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 Frozen.
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. Whitney reviewed this Parent's Night Out previously. Ages 4 to 14 for core program. Cubbies night out allows potty-trained children as young as 21⁄2. $30/ $25 each sibling. Walk-ins allowed. 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/+$20 each sibling 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). $39/$29 each sibling. 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. $35/$30 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 15 — where middle schoolers do leadership training — from 5pm to 10pm on Saturdays and includes age-appropriate recreation activities (including swimming for ages 6 and up) and crafts to go with your pizza. $40 for members/$50 non-members (cheaper over age 11). Website >
But, wait, there's more! Some of our favorite Parents Nights happen too sporadically to count on: Oakland Zoo hosts a Parents Day/Night Out program; Brushstrokes Berkeley has offered a cool craft-party-as-PNO; Bladium Alameda has Kids Night Out; Kids Gym Berkeley has evening break time; and Ruby's Tumbling Alameda offers night care. If those are some of your go-to places, check their websites.
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 I missed?
I hope I didn't leave anyone off the list. It can be hard to keep track and we'd rather err on the side of sending you to ones that are really going to happen!
[Photos from 510families.com all rights reserved]