Fun Things to Do with Your Grandchildren Around Oakland

Local Information

When your grandchildren visit, you probably have a wonderful time playing games, laughing together and simply getting caught up. If you’re ready for a change of scenery, you’ll find a variety of fun activities around Oakland.

Here are a few of our favorite things to do in the Oakland area. We think you’ll agree that these destinations are perfect settings for having a blast and creating special memories with your grandchildren.

1. Visit the Zoo

The Oakland Zoo is a must-see for visitors and offers a range of fun, interactive activities for kids of all ages. During your visit, you and your grandchildren can learn more about conservation and what you can do to help the natural environment.

Zoo activities include animal encounters in a “wildlife theater” where zoo staff and volunteers lead activities featuring live animals. In addition, you can stop by exhibits for the various animals during feeding time to find out what and how much the animals eat.

The zoo also offers classes, camps, movie nights, weekend workshops and other special events.

2. See the ‘Floating White House’

The so-called “Floating White House” is the USS Potomac, which served as the Presidential Yacht for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940s.

The site opened to the public in 1995 following a 12-year, $5-million project to restore the ship as a tribute to FDR. Since the restoration, more than 250,000 people have visited the 165-foot ship and enjoyed sailing aboard it. The ship was originally commissioned in 1934 as the USCG Cutter Electra.

3. Spend a Day at a Park

If you and your grandkids love spending time outdoors, you can find a variety of options in the East Bay Regional District Park system. The 65 parks include more than 120,000 acres and trails measuring at 1,250 miles. The parks provide the perfect setting for a range of activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, camping, boating, horseback riding and picnicking.

Among the many options, consider visiting the 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park, where you’ll encounter people from around the Bay Area enjoying picnics, jogging, cycling, hiking and horseback riding. In the park, you can enjoy trails through oak woodlands, redwood groves and meadows. The native Coast Redwoods that grow in the park constitute one of the few thriving Redwood forests in an urban location.

Just a few miles from downtown Oakland, you also can enjoy Redwood Regional Park. This peaceful forest setting of more than 1,800 acres includes evergreens and grasslands along with the redwoods, and it’s home to a variety of animals. In the park, you’ll find a children’s play area, picnic sites and camping areas available with a reservation.

4. Take a Ferry Ride

For a calming ride on the water, consider taking the San Francisco Bay Ferry. Instead of dealing with tolls or traffic, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as you visit destinations around the Bay. You and your grandchildren also can grab a snack or beverage while you enjoy the Bay views.

From the Oakland Jack London Square Terminal, you can visit AT&T Park, South San Francisco, San Francisco Pier 41 and other destinations.

5. Step into Fairyland

Children’s Fairyland is an amusement park that has entertained young children since the 1950s with rides, animals and shows. Puppet shows, children’s theater and other performances are among the special events available.

The park’s attractions include child-sized rides, 10 acres of gardens, nearly 60 “storybook sets” — such as The Old Lady in the Shoe — and other wonders catering to the under-8 set. Rides include the Jolly Trolley Train Ride, installed in 1954, and the brightly colored Flecto Carousel.

Children can meet members of the “Fairyland Menagerie,” including goats, miniature ponies, rabbits, ducks, donkeys and more. When you’re ready for a break, you can grab a bite in the Johnny Appleseed Cafe.

6. Enjoy Lake Merritt

Oakland’s Lake Merritt is one of the United States’ most unusual urban spaces and includes a 3.4-mile shoreline in the city’s center. The lake encompasses a tidal lagoon that functions as the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the country.

Whether you’re enjoying a hike, a picnic or just taking in the scenery, you and your grandchildren will love Lake Merritt — and all the other attractions Oakland has to offer.

You’ll also love the location of Lake Park, just a quick stroll from Lake Merritt, the Oakland Museum and a variety of other cultural and recreational destinations. To find out more about vibrant living in downtown Oakland, please contact us today.