Best Cheap Kids' Day Out

Kennedy Park

Those of us with small children know that one-stop shopping makes everything much easier, whether it's picking up dinner on the way home from preschool or keeping the ol' ankle-biters entertained on the weekend. For a truly all-encompassing (but inexpensive) kids-day-out experience, swing down to Kennedy Park in Hayward. A buck-fifty buys a ride on the cheerful, Thomas the Tank Engine-esque "Kennedy Express" or on the classic metal carousel, which boasts 38 jumping horses and 2 chariots and has been in operation in Hayward since 1965 (before that, there was a 10-year stint at Oakland's Robert's Park). Or if the wee bairns won't settle for anything but the real deal, try a pony ride for $2. Want more? Check out the bounce house, Triple Pines petting zoo, tennis courts, picnic areas, or either of the two ginormous play structures replete with eleven slides, monkey bars, and a zip line. How much you wanna bet the tikes will fall asleep in the car on the way home?

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