Beyond Disney: 8 Child-Friendly Attractions In And Near Newark - Updated 2022

things to do in newark california

“Disneyland” is the top place that comes to mind if people are asked about child-friendly attractions in California. However, there are other places that families can go to if they want to take their kids out for a day, or for kids at heart looking for a good time, and many of them can be found in or near Newark.

1. Play in the water at Silliman Family Aquatic Center

Silliman Aquatic Center in Newark just reopened May 23rd after a renovation. Time to have fun splashing in the pool,...

Posted by Great Kids Parks on Friday, 7 June 2013

The Silliman Family Aquatic Center offers a variety of water activities to all ages. Among the facilities that can be found there are water slides, the last river, a water spa, an open lap pool, and an activity pool for children. An in-house café can be found for those who want to grab a snack before, during, or after swimming. It also has its own fitness center/gym. Water aerobic classes are offered from Mondays to Wednesdays from 9 am to 10 am. Do note that the water slides on the Lazy River only allow those who are 48” and above and weigh 300 lbs. or less. Packages can be arranged beforehand if you want to hold a party within the facility.

Silliman Family Aquatic Center

Address: 6800 Mowry Avenue, Newark, CA

Price: 9 USD for adults (18-54); 7 USD for youths (3-17) and senior citizens (55 above); and 3 USD for infants/toddlers (inclusive of swim diaper). Anyone entering the facility is required to pay regardless of whether they want to swim or not.

Opening Hours: Fridays, 5 pm – 8 pm; Saturdays, 12:30 pm – 6:30 pm; Sundays, 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Website: Silliman Family Aquatic Center

2. Go on a haunted house tour

Winchester Mystery House San Jose 01
Source: Photo by user Roxanna Salceda used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winchester Mystery House, owned by Sarah Winchester, is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of the people who were killed using Winchester rifles. According to legend, Sarah was told by her late husband, the gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, via a medium that she should travel west from her old home in New Haven to build a new one for herself and for those who were killed using guns made by the company to appease their spirits.

The house itself features many oddities, including doors and stairs that lead to nowhere, as well as windows overlooking other rooms. There was also only one working restroom in the entire house, although there were other non-functioning ones built. The number 13 and spider webs recur several times in the different parts of the house. According to the stories, this was one the things Sarah did to appease the ghosts. When she was alive, she also slept in a different room every night to confuse the spirits.

Winchester Mystery House

Address: 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA

Price: Ticket prices start at 20 USD

Duration: At least two hours minimum

Contact: +1 4082472000

Website: Winchester Mystery House

3. Try out archery as a sport

Children are welcome to take up lessons at Archery Only
Source: Pixabay

Archery is by no means dead. In fact, you can take lessons to pick up the sport while in California. Archery Only offers lessons for beginners and experts alike for both young and old. Archery Only also sells different sorts of bows. Ranges can be rented for those who have already picked up the skill and want to hone it further.

Archery Only

Address: 37300 Cedar Boulevard, Ste C Newark, CA

Price: 30 USD per class

Opening Hours: For beginner’s lessons: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 pm – 7 pm; Fridays: 7 pm – 8 pm; intermediate classes: Mondays, 8 pm – 9 pm

Contact: +1 5107954060; +1 5107950762 (for lessons)

Website: Archery Only

4. Learn how to row a six-man canoe

Posted by Kilohana Outrigger Canoe Club on Thursday, 28 August 2014

You don’t have to travel all the way to Hawaii to learn how to paddle a Hawaiian canoe, since you can pick this up in California. Kilohana Outrigger Canoe Club welcomes everyone – including children – to their ohana. Those who want to join a session will need to dress appropriately for all types of weathers, and it goes without saying that they should be prepared to get wet, so they also need to bring an extra set of clothes so they can change into something dry afterwards. They are also enjoined to bring their own food and water. Adults meet at Redwood City, while children paddle at Quarry Lakes in Fremont.

