Everything Guide to Kids

By Nora Heston Tarte

61 Things to Do with Your Brood in San Joaquin

SJ Families are blessed to live in family-centric communities dedicated to providing worthwhile entertainment for children of all ages. Plan a family outing for Saturday or send your teen off after school to enjoy all your hometown has to offer. Our kid’s list is packed with family-friendly activities in the county so your brood can never cry boredom again.
PLAY

Big League Dreams
Have you ever wanted to step up to the mound at Fenway Park? Yankee Stadium? Wrigley Field? At BLD that dream becomes reality with mini-replica fields of the world’s most famous ballparks. In addition to fields, open for league use and tournaments, there are batting cages and a play ground on site. Manteca.BigLeagueDreams.com

Carnegie SVRA
More than 1,300 acres of rideable terrain await off-road junkies. From dry rocky washes and rolling hills to steep, rugged canyons, off-highway vehicle users have a nearby place to take their motorcycles and ATVs. A 70cc children’s track creates space for young riders to practice and improve their riding skills. OHV.Parks.Ca.gov

CQB City
Take aim at the world’s largest indoor airsoft arena. Every weekend CQB opens to the public, with gear and rentals available, for ages 10 and up. Special events pop up occasionally, including zombie nights. CQBCity.com

CA Central Valley Archery Academy
Call on your inner Katniss Everdeen and learn the craft of archery at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. Classes utilize the National Training System for all students, beginners and experienced archers, and are open Monday-Friday evenings and Saturdays until 4 PM. Facebook.com/CentralValleyArchery

Dell’Osso Family Farm
The family-friendly farm is a must-see in October, but that’s not the only time of year the Dell’Osso family opens its gates to visitors. On May 20 the farm will host a mud run for guests. A portion of the proceeds benefits the American Cancer Society. Sign up by March 14 to enjoy an early bird discount. DellOssoFarm.com

Eagal Lakes
Step outside the city and enjoy the outdoors at Eagal Lakes, a private resort in the Central Valley. Pristine waters are primed for water skiing, tubing, kayaking, paddle boating, swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding while the shore is reserved for volleyball, basketball, disk golf, soccer, corn hole, fishing, family camp outs, outdoor movie nights, live music, and nature trails. EagalLakes.com

Gary and Janice Podesto Teen Impact Center
The 1940s, art deco-style building owned by the City of Stockton and operated by Family Resource and Referral Center offers 18,000 square-feet of play space for teens. Inside, a half-court basketball area, four-lane bowling alley, climbing wall, stage, computer room, library, meeting rooms, and snack bar are reserved for high school students. Frrcsj.org

LTF Adventures
LTF Adventures offers an adrenaline-packed day on the track for car enthusiasts. Choose from a lineup of rare, exotic cars and specially modified racing vehicles to cruise through Northern California’s most scenic roads or take a few laps around the autocross track. LTFAdventures.com

Micke Grove Zoo
Look a snow leopard in the eyes, watch the tamarins swing through trees, and spy the world’s smallest deer species at Lodi’s five-acre zoo. Over 170 animals from 49 different species call the oasis home. Enhance the experience by downloading a worksheet, organized by grade level to promote learning, from the website’s Kids’ Corner prior to your visit. MGZoo.com

Pixie Woods Children’s Park
Walk along a magical pathway into Stockton’s own enchanted forest where imagination, wonder, and play abound beyond the rainbow gates. The kiddie amusement park boasts rides, thrills, and fun-sized attractions. Climb aboard the Pixie Express, take a spin on the carousel, or float on the Pixie Queen Boat. PixieWoods.org

Spreckles BMX Park
Every Sunday, young bikers compete in BMX track racing at Manteca’s Spreckles Park. The motocross facility provides year round recreational riding and competitive racing opportunities, sanctioned by The American Bicycle Association. (209) 815-8376

Skyzone
Soar through the air at Stockton’s wall-to-wall aerial action park. Programs at Skyzone accommodate the littlest jumpers in its Toddler Zone, a special area of the gym designated for tots and their parents, while older kids enjoy aerial basketball, volleyball, jousting, and climbing. SkyZone.com/Stockton

Stockton Indoor Sports Complex
The Stockton rink transforms from a roller hockey rink to an indoor volleyball arena throughout the week with leagues that provide competitive fun in a friendly environment. Check out our local roller derby team, the Port City Roller Girls. SISCSports.com

Stonehenge Indoor Climbing Gym
Take fitness to the next level with indoor rock climbing. The locally owned Modesto gym offers belayed lines and bouldering walls for kids of all ages to build strength, flexibility, and balance, with memberships to appease the most avid climbers. ClimbStonehenge.com

