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

25 Places to Take Preschoolers in the East Bay

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

2 kids in an indoor play space
Top 5 favorite spot: Kids Play Zone in Oakland | Photo: Dr. Niekia Franklin of Redwood Pediatric Dentistry

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.

free 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.

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

Related: Great Classes to Take with East Bay Toddlers >

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

Great Places for Little Animal Lovers

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

freeCrab 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 >

freeEnvironmental 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.

Related: 15 places where kids can see animals (most of them free!) >>
child in front of a giant lite brite called lightzila and 5 fun things to do with toddlers


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.

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!

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 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.

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.

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 and FatApples is right across the street (muffins!).

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


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.

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