This round-up of delightfully helpful Parents Nights Out is sponsored by Monkey Business Camp, who recently started offering a PNO right near downtown Berkeley once a month.
Parents Night Out, also called PNO, is evening childcare dressed up like a drop-off kid party! Hosted by a local children-centric venue, children usually eat pizza, have dessert (gasp!), watch movies, and play with other kids of a similar age until way past their bedtimes. The formula varies depending on which organization is playing host. In some cases, your kids will do gymnastics or make art, in others they’ll zonk out in front of Toy Story 4.
While the kids play, you’ll have a date night out before you hurry back on deadline to bring home your child and scrub, brush, and tuck into bed. Might one of these options work for your family? Only you can determine that, but I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!
Here are some East Bay PNO programs to consider for your next date night:
Brushstrokes (Berkeley) Offers pottery and pizza night for your kids on first Saturdays from 6pm to 8pm (February to October). There are many great restaurants within walking distance making this PNO easy to plan. $36/child. Website >
Cal Youth Gymnastics (Berkeley) The Golden Bear PNO program from 6pm to 10pm on periodic Saturdays promises food, fun, games, and lots of gymnastics with no prior experience required. For ages 4 to 14. Whitney reviewed this Parent's Night Out previously. $30/child, $25/each sibling. Website >
Color Me Mine (Alameda) Called Kids Night Out for good reason, kids can paint pottery and eat ice cream before their movie of the month from 6pm to 9pm on occasional Saturdays. Suggested for ages 5 and up. $25/child and includes pottery project but NO DINNER. Website >
Habitot (Berkeley) This PNO includes supervised museum exploration for kids age 2 to 7 and a pizza dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30pm on the fourth Friday of each month (except during the holidays when it is the third Friday). $44/child, $34/each sibling. Website >
Habitot + Aurora Theatre “Play's the Thing” (Berkeley) When booked in conjunction with Aurora Theatre, the rate and hours vary slightly at Habitot so parents can catch a play around the corner. From 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Pay $41/child, $31/each sibling and the care always goes 20 minutes past the show's end time. Book at the same time to get $10 off each ticket to one play. Website >
Hanabi Judo (Albany) Every third Saturday of the month from 6pm to 9:30pm (changes may apply in case of tournament or holiday), kids will enjoy pizza, games, movie with popcorn and freshly baked cookies. Non-members are welcome to take advantage of the Kids Night Out. $25/child, $20/each sibling. Pizza is $5 per child. Website >
Head over Heels (Emeryville) Kids over age 4 can flip, bounce, and dine before they chill out with a movie from 6pm to 10:30pm every Friday night. Pizza is provided, snack is not. $40/child, $35/each sibling. Website >
Monkey Business Camp (Downtown Berkeley) For ages 4.5 to 10, Kids Nights Out with Monkey Business Camp is every 2nd Saturday of the month. These unplugged events are a ton of fun; think outdoor games and play, art and board games, and an organic, home-cooked dinner with vegan and kosher options. Children are swept up in the joy of playing and making while parents get their own nights off. $45/child or $40/each two siblings or $35/each three or more siblings. Save $5 when you register by the 1st of the month.
Dates: Dec. 14, 2019 and in 2020 on Jan. 18, Feb. 8, Mar. 14 ,and May 9.
Time: 4:30- 8:30 pm
Location: Berkwood Hedge School
Twirl (Alameda) Called the Kids Night Out, it includes dinnertime, thematic evening art classes, and stories from 5:30pm to 8:30pm for ages 3 to 8. $35/child. Website >
YMCA (Berkeley, Oakland) Called Kids Night Out, this program is for children age 2 to 11 from 5pm to 9pm on select Fridays and Saturdays. Includes age-appropriate recreation activities (including swimming for ages 6 and up) and crafts to go with your pizza. For members, $35/child & $30/each sibling and non-members pay additional $10 per child. Website >
But, wait, there's more! Some of our favorite Parents Nights happen too sporadically to count on: Bladium Alameda has Kids Night Out; Capoeira Arts Foundation has a sweet-looking kids playdate; Ruby's Tumbling Alameda offers night care; and JCC East Bay Berkeley & Oakland has PNO on one Saturday a month from 5:30pm to 10pm. If those are some of your go-to places, check their websites. D20 Games in Alameda runs Date Night Magic MTG drafts for ages 9 to 14 for $20 once a month (includes pizza).
Before you drop off your child for PNO:
- Always make a reservation.
- Double-check the pick up and drop off times. You won't want to miss a minute (or be late).
- Pack a bag (if needed). Do you need to provide swimsuit, food, or jammies? Don't forget the goods.
- Now, get out of there and have fun!
Our preschool hosts monthly kid parties in which the children stick around until 11pm, eat pizza, and fall asleep watching a movie. This setup is my measure for all other such programs. I'm excited that there are so many kinds to choose from in our area, starting for children as young as two-years old.
Do you have a favorite PNO location that we missed?
This round-up of delightfully helpful Parents Nights Out is sponsored by Monkey Business Camp, who recently started offering a PNO right near downtown Berkeley.