There’s a proper way to wine and dine on Saturday night and it’s not watching Finding Nemo and eating mac n’ cheese. If you find yourself missing the restaurant experience sans kids, take a stress-free Parents Night Out by taking advantage of one of these seven drop-off childcare spots.


photo credit: familymwr via creativecommons flickr

Playmates: A Wee Care Club
Itinerary: Not many drop-off childcare spots can boast a several thousand square-foot facility complete with various arts and crafts projects, toy-filled play areas, fitness fun, teacher-directed group activities, and the latest in video and electronic games… but Playmates can. It’s super easy for parents to plan childcare on short notice, and their caring, well-trained staff is sure to put you and your kiddo at ease.

Schedule: Playmates opens Mon.—Thur. from 8:30 am – 9:00 pm; Fri. & Sat. from 8:30 am – 11:00 pm, and will watch kids ages 2 and up. For non-members, their hourly rate is $15/child; $5/each additional sibling. If you pay a one-time $35 family membership fee, their rate is then $10/hour for first child; $5/hour for second sibling; $1.50/hour each additional sibling. Drop-off care is available.

27281 La Paz Rd.
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

YMCA Mission Valley
Itinerary: Take the night off while your kids have a blast at the Y. At the Kid’s Place, there’s no shortage of things to do from coloring to Legos to making new friends on the slide. All you need to do is pack a healthy dinner for your kid and the Mission Valley Y will provide a snack. Once in a while, on a Saturday Date night, the Gymnastics Center at the Toby Wells Center will be open for your kid to get to exercise their inner Olympian.

Schedule: Saturday night dates vary so check the calendar, but the night care watches from 4-9 p.m. for kids ages 3-12. It costs $20/full and Prog members; $27/non-members; extra siblings are $10/members and $17/non-members. Remember to save your kid’s spot as space is limited.

Mission Valley Y
5505 Friars Road
San Diego, Ca 92110

Toby Wells YMCA
5105 Overland Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92123


photo credit: msburrows via creativecommons flickr

When there’s an obstacle course, a candy hunt, gymnastics and prizes involved, we know this kind of fun is unmatched by any other drop-off care out there. These PNO’s should be renamed Kid’s Night Out as Gymventures has a variety of exciting themes that make us jealous. Star Wars? St. Patrick’s? Beach Bash? Check, check, check. Your kid will have so much fun they might not want to go home!

Schedule: These once a month Saturday night offerings go from 5-9 p.m. so check the calendar for more details. For non Gymventure members, it’s $45/child; $25/sibling. Gymventure members pay $5 less per child. There’s registration and waiver forms to fill out, so we suggest registering ahead of time.

5066 Santa Fe Street
San Diego, Ca 92109

Jibe Studios
Itinerary: A night out for parents can still be a night in for the kids. As a dance studio, Jibe will get your kids into a groove with dancing, games, pizza and a kid-friendly movie that’s projected onto the wall.

Schedule: These dates vary but all Jibe Night Ins run from 6-9 p.m. Check their website for specific dates. Kids ages 2 and up can attend. It’s $25/child, although if your kid brings their best buddy, you’ll get $10 off!

Jibe Studios
2315 Fletcher Pkwy, Suite B
El Cajon, Ca 92020

Kid Ventures
Itinerary: Both Kid Ventures Pacific Beach locations hold Parent’s Night Out once a month on Saturdays. Kids can enjoy a structured play night with group games, crafts and dinner. Depending on the number of kids attending, they will be broken down into groups according to age. The evenings are themed based on holidays, such as Valentine’s Day.

Schedule: From 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm on various Saturdays, remember to check the calendar. Kids 3-8 years old can join for $40/child; $20/additional siblings (member price); or for non-members, it’s $45/first child; $25/additional siblings. Registration is required.

Kid Ventures – Eastlake
851 Showroom Place
Chula Vista, Ca

Kid Ventures – Pacific Beach
5066 Santa Fe Street
San Diego, Ca

photo credit: Lee N. via

Next Generation Educational Center
Itinerary: Where most date night drop off cares offer two hours of reprieve, Next Generation doubles the time so that you can get a nice dinner and a movie in. With a wild variety of programs from Movement & Motion to Baby Sign Language, we’re certain your kid is in good hands at this enriching center. So don’t fret over leaving your babe for four hours in good hands. After all, if date night happens only every now and then, don’t you want as much time as possible?

Schedule: Suitable for all ages, check the calendar to see when Parent’s Night Out is offered. For $25/child, Next Generation will watch your little one from 5 – 9 p.m. so that you can attend your date night stress free. Get in touch with them via email or by phone.

Next Generation Educational Center
1471 Granite Hills Dr.
El Cajon, Ca 92020

San Diego Gymnastics
Itinerary: This family-owned gymnastics facility at Liberty Station provides a safe, fun and encouraging atmosphere for your kids to enjoy their night off. More than just tumbling to cartwheeling, kids will also have fun playing games, eating pizza and sipping on their drinks!

Schedule: Date night varies each month on Saturdays, so be sure to check their calendar for updates. It’s $30/members; $40/non-members for kids ages 5 and up. Bonus: Kids can also sleepover and be picked-up at 8 a.m.! But if you want to see your little bug sooner, regular hours are from 6-9 p.m. You can sign up online here.

Liberty Station
2751 Roosevelt Rd, Suite #105
San Diego, Ca 92106

What’s your go-to spot when you need to drop the littles off for a night out?

— Christal Yuen & Katie Dillon