Looking for family fun? Take the kids to the newly reopened Oakland Museum of California for an amazing experience in artistic, cultural and historical literacy – and a great time!
The Oakland Museum, at 1000 Oak Street, is all about California and its people, told through thematic exhibits of art, history and nature, plus a koi pond, lots of outdoor things for kids to discover and places to run around, and a bookstore with an interesting selection of children’s books, crafts and activities. After extensive remodeling, the Art and History galleries reopened on May 1, 2010 (Natural Science will reopen in 2012).
Now, before you say your kids don’t like art museums – this isn’t that kind of art museum. It’s fun just to walk around the art collection, with its bright colors and a huge partitioned open space broken into thematic sections. Kids can pull out drawers under the exhibits to explore. And in addition to a wide variety of “grown-up” art, there are all kind of things that invite curiosity and questioning: Photo albums you can look through! shiny silver rocks! hammers hanging on a wall! There’s even a section that asks “Is It Art?” with objects like a glass box containing a matching pink-haired troll doll and fuzzy pink hat.
The History section is all about making you feel like you’re actually walking around in California’s past. Nooks and crannies abound, as do hands-on activities, from drawing to unpacking a ship’s trunk to spinning wheels of chance to posing with huge tags that say things like “strangest object in the museum.” You can see a stagecoach and an old-fashioned fire engine, you can play a piano and make it sound like a bell or someone banging a pan. You can try to guess what that weird-looking thing was used for. You and your kids can even write comments on post-its on some of the exhibits and can make suggestions for future exhibits or offer to donate something for the museum to display!
And teachers – the Museum offers a wealth of materials and programs and free events just for you.
So – go!