Thanks to AquaTech Swim in Alameda and Concord for sponsoring our guide to places to take East Bay preschoolers. These are fun activities and destinations for younger kids focused on the amazing indoor spaces and places because some days are rainy. Right?
Wondering when to go with your little one? Sign up for lessons or check out AquaRec or AquaBaby on the calendar; both are great for families with young children.
- Visit AquaBaby swim time for little ones at AquaTech Swim School. You and your tot from 8 weeks to 2 years can have the warm pool and toys for splashing water play. $5 per person. See schedule for hours.
- Go literary. Bring a huge tote bag and check out the maximum number of books and DVDs from the library.
- Paint pottery at Color Me Mine, Alameda or Brushstrokes in Berkeley. I would make a huge coffee mug or four small mismatched snack plates signed by the artiste!
- Fly through the air on the ziplines and life-size hammocks at Kids Gym Berkeley.
- Join in Rockin’ Kids Singalong at La Pena. On Friday mornings at 10.30. Best for ages 1-4. Sliding scale $10-$20 per family.
- Make messy art! Kids as young as 18 months old can make art in the studio at MOCHA Open Studio in Oakland Thursday through Saturday between 10 am and 1 pm. Play with upcycled art materials at Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley.
- Tour the Mrs Grossman’s Sticker factory (always call first) for a special adventure that ends with lots of free stickers.
- Get your ya-yas out at AquaTech. Alameda's drop-in swimming for parents and children is welcome at this beautiful indoor 90-degree swimming pool. AquaRec (family swim) hours are different in each location. $10 per child; $5 per adult. See AquaRec schedule for hours >
- Tumble, flip, and use gymnastics equipment. Bear Cubs Open Gym at Cal Golden Bear Gymnastics in Berkeley is for kids ages 1-5 and runs Wednesdays from 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. when summer camp is not in session. Open Gym time at Head Over Heels in Emeryville allows children to use any of the equipment at their own pace for as long as they want. Kids under 3 need a parent to join them on the floor. Confirm the schedule here. Best for ages 2+
- Drop in for playtime at Twirl Alameda, where kids can make art, swing, or climb.
- Drink your coffee with a side order of play and kid-friendly classes at Perch Cafe on Grand Ave. or Rec Room Cafe near Ashby BART.
- Let #bouncefarm‘s inflated structures work their magic to entertain your tot while you play along or watch from the benches. Very clean. Open bounce is $10 per child. Schedule here.
- Go wild at the Bladium Fun Zone. Kids age 18 months to 8 years can run, jump, and slide their ya-yas out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (if you want to double-check the hours). $9 for non-members.
- Have fun with small animals at Sulphur Creek Nature Center (Careful, they have a guinea pig lending library!) or Critter Corner at Lawrence Hall of Science. Meet small mammals, reptiles, and arthropods and explore how these animals move, feel, and eat.
- Pop into playtime at Pump It Up in Oakland. Open Jump is Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays between 3 pm and 5 pm, kids age 2 and up can come jump and play freely on the equipment. Under one is free with paying friend. Check the schedule. Must be 34″ to jump.
- Celebrate your child’s unbirthday with an indoor fun fest at Chuck E Cheese in Pinole. Let's just say that it is way more pleasant without the weekend crowds.
- Bounce to the ceiling (not really!) at one of the Bay Area's trampoline parks. Look for one with a little kid trampoline or special hours for small people. BYO grippy socks and check for coupons first.
- Board the USS Hornet aircraft carrier that served in World War II and Apollo recovery, open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, forever-docked in Alameda. Kids 6 and under are FREE.
Why little ones love AquaTech:
- Swim anytime of the year — rain or shine. The pool is warm!
- Joy! Toys are bountiful and there's a play area around each corner.
- Learning! Perpetual, unlimited swim lessons meet you where you are.
- Play indoors in Alameda at Blue Moon Learning Center (a small indoor play area for toddlers) or Wee Play (offered through the city for children under 4) M/W/F from 10am to 1pm for only $6. Here’s a review from a local dad.
- Bowl 10 frames. Albany Bowl has ramps for preschool children to place in front of the lane so that their ball can get enough momentum to reach the pins. Ask for a ramp at the front desk if you are bowling with a child under 5.
- Drop in at Berkeley’s Wee Play sessions for ages 1-4. Held at two Frances Albrier recreation center, sessions run from 9.30 to 11 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for FREE.
- Get silly at the indoor East Oakland Swim Center or Newark's Silliman Aquatic Center.
- Slide into ball pits. Visit Adventure Kinderland in Richmond with your preschool-aged best buddy.
- Enjoy a kindie rock show at Ashkenaz or Starry Plough. Check our events calendar for current shows where you can shake your maracas!
- Beat the blahs at Rain or Shine or Habitot in Berkeley where the fun is always educational.
Plan your visit to AquaTech
In Alameda: 2203 Mariner Square Loop, Alameda
Mon – Fri 9AM – 9:30PM
Sat + Sun 9AM – 7PM
AquaTech is located in Alameda just through the Webster Street tube (near In-N-Out!). Visit their website to plan your next visit, birthday party, or swim date: aquatechswim.com.
In Concord: 1220 Diamond Way, Ste 110, Concord
Mon – Fri 9AM – 9:30PM
Sat + Sun 9AM – 5PM
Thanks again to AquaTech Swim in Alameda and Concord for sponsoring our guide to indoor places and spaces to take East Bay preschoolers.
[Photos by Sarah Sloboda; used with permission]