Whether you're looking for an outdoor adventure, an educational experience, or some good old-fashioned fun, The Town has something to offer. From museums to parks, there is no shortage of top attractions for children in Oakland.
- Children's Fairyland
- Chabot Space & Science Center
- Oakland Zoo
- Oakland Museum of California
- Oakland Aviation Museum
- Boating on Lake Merritt and Brooklyn Basin
- Eat, Eat, Eat
- Get Outdoors
- Kinetic Art Center
- Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA)
1. Children's Fairyland
Children's Fairyland, the theme park that inspired Walt Disney, is most mesmerizing to those under eight, with 40 storybook sets and low-key amusement rides. Their whimsical 10-acre park is a magical fantasy world where young children can create, imagine, play, and learn all day long, located on the shores of Lake Merritt.
2. Chabot Space & Science Center
Exhibits at Chabot Space & Science Center give insight into life in space. Another popular spot at the center is the Climate Lab, with exhibits you can see, touch, feel. Tour the planetarium, observatory and partake in special events like slumber under the stars.
3. Oakland Zoo
Hidden among 525 acres in the Oakland Hills is a tropical rainforest, African savannah and an Outback Express adventure train that chugs by kangaroos and emus. The Oakland Zoo also hosts a Summer ZooCamp for anyone between the grades of K through 8th. They offer a wide variety of experiences including fun games, Zoo tours, animal close-ups, behind-the-scenes with our Zoo Keepers, and more, perfect camp for kids on summer break!
4. Oakland Museum of California
Friday nights at Oakland Museum of California is a good time for everyone, with food trucks, live music, and curated events. Families will want to show up between 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM with activities geared toward kids. The museum also offers OMCA Kids: Nature Playspace, an indoor area focused on the unique needs of children ages 2 to 5, along with their families and caregivers. Families also love OMCA's Garden that is free and open to the public Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–5 pm and until 9 pm on Fridays.
5. Oakland Aviation Museum
An interactive play area at the Oakland Aviation Museum lets children experience sitting in a plane as well as standing in the control tower listening to real-time air traffic controllers.
6. Boating on Lake Merritt and Brooklyn Basin
The Lake Merritt Boating Center is a launch point into the saltwater city lake via rentable rowboats, kayaks, pedal boats, and canoes. Life jackets are available and required.
Stand-up paddleboards can be rented at California Canoe & Kayak at Brooklyn Basin on a first-come, first-served basis. Also available for rent are seakayaks and canoes.
8. Get Outdoors
The East Bay Regional Park District operates dozens of parks in Oakland, many of which have special naturalist-led programs or activities throughout the year. Easy trails for kids are at Temescal and Redwood regional parks. Explore the full list of Oakland parks and open spaces.
You can also get out on the Big Blue Bay using the San Francisco Bay ferry system. From Jack London Square, you can go to the San Francisco Ferry Building or Pier 41. But all do not return immediately be sure to check the schedule in advance.
9. Kinetic Art Center
Maybe you have a future juggler or trapeze artist in your midst? Find out at the Kinetic Art Center, which teaches classes and workshops.
10. Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA)
The Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) is dedicated to showcasing the creative works of children. The museum has an impressive collection of art created by children, which includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, and more. The museum also offers art classes and workshops for children of all ages, allowing them to unleash their creativity and explore their artistic talents.
See all that The Town has to offer! Check out our Digital Inspiration Guide and start planning your trip!