our everyday life

Indoor Kids' Activities in the Bay Area of California

by Jane Rodda, studioD

Finding indoor activities for kids on those rainy, cold days should not be too much trouble in the diverse region of the San Francisco Bay Area. With major cities such as San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco along with numerous suburban towns, the area offers plenty for families. So, when the fog rolls in and you need to keep the kids inside, they can easily stay active and engaged in the Bay Area.

Play Places

U Me is an indoor play area for kids in Menlo Park. It has climbing structures, fun games to play and bouncy toys. It also has art classes, story time and craft days regularly scheduled. With locations in both Concord and San Jose, the Jungle Island is 26,000 square feet of indoor playground structures. It is several stories high with climbing tunnels, fishnets, slides, tubes, ball pits and ladders. Once in, the playtime is unlimited for kids and a snack bar is available serving hamburgers and hot dogs. With an emphasis on kid's fitness and health, Safari Run in San Mateo is a jungle-themed play area filled with tunnels, slides, mazes and a running track. Parents can relax in the Wi-Fi lounge while the kids get their energy out.


The Exploratorium on Pier 15 in San Francisco has an extensive collection of hands-on activities for kids to explore science. Kids can build contraptions, learn about the senses, look through an inverted giant mirror, visit the colorless room and investigate microorganisms with various tools. The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose offers interesting exhibits for kids including a Star Wars section exploring futuristic technologies in the real world compared to the fantasy world of Star Wars. Visitors can explore other technological advances in medicine, transportation and renewable energy. In El Cerrito, a town just over the hills in the east bay, you will find Playland Not-at-the-Beach Museum of Fun. Its aim is to relive the bygone days of amusement with exhibits such as a miniature circus display, more than 30 pinball machines to play, penny arcades, live magic shows and historical displays.

Art and Reading

The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco would interest any comic book buffs with its look into the history of cartoons, comics and digital illustrations. Kids can learn all about how cartoon animation, from the earliest forms to the present day technologies in digital animations. The Museum of Children's Arts in Oakland is an opportunity for children to create artwork through various mediums. Each week the center has a different theme, aiming to cultivate creativity and imagination in the kids. Almost every town in the Bay Area you will be able to find a public library offering storytime and reading challenges for children. The San Francisco Public Library has family storytime and an origami club meeting regularly.

Aquatic Centers

The city of Richmond has an indoor pool called the Richmond Plunge that is open to the public. It has open swim times and swimming lessons for all ages. The Hamilton Pool in San Francisco has two indoor water slides in a large, heated swimming facility. It has lessons available teaching the swimming basics and safety elements kids need to know. Daly City has a year round swimming facility as well. The Giammona Pool has 11 swimming lanes, recreational swim times and lessons. The city of Mill Valley has an Aquatic Center with open swim time as well as structured programs for kids. One in particular is, "Splashball," which teaches young kids the fundamentals of water polo in a fun way.

About the Author

Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images