Albany YMCA

All Ages
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Q&A

  • My daughter will be going to kindergarten in Albany schools in the fall and I am searching for a before/afterschool provider for her.  I realize it is early in the year, but I have found the YMCA (Solano Kids Club) to be extremely unresponsive (as in, zero response) to my requests for information or for a tour.  And, all of the reviews of the YMCA's program on this site are 10 years old (or more).  Does anyone have recent experience with the YMCA's aftercare?  Have your experiences been generally positive?  About how many kids are enrolled?  Does it provide enrichment classes?  Any info you could provide would be appreciated!   

    My older daughter went to the Y program for 5 years, and it's almost 3 years for my younger. I really like it because it is structured, but not too much. There are no enrichment classes. But I think young kids should play after school, so I am OK with it. I really like the director and also the counselors are so sweet and great.  I suggest that you call the Albany YMCA or drop by there to ask more detailed questions. We have been happy with the YMCA. 

Parent Reviews

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I went to the Berkeley Y for many years, and the first few years after becoming a parent. Then realized the Albany Y was much closer to my house, and switched to that as my home Y about 5 years ago. We now go regularly on Saturday and my kids go to the childwatch down the street (but in the same building as the yoga classes on weekends). It really just depends on what's more convenient for you personally, because that will get you there. Parking is easier in Albany for sure, except maybe at Cornell School pickup time. I now go to the Berkeley Y maybe once a month, because one of my kids really likes the big-kid childwatch there, because it has foosball and a wii. The other one hates it, because the helpers aren't very warm, unlike her favorite at the Albany Y childwatch. Personal preference.

At the Albany Y, there is rarely a wait for equipment (though it will depend a bit on when you are there and how choosy you are about getting a particular machine), and everyone is pretty low-key.

I didn't realize that weekend child care they sent kids up the street (babies, too?) Weekdays, the child watch services while the parent works are definitely in a small room on site at the gym.  It does seem to be a pretty small room, but I don't think there are often many kids there at a time (I guess on weekdays, most of them are at school or child care). Which days will you be there?  Do you have another adult at home to watch the kid on weekends? Child watch isn't offered at all times the gym is open, so check the hours and consider when you expect to be there.  It's been years since I used it, so I can't comment specifically on the quality.

If you are female, you should know that unlike Berkeley, Albany doesn't  have a women-only workout area, if that is important to you (though as I said, people at the Albany Y seem pretty low-key, and as a woman, I've never felt uncomfortable working out there in a co-ed environment).

Parking is MUCH easier at Albany, (if you will be driving).

I love that I can use any Y in the area without an extra fee (though I think you have to complete a waiver form).

The towel issue hasn't been a problem for me since I just go home to shower, but again, consider how you plan to use the facility.


I belong to the Albany Y and brought my then 2-3 month-old with me several times during maternity leave. I still bring him now, but less often. My sister brings her 4- and 7-year-olds almost every weekend. ChildWatch (as they call it) is super affordable ($3/hour, I believe) and my baby, niece, and nephew all seem to enjoy it. During the week, they have the kids in a small room on-site so you're always close-by; on the weekends, they have the kids at their bigger site on Solano between Talbot and Cornell, just a block up Solano. My sister has had one of the ChildWatch people babysit her kids too, which is great since they know her.

In terms of the facilities, it's a very small gym, but unless you're going at the usual peak hours, you'll always get the machine you want or just use another one until the one you want opens up, which is quick. The classes and personal training are good too.

I typically have no issues finding parking on a side street. And it's free since it's in Albany.

Hope this helps!



I can speak for the Albany Y. There isn’t usually a wait to use equipment or weights. The childcare is great. You can use both locations as a member. Your home branch, the one you pay your membership dues to, you should use at least 51% of the time. Feel free to schedule tours at both to see which one you want your home branch to be. You can only bring guests to your home branch. Hope that all helps! 

RE: East Bay 3yr Old Party Ideas ()

Albany Y was awesome at that age! We had and attended a few parties there. We had a Bladium party at age 6 and it was fun but very loud. Better for older kids in our experience. Sweet times. 

