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10 kid-friendly outings for summertime in Berkeley

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Berkeley has trampolines, ziplines, swings, and make believe for kids under 12. Photo: Heather Flett
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Berkeley has trampolines, ziplines, swings, and make believe for kids under 12. Photo: Heather Flett

By Heather Flett

Now that Memorial Day is behind us and all thoughts turn to summer, we bring you, via our friends at 510 Families, ten kid-friendly outings that suit the season.

1. Get lost among the stacks at the Bay Area Book Festival the weekend of June 6 and 7 at Civic Center Park. There will be a free book for every child, dance performances, pony rides and a meet-and-greet with Judy Blume among many other literary wonders.

2. Swing from the life-size hammocks and bounce on the trampolines at We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym. We love Berkeley’s all-abilities playspace for its drop-in fun, last minute camps, and birthday parties. Did you know they also provide “break time” for parents (meaning YOU CAN LEAVE THE KIDS THERE)? Just thought you should know.


3. Hunt for pirate treasure. Berkeley Path Wanderers Association leads guided tours around historically interesting places in town. The walk on June 26 promises to be especially kid-friendly with pirate costumes, treasure map, and clues near Shorebird Nature Center.

4. Try out the free lessons at Berkeley Lawn Bowling on weekend mornings. Coaches arrive at 10 a.m. to show you the basics. If you or your child run out of patience, the Acton Bancroft playground is less than a block away.

5. Play at the Harrison Street Skate Park before dinner at Farm Burger. Whether you’re playing in the half pipe or watching the cool tricks, you’ll work up an appetite worthy of our favorite burger in the Gilman District. The restaurant play area is starting to look a little beat-up but my kids still love it.

Berkeley Kite Festival July 25-26: one of many fun events for kids this summer in Berkeley. Photo: Whitney Moss
Berkeley Kite Festival July 25-26: one of many fun events for kids this summer in Berkeley. Photo: Whitney Moss

6. Don’t miss the annual Berkeley Kite Festival in July; a family favorite, this huge event lasts all weekend. You’ll be able to see the skies come alive with enormous flying colors from miles away, but you’ll want to be up close to watch the battle kites and live demonstrations. If you can, bike there to avoid the traffic hassles.

7. Berkeley Playhouse Imagination Players (ages 7-14) presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from June 6-June 14. With four different children’s casts, odds are good you will be rooting for a classmate at one of the performances.


8. Pick up a Catahoula hot chocolate before playing at Dreamland Playground where Bolivar Dr. hooks up with the San Francisco Bay Trail near Bancroft Way. The playground is a hit with butterfly and train enthusiasts alike, but the bathroom is rather dodgy so bring lots of hand wipes.

9. Feed the greedy goats at Little Farm and burn off extra energy with a short hike around Jewel Lake. This free-for-all zoo is perfect for those with attention spans too short to justify the admission price at a zoo. Then again, you can always pet the lizards at the East Bay Vivarium and eat a cupcake afterward.

10. Picnic on the shores of Lake Anza. While Lake Anza is sheltered from wind, it’s completely exposed to sun, so BYO shade. Too busy to prep a picnic? There is a refreshment stand with hot dogs, bagels, sandwiches and ice cream treats.

Heather Flett is the founder of 510families.com, a website to help parents have hecka fun with their kids. Find more great ideas for Berkeley families on the 99 Days of Summer Guide for East Bay Kids.

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