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BART Day Trips
I've checked the archives, but didn't find specific answers--I haven't ridden BART since before I had kids, and then only sporadically...my 3 y.o. daughter LOVES trains, and I want to take her (and my 4 mo. old) on BART, get out and walk around (eat, use bathroom), and then take it back home.
We live in N. Berkeley, but could drive to any station (which one is easiest to navigate with a stroller, safest, the least crowded, etc...?) Are there elevators? I don't know if I could carry the infant carseat & a folded stroller, AND hold on to the 3 year old on a long escalator...
I thought of going to the SF Airport and riding their ''monorail'' type train...any other destinations to recommend? A mall, a kids' museum, any place that's within easy walking distance of a BART station, is stroller accessible, and has bathrooms? I'm thinking of a 3-4 hour adventure, there & back. Thanks. Heidi
Downtown Berkeley (for a longer ride, just stay on the train longer, then get on a return train without exiting the paid area) - Habitot, Hall of Health, ice cream, parks, etc.
Embarcadero - Ferry building (maybe even a ferry); walk along the Embarcadero or take the ''F'' streetcar (probably crowded with tourists this time of year) to Pier 39 for street performers, merry-go-round, sea lion viewing, etc.
Lake Merrit - Oakland Museum (especially when they are having their Sunday Family Exploration series)
Powell Street - Zeum, Metreon, Yerba Buena gardens with bowling, ice skating (you'll need someone to watch the baby), merry-go-round, play structure, etc.
For more ideas, go to www.bart.gov, select ''Rider Guide'' and click on ''Destinations''
If you want to do a ''REAL'' train, consider taking the Amtrack train to San Jose or Old Sacramento sometime - it can be a great all day outing, though more than 3-4 hours. Have fun! R.K.
It is the perfect size for small ones, the penguins are neat-o and it is just down the block from the beautiful carousel near Zeum. It's a two block walk from BART (info w/ directions is on the web site). BART does have elevators, but they can be hard to find and sometimes icky. You could ask for help from a station attendant if you're confused. I like the Rockridge station because it's in a busy area and, hence, feels safer. Molly G
every station has an elevator, since the BART system is wheelchair accessible. whether they are working or not is another issue, although lately they seem to be in good order. each station has a sign showing which elevators are currently in/out of service. north berkeley actually has one of the nicer elevators. warning, though: some of the elevators do smell kinda gross. like a litterbox, as i tell my son. both your kids are free, too (under 5).
as to where to go, if your daughter really loves trains you probably want a longer ride. (you could go one stop to habitot in downtown berkeley, but it's not really a train experience!) i suggest going into downtown SF, since from N. Berkeley you will get some above ground track, which the kids seem to love. you will also pass through macarthur, a big hit as it has four parallel tracks so you'll always see at least one other train pulling through. you'll also go underneath the bay.
so where to go in downtown SF? i would suggest either embarcadero - a nice walk along the waterfront, go into the Ferry bldg to get some lunch and maybe do some shopping- or to powell st. at powell you can go to yerba buena gardens, the academy of sciences on howard st., or to the rooftop playground, plenty of places to eat and you can go into the metreon to use the bathrooms.
the airport sounds like a good idea, you can BART all the way down there if you want and then take the monorail (we call it 'baby BART). we're an SF-berkeley commuting family, so i don't know too much about the other lines, but i'm sure there are lots of places there too.
my last piece of advice is to avoid rush hour if you can- that way you'll have more room and it won't be as big a deal if one of your tykes chooses to melt down. although folks on BART have mostly been pretty nice about it, in my opinion. cachien
That said, my favorite BART expedition is to Yerba Buena Gardens in SF. Get off at Powell, walk the four blocks to yerba buena center and then you can play all day. There's the gardens themselves (fountain, grass, weird statues, playground with awesome slide) plus the Zeum and the Carousel.
Another option for train fanatics is to get out at Powell and then ride the old fashioned street cars down to Pier 39 (or the cable cars, if it's not the height of tourist season). You can even take the ferry home, if you're so inclined (then take the bus from Jack London Square to downtown oakalnd and pick up BART).
For all questions about public transit, including schedules, fares, etc, go to 511.org and use their fabulous trip planner.
Have fun! nelly
For safety, your best bet is probably to just go midday, or weekends, so as to avoid the rush hour crowds. You'll encounter the occasional ''character'' but I've never really felt threatened on a train or in a station, and most other passengers seem to enjoy seeing the kids.
My main recommendation for you, though, is to forget the stroller. It is absolutely, positively not worth dragging a stroller around. Carry the baby in a sling, backpack or other carrier. You will be able to use the escalators and stairs, you will be able to get through the fare gates, and you will have your hands free for helping your 3yo and keeping her safe. All three of you will be much more comfortable.
Oh, and do be careful getting the 3yo through the fare gates -- they closed on my son's head once! (He was fine, but it's a hazard of being only about 3 feet tall.) Holly
My son loves trains as well and I went on few trips with him. The eaisest for us was to get on Rockridge Bart station and go to Walnut Creek. From the Walnut Creek bart station, there is a free ride bus to down town (I don't know if you know about Walnut Creek but they have Nord Storm, Gymboryee, Gap etc etc to have a good time.) Of course, Nord Storm always has a nice bath room too. In front of Gymboree, there is a fountain with flowers and a lot of kids and moms usually are hanging out there. Stopping by that area and get back on the bus and get back on the bart usually takes about 4 hours. have fun!
I've taken BART from the Rockridge Station. There's an elevator under the station ( west of the escalator near College St) that takes you to the station and the platform.
Hint: if you plan to go to any station that requires an elevator ride to get out, do ask the station agent if the elevator there is working before you start the trip. Most of the time elevators work but I when they don't it's a BIG drag. Have fun, JM
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