Situated just across the bridge from San Francisco Bay, Oakland is a diverse and vibrant city with its own unique culture. Its neighbor city across the bay may often overshadow it, but Oakland brings an identity of its own as an ideal spot for families with kids. With favorites like the Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland, Oakland A’s Baseball Games, and more — get ready to experience exciting activities, the best attractions, and fun things to do with kids in Oakland!
If you’re looking for some fun family day out or a holiday getaway with the kids, there are many attractions to visit in Oakland waiting to be explored. And whether you’re taking the tots or the tweens on your trip, there’s definitely no chance of boredom striking. Below is our favorite list of fun things to do with kids in Oakland to help you make the most of your family bonding!
10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA 94619
Phone Number: (510) 336-7300
Chabot Space & Science Center inspires and educates students of all ages about our Planet Earth and the Universe. Its observatory, planetarium, exhibits, and natural park setting are where a diverse population of students, teachers, and the public can imagine, understand, and learn to shape their future through science. It also exposes children to STEM principles and the wonders of space.
Most daytime space and science exhibits are generally designed for children of reading age. Still, the re-imagined Chabot center offers an immersive experience that makes it fun for children of all ages, not to mention quite intriguing for adults too. For an extra-special treat, spend the night at the museum with their Slumber Under the Stars program. For more information, please visit their website.
699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Phone Number: (510) 452-2259
Looking for some magical attractions with so many activities in Oakland that are just for kids? Head to Children’s Fairyland! This 10-acre outdoor park in Oakland’s Lakeside Park at Lake Merritt features beautiful displays, rides, and entertainment inspired by children’s literature. This magical fantasy world is where those young kids can imagine, play, create, and learn all day long. There are even adorable barnyard animals, from lambs, goats, and ponies!
Children’s Fairyland also has fun kid-size rides for them to enjoy. Check out the oldest ride dating back to 1954 – the Jolly Trolly. Kids can ride on the historic carousel with fun Alice In Wonderland characters and a mini Ferris wheel. With no thrill rides in sight and even gardens for kids to explore, Children’s Fairyland is the perfect destination for the family. For more information, please visit their website.
4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611
Phone Number: (510) 658-8500
Split an ice cream sundae as big as your head at Fentons Creamery, forever immortalized in the Pixar movie Up. Fentons Creamery is a landmark institution serving generations with its famous handcrafted ice creams and sauces. Their ice cream sundaes are world famous – the Black & Tan Sundae is their signature item, made with one of the many ice cream flavors invented by Melvin Fenton – Toasted Almond.
A visit to this ice cream parlor will always include handmade ice cream, quality ingredients, and friendly service. Featured on the Travel Channel, the History Channel, the Food Network, and in USA Today and Zagat, Fentons offers ice cream production tours by appointment. For more information, please visit their website.
Broadway/Embarcadero West, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone Number: (510) 645-9292
The picturesque Jack London Square on Oakland’s waterfront is great for bringing the kids any day of the week for food, fun, play, sightseeing, and special events. The square hosts traditional markets and fun festivals throughout the year, including the bike-centric Pedalfest. With lively events like weekly Farmers Markets, Water St. Makers, outdoor movie screenings, and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
With various activities, attractions, and fun things to see and do with kids, it’s no wonder this site is popular with all ages in Oakland. Emerge yourself in the relaxation of the waterfront by kayaking, bicycling, strolling, jogging, and walking your dog along the Bay Trail. For more information, please visit their website.
558 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Phone Number: (510) 839-5777
Dedicated to all the children of the East Bay, the Junior Center of Art and Science encourages children’s active wonder and creative responses through artistic and scientific exploration of their natural urban environment. The Junior Center’s classes, workshops, exhibits, and events integrate art and science to promote children’s fresh, hands-on, and personalized interaction with their world.
The Junior Center contributes to developing citizens who value nature and appreciate the community’s importance of art and science. Stop by for hands-on fun for the whole family. Enjoy their youth art studio, maker space, or playroom, then visit their animal friends in the animal discovery room. For more information, please visit their website.