RE: East Bay 3yr Old Party Ideas ()

We did my son’s 2nd and 4th birthday at Albany YMCA. They set up obstacle courses and play areas. Was fun and price was reasonable!

RE: Stretch Class?? ()

Recommend Albany YMCA - the little Y that could and can and does! - and work with one of their many personal trainers. Sue is particularly experienced in working with people with physical problems. The Albany Y is reasonably priced and your membership actually extends to the all the YMCAs in Northern California:  ie; San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Sonoma, etc.   The front desk staff are wonderful folks who would be happy to talk to you about membership, etc. 510-525-1130  It's great that you are so motivated to improve your health with exercise. Good luck. 

YMCA Albany
921 Kains Avenue 
Albany, CA 94706 
(510) 525-1130

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Birthday Parties at the Albany Y

Feb 2010

I am looking for a place to have my son's 4th birthday party and would like recent feedback about the Albany Y for a birthday celebration and would this age group group be appropriate for this place. thanks

We just had our 2-year-old's birthday party there, and it was great fun for all ages (we had kids there ranging from age 1 to 8). We loved the people who coordinated the activities like parachute time and singing (which took about a half-hour of the entire two-hour party). They really kept me on the schedule, and helped me determine when to do what. We had been to a 4-year-old's birthday party last year there and knew it was the perfect place for us. And we got great feedback after the party from guests. Feel free to email me for more info. Alexandra

March 2009

I want to have my daughter's 5th birthday party in August in a space that would allow for several tables for crafts and refreshments. I would like to handle most of it, unless there's a restaurant that would give us a private room and allow space for crafts. I prefer indoors but close access to outdoor play space would be nice too. It would be for about 15 children and their parents. Any suggestions? House too small for party

We have loved having our daughter's birthday parties in the Kindergym room at the YMCA in Albany. I'm guessing that other YMCA locations have this kind of space too. Your daughter's friends won't be too old to use the equipment at 5 years old and there is plenty of room for adults to attend too. We didn't set up tables for crafts but we did have tables for snacks and cake away from the wooden gym floor so crafts would probably be OK too. So nice to have so much room to run and to not have your house destroyed in the process! Cheers! house too small for party too

Kids Club After-school Programs

Oct 2008

My child attends the Albany YMCA Kids Club in the morning. My child says the Director yells at them. I was wondering if any other child has brought this up to their parents? Or if anyone has any insight they'd like to share.

My child has attended the Albany Kids Club for many years (now in 4th year). In both his experience and from my personal observation, the YMCA staff are nurturning, kind, and responsible. The director of the morning program is a warm and gentle person. Like any adult responsible for taking care of children, she does sometimes have to redirect children's behavior. Your child may be having a hard time with a new person redirecting his/her behavior or that of others (especially if your child is very low-key him/herself and rarely needs redirection). Kids are sensitive and sometimes misinterpret and miscommunicate cues from others. But remember that there is quite a mix of children, some of whom really need a lot of guidance from adults regarding their interpersonal and behavioral skills.

By the way, if you have any concerns about the YMCA, the Site Coordinator will surely address them with you. a fellow mom

My son was in Kids' Club last year in kindergarten. He started very late in the year, so was feeling quite shy and anxious. The morning director, whom you were asking about, was very accommodating with any requests I had to help in my son's transition. I know that she would be willing to help your child feel more comfortable, if you have any input for her. The Program Director of Kids' Club is also very open to feedback, so if you just want someone to help sort out what's really going on, she's another great resource. I would also like to share that whenever we arrived at the Kids' Club Center (I arrived at varying times when they didn't necessarily expect to see parents) what I saw was appropriate behavior for staff who work with children. There were times that I heard the AM director raise her voice to be heard above the happy chatter of the children, but it was definitely not yelling. However, each child is an individual and responds differently to the octave or tone of others' voices. That is why I recommend that you discuss your concerns with the AM Director herself or with Alicia. Happy YMCA Mom

