12 Things To Do With Family In Bakersfield, California

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Bakersfield, California offers a surprising number of fun, family-friendly activities perfect for making memories with your loved ones. From museums and zoos to hiking trails and parks, there are options to entertain visitors of all ages. The city’s affordability also makes it easier for families to enjoy quality time without breaking the bank.

This article outlines 12 of the top things to do with family while visiting Bakersfield. With kid-approved ideas like hands-on museums, an indoor skydiving experience, and a chance to see farm animals up close, parents can feel confident there will be something for everyone to enjoy during your next trip.

Explore Hands-On Science at the Kern County Museum


The Kern County Museum is one of the top places to visit in Bakersfield for families. This large, 21-acre complex features several buildings and outdoor areas to explore, making it easy to spend hours interacting with fun exhibits and activities. The main building houses different museums like the Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center.

This hands-on science area lets kids learn about engineering, physics, health, geography and more through interactive play. They can climb on a giant motherboard, use pulleys to move objects, check their reflexes by catching balls, and conduct other experiments.

The museum also includes wildlife habitats to view local animals along with an area for gold panning. Outside, families will find additional historic buildings to tour along with antique trains and vehicles. With spacious grounds, parents can easily keep an eye on kids as they burn off energy running around.

Skydive at iFly Bakersfield


For families seeking a unique thrill, iFly Bakersfield offers the exciting experience of indoor skydiving. The facility features a vertical wind tunnel where visitors of all ages can safely float and “fly” on a smooth column of air. Kids as young as 3 can take part alongside their parents and grandparents, making it a memorable multi-generational activity.

Professional instructors provide gear and teach beginners the basics of skydiving technique before visitors step into the wind chamber for their ultimate flying rush. Different package options allow you to add services like photos and video to memorialize the experience. Sensory passes also available so those with special needs can feel the exhilaration. Skydiving at iFly makes for an unforgettable family outing.

Animal Encounters at CALM Zoo


The California Living Museum (CALM) is a beloved Bakersfield zoo and botanical garden combo perfect for families. It offers the chance for up-close animal encounters amid natural scenery. Kids will love seeing the zoo’s resident creatures like leopards, condors, foxes, owls, skunks, and more native to the region.

CALM also features animal feeding times and docent-led tours so visitors can learn about the wildlife. Additionally, the zoo has an Endangered Species Carousel ride, a Butterfly House, and a hands-on discovery area called CALM Center. Meanwhile parents can push strollers along the paved paths through scenic botanical gardens showcasing over 150 plant species. Special events like Astronomy Nights and story times add extra entertainment.

Picnic Fun at Park at River Walk


Situated along the scenic Kern River, the Park at River Walk serves as an ideal family picnic spot while visiting Bakersfield. Parents can pack lunches to enjoy at the covered picnic shelters amid glorious views of nature. Kids, meanwhile, can burn off energy at two different playground areas suited for both older and younger children. The park also features basketball courts, tennis courts, and a volleyball area to get the whole family active after eating.

Paved walking paths stretch for over three miles allowing children to bike or scooter as well. And free summer concerts at the Liberty Bell Gazebo provide afternoon entertainment options. With picnic tables, BBQ grills, and open green spaces as well, the Park at River Walk offers plenty to keep everyone smiling during a relaxing outdoor afternoon.

See Exotic Wildlife at Bakersfield Zoo and Garden


Small but entertaining, the Bakersfield Zoo and Garden delights families by letting visitors observe exotic creatures from around the world. Kids can see monkeys, wallabies, exotic birds, reptiles, and more. Playful lemurs even have their own island! Interactive touches like feeding stations allow for memorable close encounters with the animals.

Meanwhile, shaded paths wind through botanical gardens alive with tropical plants, ponds, and water features. Monthly special events might highlight wildlife births or unique educational shows. Conveniently located within Saunders Park, the zoo makes for a nice addition to a day filled with playgrounds, miniature trains, carousels, and pedal boats on the lake for example. Fun for all ages, a trip to Bakersfield Zoo is one of the best things to do with family in the city.

Pedal Along The Kern River Bike Path


Stretching from Bakersfield out past Hart Park, the Kern River Bike Path spans over 13 miles making it California’s longest urban bikeway. Families can take leisurely pedals alongside the water and through scenic parks together while enjoying the fresh air. The paved, flat pathway accommodates all ages and skill levels from parents pushing toddlers in a bike trailer to older kids racing ahead on bikes.

Different access points like at Truxtun Avenue or the Yokuts Park allow for route flexibility in 5 or 10-mile out-and-backs. The path also connects to other area playgrounds, lakes, and green spaces so families can incorporate a variety of activities into the day. Pack a cooler with snacks to picnic along the river too.

