
Website >
Hours: 8:30am-4:00pm, with extended care and half day available
Price: $340-$400 per two-week session of half-days (or about the same for one week of full days)

Shu Ren Mandarin Immersion camp (Berkeley) xxx
Children who are interested in learning Mandarin language skills and Chinese cultural knowledge through fun, immersion-based activities and hands-on field trips. No prior Mandarin skills needed. Pre-K Camp is for Ages 2 years and 6 months old to 4 years and 7 months. Must be potty trained. The school-age camp spans ages 5 to 13. Camp is offered in five two-week session.
Website >
Hours: 8:30am – 3pm with extended care available from 7:30am to 6pm
Price: $800 per 2 week session (Pre-K campers may choose one week only)

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Eco & Outdoor Skills

Adventure, sailing, wilderness, tree-climbing, and farming

Avid 4 Adventure Camp

Avid4 Adventure (Oakland and other Bay Area locations)
Fun and empowering, Avid4 Adventure camps teach pre-K through 7th graders of all levels to climb, paddle, bike, hike and thrive in the outdoors.
Hours: 9am-3pm Extended care: 8:00am-5:30pm
Price: $435/week. Early bird discount available.

“Avid4 Adventure gives campers solid skills and character-shaping confidence, launching them into a lifetime of empowering adventure.”

Kids for the Bay summer camp

Kids for the Bay (All drop offs in Berkley area, locations vary daily)
KIDS for the BAY summer camps take advantage of the amazing natural spaces around the Bay. Campers will study aquatic invertebrates, create nature art, explore the beach, and kayak on the bay. Hands-on outdoor science and nature programs facilitated by professional environmental educators. Camp sessions for 5-7, 8-10, and 11-13 year olds include local nature field trips (transportation provided).
Website >
Hours: 9am – 4pm; extended care to 5 pm
Price: $340/wk for core program. Early registration discount available.

“This is exactly what camp is supposed to be: stimulating, outdoors, organized and with interpretive guidance of individual environments… and FUN! All of the counselors were great, energetic, responsive, flexible, patient and optimistic! We’ll be back!” ~ Ry’s Parent, 2014

Berkeley Forest School (Tilden Park, Berkeley)
Berkeley Forest School’s nature-immersion summer camps offer a hands-on collaborative learning and playing experience, building skills, character and connection with nature. Campers ages 4 to 9 will use tools, climb trees, and build fires (with adult supervision).
Website >
Hours: 9am to noon for younger campers, 9am to 2pm for older campers
Price: $250 for ages 4-6, $325 for ages 6-9

Sailing & Boating (Oakland at Lake Merritt and Jack London Square)
Youth ages 7-17 come to Lake Merritt for boating adventures. Younger children use various boats and learn about the animals and ecology of the lake and older kids learn to sail. Advanced sailors go to the Oakland Estuary to advance their skills.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3:30pm, after care available
Price: $165 per week, more for non-residents

Trackers (Berkeley)
Day and overnight camps feature a range of themes: wilderness survival, homesteading crafts, role-playing adventure, archery, and much more for children entering 1st grade through 9th. The youngest campers learn the beginnings of these new and fun skills.
Website >
Hours: 8:30am to 4pm, After care available to 6pm
Price: $425 per week; Early Bird and other discounts available

Urban Adamah Farm Camp (Berkeley)
Camp Urban Adamah offers campers a taste of organic farm life through fun and dynamic experiential programs at an urban farm. Whether they are planting, harvesting, building mud forts or preparing meals in solar ovens, campers have the opportunity to explore the wonders of the natural world right here in the city. Camp draws inspiration from Jewish tradition. Open to children entering 1st–5th grades.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3pm, After care available
Price: $395 per week; Early Bird Discounts available

See many more adventurous options in our sleepaway camp guide!

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Sports Camps

Soccer, gymnastics, basketball, martial arts, skateboarding, and more!

