Oakland & Alameda

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Oakland Museum

I just visited the Oakland Museum on Oak St. w/ two toddlers and it was fun. Their cafe actually attracts patrons from blocks away! The animal section was fun for them, and they spent lots of time climbing in circles on the burl wood structure and running around near the fish ponds with the dozens of children from the field trips. I wouldn't recommend the California history area where they could get into the exhibits. The fee was only $6 for adults, under 4 free. Susan (Oct 2001)
Oakland Museum: nice place to take little kids. On a weekday it isn't crowded, strollers go well here, and the historical part has cool old firetrucks, etc. Ginger

Port of Oakland

I have one idea for adventurous toddlers and older kids that others may not have heard of: Port View Park at the end of 7th St. in Oakland, in the middle of the port, has a bright new fire-engine red playscape, a sandbox with built-in digging toys, terrific views of the Bay, and _tugboats_ tied up close by. There are also the giant cranes for the container ships and nearby construction vehicles, which my boy loves. There is a sandwich shop/snack bar right there, with big glass windows for the views. The park is not heavily used, so bring playmates for your kids -- and companions for yourself if the neighborhood makes you nervous. I felt safe in the park, but getting between Berkeley and the park may raise some doubts. Note that the sign on the playscape says it is designed for older kids (5-12, I think), but I thought it was OK for a toddler if a parent follows pretty close, and it is easy for a parent to do that on this structure. Also note that the Bay is right there, so keep an eye out for wandering tots. And I saw some broken glass, not in the playscape, but on the ground around the fishing pier nearby.

Getting there is a bit tricky because part of 7th St. (between Adeline and Maritime) is closed for construction (replacing the Cypress structure), so check a map to decide the best route for you: either head for the Bay Bridge, get off at the Grand Ave. exit before the toll plaza, turn right on Maritime and then right on 7th, or go down Adeline to Middle Harbor Drive and turn left once it loops back to 7th. Andrea (1996)

My wife took the boys, then age 7 and 3, for free ferry boat tour of Port of Oakland. They all loved it -- something of a mix between a pleasure cruise and a factory tour! Weekdays only, I believe, perhaps with a morning and an afternoonsailing time offered. Anyone have current info on this? Jay (1996)