Family Fun at Camelot Park


Located within the Oleander neighborhood of Northeast Bakersfield, Camelot Park delights children and parents alike with its fanciful medieval theme. Kids can let their imaginations run wild as they explore the park’s castle structures with turrets, bridges, and tunnels along with a mini village shop, jail, and schoolhouse.

Camelot Park features several playgrounds like a Toddler Zone for little adventurers plus awesome amenities like sand volleyball courts, lighted sports fields, and a skate park for teens. Shady picnic spots give families a place to refuel with packed lunches or cool down with tasty ice cream from the on-site snack shack. Special events like Movies in the Park and holiday celebrations add to the old-world magic as well.

Get Active at Action Sports


For an energetic indoor activity, Action Sports makes an excellent family hangout spot while visiting Bakersfield. The massive complex offers just about every sport and game imaginable to entertain all ages. Families can race go-karts on an indoor track, climb amid hanging ropes and obstacles at the jungle gym-style Sky Trail, or soar down indoor slides.

Multi-level laser tag, mini golf, bowling, roller skating, and arcade games provide hours of fun too. Parents can join kids in activities or relax in lounge areas. With affordable day passes, Action Sports works great for birthday parties, rainy days stuck inside, or just everyday family bonding away from video games and devices.

Hiking Adventure at Panorama Vista Preserve


Families who enjoy the outdoors will love exploring the scenic Panorama Vista Preserve together just northeast of Bakersfield. The rugged yet beautiful landscape provides awesome views of the valley along with chances to spot unique wildlife and blooming wildflowers in season.

Two miles of family-friendly hiking trails wind past fragrant sage, juniper trees, scenic rock formations, and more. Interpretive signs provide insight into the natural and cultural history as well including ancient native grinding stones.

While kids climb boulders and explore, parents can birdwatch for resident species like hawks and thrashers overhead. Bring the camera for capturing gorgeous valley vistas with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. After up to two hours of hiking, families can cool down with a tasty treat from Frostie Boy ice cream shop right by the preserve.

Learn Local History at Kern County Museum


In addition to the hands-on children’s science center, the Kern County Museum offers many other interesting exhibits to help families learn about Bakersfield and regional history. Spread across a sprawling outdoor campus, the museum complex features historic homes and buildings to tour from various time periods. Kids can visit an 1890s general store, lost wagon inn from the gold rush era, Tehachapi jail built in 1882, and more.

Exhibits display vintage items ranging from phonographs and washing machines to turntables and typewriters, demonstrating how technology has evolved over generations. Other museum highlights include iconic neon signs, model trains, antique cars and carriages, mining equipment, and an oil derrick showcasing two key Kern County industries. With interpretive displays, visitors young and old come away with a deeper understanding of how Bakersfield and Kern County developed over time.

Have a Picnic Lunch at Beach Park


Cooling shade from fragrant eucalyptus and oak trees make Beach Park an inviting place for families to spread out picnic blankets along the Kern River. Kids can safely play nearby thanks to a secure gated playground area featuring fun equipment like mini rock climbing walls. Parents can barbecue on site grills or just relax while watching cyclists zip by on the scenic bike path.

Interactive storybook boards provide entertainment too along with regular visits from the bookmobile. Periodic events like free Summer Movie Nights at the amphitheater give families more ways to enjoy evenings beside the river together. Located downtown near museums, shops, and dining spots, Beach Park allows parents and kids to mix up activities over the course of a day.

Go Camping and Boating at Lake Ming

Lake Ming is Bakersfield’s hidden gem when it comes to outdoor recreation. This man-made lake is open year-round for camping, fishing, boating and seasonal water sports. Book one of the lake’s campsites or rent a lakeside cabin to enjoy mother nature with the family.

The kids will love swimming at the beach during the summertime or roasting s’mores at the campfire pit. Rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards or motorized boats to explore every inch of Lake Ming. With convenient amenities and gorgeous scenery, Lake Ming is an excellent place for families to connect with nature just minutes from downtown Bakersfield.

Conclusion


With vibrant museums, thrilling adventures, outdoor escapes, historic sites, and special events, Bakersfield offers many family-friendly things to see and do. Conveniently located and budget-friendly, the city provides opportunities to bond across generations while making treasured memories together.

From toddlers to teens and grandparents, visitors of all ages find activities perfectly catered to their interests across this list of top attractions.

Whether you want leisurely strolls along the river, vibrant playgrounds, hands-on science fun, or even indoor skydiving thrills, Bakersfield has it all. So next time you plan a California trip with your family, consider stopping to explore the underrated magic awaiting in Bakersfield.

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