31 things to do with kids in July - East Bay

Best Things to Do With Kids in July

Wow, it’s July! Let’s make the most of this warm and carefree month. We’ll kick things off with July 4 festivities and continue with beach days, summer festivals, fruit picking, outdoor movies, and many family-friendly events to keep your summer calendar full. Dig into our round-up of exciting East Bay activities to bring fun and joy to families throughout July.

Thank you to our sponsor, CuriOdyssey, for sponsoring this month’s picks. At CuriOdyssey, kids are free to observe wild animals, experiment with scientific phenomena, and let the natural world answer their questions. This summer, visit CuriOdyssey for their latest temporary exhibition: Kinetic Creations — a celebration of mechanical motion!

toddlers playing with gears on a table
CuriOdyssey Kinetic Creations is an experience where art and science collide into curiosity | Photo: Tito Guerrero

New Museum Exhibits & Events for Families

Keep your kids’ curiosity growing at a museum exhibit that appeals to children and adults:

  • Discover Kinetic Creations at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo. This temporary interactive exhibit is a celebration of mechanical motion; combining fascinating physics, sculptural science, and whimsical mechanics. Activate a cast of mechanical characters with wooden automata, watch hundreds of glass marbles cascade into a mesmerizing bell curve, or get hands-on with the physics of air pressure as colorful balls race through clear tubes. From June 1 through August 4. Learn more >
  • Blast off to the new NASA Ames Visitor Center at Chabot Space & Science Center. Explore exciting artifacts, and learn about the latest developments in space exploration. Learn more >
  • Visit Habitot’s Little Town at Bay Street in Emeryville. Spark kids’ imaginations as they shop at the grocery store, create their own pizza, and drive a fire truck. Learn more >

Save the Date for These Exciting Community Events

All Month: Get Your Swim On

Swim or splash your heart out at a local beach, swimming pool, splash pad, or water park. The sun is warm and the water temperatures are rising. But if the days are still a bit too cool and foggy for your liking, head deeper into the East Bay communities for a more traditional (read: hotter) summer experience. Take a day trip to the new CaliBunga Waterpark in San Jose or visit the Clarke Swim Center in Walnut Creek, where Wednesdays are half off. Check out our favorite swimming spots >

Curiodyssey exhibit with robot and little girl
Kinetic Creations will run from June 1–August 4: the perfect way to spend a science-filled summer break! | Photo: CuriOdyssey

Fourth of July Celebrations

Fill your day with all things red, white, and blue for the July 4th holiday. Communities throughout the East Bay are hosting parades, incredible drone shows, fun runs, pancake breakfasts, firework displays, and other festive daytime celebrations.

watch a parade
Fourth of July Parade in Alameda is one of the nation’s longest parade routes | Photo: AlamedaParade.com

Reserve Tickets to Shows & Performances

Enjoy the San Francisco Symphony as they perform Disney in Concert: The Sound of Magic; a celebration of Disney music, animation, and memories. Find more upcoming ticketed performances and events >

Visit a U-Pick Farm for Fresh Peaches & Stone Fruit

Fruit picking makes a delicious day trip! Visit a U-Pick farm in the East Bay to hand-select the season’s freshest peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines. Don’t forget to pack water and a hat — it gets hot out there. Pro Tip: Check social media pages for current hours and details on available fruit.

child eating peaches
Freshly picked produce makes a tasty snack for the drive home. | Photo: Katie Graceffa

Catch a Movie or Listen to a Concert Outdoors

‘Tis the season for outdoor movies and summer concerts. Watch family-friendly films on the big screen just after sunset, or enjoy the smooth sounds of a local band while the kids run around on the lawn. Bring blankets, chairs, and picnic dinners or snacks to make the most of your evening. See the full outdoor movie round-up > View the summer concert guide >

Free Museum Days

Plan an outing to one of the world-class museums in the Bay Area; take advantage of free admission on certain days. Learn more about ways to get into museums for free >

  • July 2: Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco and de Young Museum
  • July 3: GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco
  • July 4: BAMPFA in Berkeley and SFMOMA in San Francisco
  • July 5: Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
  • July 6-7: Bank of America Free Museum Days
  • July 7: Family Fun Day at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and First Sunday at OMCA (nearly free!)
  • July 9: San Francisco Botanical Garden
  • July 13: Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco
  • Every Saturday: de Young Museum in San Francisco
Antioch Waterslides at Prewitt Water Park
Water parks are great for mixed-age outings | Photo: Whitney Moss

Don’t Miss Water Park After Dark

Antioch Water Park, one of our favorite local water parks, is a fantastic option for sunny, hot days. But don’t pass up the exciting evening events hosted by the park. Called Water Park After Dark, families are invited to join from 7 pm to 9:30 pm every Friday throughout July. Each night has a unique theme and planned activities. Sounds worth the drive and late night!

Schedule a Parents’ Night Out

Kids aren’t the only ones who can have fun over the summer. Reserve a space at Parents Night Out, also called PNO. It’s evening childcare that’s essentially a drop-off play date. The setup is a win-win for parents who want a date night and children who want to spend the evening eating pizza, making art, watching movies, or playing with other kids their age. Reserve a space for your child in advance; see all the providers >

child roasting marshmallow for smore
Roasting marshmallows before the campfire program | Photo: Maureen Burke

Favorite Free & Cheap Happenings

Need some planning inspiration? We’ve got you covered! We gathered our favorite free and inexpensive activities in the East Bay to serve as a go-to itinerary when you’re in a pinch. Visit your local library for fantastic events and special programming for kids and families through their summer reading programs. Find more free & cheap events >

Visit an All-Abilities Playground

July is Disability Pride Month. Teach your kids about inclusion and visit an all-abilities playground. These play spaces are universally designed to include adaptive equipment, high-quality surfaces, and many innovative features to welcome children of all ages and capabilities to play. More on how to talk to your kids about people with disabilities >

Whooosh! Playground is a physics-in-action fully inclusive playground in the CuriOdyssey gardens (designed in cooperation with the Magical Bridge Foundation) | Photo: Tito Guerrero

For lots more ideas, check out our guide to what to do with kids during summer vacation! Plus there are still a few weeks to enroll your children in camp; see our Summer Camp Guide.

Thanks again to CuriOdyssey, our favorite serious science playground, for sponsoring this month’s post. Be sure to catch their new exhibit, Kinetic Creations, where art and science collide. Also, plan to join CuriOdyssey on July 5 for First Friday: an extended evening of bubble science, food, dancing, and games.

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