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Tower Park
This summer, Jellystone Park at Tower Park is getting a facelift. The glamping destination hosted by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo on the meandering Delta waterways is a great escape for area families looking to unwind. Get away from it all in a hotspot dedicated to family fun, featuring a playground, swimming pool, sports equipment, and a jumping pillow. TowerParkResort.com

Zap Zone
Play as a team or on your own at Zap Zone, the 6,200-square foot, two-story laser tag arena in Stockton. Once you’ve played a round, or ten, finish the night in the arcade. For an unforgettable evening, book your own lock-in for overnight events. ZapsZone.com

YMCA of San Joaquin
Registration is open for YMCA’s youth sports leagues. Build on teamwork, cooperation, and good values while learning the skills necessary to excel in basketball, soccer, t-ball, and flag football. YMCASJC.org

Ginger Bugs
Created by parents for parents, Ginger Bugs is a 2,200 square foot play space in Lodi. The modern environment caters to parents and kids, with interactive play and plenty of mates for youngins, plus free coffee and Wi-Fi for parents. GingerBugsLodi.com

The Mud Mill
In downtown Lodi, hands—little and big—can create one-of-a-kind pottery. Handcrafted gifts are big hits for grandparents, and you can give yourself extra cool points for infusing a normal afternoon with art. TheMudMill.com

Headwaters Kayak
Headwaters is on a mission to make kayaking more accessible. Hop on the bandwagon! The rental shop offers the gear, instruction, and meet-ups. Even infants can enjoy a day on the water, properly seated on their parent’s laps, of course. HeadwatersKayak.com

Go Banana
Let your kids go bananas at the indoor Lathrop jump and play center. The indoor playground makes exercise fun, even when it can’t be outdoors. The best hours to bring toddlers are Wednesday, Thursdays, and Fridays or Saturday before noon. GoBananasFun.net

Bowling
Have a friendly competition with family on the lanes. Winner picks dinner and loser pays! At Pacific Bowl in Stockton, cosmic bowling starts every Friday at 10 PM and West Lane Bowl offers leagues for kids. Check out these other SJ venues: Lodi Lanes, Manteca Bowl, Strike Zone International, and West Valley Bowl.

Stockton Ports Games
Tuesday nights are family night at Banner Island Ballpark! Grab a family pack of tickets for Tuesday night—four tickets, four hotdogs, and four sodas for $40. Cracker jacks sold separately! MILB.com

Kangazoom 
Jump to your heart’s desire in this indoor play park brimming with inflatables. Kids can brave oversized slides, run through obstacles, or play inside a bouncy castle. A separate gated area for toddlers includes a bouncy house and other activities. Work up an appetite, and then grub in the café. KangazoomCalifornia.com

Oak Park Ice Arena
Strap on skates and hit the ice. Aspiring Stockton Heat professionals can play hockey on the Stockton rink or just learn how to skate. The arena’s Learn to Skate program includes eight lessons, skate rental, and free admission passes to public skate sessions. It’s the ideal starting point for hockey players and figure skaters. StocktonLive.com

Soccer Shots 
Introduce your future soccer star to the sport with a session of engaging skills practice and scrimmage. Soccer Shots travels across the Central Valley to bring youth soccer to kids everywhere. All curriculum is created with your child’s age in mind, and in alignment with the state’s early childhood education standards. SoccerShots.org

Tilt Arcade
Tucked inside Weberstown and West Valley Mall, Tilt Arcade is a small venue filled with video and carnival-style games. Players spend tokens and stock up on tickets to buy prizes from the prize desk. It’s a quick escape for families looking to kill time, or as an afterward to one of the mall’s many other child-centric offerings. TiltStudio.com

West Valley Mall
In between its many shops, indoor play structures and quarter-operated rides fill the open spaces in Tracy’s premier shopping destination. Kids can do flips on trampolines strapped into harnesses, ride a motorized plush toy around the mall, play firefighter in a soft play space outside Target, or take a ride on the indoor merry-go-round. WestValleyMall.com

PlayLive Nation
Gamers gather to play new releases in the West Valley Mall lounge, bringing a social element to the gaming universe. Guests have access to a library of the newest and hottest video games to play with friends in the store, over the internet, or by themselves. Equipped with high-definition TVs and surround sound headsets, the mall store hosts tournaments and competitions so players can test their skills against others.

Lodi Lake
You don’t have to live on the coast to enjoy the beach. When the weather is right, families run to Lodi Lake Park, which boasts a sandy beach area primed for building sand castles and water warm enough to play in. Learn to kayak, picnic on the shore, or join a nature tour guided by an area docent. Swimming is open to all and tiny tots can enjoy the water feature and spray pool before scooting off to the nearby playground. Lodi.gov

Skate Parks
Whether you prefer a skateboard or roller blades, San Joaquin’s many skate parks offer places to pull off the road and enjoy. Master tricks with other hobbyists and socialize on the concrete playgrounds. Lodi, Stockton, and Manteca have their own city parks. In Tracy, El Pescadero Park is home to a concrete course.

