These are some of the best places to go for toddlers, with special attention given to the amazing indoor destinations and play places in the East Bay.
This guide is sponsored by Redwood Pediatric Dentistry. Oakland’s Redwood Pediatric Dentistry offers a free first visit for kids under 2 and a $120 New Patient Special for patients who do not have dental insurance.
Best Places to Go for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Indoor Play Spaces & Gyms to Use Big Energy
Kids Play Zone, Oakland. Climb giant structures, slide through tunnels, wobble in the ball pit, or engage in imaginative play at this wonderful indoor playspace.
Acrobatics gyms that welcome kids. Tumble, flip, and use gymnastics equipment. Open Gym is a toddler parents’ best friend. Check out one of these many gymnastic gyms for drop-in hours or a class you can join for a session.
Richmond Swim Center. Splash in the toddler zone at the Richmond Swim Center with Tot Splash, where little kids from 0-6 can play without the big kids. AquaTech Swim Center, Alameda has open rec swim hours, as do Albany Swim Center and The Plunge in Richmond.
Yama Kids Yoga, Berkeley invites children to work on their sun salutations and balance at drop-in classes.
Pump It Up, Oakland. Open Jump lets kids come jump and play freely on the equipment. Check the schedule. Must be 34″ to jump.
Berkeley’s Wee Play sessions for ages 1-4. James Kenney Gym Tuesday/Thursday; sessions run Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 am – 11 am. Drop-ins welcome.
Great Places for Little Animal Lovers
Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward means big fun with small animals daily at this wildlife education facility with indoor and outdoor space.
Crab Cove Visitor Center, Alameda hosts regular fish feedings and youth-oriented lessons about our local ecosystem.
East Bay Vivarium, Berkeley is the perfect spot to watch creepy crawlies at the East Bay Vivarium at no charge. If you don’t want to go home with any of the residents, maybe tell your toddler it’s a reptile museum. Other stuff to do on Fourth Street with your kid >
Environmental Education Center in Tilden Park hosts toddler-friendly nature exhibits at the Nature Area Environmental Education Center right next to the Little Farm. Find other free and cheap activities for little ones in Tilden Park.
Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek Learn about wildlife through daily meet and greets, lunchtime feedings, hands-on activities, and a museum of local fauna.
Dr. Niekia Franklin has been proudly serving the East Bay community for the past 6 years in Oakland and Castro Valley. Now, she is thrilled to announce the opening of her dream office, Redwood Pediatric Dentistry. Our office is designed to provide comprehensive dental care to infants, children, and teenagers in a fun and relaxing environment. Our mission is to make dental treatment personalized and comfortable for every child who walks through our doors. We want our patients to enjoy visiting us and leave with a positive experience, often not wanting to leave! To help achieve this, we have added several comforts, including our therapy dog in training, Hawley, the Litezilla play wall (shown above), TVs above each patient chair, books, and a play area.
Learn more or book an appointment online here: RedwoodPediatricDentist.com >
Places Toddlers Can Make Art
Sticky Art Lab, Berkeley. Upcycle and invent something new during open lab hours on Saturdays.
La Peña, Berkeley offers cool Puerto Rican-inspired drum and dance workshops at Bomba y Plena on Monday afternoons from 4 pm – 5 pm. All ages and skill levels are welcome.
BAMPFA, Berkeley. This world-class art museum invites kids and families to get creative in the Art Lab on weekends. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is free for children under 13 and one accompanying adult.
Kid-Friendly Museums & Indoor Spaces
Public libraries. Bring a huge tote bag and check out the maximum number of books and DVDs from the library. It is usually storytime somewhere! Libraries also have so much more to offer than just books for kids and families.
OMCA: Oakland Museum of California offers tons of great exhibits, tasty snacks, and touch-friendly interactive areas for little kids. There’s also a giant lawn to run around.
Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland. Indulge your little astronaut with a giant telescope, space gear to see and wear, and exhibits designed for little hands.
Your local bookstore and grab a coffee while your little one browses (ha!). Many local bookshops offer author events, storytimes and even crafting projects. Mr. Mopps Bookstore has comfy seating and FatApples is right across the street (muffins!).
What are your favorite indoor places to take toddlers in the East Bay? Drop them in the comments!
Big thanks to Dr. Niekia Franklin and Redwood Pediatric Dentistry for sponsoring today’s round-up of terrific preschooler outings.