For my daughter's best friend's birthday, I arranged for the two girls to have a semi-private lesson at Kinetic Arts Center together, where they learned to scale and twirl aerial silks. Scarlett was aghast that we didn't give Sabine something to open, but she came around to the concept of the “gift of an experience,” when I suggested the experience that would most delight them. (We give two big thumbs up to the whole operation at Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland.)
Here are some other gift ideas that offer lasting memories and can be arranged with a quick phone call or order form. Use them yourself, or email this post to your parents!
Event and Shows
Monster Jam will be at Oakland Coliseum for one night only on February 18. Bring earplugs for this raucous monster truck battle. My husband and 11-year old son went last year along with Heather's children (ages 5 to 10). Exciting action for truck lovers. Discount tix here >
The Harlem Globetrotters tour is a tradition in my family. The kids loved the show last year and we even hung around afterward and got autographs. We are superfans! This year's Oakland schedule offers two dates: January 14 and 21 with a few other Bay Area choices. Get a deal on tickets >
See our DEALS page for current events and discounted tickets on other shows.
- Bay Area Discovery Museum
- Lawrence Hall of Science
- CA Academy of Sciences
- Oakland Zoo
Gyms & Activities
- Cooking classes and workshops
- Rock climbing gyms for big kids (Bridges, Ironworks)
- Kids Gym Berkeley
- Gymboree for parent + baby classes
- YMCA (family membership serves everyone, including access to inexpensive childcare)
- Rain or Shine (drop-in play space for 0-4 year olds)
- MOCHA (kids make art in Oakland)
See our Little Kids Class Guide for more ideas for the 0-5 crowd, from gymnastics to music to swimming.