568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Phone Number: (510) 238-3420
One of the best attractions for kids is the Boating Center, where Lake Merritt and the Oakland Estuary offer programs. Enjoy a view of Oakland from the water as you paddle a pedal boat, kayak, or canoe on the lake, or, if you are a sailor, let the wind power your voyage. The protected waters of Lake Merritt are perfect for new or experienced boaters, and the boating center has life jackets for all ages to allow for family explorations.
Everyone must wear a life preserver. Youth and community programs provide an entry point to gain skills to explore the wonders of Bay Area boating. An adult must accompany children under age 12. Explore the 195-acre, eight-foot deep lake, and then enjoy a picnic at Lakeside Park. For more information, please visit their website.
1221 Broadway, LL-49, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone Number: (510) 987-8556
Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) is a museum where they have dedicated spaces for kids to be interactive and creative. A place where the whole family can connect, share, and explore all through art. Art can impact kids in many ways, and the museum has witnessed this over the years they have been operating. They have seen improvements in kids’ creative thinking and cognitive development.
The Museum of Children’s Art also has exhibitions where they love to promote all the art creations from – yep – kids! What better way for kids to appreciate art than to see what kids their age are creating? It might inspire them to pick up a brush. Keep an eye out for the museum’s special events, like the popular ARTventures, which it’s all about creating projects based on a specific theme. For more information, please visit their website.
7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621
Phone Number: (510) 638-4900
One of the favorite things to do with kids in Oakland is to enjoy a fun and cheap day at the ball game. Oakland A’s baseball is family-friendly outdoor fun, and you’ll also find it a pleasant afternoon with kids of all ages at the Oakland Coliseum. Their deal for a family four-pack of tickets is hard to beat. The A’s are Major League Baseball’s wackiest and scrappiest franchise, famous for seeking out success against the odds with baseball’s smallest budget.
After most Sunday day games, kids can run the same bases that the A’s players do while A’s mascot, Stomper, cheers you from the field. No special ticket is required if your child is the right age. In addition to the Kids Race Around the Bases opportunity, several games host impressive fireworks or drone light shows. For more information, please visit their website.
8252 Earhart Rd., Oakland, CA 94621
Phone Number: (510) 638-7100
If your kids love planes, helicopters, and all things aviation, you might want to head to the Oakland Aviation Museum, which is filled with activities and attractions featuring its unique artifacts and actual aircraft for that pilots-to-be in the family to enjoy. The museum offers indoor and outdoor exhibits, simulators, tours, and even a cool interactive play area for those little ones. So, no matter what age, everyone in the family can have a great time!
The collection at the Oakland Aviation Museum is varied enough for all tastes, and there are several actual aircraft on display that the kids can see with their very own eyes. They can see the most section from a DC-6B, or the A-3, which is the largest and heaviest carrier-based aircraft that was operational. With tours and events, the Oakland Aviation Museum is also filled with fun things to do as part of your family day out. For more information, please visit their website.
1000 Oak St., Oakland, CA 94607
Phone Number: (510) 318-8400
Dive those kids straight into a vat of culture and more fun things to do at the Oakland Museum of California. Spend the day taking in all the incredible art, paintings, and installations that fill the various exhibits. There are always some exhibitions throughout the museum. These rotate, so keep an eye on what’s on and coming up, so you don’t miss out. It also means that you can keep going back and seeing something new.
There are also permanent exhibitions that take you through a collection of California-inspired works. The Gallery of California Art is a living and breathing space filled with energy and ideas about the state’s land, people, and creativity. The Gallery of California Natural Sciences also showcases the state’s climate, habitats, ecosystems, wildlife, and geology, focusing on Oakland. For more information, please visit their website.
9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, CA 94605
Phone Number: (510) 632-9525
Kids, are you excited to meet with over 660 native and exotic animals in just ONE family day out? Oakland Zoo is where you can spend the day exploring and learning about creatures from close to home and all over the world too. There are mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and even arthropods. Kids can learn why elephants love to roll in dust and mud and what exactly is a Chincilla? You can watch those playful chimps play or see those grand lions in their stride. From Pygmy goats to Sun Bears, to even those Warthogs!
