We all know how hard it is to find places to go with the kids when the rainy weather of our Bay Area winter rolls around (especially during the Winter/ Holiday Break from school!).
If you need some ideas for places to take the kids, check out some of our favorite indoor play spaces in the Bay Area.
Childrens Discovery Museum of San Jose
At $10 per child & adult it can be kind of pricey, but may be worth it if you have a curious kiddo. There are many hands on things for kids to climb on, play with, and explore. They have a great toddler only room upstairs called “The Wonder Cabinet” (for ages 0-4).
On the main floor you will find a fire truck and ambulance, a stagecoach, a great water play room, and lots of other fun activities. (We suggest saving the water play for last and possibly bringing a change of clothes.) The small bottom floor is dedicated to bubbles. Kids can make teeny tiny bubbles or even big giant ones. It can be kind of messy, but they do provide paper towels.
There are also different exhibits every few months to check out. You can find more info on membership rates and discounts here: http://www.cdm.org/viewPage.asp?mlid=281#explorer
Bay Area Discovery Museum
This museum, located in Sausalito, is definitely worth the drive! Although, a lot of it is outside, it can be braved on a cold day. It’s $11 for adults and children (under 6 months free) which can make it a little pricey but what they have available is worth it.
They have several buildings that make up the museum, each with a different theme (trains, under the sea, art, and much more!). They also have a large outdoor playground and small kid friendly hiking trails around the museum. A great place to spend the day!
Palo Alto Junior Museum
We LOVE this place! It’s great for all ages as they have various science experiments for kids to participate in from wind tunnels to water power and green energy. Outside houses a beautiful, albeit small, zoo with mountain lions, bats, peacocks, raccoons, various reptiles, and more. They also have two aquariums with a diverse array of sea life such as sharks and sea anemones.
The museum is free, but does suggest a donation of $5 per person. Quite reasonable considering everything you get to experience, and being that the museum is a non-profit center. Check them out!
Heads up: There is a “No Food Allowed” inside rule, but there is a lovely park right next door that is perfect for a picnic if the rain holds off.
You can find SwaRay in an office park in North Sunnyvale at 1233 Reamwood Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94089. They have many options for active kids “bounce houses”, a climbing wall, balls of all sizes, a play kitchen, toy trains and cars, and more.
They are set up to host parties, but also offer a drop-in play on Tuesdays from 10am - 1pm, Wednesdays from 10am - 5pm, and Thursdays from 10am - 1pm for $5 per child. If you come with a group of 10 or more, you can get a group discount of $1 off per child.
U-Me is an indoor play space located in Menlo Park. It is quite pricey, $20 per child ($10 per sibling after the initial $20), children under 8 months are free as well as adults but offers tons of activities.
There is a tumbling room, an indoor playground, imaginative toys (a market, a stage, etc), as well as a cafe for grown ups.
Pump It Up (& Pump It Up Jr)
This is a great place in Sunnyvale for active kids. It is a large room filled with inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more.
They are set up to host parties, but also offer drop in play times a few days per week. (Times and prices are listed on their website.)
Hiller Aviation Museum
This is a great museum on a rainy day, although we would have to say it’s geared toward older kids (6 and up). There is a small airport attached which can be really fun for kids to watch the planes take off and land.
Located in San Carlos, they also offer special events for kids and adults. Admission for adults 18 years and over is $11, ages 5-17 are $8 and children 4 and under are free!
California Sports Center For Kids
Located in Willow Glen at Malone Road, San Jose, 95125, this is a great place for active kids. It is a kid-friendly gymnastics gym that offers classes for different age groups and skill levels as well as daily “open play” drop in days during the week.
The drop in days are Monday - Friday at 11am - Noon for $5 per child (over 1). The drop in play times are unstructured, but supervised by gym staff who are happy to help.
This kids’ fitness center is a great means of meeting other parents and giving your kids a great workout! While there is no “drop in” option, classes are offered for children ranging in ages from 6 weeks to 7+ years and feature free play, gymnastics, dancing and puppet shows.
They also sponsor “parent’s night out” now and then where you can drop off your child for a few hours (for a nominal fee) while Mom and Dad get some alone time.
Located in Oakland, the Play Cafe is an amazing place to take your kids on a rainy day! It’s a complete indoor place space with toys, kitchen, dramatic play and more!
They also offer healthy and nutritious meals for your kids. It’s not a huge space, but it’s enough for your kids not to get bored. Admission is $8 per child and free to adults.
This completely hands on museum is great for adults and kids alike! You could spend the entire day here and not be bored for a second! While it is pricey, $25 for adults over 18 and $19 for children, it is worth every penny. Everything in this museum can be touched, played with and explored. This is such a great place for parents and children to explore together.
It’s located in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco which in and of itself is absolutely beautiful. A wonderful place to spend a rainy day!
California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences offers a tremendous amount of activities! There is the a beautiful aquarium, a natural history museum, a complete indoor rainforest, a planetarium and much much more! They also offer a lot of special events during the year, right now you can get up close and personal with reindeer and a sleepover with the penguins at the museum! Located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, it is across the way from the DeYoung Museum as well as the Botanical Gardens.
