COVID-19 East Bay Reopenings for Kids: What to Do & Where to Go - 510 Families

COVID-19 East Bay Reopenings for Kids: What to Do & Where to Go

In most of the Bay Area, we are transitioning to a phase of re-opening with more businesses and activities permitted. We must continue to comply with COVID-19 safety precautions. Read more from the California Department of Health here.

What’s open now for families

Lots of wonderful businesses are starting to re-open. Yay! But please, when in doubt, check with the venue!

As of Friday, April 16, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties are in the Orange Tier; Solano county remains in the Red Tier.

Now open for Bay Area families

Movie Theatres

Open for both regular showings with reserved seating and private auditorium rentals. Theaters can allow 25% capacity or 100 guests, whichever is smaller in Red Tier counties and 50% capacity or 200 guests, whichever is smaller in Orange Tier counties.

  • AMC and Cinemark chains have opened.
  • The Landmark chain has opened only on Shattuck Ave in Berkeley. Their other theaters (California, Solano Ave, Piedmont) remain closed.
  • Alameda’s independent theater reopened on April 16.

East Bay Parks

Outdoor attractions are open, many with advanced reservations.


  • The Gardens at Lake Merritt (seven acres to explore! no reservations! not boring!)
  • Adventure Playground has opened reservations. Learn more.
  • Steam Trains in Tilden Park are open as of April 3. Buy tickets at the booth or use your pre-pandemic passes. Learn more.
  • Ardenwood Farms is open for scheduled visits. Here’s how it works.
  • Little Farm in Tilden Park offers scheduled visits, including the Nature Center as of April 3. Here’s how it works.
  • Botanical Garden in Tilden is open.
  • Tilden Park’s Merry Go Round will open April 17 with reservations encouraged.


  • BAMPFA in Berkeley will reopen two days per week to the public during the first week of May.
  • Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is now open with free admission through October 12. We have details here.
  • California Academy of Sciences reopened on March 17. More details and ticket information here.
  • deYoung Museum is open to the public as of Saturday, March 6. More info here.
  • SFMOMA is with advance ticket purchase only (kids are free). See the hours here.

Children’s Museums

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum has its indoor and outdoor exhibits open. Advance tickets required. Great for a day trip.
  • Oakland Aviation Museum is open for outdoor exhibits. More details on further reopening plans here.
  • Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco is hosting free outdoor events until they reopen.

Fruit-Picking Farms

Open with a variety of social distancing solutions, some requiring reservations.

Outdoor Pools

Swimming lessons are deemed essential. Here’s a guide to swim lessons to sign up for.

In-Person Classes and Athletic Teams for East Bay Kids

    • Athletic Playground Limited in-person classes available, and online classes are available. More info here.
    • The Crucible is reopened with smaller class sizes and safety policies in place. More program info here.
    • NOLL/SOLL Little League has opened registration for a delayed season which will stretch into summer. Check for updates here.
    • Traverse Fitness is closed for regular hours, but is open for children’s school day camps/distance learning pods. Learn more here.
    • Tutu School is hosting ballet classes for little ones.


  • Berkeley Public Libraries You can check out books for outside pickup at any of the five libraries. More info here.
  • Contra Costa Public Libraries Front Door Service is available now at 25 library locations. See how it works here.
  • Oakland Public Library Ten (10) OPL locations are offering sidewalk pickup service during limited hours.

Family Entertainment Centers

  • Boomers in Livermore has hours for mini-golf, go-karting, and the rock climbing wall.
  • Golfland in Castro Valley and other mini-golf venues are open.

Pottery Painting venues

  • Brushstrokes is open with limited seating. Make a reservation before you go.

Amusement Parks

  • Children’s Fairyland reopened on March 19. Here’s the deal.
  • Skystar Observation Wheel in Golden Gate Park is now open. Amazing views of San Francisco. More info here.
  • Great America has scheduled its opening day for May 22.
  • Santa Cruz boardwalk is now offering rides for CA residents only with advanced purchase (and looooong waits, we hear) and games as well as food stands. Learn more >
  • Bigger amusement parks, including Disneyland, are open(ing) with limited capacity or are scheduled for later this spring. Get all the Bay Area amusement park reopening details here.

Train Rides

Niles Canyon Railway is running steam train rides. Buy tickets in advance.


  • Oakland Zoo is open with advance ticket purchase and limited capacity and indoor exhibits closed. See more here.
  • San Francisco Zoo is open with advanced ticket sales. Indoor attractions like the Insect Room are still closed. Details are here.