Watch the otters swim and play in the Otter Den, see what it feels like to crawl through a tortoise shell, hop across the Lily Pad Pond, uncover ancient life-sized fossils, and cross the wooden rope bridge to see the lemurs relaxing in the sun. Don’t forget to stop by the play structure and climb on the spiderweb. For more information, please visit their website.
2140 Mandela Parkway, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone Number: (510) 903-6722
One of the favorite activities for kids in Oakland is rock climbing. At the Pacific Pipe Climbing Gym, kids will learn the fundamentals of climbing, including climbing safety, knot tying, basic climbing technique, and bouldering. Satisfying their natural desire to use their whole body for activity, climbing gyms offer kids opportunities to exercise and test their boundaries. Rock climbing combines technical mastery, strength training, and community for older kids.
Pacific Pipe is the largest Touchstone gym to date. With a seemingly endless expanse of wall space, there’s a little bit of everything to keep you climbing all day. Their roped walls boast unique features and numerous crack systems, and the multi-level bouldering has all the classic angles, a top-out section, and specialized training boards. For more information, please visit their website.
2500 Embarcadero, Ste. A, Oakland, CA 94606
Phone Number: (510) 533-7867
It’s no secret — kids love to jump. So, instead of jumping on the bed or couch at home, head to Pump It Up, where they can test their skills. Pump It Up Oakland offers fun activities and attractions for all ages in their private, indoor arenas with gigantic inflatables. They’re not just a birthday place; they offer many Open Play and Special Events on significant holidays where your child can participate in imaginative play throughout the year.
Kids get free reign of all the jumping equipment, and Pump it Up has special effects to make the jumping even more fun (glow-in-the-dark, LED light shows, and much more). Reserve your event to give your kids a fun time filled with bouncing, sliding, exploring, climbing, and so much more in their indoor parks. For more information, please visit their website.
7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland, CA 94619
Phone Number: (888) 327-2757
Redwood Regional Park is an excellent experience for kids and one where they won’t believe how tall some mighty trees grow. This 1,833-acre park is home to a great forest of coast redwoods, evergreens, chaparral, and grasslands. Wildlife within the park includes rare species such as the golden eagle and Alameda striped racer. Deer, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels are often seen. Hidden from the world around you, kids can play and use their imagination for all the beautiful things that could happen in the park.
This park also offers four reservable picnic sites for groups ranging from 50 to 150. Some are in secluded glades, and others in open, grassy areas. If you want to make a unique experience from your trip, you can overnight camp in selected locations throughout the park. They are only available by reservation. For more information, please visit their website.
10570 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA 94619
Phone Number: (888) 327-2757
The Oakland Hills are home to towering redwoods, and Roberts Regional Recreational Area is a great place to see them up close. With plenty of hiking trails, stunning picnic locations, a large playground, and a seasonal swimming pool, this 87-acre park makes for a fun family visit any time of year. All sites have serving tables, BBQ pits, and drinking fountains. Individual picnic tables and cooking areas are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Roberts Regional Recreation Area features a baseball field, playfields, a sand volleyball court, and a 25-yard heated swimming pool. The park is also home to a new “Barrier Free” wheelchair-accessible children’s play area. It is a unique playground that caters to children of various abilities and disabilities and is one of the largest playgrounds in California. For more information, please visit their website.
Nothing beats a fun family day out visiting fantastic attractions full of exhilarating activities for kids in Oakland. From indoor play spots to outdoor adventures, there is an abundance of selections to choose from to consider on your family bucket list. Pack up the kids, get away from the four corners of your home and explore fun things to do in Oakland that will help bring everyone closer together!
Oakland offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of kids’ resources. Are you looking for more things to do with kids around Oakland? Browse through our places to go and things to do section. Check out our things to do blog posts if you’re even more curious and seek to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides.
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