The admissions are $29 for adults, $19 for youth 4-11, 4 and under are free and several Sundays a year they offer free admission. If you do go, we suggest getting there early to get the most of your time there!
Hop n Play
Located in the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, this is a great place to spend the day! We know it’s a hike but it’s worth it if you’re looking to get your kids energy out during a rainy day. It is a complete indoor playground and is spectacularly clean which we have found not to be the case at a lot of other indoor playspaces.
It’s $10 for the first child and $9 for siblings and it’s valid for the whole day! So you can let the kids play, go get some shopping done or get lunch in the food court and come back after.
Ice Rinks (Sharks Ice, Ice Center at Cupertino and Ice Center in San Mateo)
Sharks Ice is open several times a week for public skating and on the weekends they close off one of the ends and offer buckets so little ones just learning to skate can push around a bucket and not have to worry about people flying by them! They also offer lessons, hockey, and occasional skating with Sharkie!
Ice Center at Cupertino is located at Vallco and Ice Center in San Mateo located in the Bridgepointe Shopping Center, are other great indoor ice skating options. They are open year-round and have public (open) skate, lessons, discount nights, and hockey available. Please see website for more info and pricing.
Silver Creek Sportsplex
Kids 18 months - 12 years old can enjoy their “Open Play” in their “Play Zones” with inflatables and other fun activities. Open play is available Monday - Friday from 9:30am - 2pm and from 6:30pm - 9:30pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am - 12:30pm and from 6pm - closing.
This one may sound kinda lame, but give it a try. From what we’ve found, all Westfield locations have a GREAT play area for kids, and generally, they’re located in close proximity to a Family restroom as well. Not only are these places fun for the kids, they’re a good place to meet other moms or to hang out with your mom friends and let the kids blow off some energy in a safe, enclosed space. We like to let them play and then go grab some lunch at the food court.
The one at Westgate is a little different in that they are the coin operated ride-ons, and are not enclosed. There is no food court at Westgate, but there is are many kids friendly restaurants in the mall and on the surrounding property.
Bouncy Land is an indoor bouncy castle playland! Located at Westfield Oakridge Mall, kids ages 2 to 12 can get all that crazy energy out in a safe and clean environment. It’s fairly inexpensive with a few pricing options, $6 for 30 mins of bouncing, $8 for unlimited bouncing with no in and out, and $14 for unlimited bouncing with in and out.
Outside food is not allowed but they do have a cafe to buy food and if you get the in and out privilege, you can have lunch and come back for more!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
They offer everything you would expect at a world class aquarium, plus some great special exhibits and even play areas for the little ones. At $21.95 and up it can be a little pricey, but if you keep an eye out you can usually find a good deal or coupon.
They have a huge indoor play ground along with some coin operated games and rides. There is a toddler area, but it can be over-run with “big kids” and you have to actually go and find an employee to ask them to leave, only to have them return soon after. Also, we have found that the cleanliness leaves much to be desired.
There are two locations in San Jose; (The Jungle - Island) 5401 Camden Avenue, and 950 El Paseo de Saratoga (The Jungle). Admission M-F is $7.95 (3 and up) and $5.95 (ages 1-2) all day for unlimited play. On Tuesdays they have “Toddler Tuesdays” (for ages 1-2) where admission for toddlers is $3.48 for unlimited play. Saturday admission until 5pm is $8.95 (ages 3 and up) and $6.95 (ages 1-2), after 5pm admission is $5.95 for all ages.
Sky High Sports
Sky High Sports it basically a giant trampoline that kids can’t fall off of! If you have a kid with a lot of energy, this is the place for you! They also offer a session on Tuesday mornings for kids with special needs.
It’s an awesome place to take kids on a rainy day!
Campbell Library’s story times can be found on their website. They are pretty regular though, so it’s easy to keep track.
- Family Story Time (all ages welcome) - Tuesdays at 7:15pm
- Toddler Story Time (ages 1-3) - Wednesdays at 10:30am
- Preschool Story Time (ages 3-5) - Thursdays at 10:30am
- Baby Story Time (infants up to 16 months) - Fridays at 11:00am
They even host many special events such as Hot Cocoa Family Story Time, different craft events, and Family Game Night.
Many other local libraries offer story times for different age groups. It’s a good way to get out of the house and even meet some other moms. You can find the times listed on the website for that particular library. Some have more convenient times than others or even some with music incorporated into the story time. We suggest giving different libraries a try until you find one that suits you.
On a day with no rain you can simply bundle up, grab an old towel (to wipe off the wet slide and swings), and brave the chilly weather.
Some of our favorite parks are John D. Morgan Park, Virginia Park, Jack Fischer Park, Saratoga Creek, Portal Park, and Ravenwood Park. Get outside while the gettin’s good!
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Where do you like to go when winter rolls around? We’d love to hear from you all! Please share with us in the comments below.