25 Places to Take Preschoolers in the East Bay - Indoors - 510 Families

25 Places to Take Preschoolers in the East Bay – Indoors

These are some of the best inside places to go for toddlers, with special attention given to the amazing indoor destinations and play places in the East Bay. These spots are great for when it is too wet to go out and too cold to play ball.

child crawling through a tunnel made of soft play foam
Crawling through the soft play tunnel | Photo: Pump It Up of Oakland

This guide is sponsored by Pump it Up of Oakland, Alameda County’s premiere children’s birthday party place.

Best Places to Go for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Indoor Play Spaces & Gyms to Use Big Energy

Pump It Up, Oakland. Open Jump & Preschool Jump sessions let kids jump and play freely on the equipment. Check the schedule. Must be 34″ to jump. Make any day a party at special drop-in bounce hours for $15/child: Preschool Jump (ages 0-6) Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 to 11 am, $15 per child and Open Jump (all ages) Friday 3 to 5 pm. Location: 2500 Embarcadero Ste A, Oakland

pump it up bouncers with lots of bubbles
Pump It Up Preschool Jump sessions include a bubble dance party. | Photo: Natalie Nicolson

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.

Alameda’s Wee Play sessions for ages 6 months to 3 years are M/W/F mid-day at Alameda Veterans Memorial Building. Drop-ins welcome.

free Berkeley’s Together Wee Play sessions for ages 1-4. James Kenney Gym Tue/Thu; San Pablo Park sessions run Mon/Wed mornings. Drop-ins welcome.

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 Aquatic Center and The Plunge in Richmond.

Swings & Wings. Alameda’s indoor play space has limited hours and big fun for children under eight.

Yama Kids Yoga, Berkeley invites children to work on their sun salutations and balance at drop-in classes.

Related: 30 Places to Play Outside with East Bay Toddlers >

Related: Great Classes to Take with East Bay Toddlers >

Favorite Places for Little Animal Lovers

Child holding a tarantula at Sulphur Creek Hayward
Child holding a tarantula at Sulphur Creek Hayward | Photo: Linda Bernardi ANatureMom.com

free Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward means big fun with small animals daily at this wildlife education facility with indoor and outdoor space.

free Crab Cove Visitor Center, Alameda hosts regular fish feedings and youth-oriented lessons about our local ecosystem.

free 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 >

free Little Farm, Tilden Park. The Environmental Education Center hosts toddler-friendly nature exhibits 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.

Related: 15 places where kids can see animals (most of them free!) >>


Because Pump It Up parties are 100% private, they are especially great for preschool age. Parents can relax knowing that it’s only their guests on the inflatables at all times!

pump it up oakland room of bouncers
Photo provided by Pump It Up of Oakland

Places Toddlers Can Make Art

free 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.

Color Me Mine, Alameda or Brushstrokes Berkeley invite artists, young and older, to paint pottery. Make a huge hot chocolate mug or four small mismatched snack plates signed by the artiste!

Habitot Children’s Museum, Emeryville has imaginative play, a rocketship simulator, and a wonderful little art and maker studio. Find it in Bay Street.

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.

free MOCHA workshops at the libraries, Berkeley and Oakland. The Museum of Children’s Art leads free weekly art workshops at area libraries. Schedules change with the seasons.

Sticky Art Lab, Berkeley. Upcycle and invent something new during open lab hours on Saturdays.

Related: 10 places children can drop in to make art >>

OMCA Kids Nature Playspace Tent
Little imaginations can run wild at OMCA Kids: Nature Playspace. | Photo: OMCA

Kid-Friendly Museums & Indoor Spaces

free 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.

Related: How to get free admission to Bay Area museums >

Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley. Meet small mammals and reptiles at Animal Discovery Zone, visit the Outdoor Nature Lab, or enjoy one of the rotating science exhibits.

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.

Related: 10+ Places to Drop In for less than $10 with East Bay Toddlers >

What are your favorite indoor places to take toddlers and preschoolers in the East Bay? Drop them in the comments!

pump it up logo

Big thanks to Pump It Up of Oakland for sponsoring today’s guide. Join the popular weekly Preschool Jump (ages 0-6) and Open Jump (all ages)! They offer 100% private birthday & team parties, fundraisers, and field trips that can be customized for your group.

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