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 Incredibles 2.
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:
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/ $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 9:30 on the fourth Friday of each month (except during the holidays when it is the third Friday). $44/$34 each sibling. Website >
Habitot + Aurora Theatre “Play's the Thing”. When booked in conjunction with Aurora Theatre, the rate and hours vary slightly at Habitot so parents can catch a play around the corner. Pay $41/$31 for siblings and the care always goes 20 minutes past the show's end time. Book at the same time to get the combo deal. Website >
Head over Heels, Emeryville. Kids over age 4 can flip, bounce, and dine before they chill out with a movie from 6pm to 10:30 every Friday night. Pizza is provided, snack is not. $40/$35 for each sibling. Website >
Twirl, Alameda. Called the Kids Art Evening, it includes dinnertime, thematic evening art classes, and stories from 5:30pm to 8:30pm for ages 3 to 8. $35 per child. Website >
YMCA, Berkeley. Called Kids Night Out, this program is for children age 2 to 11 from 5pm to 9pm on select Friday and Saturdays. Includes age-appropriate recreation activities (including swimming for ages 6 and up) and crafts to go with your pizza. $35 for members/$45 non-members. Website >
But, wait, there's more! Some of our favorite Parents Nights happen too sporadically to count on: Brushstrokes Berkeley has offered a cool craft-party-as-PNO; Bladium Alameda has Kids Night Out; Kids Gym Berkeley has evening break time; Capoeira Arts Foundation has a sweet-looking kids playdate; and Ruby's Tumbling Alameda offers night care. 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 $25 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?