BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Parks Good for Birthday Parties
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
Parks Good for Birthday Parties
I'd like to have an outdoor birthday party for my soon-to-be
three-year-old twins at a park that's amenable for group
tricycle (etc.) riding. We live in Oakland near Grand Lake,
and I'm leaning toward Mosswood Park, but I'm wondering if
I'm missing somewhere else even more suitable. Any
I've seen groups of kids riding bikes along the path at Lake
I am trying to plan a birthday party at a park for my five
year old. I am trying to keep it simple, so that I do not
get him into the habit at such a young age of expecting an
elaborate $250+ major event party every year. I think he and
his friends would enjoy just running around and eating a
cake. But, I think I would like to be able to reserve a set
of picnic tables rather than taking my chances on having an
open spot available. I have looked at East Bay Regional
Parks, specifically Roberts Park and Lake Temescal, both of
which I think would be great - but with the parking charge
of $5 per car, the costs would quickly add up above the
reasonable reservation fees. Do you have any suggestions of
other greak parks (hopefully with a fun playground) that
have a reservable picnic area, but free parking? We live in
the Oakland Hills and prefer this side of the tunnel, but am
open to any suggestions...Thanks for your help. Ready to
Party, but where to go?
If the party is not in the summer, you'll have no trouble
going to that awesome grove down the slope from Woodminster
theatre. Up joaquim miller left like you are going to park
at Woodminster, but just pull off there, look down. ITs a
great meadow with tables and grills and a perfect field for
an organized tball game. Im sorry I don't recall what its
called. In busy season you need to book it ... in the
spring your fine to just get there early and put an icechest
on the table.
Also.... Linda Park, Piedmont park, Draceana, and don't dis
the adventure playland down at the berkeley marina. that's
really fun and free. Enjoy these wonderful years. Reenie
This doesn't really answer the question, but there is ample
street parking near Lake Temescal; you don't necessarily
have to pay the fee. In fact, if you drive by on the
weekends, the lots are typically empty while the street
fills up first. If you want to save $ that's a good place
to start! Mary
Union Point Park is great & you can reserve through City of
Oakland Parks and Rec Department at (510) 238-3187. We've
had & attended parties there. There are two free parking
lots, a structure that is shaped like a ship, sand pit, &
large grassy area plus you are by the water with can look at
Tilden Park near the Little Farm is a great place for 5 year
olds' birthday parties, and the parking is free, although it
fills up quickly on beautiful weekends so your guests may
have to park a little distance away and walk through the
park to the party. Kids can see the animals, play in the
grass, and on the play structure, and there are tables
there. It's a wonderful place for a party. Lucy Armentrout
Cordonices is a lovely park in Berkeley, with plenty of free
street parking. You can reserve the tables throught the city
of Berkeley. Great playground and really great big slide,
and lots of space to run around.
I am looking to have my child's 2nd birthday at a picnic site in a park (Richmond,
El Cerrito, Albany, or Berkeley) and am interested in recommendations for parks
that let you reserve the tables ahead of time. I have checked out wildcat canyon's
playground area and think it's awesome but am concerned about the lack of parking
and the hike into the spot. The carosel spot in Tilden seems ok but it seems like
my son would rather be near a playground. Any other recs?
I had two birthday parties for my son at Aquatic Park in Berkeley. There is a
picnic table directly next to the playground that is NOT reservable, but there
are several picnic tables in the nearby field, a three-minute walk away, that
ARE reservable, and this is what I did. It worked out well -- for some time,
kids played together in the field, balls and frisbees and such, we had cake
and lunch, etc. Then we moved to the wonderful playground. The only problem
with this site is that it can be cool and windy.
We had our birthday party at Memorial Park in Albany. It was easy to rent the
tables and they have great bbq pits, playgrounds and easy parking.
A great little playground with picnic tables is Dorothy Bolte Park, in
Berkeley, on Spruce Street, in the Berkeley hills. It was recently remodeled
with new play equipment. It has a sweet little lawn area and plenty of street
parking. The only drawback is there is no restroom. We have had two parties
there. There is a great tree for hanging a pinata (though too old for a 2 year
old), great adult gathering places without being so large that you have to
worry that kids will wander off. Actually, the two picnic tables are first
come first serve. You may want to consider Tilden park for reservable tables.