Bladium day camp

Camp Bladium (Alameda)
Children, ages 4-14, can experience a wide variety of activities: rock climbing, basketball, arts & crafts, laser tag, jumpers, LEGO, karaoke, and water slides. Healthy snacks and lunches provided. Specialized single-sport camps are also available.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 5pm with free extended care 7:30am to 6pm; half day: 9am to 1pm with free extended drop-off
Price: $300 per week for full day; $225 for half day. Discounts available for multiple weeks and to members.

Future Star Baseball camp

Future Star Baseball Camp (Oakland)
Future Star Baseball offers baseball camps for players 6 to 12 of all abilities. Coach Ben and his staff emphasize skill building and teamwork with regular turns at the batting cage.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm for full day with 9am to noon or 12:30pm to 3:30pm for half days, extended care available
Price: $330-$350 per week for full days, $175/half day hitting camp or bat-n-ball; discounts for siblings and multi-week commitments.

“My son started going to Future Star when he was seven and has wanted to return each year. Ben and his crew do a great job making every kid feel part of the group and at the same time giving them individual instruction. Your child will improve at these baseball camps.” ~ Father of a 11-year Future Star Baseball camper

Cal Youth Camps

Cal Summer Youth Programs (Berkeley)
Cal offers camps for pre-K to high school students in a huge variety of sports camps, including some full-day multi-sports program. Please visit their website to find options ranging from Martial Arts camp, Gymnastics camp, Outdoor Adventure camp and more. Hours and prices vary.
Website >

Cal Golden Bears Gymnastics Camp (Berkeley)
Gymnastics, dance, and trampoline activities for “Bear Cubs” ages 5-6 in morning or afternoon half-day sessions; and full day activities for ages 6-18 across all levels of gymnastics. Find details on the
Website >
Hours: Full day 9-3:30; Half day 9-12 or 12:30 to 3:30
Price:Full Day $295; Half Day

Head Over Heels (Emeryville)
Day camp program for kids 4+ offers gymnastics and circus arts, plus playground games and arts + crafts. Each Friday ends with a performance for the parents and friends.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm for full-day camp; 9am to 12pm for half-day camp, before care and after care available for $20/day
Price: Full-day camp: $325/week; Half-day camp: $245/week; day rate $70/day; discounts for mulitiple weeks, siblings, and early registration

Jack Hyde Soccer Camp (Caldecott Field, Oakland)
Emphasis upon improving your soccer game & skills in a positive fun environment for boys & girls age 6-12. Beginning & advanced players welcome. Discounted gear available throughout camp.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm for full day with 9am to noon or 1pm to 4pm for half days, extended care available from 8am to 5:30pm
Price: $310 per week for full days, $155/half day camp

Jensen Redondo Tennis Academy (Caldecott Field, Oakland)
Emphasis upon progressive learning for campers age 5 to 10 making it engaging and fun to learn tennis. Campers ages 10 to 17 focus in fundamentals and stroke improvements.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 4pm
Price: $375 per week

Monkey Ninja Camp @ Athletic Playground (Emeryville)
This morning drop-in camp focuses on Parkour and acrobatics. Get ready to jump, vault roll, flip, land and go through creative obstacle courses. Ages 5-13.
Website >
Hours: 9am – 12pm, drop-in
Price: $75 per 3-hour session; discounts for multiple days & members

Sonny Dykes Youth Football (Berkeley, Cal Memorial Stadium)
The SD youth program is run by the Cal Football coaching staff, as well as current Cal players. “Bears in training” camp is designed to improve a child’s beginning, intermediate or advanced skill level. Fundamentals of all positions on offense and defense are taught in addition to life skills such as respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, teamwork and the importance of education. Participants are grouped based on age and skill level. Boys and girls ages 5-13 are welcome.
Website >
Hours: 9am to 3pm; aftercare available for $25/day
Price: $400/week

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All decisions for this guide were made by Heather and Whitney, founders of, we apologize for any errors or glaring omissions. Promotional consideration was paid by sponsored listings as indicated. If you’d like to be considered for future Camp Guides, please see this info page or contact us at for information.