LEARN

Tibons Goju-Ryu Fighting Arts Karate Studio
Let your little ones fight it out, respectfully, while fostering self-confidence and discipline. Sensei Tibon, a 6th degree black belt instructor, educates and trains traditionally, teaching a variety of fighting arts. Goju Ryu utilizes the fighting traditions of both Okinawan and Chinese. TibonKarate.com

World of Wonders Science Museum
Little Einstein’s take charge at this science-centric play zone. Free play is reeled in by the educational components of each exhibit. Experiment with bubbles, learn about magnets, and explore other STEM-heavy concepts. On the first and third Tuesdays of each month, the museum opens just for preschoolers and their families with Mini Scientists—themed experiments for learners age 2-5. WowScienceMuseum.org

Children’s Museum of Stockton
Full-sized rescue vehicles are a main attraction at this port city destination. Imaginations run wild as kids bounce from exhibit to exhibit, including a grocery store, post office, hospital, and more. ChildrensMuseumStockton.org

Jagged Lines of Imagination
Jon Guerzon created JLI as a way to make art accessible for local kids. At the Stockton space, kids and teens are invited to learn basic techniques, figure drawing, and composition in free art classes. Curriculum is crafted with kids in mind, using popular animated characters or television series as subjects, with guided lessons Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and open studio time on Tuesdays. JLIAcademy.org

Kudos Children’s Theatre Company
Do you have a drama queen (or king) on your hands? Shuffle them off to Kudos, where kids learn dramatic art instruction and put on age-appropriate shows in a real theatre environment. The stage comes alive with young actors, portraying popular characters from famed folktales and fairytales, as well as original works that blend music, dancing, masks, puppetry, vibrant costumes, and multi-media. The Stockton theater is the perfect first step for kids interested in drama, music, and movement, with a live performance component that promotes confidence and inclusion. KudosCT.com

Haggin Museum
Hot off an extensive $2.5 million refurbishment, Haggin Museum has more to offer than ever before, including interactive exhibits and more complete art collections. Kids will love the touch screens that connect the worlds of history and art within the museum walls and on the second Saturday of each month, there are hands-on events for families with children ages 5-12. Activities include art projects, interactive programs, and museum-wide events. Admission is free the first Saturday of every month. HagginMuseum.org

SJ Historical Museum
Tucked into Micke Grove Park, this hidden gem is a treasure trove of historical insights. From the blacksmith shop to the one-room schoolhouse, the property’s eight buildings and four structures offer insights into the lives of past San Joaquin County residents. SanJoaquinHistory.org

Local Library Story Times
The youngest kids (and their caregivers) are blessed to have story time offerings at many SJ public libraries. Introducing beloved tales with movement and finger play, it’s a good excuse to get the tiniest munchkins—and yourself—out of the house. SSJCPL.org

Bob Hope Theatre
Bob Hope Theatre is alive with performance, welcoming famous acts to its stage year round. Families gather to enjoy classic movies in an unforgettable setting or pass down traditions of musical tastes with iconic musicians. Come Together: The Beatles Concert Experience plays April 7. StocktonLive.com

Tracy Grand Theatre
Every season, a catalog brimming with kid-friendly events lands in the mailboxes of nearby residents. The Tracy Grand Theatre offers classes in everything from cultural dance to pottery, plus a lineup of family-friendly shows. Take your prima ballerina to Cinderella performed by Central West Ballet, or impress young tikes with Amazing Bubble Man, both in March. The Mad Hatter invites you to a tea party on April 7. AtTheGrand.org

Music Together
Carve out mommy-and-me time with a musical slant. Music Together of Tracy provides music play with instruments, movement, and silly songs for kids ages 0-5 and their parents. Every week, explore new tunes with a local musician at the helm, and take home a CD and music book to continue the fun at home. MTTracy.com

Funtastic Gynmastics
Walk a high beam, master a walkover, and swing high on the uneven bars. Gymnastics opens a world of possibilities for young athletes, teaching the basics of balance on a parade of apparatuses. Kids age 5 and younger have a special section of the gym to practice their craft in safely. And if you’re not ready to invest in classes, consider one of the gym’s special events. Funtastic-Gymnastics.com

Lodi Community Center
For two hours every day, the Community Center opens for an after-school program from 3:30-5:30 PM featuring recreational activities for school-aged kids. SJCHSA.org

Unique Visions Dance Company
Inspiring children and teens, Unique Visions Dance Company provides structured classes in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary dance, and acrobatics. Every class is focused on helping children thrive in the world of dance in a close-knit studio. Director Chelsea Hill—certified by the Dance Educators of America Teacher Training Program, and Acrobatic Arts certified—with a background in elementary education, is at the helm. UniqueVisionsDanceCompany.com

ClubZ Tutoring
Whether you’re trying to pass algebra or get into medical school, Club Z has a tutor to serve your needs. Kids of all ages can enjoy one-on-one, in-home tutoring on a variety of topics. Club Z serves Stockton, Lodi, Linden, and Calavares. ClubZTutoring.com

Kids’ Camps
Need a camp for your kid? Check out these local listings.