Jan 2008

Hi! My daughter will be starting Kindergarten in Albany in the Fall and I am looking for after school care 3 days a week. I'd love to hear recent experiences people have had with both the Y's Kid's club program, Albany Children's Center and the local on-site care at Marin. I'm looking for a program that is interesting and fun for the kids with plenty of supervision (especially if it's mixing 5th graders and Kindergartener's). Thanks so much! sl

Hi, I'm here to give you some feedback about the Albany YMCA program. I actually work for the Berkeley Y, so for me, choosing the Albany Y was a no-brainer. My children have been in the Albany YMCA Kids Club program from kindergarten up until now (middle school program for my oldest). The staff are well- trained, conscientious, and practice the YMCA character values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Albany schools have such varied schedules that many times kindergartners aren't around the older kids that much. You mentioned concern about being around 5th graders, but the Y program is K-3 in the same building, 4-5th graders are at a different site altogether. The director, Alicia Butler, has always been very open to feedback. That was important because my two boys are not easy. One takes a long time to adjust to transitions, the other has ADHD. The two children are incredibly different and need to be handled quite differently. The staff were very accomodating and worked with me to find solutions when necessary. The Albany Y program also has quite flexible scheduling, and as a working mom that was very necessary. Good luck finding the right choice for you! Eden

March 2003

Re: Albany Middle School after school programs

As the director of the Albany YMCA Kids' Club program, I have some information about our own program to share. Most of the children in our after-school Kids' Club programs are K-5th grade, but there are two sites (one each in Berkeley & Albany) for ''older'' kids. The Marin School Kids' Club site is where the 4th-6th graders from Albany go. Typically, there are mostly 4th & 5th graders there, but it is open to 6th graders, too.

The daily program consists of homework time, outside sports/games, crafts, free play, and a healthy snack. Transportation from the middle school to the site is not provided as it is for the elementary kids (so the AMS kids usually walk or parents organize other transportation.) It's not a drop-in program, so enrollment is required and if a child does not show up -without parent notification- the staff call the parents and school in an attempt to track the child's whereabouts. For more info, call the YMCA at 525-1130 or visit the website at

I also know that AMS has been providing after-school classes, so you can call the school to ask about those. Good luck next year.



April 2006

Re: Fun gym for 13-month-old
We enjoyed the Kindergym/babygym classes at the Albany YMCA at that age. Open to non-Y-members. It's drop-in, so there's no commitment. They offered it 2-3 times/week. Berkeley Y also has kindergym, but i'm not sure if they're open to non- members. Mary

Childcare at the Albany Y


I've only used the Albany Y childcare twice so far, so my experience is limited. There's usually one childcare provider on hand who sits in that small room adjacent to the gym. The care is fine, but my daughter didn't enjoy it because the first time there were only two very small children in the center; the second time, she was alone. There's no kindergym available, though there is a small outside area (just cement, no grass or sand).

So, despite my concerns about how busy the Berkeley Y gets, I'm going to stick with it. We've used them three times so far and my daughter has had a great time, even though she doesn't know any of the kids. She loves the kindergym, there's lots of toys and art, and a computer she'd like to try out.

Plus, I think because of the concerns voiced by many parents, the Y is cleaning up its act a bit. Parents must leave their Y identification card with the center for security reasons. I also noticed that they use a walkie talkie to communicate with the provider in the kindergym area, letting him/her know that a child is arriving with her parent or another provider. They also seemed very attentive to me when I arrived.

I didn't use the Y when my daughter was younger because she refused and I was worried about the lack of security and what I perceived as the inattention very young children--and infants--received there, particularly in the kindergym area. Valerie

Although the childwatch room is small, my 2 girls (5&1/2 & 3&1/2 yrs) consistently enjoy going there - they call it kid play. It can get crowded during morning aerobic class times, can be a bit hard on not accomplished walkers (linoleum floors) but the different ages of kids seem to sequester themselves well. One problem, they arn't licensed to change diapers, so they'll come get you from your workout as needed, and once you're in there, your workout is probably done. The staff is very caring - mostly experienced moms, and there are many times when it is not crowded. Smstutz