Explore: Studio Grow in Concord

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Studio Grow co-creator Tim Alley describes Studio Grow in Concord as the laid back, suburban, fresh, and roomy alternative to the Berkeley location’s urban, busy, and active vibe. Studio Grow in Concord is also far less crowded – a plus for families looking for some quiet play time with the kids. “Visitors to Concord have a much more quiet, intimate experience in comparison, with more room to explore and more opportunities to do the activities without interruption,” Alley says.

Studio Grow in Concord is about the same size as the Berkeley site and has many of the same toys; from the mirrored music room to the art studio supplies and cooking utensils for house play. It also has a running room, and a dark room. The art room in Concord is decidedly bigger, though, and the surrounding neighborhood is mostly industrial.

Approximate travel time: About 25 minutes from most places in Oakland and Berkeley.

How to dress: Comfy clothes for running and playing, and ones you won’t mind getting messy doing an art project.

What to do: Jump in the ball pit, shoot a mini-basketball, climb on a play structure, play with train tables, operate a mini farm, dance, paint, squish clay, etc.

Lunch possibilities: Frugal moms will love the BYO lunch aspect, with a large eating area. Forgetful moms can buy a bar or smoothie on the go.

Need to know: Admission is $9 per kid all day, ($1 per adult).

What’s nearby: After visiting Studio Grow for your child’s social and mental exercise, cross the street to Touchstone Climbing and Fitness or the Aquatech Swim School for climbing, swimming, or jumping. There’s even a trampoline jumping facility, Sky High Sports, within a block of the studio.

Bonus: There is also a third Studio Grow location in the Blackhawk Plaza in the Danville/San Ramon area. And Studio Grow has a Passports Program and Summer Pass sale–just check out their online store for more details.

Cost of trip: Inexpensive. Studio Grow Concord has lower prices than Berkeley. “Fewer programs are offered and fewer visitors attend, so families coming to Studio Grow Concord get amazing value,” Alley says. “In both places, we also have ‘Happy Hour’: a great discount (about 1/2 price) after 1 pm every day.”

Online: Studio Grow Children’s Playspace

—Renee Rutledge