7 Places In The East Bay Where Toddlers Can See Animals For Free - 510 Families

7 Places In The East Bay Where Toddlers Can See Animals For Free

Little kids like little animals. We love having a membership to the zoo, but what about all the places where a toddler can get really up close and personal to animals for FREE?

Adam and Aviva check out the Vivarium and other places to see animals up close
Adam and Aviva check out the Vivarium in Berkeley | Photo provided by Adam Miller

Best Free Local Outings For Kids Who Love Animals

East Bay Vivarium (Berkeley)

Get your lizard on in this quirky reptile shop located close to the fun times on Berkeley’s Fourth Street. Good children can be rewarded with a visit to the nearby toy shop. (More awesome stuff to do for families on Fourth Street)

Little Farm (Berkeley’s Tilden Park)

The well-known admission-free place to feed goats, watch piggies, and chase your sibling. Clean bathrooms and a small playground reward guests. More details on visiting Little Farm >

Your Basic Bird (Berkeley)

This shop specializes in birds, but nearly always has a few hamsters and foster cats hanging around. You won’t even be able to hear your toddler among the noisy squawks that fill this store on College Avenue in Elmwood. (Make a day of it: Best Things To Do With Kids in The Elmwood District)

Your Basic Bird on College Ave.
Your Basic Bird | Photo: Heather Flett

Crab Cove (Alameda)

Admission is always free at the Alameda estuary. Children can get their hands on local marine animals with a naturalist’s support. Crab Cove hosts field trips and birthday parties, too. (24 more fun family destinations in Alameda)


Sulphur Creek (Hayward)

Upcoming special programs at Sulphur Creek are FREE including stories, reptiles, owls, and even vultures. You should also check out the wonderful toddler program for $3 that is totally worth it. {More fun stuff to do in Hayward with kids}

King Middle School’s Edible Schoolyard (Berkeley)

Wander to the back of the Edible Schoolyard garden (open to the public on weekends and after school) and you’ll find a coop with real-life chickens.  (See our list of other places to play around Hopkins Street)

Hanging out at the Edible Schoolyard
Hanging out at the Edible Schoolyard | Photo: Whitney Moss

PetCo (El Cerrito)

In El Cerrito Plaza, this big box store has fish, rodents, and more. Great for strolling or toddling kids. Great for parents because you can pick up dinner at Trader Joe’s right after. Spend a whole day in El Cerrito Plaza: Start at Barnes and Noble.

Honorable mentions (not quite free)

Where do you take your kiddos to get up close and personal with animals in the East Bay?


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1 thought on “7 Places In The East Bay Where Toddlers Can See Animals For Free”

  1. Have fun with animals at Sulphur Creek Nature Center (Careful, they have a guinea pig lending library!)

    Touch a tarantula or lizard at Lawrence Hall of Science

    Ogle owls at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience.

    Peek in at the reptiles at the East Bay Vivarium and then walk over to Peet’s for hot cocoa. Observe slithery creatures at the East Bay Vivarium

    Feed the cows at Little Farm in Tilden Park (it’s free!)

    Hold animals at the Junior Center for Science near Lake Merritt

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