Family Activities During Covid

Parent Q&A

Yosemite during the pandemic Jun 27, 2020 (9 responses below)
Where to go for kids to ride a bike May 3, 2020 (31 responses below)
  • Yosemite during the pandemic

    (9 replies)

    Has anyone been to Yosemite since it reopened?  We have reservations for late July at Yosemite Valley Lodge and are trying to decide whether to go or cancel.  We have never been to Yosemite so this would be our first time to experience Yosemite Valley.  We have two kids aged 4 and 9.  We are also about to move out of state so this may be our last chance to go when the trip is fairly easy logistics-wise.  However, we're wondering if it's worth it to go now with all of the restrictions in place.  The shuttle around the Valley is closed, it seems that the ranger program and most museum/educational buildings are closed, we would have to wear masks everywhere, etc.  We want to rent bikes, but I'm worried about them being disinfected.  Same with common areas in the hotel and using public restrooms around the park.  Any thoughts/opinions?  For those who have been there, how restrictive and/or safe does everything feel?  Thank you!

    RE: Yosemite during the pandemic ()

    Oh, definitely cancel, and then transfer your reservations to me!

    In all seriousness, I don't think you'll ever have a better opportunity in Yosemite. With the restrictions on travel to the Park it's going to be amazing compared to the usual summer crowds. Disinfecting bikes? What on earth do you intend to do with them? Just keep your 4-yo from licking them too much :) !! It's too bad about the museums and visitor centers but there is still a lot to see just outdoors.

    We just got back from Lassen and it was fabulous - camping and hiking and swimming. We found that people (park staff, fellow campers, folks in the surrounding communities) were kind, open, generous, and friendly, and we all found ways to maintain appropriate distances. When you see someone approaching on the trail, your group or the other one pulls off at the nearest wide spot on the trail (some people pull up their mask - whatever you're comfortable with), and you pass each other - it's just like driving up one of the narrow roads int eh Berkeley Hills. You will be in a place of wonder and beauty and you will be sharing it with other people who are appreciating one of the most spectacular treasures of nature in the US. I envy you guys - definitely do not give up on Yosemite!

    RE: Yosemite during the pandemic ()

    I haven't been there since the pandemic began, so you can take this with a grain of salt, but I want to say that the opportunity to be in Yosemite Valley when it is operating with limits on its normal number of visitors seems like such an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime chance that you would be crazy to pass it up. Bring your own sanitizing wipes or bleach solution and a rag, and disinfect the rented bikes yourself. Wipe down anything you're worried about. Wear a mask and hold your breath while you go pee in a shared restroom. I think you can find ways to manage the risks when you are in an environment that mostly allows you to be outdoors. The ranger programs are nice, but they aren't really why you go to Yosemite. You're there to just take in the beauty of nature, and you can do that without a museum or ranger-guided activities. If you guys are able to ride bikes, you don't need the shuttle. Ride around, take in the gorgeous views of this very, very special place, and glory in all of it. Do I need to send you some photos of how crowded Yosemite Valley typically is in July?? :) You should go!

    RE: Yosemite during the pandemic ()

    We went to Yosemite three days after it opened. I think it’s an amazing time to go to Yosemite because they’re limiting the amount of cars coming into the park to 1000 cars, where in a typical summer day there was a 6000 car limitation. We stayed in cabins at Evergreen Lodge.   The cabin aspect was nice because you weren’t really indoors with other people and you could order your breakfast or dinner to go and eat outdoors at their picnic tables.  We brought a lot of snacks with us so we wouldn’t be reliant upon food at the park. The market was open but I’m not sure what else will be.  

  • Where to go for kids to ride a bike

    (31 replies)

    I do not mean to offend anyone.

    We have strictly adhered to social distancing. I have not even taken kids out for a walk and we rely 100% on contactless delivery.

    When I tend to the front yard, I wear a mask.

    I am sad that my kid learned to ride a bike a week before the SIP order and his shiny new bike is sitting in the garage. He’s wobbly and isn’t a proficient rider yet. He keeps asking when he can go out and ride his bike again...

    We used to go to a local elementary school to practice riding. I think it’s closed now.

    Is there a good place to go to practice bike riding in Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda or do we just need to be more patient?

    We don’t have flat streets in our neighborhood to practice riding. Seriously regretting buying a house on a hill...

    Just walking around my neighborhood the past few weeks I've seen a few places that would be good for little kid bike riding but you'd probably need to park nearby and walk over with the bikes. The Claremont hotel is closed right now and their lower parking area is accessible to little kids on bikes - I saw some there today. There's a small employee lot in front and a larger one in back near the tennis courts. There are a lot of paved plazas on the UC Berkeley campus - maybe look on google maps for likely spots. Clark Kerr campus has some open areas near where the Cal Youth camps were held. Saw some tricycles and scooters there. Good luck!

    I would try Kensington Park (there is a small circular track excellent for learning how to ride, or empty basketball court), or one of many empty parking lots at various schools, etc. As long as you keep distance, you should give you intrepid bike rider a welcome respite from the long and difficult time at home. Good luck!

    There are many nearly empty parking lots to choose from - the BART stations, shopping areas, etc. Basketball courts are a good option too. There are several streets closed to through traffic in Oakland as well and those are decent options. I have seen some people in Berkeley put up signs in the street that kids are playing to “soft close” the block so their kids can practice riding in the street - not legal, but effective and frankly a better use of street space at this point.

    If you’re serious about physical distancing, I would not recommend the Bay Trail, Ohlone Greenway, or popular parks. Many people are still using those and they do not distance (and many are still not wearing masks either). Nor would I recommend sidewalks, they are too narrow for proper distancing. I’ve been taking my kids on residential streets in Berkeley and Oakland, but they were solid riders before the shelter in place started. I really wish Berkeley would soft close some streets like Oakland is doing to create an abundance of space for kids to walk and bike where there isn’t crowding. But the city doesn’t seem interested.