The Museum of Children’s Arts (MOCHA) in Oakland is anything but your average museum. Situated in a fab bright space, the hands-on destination features an art studio, art parties, and even special field trip packages. Read to find out why we dig this Oakland museum that will make your kids re-think how they experiment, create and interact with art.

mocha art table

MOCHA’s new address (they moved to this new spot late last year) is smack dab in the middle of a bustling area in Oakland, right across the street from the Oakland Ice Arena and near the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. The Clay Street address is a strategic move, a sign that MOCHA wants to continue planting the seeds of an art revolution within and throughout its surroundings by providing a safe, creative and empowering space for kids and their families for self-expression and collaboration.


What to Do
Open Studio: Toddlers, elementary aged kids, high schoolers, and adults can make art and join the many interactive activities in the studio, like clay molding, Magna-Tiling, LEGO building, and hands on craft projects. Each month is themed, with the most recent topic centering on portraits and self-portraits, “You & Me: The Artists of MOCHA.” The museum staff has installed a new, adjustable paint wall for anyone who wants to get their paint on.


Art Parties: MOCHA is continuing with its popular children’s birthday parties in the new space. Recent bookings have included a baby shower, a wedding reception and a birthday party celebrating someone’s 80th birthday. The Clay Street space can accommodate all kinds of celebrations.

Field Trip Program: Hands-on art lessons and educational presentations are ongoing at MOCHA. After realizing that field trips to the museum may be cost and time prohibitive for some classrooms and schools, the museum is now also offering field trip packages to come to the school site.

Artist In Residence: MOCHA will continue to work with longstanding and upcoming artists within the Oakland community. The plan is for the artist to use the space and display his or her artwork in the museum, but also to connect the themes of artwork with the field trips and open studios happening onsite. The artist may also respond as he or she is influenced by how the students are thinking about and reacting to the work.

Artist MOCHA

After Dark Series: The space isn’t just for kids! Check out the museum’s website for upcoming events that are more inclusive of adults having a go at creativity. Contact the museum for special occasions and times when families can come together to do art with parents who work during the day and who may not be able to come to MOCHA during day hours.

When to Go
Hours/Days: Monday to Friday the museum is open for field trips; Friday and Saturday open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Open Studio; Saturday and Sunday open for Art Parties and special events.

Parking: MOCHA on Clay Street is close to several parking lots as well as the 12th street BART station. There is a parking lot on 18th and San Pablo where you can park for up to 4 hours at $2 per hour, as well as one on Jefferson and 16th, which is $7 for all day parking and $3 to park after 4pm and on weekends.

Admission: $7 per person (child and adult) for Open Studio and museum access.

art table mocha

Where to Eat
There isn’t a cafe onsite, but there are tons of restaurant options near Telegraph, in Ogawa Plaza and City Center Plaza. Nearby restaurants include Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, Xolo La Taqueria and Duende. Nearby cafes include Marana Cafe, Awaken and Bittersweet on Broadway. You can also pack a picnic and eat in the outdoor seating or large grassy field in the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

Have you visited MOCHA lately? Tell us about your trip in the comment section below!

–Cathy Lara