My cousin texted me from across the Bay to ask if we should get our kids together on Monday, Feb 11, as her child’s school was closed to honor Lunar New Year.
“We’ve got school today,” I told her, “but let’s hang out on Malcolm X Day,” I joked, as Berkeley Unified observes the birthday of Malcolm X with a day off.
If parents can manage escaping work themselves, these days off can be a great opportunity to explore new activities in the East Bay while the rest of the world is at work. Here are five itineraries for a weekday spent in the East Bay with school-aged kids:
- Ice Skating in Oakland + MOCHA for a younger child/Oakland Museum for an older child (Oakland)
The Oakland Ice public skate sessions start at 10:30 am on weekdays. It’s not far from children’s studio MOCHA where drop-in art-making is offered Tuesday through Friday between 10 am and 3 pm for kids up to age 6; The Oakland Museum opens at 11 am and is closed Monday and Tuesday.
- Rockin’ Jump + Red Tractor Cafe (Dublin)
Open jumping for big kids starts at 2 pm on weekdays, which gives you plenty of time to digest your comfort food lunch from The Red Tractor. Kill more time at the Hacienda Crossings shopping complex in Dublin where you’ll find a Barnes + Noble. Kids up to age 6 can enjoy Rockin’ Jump earlier in the morning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the Rockin’ Tots hours.
- Albany Bowl + Secret Stairs of the East Bay (Albany/North Berkeley)
Early risers will be glad to know that you can start bowling at 9 am on weekdays. Ready to go even earlier than that? Explore some of the hidden stairs and paths of the East Bay. Berkeley PATH Wanderers has some walking tours posted on their website; there’s a book on Amazon called Secret Stairs of the East Bay, and I’ve written about one before.
- Sticky Art Lab + Campanile (Berkeley)
Tuesdays through Fridays you can get crafty at Sticky Art Lab on University Avenue starting at 10:30 am. Then head up toward the UC Berkeley campus to explore. Ride up the elevator of the Campanile to take in the whole view. Then poke around campus. There are plenty of trees to hide behind and stairs to run up and down.
- Junior Center for Science in Oakland + Pump It Up (Oakland)
Tuesdays and Fridays are opportunities to enjoy one of Lake Merritt’s best kept secrets: Animal Discovery at the Junior Center for Science and Art. After a visit with some lizards, and perhaps a stroll along Lakeshore, there is bouncing to be done at Pump It Up during their Pop In hours, every weekday from 10 am to 5 pm (check their site for holiday schedules).