If you’re looking for family-friendly fun in the Oakland area, we have a wealth of suggestions for you. This city is teeming with options that will delight everyone from toddlers to teens. You can get the whole family engaged in exciting activities and memorable outings thanks to Oakland’s many local highlights. Check out these top picks for a great day with your loved ones in Oakland.
Go Wild at the Oakland Zoo
Home to more than 850 animals, the Oakland Zoo offers a wild experience that’s fun for the entire family. Here you’ll find gray wolves, bald eagles, jaguars, mountain lions, African elephants, baboons, fruit bats, wallaroos, squirrel monkeys, and much more. You can tour the zoo on foot, aboard the express train, or from an aerial vantage point on the sky ride. The zoo even offers a roller coaster, carousel, and other fun rides to try out.
In the Children’s Zoo, you can get up close and personal with shows in the Clorox Wildlife Theater, intimate animal encounters, and a petting yard. On-site restaurants and snack bars make it easy to fuel up and enjoy the zoo all day long.
Visit the Oakland Aviation Museum
If your children enjoy aircraft, they’ll love the Oakland Aviation Museum. The museum features everything from full aircraft like a replica of the Wright brothers’ 1972 Model EX to a Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior, the heaviest and largest carrier-based aircraft. The Boeing model hybrid dirigible is just 1/50th scale and still measures 20 feet long, offering an impressive understanding of the full scale of aircraft.
If you want to take a look at the inner workings of these airborne vehicles, just head to the Engine Room, where you can see exactly what powers these impressive machines. Exhibits like Women in Aviation and Black Americans in Aviation also explore the history and evolution of the aviation industry as a whole. There’s plenty to explore here, with sights and information to intrigue nearly any member of the family.
Stroll Through the Gardens at Lake Merritt
The Gardens at Lake Merritt cover 7 acres, allowing guests to meander through several uniquely themed areas. Entry to the gardens is free, making this an ideal choice when you want to get out with the kids but aren’t ready to invest in a major outing or all-day adventure.
The gardens are as educational as they are beautiful. In the Bay-Friendly Gardening area, you’ll see how nature recycles nutrients, water, and even debris in its own natural systems. The Pollinator Garden can help you develop an appreciation for these hardworking insects, while the Urban Edible Garden may inspire you to dine on the bounty of the earth more often. The park also features a Sensory Garden, Rhododendron Garden, Succulent Garden, and other destinations.
The gardens offer a lovely afternoon any time of the year, but they’re a must-see in October during the Autumn Lights Festival. Keep an eye on the calendar so you don’t miss this annual event where the gardens are illuminated and live music drifts through the magical space.
Enjoy Hands-on Learning at the Chabot Space & Science Center
The Chabot Space & Science Center lets families experience science and discovery in an engaging, hands-on manner. You can design space robots, pilot a rover, and build a shelter worthy of Mars. View an ultraviolet animation of the sun in nearly real time, listen to sonified earthquakes, and check out the world through magnifying glasses, heat cameras, binoculars, monoculars, and more.
Every Friday and Saturday night, you can visit the Chabot Space & Science Center for free telescope viewings alongside the museum’s astronomers. Not only can you observe the universe through Chabot’s three massive telescopes, but you can also enjoy views of the surrounding landscape here on Earth from the observatory deck, situated 1,500 feet above the Bay. Budding scientists will find no better way to explore their interests.
Explore Children’s Fairyland
Children’s Fairyland is the perfect destination for families with small children. Dating back to 1948, the destination promoted the concept of a fairy-tale theme park before Disneyland even existed. In fact, Walt Disney went on to hire Fairyland’s executive director Dorothy Manes and puppeteer Bob Mills. Fairyland offers a charming experience for visitors of all ages but caters specifically to those age 8 and under.
Visitors can step into nearly 60 storybook sets from favorite tales like “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Rabbit,” and “The Old Lady in the Shoe.” The mild rides offer gentle entertainment for even the smallest visitors. Anyone can ride the Jolly Trolley and Wonder-Go-Round. Adults aren’t even allowed on the pint-sized mini Ferris wheel and Flecto Carousel. The park also includes 8 acres of gardens and over 15 live animals, including miniature horses, Nigerian dwarf goats, miniature donkeys, babydoll sheep, chickens, ducks, and Puff the bearded dragon.
Indulge in a Treat at Fentons Creamery
Fentons Creamery is a landmark of Oakland. Serving its now world-famous treats since 1894, this ice cream destination has been featured on the Travel Channel, Food Network, History Channel, and even in the beloved Pixar film “Up.” The ice cream here comes from California cows and is handcrafted in 10-gallon batches. All of the ingredients are of premium quality, from the 100% Madagascar vanilla to the locally roasted almonds.
Fentons delivers a wide selection of sweet treats, from traditional sundaes to inspired options like The Berry Go Round, featuring strawberry, blueberry cheesecake, and raspberry swirl ice cream, or the Black & Tan, with creamy vanilla and toasted almond ice cream layered amid caramel and chocolate sauce. Ice cream isn’t the only thing on the menu, however. You can take the family out for a full meal here. Fentons serves sandwiches, burgers, salads, macaroni and cheese, and more.
Did we include your favorite local family activities on our list? If we missed a great destination, contact our team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers and let us know. We always strive to provide our clients with the best recommendations in the area.