No matter whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for certain: it’s been a wet and rainy winter in the Bay Area this year. All of this bodes well for our gardens, outdoor spaces and water reservoirs, but the rain can be tough on kids with pent-up energy to burn. Even when it’s not raining, the parks and other open-air areas are often soaked and not fully useable.
Fortunately, the Bay Area has a number of kid-friendly indoor respites perfect for inclement weather days. So instead of listening to “Mom, I’m bored!” for the ten-thousandth time, grab your kiddos and head out to one of these spots for some fun and entertainment.
This combination coffee-shop-for-grownups and play-space-for-kids in Marin is ingenious, and makes you wonder “why didn’t I think of this?” Created by a husband-and-wife interior design team, Fox & Kit is full of cozy-meets-modern furnishings and a design aesthetic that makes you want to stay for a while, or all day. But the best part of Fox & Kit sits on the other side of a glass door: an indoor play area complete with reading nooks, artificial grass, a sustainable looking wooden structure and plenty of pillows to toss around and with which to build play forts. For a small fee, little ones can run around to their heart’s content for a couple of hours (supervised by a staff member), while Mom and Dad sip a latte and perhaps bang out an email or two. 1031 C Street, San Rafael, (415) 991-5061.
I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like playing miniature golf. Chasing golf balls through rotating windmills while wielding a golf club, I mean, what’s not to like? Subpar Mini Golf, tucked away in in Ghirardelli Square, is not just an indoor course, it’s a course loaded with miniature San Francisco landmarks. Just try to navigate your golf ball down a winding Lombard street, through a slot in the Transamerica Tower or into a hole in one of the five Painted Ladies without jumping up and down in glee when you succeed. Subpar also features a snack bar with kid fare, including mini corn dogs, tater tots and pizza, plus an arcade. You can easily spend several hours here without one raindrop falling on your head. 900 North Point Street #F201, San Francisco, (415) 761.1706.
There’s no shortage of museums in San Francisco, but the Children’s Creativity Museum may well be the best at keep little hands occupied for hours on end. Some of our favorite stops in the museum: the animation studio where kids can create Claymation and their own stop-animation flicks; the robot coding exhibit where kids can program a robot to navigate a maze; and the music studio complete with instruments, costumes and a karaoke machine, where young’uns and their grownups can create their own music video. If the rain happens to clear away, kids can take a turn on the 113-year-old vintage carousel located outside. 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco, (415) 820-3320.
This gym in Novato offers full-scale gymnastics classes and training, but it also offers open gym sessions both on the weekends and weekdays. For a small fee, your kids can jump on trampolines, jump into the foam shape “mosh pit” or walk the balance beam. 70 Digital Drive, Suite 3, Novato, (415) 382-7827.
What the heck is a Poekie Nook, you ask? It’s a place to create your very own Poekie (which rhyme with spooky), a handcrafted stuffed animal. The Poekie Nook is the brainchild of Sophia, a Holland native with a loving of creative sewing and crafting. Since 1992, she’s been helping kids create hand-sewn Poekies through her workshops, offering a number of craft kits and patterns from which to choose. Each Poekie comes with its own name and story, and Sophia even touts the benefits of sewing and crafting on cognitive learning. 247 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, (415) 326-5202.
While the productions only happen on select Saturdays through March 16, we couldn’t help but toss in the Children’s Theatre Association’s presentation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs simply because of the charm factor. A lovely singing girl, a handsome prince, a jealous queen and a group of silly, slapstick dwarfs one make for one fun, enchanting and timeless story. Following each performance, the show’s characters are available for meet-n-greets and photos. Ideal for ages 4-8. Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, (415) 248-2677.
This small but mighty indoor skate ramp is heaven for young skaters on cold, wet days. Situated adjacent to the Proof Lab surf shop and few yards from the Equator coffee shop in Mill Valley, it’s a great place to practice those kickflips, carves and ollies. 244 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, (415) 380-8900.