Indoor Children’s Playspaces

  • Kids Play Zone Oakland is offering private play hours, by reservations in two-hour blocks. Learn more.
  • Swings and Wings, Alameda’s sensory-based indoor play place serving kids from 6 months to 8 years old is open for reservations – one social pod at a time.
  • Twirl, an art-focused playspace, has opened an outdoor play garden and is hosting their first Kids’ Night (two-and-a-half-hour drop-off session) on Friday, April 2.
  • Jumpity Bumpity, Hayward, an ocean-themed indoor play space for young walkers through about age 12. Open for walk-in play as of April 1.
  • Read about more indoor kids play spaces in the East Bay >

Spectator Sports

  • Oakland A’s are selling 2 or 4-person ticket pods to home games at the Oakland Arena

Openings In The Near-Future


Ocean Beach 2623
If you’re able, get out into nature and spread out. Crissy Field in SF | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Where to play and what to do with kids during social distancing

Outside places to play

If the weather is pleasant, playing outside is a terrific option when you need to get out of the house. The more natural and distant from one another, the better! We have many suggestions about where to play outside with kids locally; you will have to take some of those suggestions with a grain of salt (and a packet of sanitizing wipes).


Stay home with your family

We have baking projects and silly activities to do in the house. Not to mention all that TV! Here’s more to do when you’re stuck at home with kids >

Local COVID-19 information resources

Local health officials are loosening restrictions and counties across the Bay Area are starting to open up. Officials are still asking for social distancing and mask wearing, but we’re now seeing some venues like museums and places like restaurants opening up at reduced capacity.

Find the most current information through the City and County departments of health:

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11 thoughts on “COVID-19 East Bay Reopenings for Kids: What to Do & Where to Go”

  1. Hi do you have any suggestions on how to talk to a child that is on the spectrum about the corona virus. My little one has Aspergers and he is very stressed about all the talk on the corona virus. I dont watch tv in my house so he is not getting it from home but in public and school it is a problem. Thank you

    1. My daughter is also autistic. I think it depends on your kid’s interests. Anatomy is a special interest of my daughter’s so she loved the NPR comic above. For kids who might need a simpler approach, I’ve seen this picture book style series of infographics that is well done:

      News-o-Matic is a daily news app for kids that my daughter loves. They have a few articles about covid19 and one of them is a series of questions from kids that a pediatrician and a child psychologist answer beautifully. Highly recommend.

      My kid responds so well to facts and science and history. So she liked it when I explained to her the “flattening the curve” concept and how the cities of Philadelphia and St Louis had different approaches to the 1918 flu epidemic–especially considering her ancestors were in both of those cities at that time. We chatted about how all of America is trying to be St Louis and that’s why we’re rescheduling everything. (When I say “cancel” she gets so upset. When I say “reschedule” she’s totally fine.) I also showed her the “cattening the curve” infographic which she adored.

      Of course giving information can sometimes cause more anxiety rather than less and often that just depends on your particular child. Again, focusing on rescheduling rather than canceling is a good practice. I found an article about rabbis in New Jersey who determined that going in groups to synagogue is now “forbidden” to prevent spread of illness and that prompted a discussion about how every rule might have a situation in which the moral and just thing is to break said rule. We’re making a silly list of rules and when they might need to be broken to help work a bit on flexibility. We also focus a lot on the helpers, like that old Mr Rodgers quote, instead of the dangers and worries. That’s the whole point of distancing–to save people and explain that it’s already working (I hope) and that when the virus has no one to jump to it disappears.

      Also, I suggest jumping headfirst in your child’s special interests no matter how uninteresting or boring they may be to you. You can explicitly say that practicing social distancing right now has a big silver lining: loads of extra time for your child’s special interest. I ordered some activity books on anatomy and art to help my daughter focus on her special interests more right now. And maybe even discuss other silver linings.

      Lastly, I suggest making a new weekly visual schedule and a daily visual schedule and post them on the wall. It’s amazing how much anxiety vanishes when we know what we’re supposed to be doing. Our schedule is very vague to allow for variety.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Please unlink your outdoor activities pages. Although many outdoor activities in nature are safe, the links connects to pages that include many activities that wouldn’t be considered safe in this climate (merry-go-round, play grounds, and other activists that do not create social distance). Maybe a revised page with hikes, beaches, etc.? I know you had to write this in a hurry, and outdoor activity are generally a great suggestion, but these are not appropriate with covid-19 around.

      1. I just came across the same link and I’m deeply concerned that you are actively promoting playgrounds as outdoor activity areas during this period. School districts across the Bay Area have taken the extraordinary measure of closing down for the foreseeable future at immeasureable social cost.
        By not removing these links immediately you are contributing to the spread of an epidemic. Please act now. Thank you.

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  5. Your free Asian Art Museum blurb needs updating. The link is to an article written on October 4, 2020. The museum was only free through October 12, 2020.

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