We have had/been to great children's parties at Cordonices,
Aquatic Park, Tilden (we did one at the Merry Go Round),
Fairyland in Oakland (I thought it was too expensive for what
you got). Children are good at entertaining themselves on play
equipment after you have organized a few simple games. We had a
pinata at Cordonices. For one party at Aquatic Park, it got too
cold so we had a back up video ready at our home.
I'd like to host my son's 2nd birthday in April at a park. We're
going to invite about 5-6 other toddlers, their parents and some
other adults. I thought we'd have the party from 11-1 on a Saturday
and just serve lunch (like sandwiches) and cake. I don't want to
have a big fuss but I do want to bring our friends together. I am
thinking of having it at either Aquatic Park in Berkeley or Memorial
Park in Albany. I'd like advice on hosting a party in the park
without reserving the space in advance (i'd like to save money on
the reservation fee). Also, what should I think about it terms of
logistics? And, are their other parks in the Berk/Alb/El Cerrito
area that are great for toddlers and parties?
Dear party mom
My daughter's parties have been successfully held at Bateman park in
Berkeley for several years. There is a nice play structure, several
swings, a big grassy area with trees, several picnic tables, and,
perhaps most importantly, a fence around the perimeter. You can't
reserve in advance, you just have to get there early. I have tried
to get there to lay out my stuff before 9 am for our Sunday parties.
Perhaps you should aim for earlier for Saturday parties. Last year
there were three parties in the park in exactly the same two hour
window. An infant's birthday party, my 8 year old's party and a 12
year old party. It worked out fine, all the parties cooperated, the
space was big enough for every one and it was great. Bateman park on
Regent between Prince and Webster, on the dead end street of Alta
Try not to stress, a park party is lots of fun.
park party mom
p.s. note from birthday kid:
It was my birthday I had A lot of fun.AAAAAAHHH
When my daughter was little, I had totally no-fuss park parties for
her at parks in El Cerrito: Castro, Tassajara, and Cerrito Vista.
Each time we had practically the whole place to ourselves and I never
made a reservation. I would not recommend Aquatic Park, Albany
Memorial or Arlington parks, because on nice weekends they get
crowded with folks who do have reservations. If you do choose one of
the less-crowded El Cerrito parks, make sure to buy a bathroom key
from the El Cerrito Community Center in advance.
-- park parties are fun
Hi there! Im having a party for my daughters 1st birthday in
one town and then having another one for friends in the East
Bay. Im planning on a May 10th date but Im not sure what the
weather or crowds are like around that time. can anyone let
me know if the weather has usually been good for them in the
Tilden park area during may?
I'd also love any recommendations on other suitable party
locations (preferably outdoors) for a 1 year olds birthday
party (aprrox 20-30 people).
We had my daughter's 1st birthday party last May at the picnic area
near the carousel in Tilden. It was later in May but the weather was
cool but sunny and comfortable for a lunchtime BBQ. And ''kids'' of
all ages enjoyed the carousel!
I am starting to plan my son's birthday party and I am having a
hard time finding some where to do it. I want to rent a jumper,
we would like to BBQ and there will be 30-40 people. I am
looking at any area from Richmond to Berkeley. Please does
anyone have any thoughts???
We just had my daughter's birthday at Kennedy Grove in El Sobrante. It is a
beautiful park run by East Bay Regional Parks District. There was another party
there that had a jumpy house, so I know this is possible. It has a great big open
grassy area, and plenty of picnic tables, some of which you can reserve through the
EBRPD website. Also, it tends to be warmer there than here. The kids had a great
time, and all of the adults loved the spot.
My son is turning one next month and I am looking for a nice
park in Oakland to have his party. I'm looking for something
that would have grassy areas, picnic tables and a play area for
the older kids. I've checked out Montclair, Joaquinn Miller,
and Temescal. Are there any others I haven't discovered yet?
Roberts Regional Recreation Area (2)
Our baby will turn one this summer. We want to have an outdoor
celebration picnic with about 50 family and friends in the
Berkeley/El Cerrito area. We are looking for a site that has
activities/interesting things to do for children ages 1-14. Any
ideas will be appreciated.