Kilohana Outrigger Canoe Club

Address: Redwood City, Fremont, CA

Duration: At least two hours

Website: Kilohana Outrigger Canoe Club

5. Explore Coyote Hills Regional Park

Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont By Jerry Ting

Posted by East Bay Regional Park District on Thursday, 22 September 2016

Coyote Hills Regional Park is a public park frequented by hikers for its terrain. The area is hilly enough to offer enough challenge but gentle enough such that it would not tire you to the point of exhaustion. The scenic view offered by the place makes the walking worth it. Aside from hiking, visitors can also do cycling or have a picnic within the area. Several archeological sites can be found within the park, where evidence of the habitation of the Tuibun Ohione Native Americans can be found. At the main shellmound site, visitors will be able to see a reconstructed tule house, a pit house, a sweat lodge, and shade shelter.

Coyote Hills Regional Park

Address: 8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont, CA

Contact: +1 5105443220

6. Explore Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Least Sandpiper Don Edwards WR 2
Source: Photo by user Britta used under CC BY 2.0

The urbanization of San Francisco and its surrounding areas has led to the endangerment of lives of various birds and wildlife. Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge provides a sanctuary for these animals. Within the facility, visitors can learn more about the animals living there, as well as various environmental concerns that affect them. Guests can also try boating along the Bay area and its tributaries. Other activities include fishing, trekking, cycling, and wildlife viewing.

San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Address: 2 Marshlands Road, Fremont, CA

Opening Hours: Visitor Center: Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11 am – 4:30 pm; Environmental Education Center: Mondays to Fridays, 9 am – 4:30 pm; The park is closed on national holidays; Trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset

Contact: +1 5107920222

Website: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

7. Try out laser tag

Lasertag Aachen
Source: Photo by user heipei used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Those who want a fun-filled high-tech adventure can try out laser tag. Groups compete against each other for the most number of points. Each match is allotted 15 minutes. At the end, players are given scorecards so they can see how they fared against their opponents.

Laser Tagging

Address: 5759 Stevenson Boulevard, Newark, CA

Price: from 9.99 USD

Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursdays, 3 pm to 9 pm; Fridays, 3 pm to 12 am; Saturdays, 10 am to 12 midnight; Sundays, 10 am to 9 pm

Contact: 1 5106681200

Website: Laser Tagging

8. Grab a bite at John’s Incredible Pizza Co.

John's National City
Source: Photo by user Johnspizzaco used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed. Locations at Modesto and Roseville are still open.

John’s Incredible Pizza is not your average pizza place. Not only does it serve good food, it also doubles as a mini-amusement park where your kids of all ages – from toddlers to teens – can have fun and play around in. Friendly staffs are ready and willing to provide assistance.

The buffet area is constantly re-stocked so you do not have to worry about running out of food, which is a constant problem whenever pizza’s involved. For healthy eaters, don’t worry, because the place also has its own salad bar for you to get your greens from. Adults can have their own fun there, as John’s Incredible Pizza also has its own bar, although the drinks are not covered by the admission fee. The admission fee already includes all-you-can eat buffet and entrance to the game area.

John’s Incredible Pizza

Address: 440 Newpark Mall Road, Newark, CA

Price: 11.49 USD (13 years and up); 10.49 USD for seniors (55 years above); 7.29 USD (7-12 years); 5.29 USD (3-6 years); kids under 2 years old get in for free. Additional 1.99 USD for unlimited beverages.

Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursdays, 11 am – 10 pm; Fridays, 11 am – 11 pm; Saturdays, 10 am – 11 pm; Sundays, 10 am – 10 pm

Contact: +1 5107561111

Website: John’s Incredible Pizza

Newark: fun for kids and kids at heart

California features many child-friendly attractions apart from Disneyland. Explore Newark and let your kids enjoy their childhood, even as you indulge your inner child, by experiencing these child-friendly activities.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Newark
Good things are meant to be shared!