Delta College Kid’s College
Send your brood to college early at Delta College’s Kid’s College. Kids as young as three years old participate in educational and enrichment workshops designed to hone their skills, discover new hobbies, and get kids excited about learning. Every season offers a new lineup of courses to fill school breaks, including summer. DeltaCollege.edu

University of the Pacific Kid’s Camps
Keep kids active and engaged over summer break with a host of specialized classes offered at Pacific’s stunning Stockton campus. Camps fall into two categories—music and athletics—so kids can delve deep into one area of interest or mix it up with basketball and bassoons. Pacific.edu

San Joaquin County of Education STEM Camps
Full-STEM ahead! Starting in June, SJCOE offers camps in biotechnology, coding, and robotics and engineering. The youngest scientists learn scientific concepts through LEGO building. Classes advance to accommodate every grade from second to twelfth. SJCOE.org

YMCA of San Joaquin County
Students thrive at the YMCA, enjoying meaningful experiences in an urban setting. Enrichment is offered daily either as a half- or full-day camp to fill the spaces left when school is out. Embrace the outdoors with one of YMCA’s summer park camps, or choose the Lincoln High School location. Teens can enroll in the Y’s free two-week leadership camp to advance their leadership skills through workshops, tournaments, healthy demonstrations, and games. YMCASJC.org

Swim Schools
In San Joaquin County, swim schools teach the basics, and every advancement brings kids one step closer to becoming proficient in the pool. Earn ribbons for mastering skills such as underwater breathing and swimming the length of the pool.

Pick a location near you:
Aquatic Dreams Scuba Center – Modesto

Allfish Swim School – Stockton

Central Valley Swim – Modesto

Debbie’s Swim School – Stockton

In Shape Athletic Clubs – Multiple SJ Locations

ISR – Manteca

Jim Booth Swim School – Tracy

The City of Lodi

Minnarie’s Under the Sea Swim School – Stockton

The City of Tracy

Stockton Swim Club

YMCA of Stockton

Pacific Swim School – Stockton

Spring/ Summer Festivals

Crossroads Street Fair
A carnival will delight kids of all ages at the Manteca street fair. Plus car shows and vendor stands. The best part? It’s free! VisitManteca.org

Stockton Earth Day Festival
Celebrate Mother Earth at this vibrant annual festival, featuring exhibits, guided yoga, a parade, and a drum circle. LiveGreenSanJoaquin.org

Linden Cherry Festival
Kids will enjoy games and rides made just for them while gorging on plump, ripe cherries. The Linden Festival honors San Joaquin County’s rich cherry harvest with a day of fun for families. LindenChamber.net

StocktonCon
Comic book fanatics unite! Pop culture takes over the Stockton Arena for two days each summer, featuring up-and-coming stars in the world of comics, anime, and gaming.  Fans can connect with celebrity guests and artists, enter cosplay costume contests and gaming tournaments, and enjoy panels, exhibitors, and vendors. StocktonCon.com

Juneteenth
Infuse a history lesson into your summer outing. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery by honoring the people who made it possible through a series of activities and lectures. VisitStockton.org

Delta Fusion
Kids will fall in love with the giant puppets and masked performers used to tell the cultural tales of our region. DeltaFusionStockton.com

Family Day at the Park
Stocktonians come together to celebrate a love of reading and literature. Fill the day with fun stories, live music, interactive booths, and more. FamilyDayatthePark.com

Lodi Cyclefest
Merge family fun with healthy exercise at Lodi’s Cyclefest, a biking combination made for all ages. Deltavelo.com

Lodi Bluegrass Festival
The lake is the perfect backdrop for a day of picnicking, family, friends, and good music. BlueGrassattheLake.com

Movie theaters
Escape hot days inside cool movie theaters throughout San Joaquin County. Over summer, kid’s movie series are offered with discounted tickets so families can enjoy hot titles from the past year. Check out Regal’s Summer Movie Express for $1 films.

Coming Soon:
A Wrinkle in Time, March 9

Sherlock Gnomes, March 23

Duck Duck Goose, April 20

Avengers: Infinity War, May 4

Show Dogs, May 18

Solo: A Star Wars Story, May 25

Incredibles 2, June 15

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, June 22

Ant-man and the Wasp, July 6

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, July 13

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, July 27

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