Parent trying to plan early
Arlington Park (2)
Tilden Park - Big Leaf (2)
I've read the archives on birthdays but didn't see much about
outdoor parties for babies. Our son is turning one in
October and we'd like to have a party at a park. We' re
having quite a few kids and our house is too little, so that
seems like a good solution (if the weather is nice).
Ideally, we'd have the party at Tot Land in Berkeley . We love
that place and it's perfect for little kids. But the party is on a
Sunday and I'm afraid it will be too crowded. Plus, it seems
like we'd have to get there early in the morning to claim a
table or two and since there are only three or four picnic
tables in the first place, it seems a little rude. But I love it
there and so does our kiddo.
So - does anyone have any ideas about other parks to have
a party? Or have you had one at Tot Land and had it work
out okay? We are not making much money right now, so
renting a space isn't really an option. With that in mind,
where is a good place to have a party and how do you make
sure you get a table or two?
I had our son's one year party at Tilden (several years ago). We
were able to be close to one of the tot areas, and it gave us
room to spread out for fun. I also like Cedar Rose park since
there are two play areas and a big grassy field. I was never
brave enough to tackle Totland.
We held our daughter's second birthday party at Tilden Park in
the grassy area by the Little Farm parking lot. It's a pleasant
spot for a picnic party. There is a little playground with sand
there, not to mention the farm itself, ample grass, a number of
picnic tables, typical park bathrooms, but also the more decent
bathrooms at the farm.
We've also done two other park birthdays out in Contra Costa.
My comment: just go early (maybe 7-8 am) and put stuff on the
tables you want. You can have someone guard the site, but you
could probably also just leave the non valuable stuff on the
table to claim possession and leave it alone (this works in a
more remote spot like Tilden, but at Totland you might need a
warm body there too). People are used to seeing reserved tables,
and will probably not mind.
The weekend or two before the party, I would drive over to the
picnic spot at 8 or so, and maybe again at 10 to see if people
have claimed tables. That gives you an idea of when to get there
to set up on your actual weekend.
My kid's parties have all been on Memorial Day weekend, and we
haven't had a problem in three years at three different parks
getting the table and spaces that we want. I would think that in
October it might be even easier--just get there fairly early, and
Our moms group had a group one year old birthday party in
Montclair Park last June. it was a lot of fun, plenty of room to
set up the food on one or two tables, lots of grass for the kids
to crawl around and a playground not too far away. I think that
you have to reserve a table ahead of time and then get there
early to stake your claim. We all had a great time.
Hi. I don't know where you are, but there's a great
playground in the Alvarado Area of the Wildcat Canyon Park
up in the Richmond Hills (where Arlington ends at McBryde).
The reservation site with tables is called ''Acacia'' and right
next to it is a really nice toddler park with good sand. It's a bit
tricky to describe to party goers in the invite, but you can
direct folks to a map of the area and then a subset map of
the park and/or send them to the park website:
www.ebparks.org and you can always put signs or balloons
up to help get them there.
Contact that website for more info on how to reserve (free).
Just had a party
My baby girl will be one year old in 6 weeks' time. I would like to throw a
party in honor of this joyous occasion - a picnic in a park (since our place is
way too small), inviting our parent friends and their kids, total of 14 adults
and 11 kids between the ages of 6 months-7 years.
I would appreciate any advice you have to offer - what kind of food should I
serve (budget is tight, and no meat or fish)? my husband said it's OK to tell
people to bring some dish to share - won't it be rude to ask them since I'm
inviting them to a birthday party? Should I also invite non-parent friends
(for a total of 25 adults)? Should I organize activities? which ones? anything
I didn't think of? Thank you for your help.
