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Parks and Playgrounds
New to the area and need to find the best parks/picnic spots
to go with a baby. Don't need a playground but would like
somewhere peaceful with nice areas to lay out blankets
(ideally with shady options). What are the best spots in
Berkeley and surrounding areas? Gettin' baby some fresh
The UC Botanical Garden seems a perfect option for what you
are looking for. It's very peaceful (a living museum of
plants rather than a park) with a lawn and lots of tucked
away picnic tables and benches surrounded by an unsurpassed
collection of naturally landscaped plants from around the
world. May I particularly recommend stopping by the benches
in Asia by the creek beneath the Dawn Redwoods.
There is a sweet little park where Colby street dead-ends
behind Alta Bates Emergency Room. There is grass, shade,
baby swings, toddler play area/sandbox and a few communal
toys suitable for babies and toddlers. I used to go there
regularly, mostly because it was an easy walk from where I
live, and usually pretty quiet. Caveat is that it's not so
great if you have to drive to get there -- parking is tough
around the hospital. L
Hello all, I'm new to the East Bay and I'd like to find a playground around
North Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington or Albany where I can take my 1 year
old daughter that is not walking yet. I'd like to find a place where other
moms/nannies bring their babies and let them interact with each other,
crawling, cruising or sitting in the grass, sand or blankets. Can you also
let me know a good time of day when these places have the most babies?
I've taken my daughter to tot lots and other playgrounds but most of the
time there are only older children who walk, so she doesn't get to interact
with them very much. She gets really excited to see other babies and kids,
I'm especially interested in places where we can go during the weekend,
thank you very much for your help, Carolina
Cedar Rose Park (Between Cedar and Rose at Chestnut St.) has the advantage of
not too many older kids (older kid park a few dozen yards away), fenced -in so
it feels safe, lots of sand, and walking distance to Acme Bread and Cafe Fanny.
And a nice view of the hills from the open grassy part. Another nice, fenced-in
place is the little playground by King Pool on Hopkins, though I've rarely been
there when it's been in the sun -- can get windy so bring extra jackets. Great
bakery and Monterey Market down the street.
Totland in Berkeley is a great place to sit with a baby and watch toddlers
play. Just off MLK near Virginia.
We are planning a big outdoor party (~75 people) to celebrate our 10th
anniversary in July. We picked July 4th because some of our out-of-town
friends will be in town then. I was all set to reserve a picnic site in
Tilden Park, and then it turned out they don't let you reserve picnic sites on
holidays!! We're not prepared to have someone stake out our planned spot
early in the morning (and possibly not get it!), so I'm looking for alternate
venues. We'd like somewhere that's not too far from Berkeley; not expensive;
has bathrooms (or at least port-a-potties); preferably some shade and some
sun. We don't need (or want) a building, just a spacious outdoor spot.
Possibly Patriotic Picnic Planner
Have you looked at the bar b q sites at the Berkeley Marina near
the Shorebird Nature Center? You also have a play area and
bathrooms. As an alternative, we have gone out on a friend's
boat, anchored off Angel Island, and bar b qued on the boat.
Angel Island also has bar b que sites and bathrooms in Ayala
I really want to take my 5 1/2 month old daughter on an outdoor swing.
(One of my most favorite childhood memories!)
Looking for suggestions on a good (ie: safe, well-maintained) park (or
parks), preferably in the East Bay (ranging from San Leandro/Oakland to
Emeryville/Berkeley to ElCerrito/Pinole/Hercules) which have baby/infant
suitable swings for her age. She can sit by herself (mostly supported),
yet needs a securing strap to stay in. Though, I would prefer a swing set
that has an infant chair attached. I've seen them in other areas, yet not
locally. Any suggestions? Thanks! ~Mama seeking swing
Try Bateman Park next to Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley. It has a couple of
infant swings and is gated.
There are a lot. Totland in Berkeley, the Berkeley Marina playground, Lake
Merritt (Lakeside Park by the birds and Splashpad Park by the library), Jordan
Park in Oakland are just a few that come to mind.
Does anyone know of any parks in the east bay that do not have
sand? Preferably ones that are gated. Sometimes I would like to
take the kids to the park and not have the car wrecked by the
end of the day!
Have a beach in the back seat
most of Alameda's parks only have sand in dedicated sand box areas. I don't think
Franklin Park has a sandbox though, but I may be wrong). Most are also fully fenced. I
know Little John Park is on Sherman and Buena Vista. Lincoln Park on High Street might
also not have sand but I don't think it is completely enclosed.
As far as I can recall, Aquatic Park does not have sand.
There is a nice playground and park in El Cerrito that has no sand. There is wood chips
under the play structure. It is Castro Park located on the corner of Norvell and Gladys.
> > From San Pablo Avenue go east on Potrero Avenue, go past
the light at Richmond Street and turn right on Norvell, then go one block to Gladys.
Try Joaquin Miller playground on Joaquin Miller just up the hill from 13. If you explore
a little, you can also find parks farther south-San Leandro, I think, Hayward, Fremont,
if you want to spend a little more time.
I am tring to find a decent playground that has a nice tot area
and good shade coverage from noon-3pm -- both on the play
structures and a grassy area. I love Jordan park but it lacks
the shade; Dimond park has the shade but lacks a decent
playground for tots. Thanks for your recommendations!