We work really hard to make sure that prices and hours are accurate but they do change throughout the season; please check with vendor for current rates and availability; and tell ‘em 510families sent ya!

10 East Bay Parents’ Night Out (PNO) options

Parents Night Out events are fantastic excuses for a drop-off kid party hosted by a local venue in which children eat pizza, have dessert (gasp!), watch movies, and play with other kids of a similar age until way past their bedtimes. The formula varies depending on which organization is playing host. In some cases, your kids will do gymnastics, in others they’ll zonk out in front of Frozen.

Water play at Habitot

Regardless, you’ll hurry back on a deadline and bring home your child after date night and scrub, brush, and tuck into bed. Might one of these options work for your family? Only you can determine that, but I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!

Here are seven to consider for your next date night:

  1. Habitot. In Berkeley, this PNO includes supervised museum exploration for kids age 2 to 7 and a pizza dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30 on the fourth Friday of each month (except during the holidays when it is the third Friday). $39/$29 each sibling. Website>
  2. Berkeley YMCA. Called Kids Night Out, this program is for children age 2 to 11 for 5pm to 10pm on Saturdays and includes age-appropriate recreation activities (including swimming for ages 5 and up) and crafts to go with your pizza. $30 for members/$41 non-members. Website>
  3. Head over Heels. In Emeryville, kids over age 4 can flip, bounce, and dine before they chill out with a movie from 6pm to 10:30 every Friday night. Pizza is provided, snack is not. $35/$30 for each sibling. Website>
  4. Alameda Color Me Mine. Called Kids Night Out for good reason, kids can paint pottery and eat ice cream before their movie of the month from 6pm to 9pm on occasional Saturdays. Suggested for ages 4 and up from 6pm to 9pm. $25/+$20 each sibling includes pottery project but NO DINNER. Website >
  5. JCC. In both Oakland and Berkeley, parents can drop children off one Saturday a month from 5:30 to 10pm. Kids over age 4 make dinner together, play games, and watch a movie together. $45/+$25 each sibling. $10 Discount for members. Website>
  6. Cal Youth Gymnastics. The Golden Bear PNO program from 6pm to 10pm on periodic Saturdays promises food, fun, games, and lots of gymnastics with no prior experience required. Whitney reviewed this Parent’s Night Out previously. Walk-ins allowed. $25 per child. Website>
  7. Oakland Zoo. The Zoo has reserved select dates for both Parent’s Night Outs and a daytime version. Kids get fed, led on a walk around the Zoo, and head back to the auditorium for a visit with a special animal and/or a movie. Website>
  8. Ruby’s Tumbling. This gymnastics center in Alameda offers night care for three hours on select dates. Visit website to see next scheduled date.
  9. Bladium. Dinner and snacks included for ages 5-12 in the Kids Club. 5:00-9:30pm, select Saturdays, listed on website.  $36 first child, $26 for each additional child. Note they must have 5 children enrolled to host the evening.
  10. Brushstrokes Studio. An evening of art-making for kids from 6 to 8.30, pizza included. Price is $30 and includes food and a piece of $16 pottery for painting. You’ll pick up the finished piece a week later.

Head over Heels camp or PNO
Before you drop off your child:

  1. Always make a reservation.
  2. Double-check the pick up and drop off times. You won’t want to miss a minute (or be late).
  3. Pack a bag (if needed). Do you need to provide swimsuit, food, or jammies? Don’t forget the goods.
  4. Now, get out of there and have fun!

Our preschool hosts monthly kid parties in which the children stick around until 11pm, eat pizza, and fall asleep watching a movie. This setup is my measure for all other such programs. I’m excited that there are so many kinds to choose from in our area, starting for children as young as two-years old.

Do you have a favorite PNO location that I missed?

ps I didn’t intend to leave anyone off the list. It can be hard to keep track and we’d rather err on the side of sending you to ones that are really going to happen!

[Photos from all rights reserved]