My daughter turned 1 last July. We had a birthday party for her at the
merry-go-round in Tilden Park, and it was fabulous. We reserved two
tables right at the site for $40 (I think), and invited both kids and
adults, a total of 20 people. We served cake and ice cream and drinks. My
husband and I designed and created a three layer carousel cake (complete
with plastic animals) and bought animal-themed tablecloths, plates and
The whole party cost under a $100, including tickets for everyone to ride
the carousel as many times as they wanted. Both the adults and kids loved
the event, and we videotaped it for posterity. I think a first birthday
party is really for the family members to remember (since I don't think my
daughter remembers it), and it was memorable for all of us, and the setting
We had a picnic at Willard Park for our daughter's first birthday and
invited baby friends and adults. We too wanted a celebration of this
exciting milestone. We had a great time and it was great to share it with
friends, but I have some regrets. First, make sure someone is taking
pictures, maybe not you if you are hosting. Also, make sure there is play
space for the children. We set up on the lawn under a tree, when what we
should have done was set up on the lawn *inside* the playground area.
may be a no-brainer for me now, but wasn't then...We served sandwich
from Andronico's and got a carrot cake from Nabalom. The cake was not
sugary. (Another friend reported her daughter going bonkers from a sugar
high from a first cake.) The party obviously wasn't *for* the baby, she was
sort of overwhelmed and cranky, but we wanted to mark the occasion and
thought it would be great to have pictures to show her later, and she would
have been much happier if she'd been able to play (duh!).
we had our daughter's first and second birthdays at our small apartment,
primarily because it has a large courtyard off the back porch for people
spillover, and it's in may. this year we've reserved a park site at tildne,
but that's $71! as far as food, we always make a large pot of beans (soaked
overnight with lots of garlic and onions, and cooked for a few hours the day
of the party) and a lot of rice--these are cheap and can be very tasty. If
you barbeque, you can buy some tofu hot dogs and (not too cheap)
gardenburgers, and ask meat-eating guests to bring their own. You can
ask specific friends to contribute bread or salads--in my experience, close
friends like to help out. for a one year old, i'd definitely make the cake
on your own--much cheaper and your kid won't care! we haven't done
yet (this year we might have to) except a pinata, and that was more for the
other kids in the past two years. i think that a one year old party is more
to celebrate that landmark as parents (and to have photos to show your kid
when they get a bit bigger) than to actually entertain the one year old!
I would suggest pizza as a good birthday party food. We did that with my
daughter's first and second birthday parties now that I think of it. The
first was homemade with yummy cornbread crusts that I can only find at
certain Andronico's, and the second was from Round Table. Just be sure
whichever route you take that you add two extra pizzas to the total. We
made the mistake of underestimating the pizza total the second time and
there wasn't quite enough for everyone to have 2-4 slices, which was kind of
I agree with you that it would be rude to ask parents to bring a dish when
they are already bringing a gift -- it's too much to ask. If money is
tight, maybe you coud have the party at an off time so that you are not
feeding everyone lunch.
I feel that if people are going to host a birthday party, they should host
the food. There are so many potluck parties that it becomes burdensome,
people tend to bring gifts to b-day parties. It would be preferable to make
it affordable by keeping it simple. Serve cut up fruit and vegetables with
dip, etc. If you still want a potluck, suggest on the invitation that,
rather than bringing gifts, people bring a dish to share or drinks.
Hi there, Congratulations to you all! I just wanted to let you know that I
have been to a pot-luck birthday party (and had one myself at our son's
first birthday.) So, I think it's perfectly fine. Good luck and have fun.
We had a similar size first birthday party to what you are talking about--
8-10 kids and about 20 adults. Here are some things that worked well:
HAVE A BRUNCH-- 10:30 or so. This allowed kids to come before
naps or between morning and afternoon naps.
POTLUCK-- by all means! I made an EASY baked egg dish and baked
which I prepped the night before then stuck in the oven that morning.
CAKE was a simple banana cake-- no frosting. Big hit with young and old
PARTY FAVORS (not necessary, but I got into it)-- little kid toothbrushes
from Longs (about $1.59 on sale) and little stuffed animals from Ikea ($1
A couple of families I know celebrated their child's first birthday in the
grassy area near Tilden Animal Farm. It was lovely and the kids can go
an excursion to feed the animals (you might want to provide some celery
lettuce). If your budget is tight, just do a cake and maybe some munchies -
it doesn't have to be a meal. One friend did a light brunch with bagels and
fruit. I would probably only invite as many guests as I could provide for,
rather that ask the guests to also bring food, since they will be bringing a
gift. Or maybe you could ask some of your closer friends or family to bring
food instead of a gift.
this page was last updated: Sep 23, 2012
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network