Lincoln Park in Alameda has a splendid playground located
among an abundant group of large oak trees. The main
playground is bathed in shade all day long. The adjacent tot
playground is a little less shady, but I found the main play
structures are actually somewhat better for toddlers. The tot
structure involves a hard-to-follow-the-baby-through tunnel
which opens to a slide and a drop. Stick to the main
playground and I assure you will experience a sun-free day
in the park. There are also shaded grassy areas.
Try the new park on Joachim Miller, between skyline and
mountain on the north side. We were there at 4 the other day
and it was lovely and shadey. It is ringed w/trees and has
structures that my provide some shade themselves. no sand pit.
My 2.5 year old and I are looking for a playground where the
sandbox has a ride-on structure that looks like a backhoe. There
are two levers that operate the arm and bucket, and you can move
the sand around with it. We once stopped at a playground
somewhere in Berkeley where they had such a thing and my little
guy would like to go back but I cannot remember where this was.
While I've never seen what you describe at a park in Berkeley,
there at two at the Portview Park in the Oakland Harbor. It's
off 7th Street, but a bit tricky to get to so you may want to
check a map/parks dept. It's a nice park, with a play
structure, restrooms, and veiws of all the port going-ons. It
is a bit secluded, so you may want to go with another adult.
San Pablo Park in southwest Berkeley has one of those. It's
about 2 blocks east of San Pablo Blvd. between Dwight and Ashby.
There are two playgrounds in the park - one for little kids and
one for big kids. The backhoe is in the little kids' playground.
in the neighborhood
It's not in Berkeley, but there is an amazing park at the port
of oakland that has a backhoe. But more importantly the backhoe
is just something to do in between sightings of Huge ships
coming to port. All the cranes are right there, even the drive
seems out of this world. (But okay I am a lover of ships, and
cranes). Still, it is worth a visit.
I am looking for recommendations for parks with good toddler
areas. We are a group of 3-5 parents with toddlers between 14
and 20 months, all fairly mobile. Our intent is to check out
various neighborhood parks, to vary our activities, and also to
find parks near places where we run errands so as not to tax the
little people's patience! I have checked the archives and we have
been to Totland, Willard, Aquatic, Live Oak and Grove parks in
Berkeley plus Little Farm at Tilden and 1 of the 2 FROG parks in
Rockridge and liked all of them. The Berkeley Parks and Rec
Department website is particularly good, but Oakland's website
only lists addresses, not amenities or equipment. We like
visiting both ''destination'' parks and simple neighborood parks
with playground equipment for toddlers. Can you all give us the
rundown on the parks in your neighborhoods or other ones you've
Add Terrace Park in Albany to your list! It's on Terrace St.
right off of Nielsen St. Two play areas (one fenced in), trees,
a grassy field, bathrooms, picnic benches. Enjoy!
The City of Albany has a toddler park (Dartmouth Toddler Park)
located on the corner of Dartmouth and Talbot.
Does anyone know of a good park for toddlers in San Rafael? A
good friend of mine lives in Santa Rosa and I live near Hayward
and so San Rafael is right in the middle. We each have 16 month
old boys whom we would like to get together. Thanks!
I have a good friend in Marin and go to playgrounds frequently in that area. There is a
good playground right by the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael...there is also a nearby
lagoon for duck feeding and a Thursday farmers market there.
In Fairfax there is Andy Peri Park just past downtown on Bolinas Ave. It has a pretty
extensive array of play structures and is a short walk from downtown if you also want
coffee/ice cream lunch.
Marin park goer
San Rafael has great parks. The most popular is right near my house and it's called
Gerstle Park. It's right near downtown off D or E streets; you could mapquest it if you
don't know the area at all. If you're willing to drive further, there's also a great park
in San Anselmo right off Sir Francis Drake; I think it's called Memorial park though that
might not be it. We call it the dinosaur park as it has a dinosaur to climb on.
Gerstle Park is OK. There are some nice play structures and lots of grass for picnicking.
I can't tell you offhand the street it's on, but it is a few blocks off of D Street near
downtown. Also, if you're willing to drive in a little farther from 101, Memorial Park in
San Anselmo is great! Again, I couldn't tell you the street name. Sorry ;o(
Peacock Gap park is a wonderful park recommended to me by a friend (thanks again, Jen!).
My 2-year-old son loves it because it has a real backhoe toy. More details and a map
I think it's a great park. Have fun.
Parks where Spanigh-speaking nannies meet
I am looking for a park or play group that my very sweet spanish-only
speaking care giver can take our 8 month old daughter to during the day. I
think it would be good for both of them to get out and socialize. What
parks to caregivers congregate at in the North Oakland, Berkeley area? Does
anyone know of a M-F (8am-3pm) playgroup that she would feel welcome to
My Spanish Speaking Caregiver goes to Willard Park in Berkeley on Hillegass
between Derby and Stuart. She's there several days a week, usually in the
early afternoon. I don't know that there are a lot of other Spanish speaking
sitters there, but she's often there.
The woman who takes care of my daughter and many of her
fiends who are also care providers, are all Spanish speaking and
congregate at Bateman park on Prince St. behind Alta Bates. They don't
have any formal kind of play group but are all very welcoming.
there seems to be a lot of spanish speaking nannies at Bateman Park right
near Alta Bates hspital on Prince Street.
this page was last updated: Jul 31, 2012
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