Berkeley dad and Cal professor Ty Alper answered our questions about raising his three children in the East Bay. “Many of my favorite places in Berkeley to go with the kids are the places I spent time as a kid growing up here,” he said.
What’s your favorite Saturday morning ritual?
We like to bike along the Ohlone Greenway from Ohlone Park on Hearst St. all the way to the El Cerrito/Richmond border, under the BART tracks. Stop along the way at Berkeley Bagels for fuel.
What tip do you give every new-in-town parent?
You must climb up Indian Rock at sunset. I have many memories of watching the rock climbers as a kid, but I don’t think I appreciated the sunsets.
What’s your family’s favorite dinner out?
Once a month we go to Toyo on Shattuck near Saul’s. It’s good, inexpensive sushi, and my six year-old eats raw salmon like a little bear cub.
Cactus or Picante?
Picante, no question. I can use a break once in awhile but my family could eat there seven nights a week. We’re powerless to resist the convenient pickup.
What is a great kid-friendly feature of your neighborhood? Totland at the corner of McGee and Virginia. Great toys donated by the community, nice lawn, fence so kids can roam freely, and – this is critical – there’s a bathroom.
What’s your favorite toy store?
Mr. Mopps’ was our go-to toy store when I was a kid, and it still is today. The new ownership is great, and they now have a kids’ book annex a few doors down.
Tell us about an amazing class your child has been a part of.
Our kids love Kids ‘n’ Clay in West Berkeley. It’s especially convenient for our boys at Rosa Parks, because they’ll pick the boys up after school and walk them over to the studio a few blocks away. Be prepared, though, to clear out a LOT of space in your home for pottery of varying quality. Pro tip: kids’ pottery works well as lawn ornamentation.
What’s your favorite summer camp?
This one is both easy, and sad. Berkeley Tuolumne Camp will rise again!
What’s your favorite Bay Area day trip?
This is a close call between the ferry from Jack London Square to the Giants game at AT&T Park, and a beach trip to San Gregorio State Beach (which is a reasonably short drive from Berkeley and has lots of shallow water for kids to romp around in).
What do you do on random school closure days?
Take the kids to work! When they get bored, I send them on excursions around the law school, and buy some time by having them bother my colleagues.
Ty Alper is a candidate for Berkeley’s School Board. Learn more about him at TyAlper.org