The East Bay is a prime place for beautiful scenery, diverse culture, and kid-friendly fun! There are five favorite spots that i like to take my two children who are four and twelve years old. Even though they are years apart in age they both have tons of fun and are sleepy in the car on the ride home.These venues are exciting, exhilarating, and best of all, Free. Selecting the time and date you want are as easy as a click of a computer button, or you can go online on your smartphone. Even better, you have me, East Bay Frugal Mama who can give you the 411 on our current favorites!
Nestled across from an ample green and tranquil golf course and right along the gorgeous bay San Leandro Marina Park is the place for kids. Lots of green grass for playing soccer, volleyball, or just running in the wind. They have a little kids jungle gym and swing area, picnic areas , where people hold birthday parties year round and a larger play structure for bigger kids. Situated near the larger jungle gym is a wonderful, long bike and walking trail. They even have a new outdoor gym with 24 hour fitness like equipment where frugal mamas can burn a few calories while letting the kids play until they pass out. Be sure to bring a few dollars for the ice-cream trucks lurking in the parking lots to lure your kids in for a Dora or Spiderman treat.
Berkeley Flea Market as I know it as, is a tradition in our family. It’s a free way of grasping a piece of culture! While we love being out on a nice day browsing the aisles of yard sales, this flea market is the best ! My kids love the African drums booming, dancers swaying , the sights, and the smells of kettle corn, cotton candy, and incense fill noses all around. They have face painters and booths with toys, hard to find novelties and unique crafts or your family to take home that won’t break the bank. My kids usually share a bag of kettle corn while I enjoy the delicious West African food! People watching is the best at this lively flea market and it’s nice that I never hear the word bored from my kids while we walk and enjoy for hours.
San Leandro Public library
The Public library in any city is definitely a go- to place on rainy days. I love to take my kids there any day because it’s free. you can use the computers for free and the books! My four year old daughter loves our neighborhood library ! The preschool story time, puppet and magic shows are great. Check your library newsletter, online, or call for selected dates and times. Shows are performed by local artists and are interactive. They also sometimes provide light snack for the kiddos! The library also offers many other fun, free , events for older kids, including game tournaments, movie nights, and free tutoring. Check websites for interesting monthly activities and themes.
Kids N’ Dance is a cute little dance studio in the lovely Laurel District. I like this school, not only because I grew up in that area, but because the staff is so friendly! The dance teachers are also good and personable. They offer one free trial dance classe in hip hop, pre-ballet , or ballet, gymnastics and more. The drop-in rate is $15 and they have a $48 trial card to try consecutive classes which we used for a whole month! Both girls and boys will love this dance studio! My daughter took classes there and will always remember her first dance lessons. My son is more of an athlete than a dancer and was content to watch his sister’s artsy side. This was great for me, quality classes on a budget! They also offer camps for all ages and discounts if you apply early.
Off the Grid :Friday Nights @ OMCA
Last, but certainly not least , the frugal mama has one more place that is a must check out! This is a spot you can go with your spouse, your girlfriends, or as a family! It stands out because its like going on a cool date night with your kids. When I went, that’s exactly what it was! Off the Grid at the Oakland Museum of California is the place to be on a Friday night! There’s live music, a diverse crowd of kids and parents , delicious gourmet food trucks and, it’s free! Well, the food trucks aren’t free, but I tried ” Ahn the Go”, a Vietnamese food truck and spent only $9 on garlic noodles and chicken and fed both of my children! Savings mamas, savings! There is also half price gallery admission and those 18 and under are free. The stage is set with local performers(different each Friday) and it’s just a great night out! They serve local beer and wine and hot chocolate for the kids! This event is year round , every Friday from 5 to 9 pm with selected Fridays offering story time for the kiddos from 6-8pm brought on by the Oakland Public library. Free hands on art workshops, and Maker’s & taster’s series is featured the last Friday of the month which is a treat in itself! We will be back , this Friday is Valentine’s Day what a perfect date for your sweeties!
See you next week with more ideas to help your family, smile while you save! Smooches!!, Cynthea