Oakland mom of two, Padmini Rangamani, is a postdoc at UC Berkeley trying to figure out the physics underlying cells. When she's not doing that, she and her son Tejas (age 6) and daughter Medha (nearly 3) are probably eating ice cream. She is sharing her favorite places with us today. Thanks, Padmini!
What's your neighborhood called?
Montclair district, Oakland
What are your go-to outings for fun with the kids?
Outdoors, we like Tilden park steam trains and Montclair park. Other favorites are the Oakland zoo and Monterey/Santa Cruz for a weekend. Indoors, you can find us at Chabot or Lawrence Hall of Science.
What are your favorite places to throw a birthday party?
For the last couple of years, I have had my son's birthday pump-it-up. It is expensive but allows me to interact with the guests. And the kids love it.
If I have the time/bandwidth to plan a party, I prefer using the East Bay parks. I have had huge party successes in Montclair park and Tilden park. Montclair park has a lot of things for preschoolers to explore in addition to play structures; I also like the tables and layout. One year, I hosted my son's birthday in Tilden park and the entertainment was the steam train ride. As you will attest, it was great fun. 🙂
What are some amazing classes or camps your children have done?
I have a few great ones to share.
With my son, I attended a parent-child animal class in LHS, and I just loved spending that time with him when he was 3ish. With my daughter, the parent-child swim lessons at the Berkeley Y are very special memories for me. She loves the water.
Tejas has only even been in one camp: ATDP (fun with math). He swears by it and wishes it would never end.
For Indian language and culture, we love the Tamil school offered by the California Tamil Association. Our Sunday tradition for the last couple of years has been to go to CTA school in Fremont and then the farmer's market, where I can buy fresh sorrel and fenugreek leaves.
What are the best places for hands-on science activities?
Chabot and LHS for all of us. Tejas has loved each and every Sarah's Science event he has attended (weekend classes and after-school enrichment) and he always brings a toy back home. I love the top floor of Chabot where you can spin a tornado in a jar and create turbulence and making hand impressions on the pin board at LHS.
Favorite place to eat out with or without kids?
Can we skip real food and get to dessert right away? Tara's organic ice cream, Ici, Ben & Jerry's in Berkeley, John's $1 ice cream (The price also helps, but it really is excellent ice cream), yogurtland, yogofina, you get the picture.
How Berkeley can you be?
Flowers in my long hair (that's Indian too by the way), knitting while walking, wearing printed shirts. I also buy my morning coffee at the Free Speech Movement cafe on the UC Campus. I read every post you and Whitney write and I check 510families.com for events in case we have an open weekend. How much more Berkeley can you get?
Thank you, Padmini!