Attention parents of toddlers and kids ages 1, 2 and 3! This list is for families with very young children in the Diablo Valley and Lamorinda areas of the East Bay, including Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Danville.
FOR GETTING THE WIGGLES OUT
Buchanan Field Airport in Concord – Toddler hot spot alert! Open to public, fenced in blacktop adjacent to the runway and traffic control tower with a very small play structure. Perfect for plane aficionados, trikes and scooters. Free.
Clarke Memorial Swim Center at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek - The wading pool has a 2' deep shallow end, perfect for very short swimmers. Open for recreational swim June, July and August afternoons only.
Concord Community Pool - This huge pool has a great shallow 2.5' wading area, ideal for tots and preschoolers who are more comfortable in shallow water.
Denica’s Real Food Kitchen in Walnut Creek – Casual café serving breakfast and lunch with a giant train table in a side room. If your toddler has trouble sitting still in a restaurant this is the place for you! Play area is free with food or drink purchase.
Encore Gymnastics in Walnut Creek - Encore's Itty Bitty Buddy Blast on the first Friday of each month from 12-1 pm is an interactive “parent-and-me” play hour. Walk-ins accepted on a space-available basis only. Pre-registration (by the evening prior to each Buddy Blast) is recommended.
Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville – Lovely park, lots of shade, a fabulous playground and a splash pad just right for toddler water play (in the summer months only). Free.
Larkey Park Swim Center in Walnut Creek - In addition to the pool there is a super fun water playground and spray park, perfect for very young children. Open in summer months only.
Liberty Gymnastics in Concord - Parents/caregivers with kids ages 1-5 can take advantage of Open Gym play time every weekday from 11 am to 12 pm.
Matteo’s Dream Playground at Hillcrest Park in Concord - Awesome all-abilities, mostly-fenced in playground with a toddler area perfect for first-walkers and very young kiddos. Free.
Meadow Homes Spray Park in Concord - Great splash park for toddlers that will provide hours of entertainment on a hot summer day. Open seasonally. Free.
Moraga Commons Park - Lovely park with a water feature to play in during summer months. Free.
Pixieland Amusement Park in Concord - Adorable amusement park geared for young children with plenty of options even for 1-2 year olds! Free to enter park, ride tickets and wristbands available for purchase.
Pleasant Hill Park - This park near downtown Pleasant Hill has a COMPLETELY FENCED IN toddler playground. With a latch. Enough said. Free.
Rankin Aquatic Center in Martinez – Play pool with beach entry, shallow wading areas and water playground plus a separate large pool to swim in with mom, dad or another caregiver (open seasonally).
San Ramon Central Park – Tons of shade and awesome fountain and creek-like water feature for little explorers (slightly out of our locality but too good not to mention!). Free.
Small World Park in Pittsburg – Not in our exact area but only 15-20 minutes drive from the 24/680 corridor and so worth it! This adorable, super fun and inexpensive amusement park is a gem for the youngest children.
SensationAll Kids Gym in Concord - Enclosed, air-conditioned indoor play space, swings, trampoline, sensory room and art area - what more could your kiddo (and you) want?
The Grove Park in Clayton - Nice park and playground in the town center with a simple water feature that runs in the summer. If your little one doesn't like big splashes this one is perfect to start getting their feet wet. Free.
Walnut Creek Pop Up Playdate - A safe, clean space for kids 0-5 to play and socialize. Open Mondays and Thursdays from 10:30 am - 2:30 pm and Fridays from 10:30 to 12:30.
LEARN AND GROW
Bel and Bunna's Books in Lafayette - This beautiful children's bookstore doubles as a community spot with a play table, dolls, cozy pillows and regular story times and activities. Weekly story times for kids ages 0-5 are on Mondays at 10 am, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 am, and Saturdays at 11 am and 3 pm. Free.
Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek- Borges Ranch is nestled in the foothills of Mount Diablo at Shell Ridge Open Space. Visit with goats, sheep and chickens then take a hike as far as your little one can go and enjoy the beautiful scenery! Free.
Flashlight Books - This local shop in Walnut Creek offers weekly storytimes at 11 am on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with other special events here and there. Free.
Farmer’s Markets can make a great outing with toddlers! Most in our area offer craft activities and entertainment, as well as plenty of samples. Visit the web link for a schedule of local markets. Free.
i heart art in Pleasant Hill – An art studio offering drop-in time as well as classes. Even children as young as 2 can enjoy creative time at this wonderful community spot.
Learning Express Toys - This Lafayette toy store offers regular events such as story and craft times and meet 'n greets with life-size popular characters (Paw Patrol, etc.). Check their Facebook page for activity schedules and updates.
Lemon Blossom Creations - A new children's art studio in Walnut Creek, offering drop-in open studio time for littles age 2 and up.
Libraries in Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Downtown Walnut Creek, Ygnacio Valley Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and Danville – Your local public library is a great place to hang out! Most have small play areas and all offer weekly story times and programs. Make sure to check the schedule and take advantage of this amazing resource! Free.
Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek – Live animals and exhibits, as well as a small playroom for young children. Finish up your visit at the Larkey Park playground right next door to the museum!
Orinda Books - Shop away while the little ones enjoy the cozy kids area with toys, Legos and books (weekly kids story time is on Thursdays at 10 am). Free.
The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek - Explore, learn and enjoy nature in this beautiful public garden. Free.
Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek – View dogs and cats in their “condos,” munch on popcorn they often have available and grab a coffee. Don’t forget to put a few dollars in the donation bin before you go! Free.
Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society – Check out Diablo Valley Lines model railroad, one of the most mountainous and largest exclusively HO scale model railroads in the United States! Typically open a few days per month, make sure to check the schedule before you go.
Are you thinking about signing your toddler up for a class? If so, be sure to check out the Diablo Kid Toddler Classes web page for a directory of local gymnastics, music, swim, soccer, dance, yoga, art and STEM classes for toddler and preschool-aged kids.
If you'd like to connect with other moms and dads - and you should - because parenting a toddler is no easy feat, consider joining a local mother's club or parent group - click here for a list of some options.
The Diablo Kid Community Calendar is also always current and includes many toddler-friendly activities and events happening on a day-to-day basis.
As always, please don't hesitate to let us know if we've missed a great toddler resource in the area we serve: Walnut Creek, Concord, Clayton, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Alamo and Danville - East Bay, California.