- See also: Friends of Willard Park
2730 Hillegass Avenue, at Derby Street
Willard Park is the main neighborhood park in Southeast Berkeley and includes a large grassy area in addition to a clubhouse and tot lot developed in partnership with the community.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Willard Clubhouse summer program
Just wondering if anyone has any experience/feedback about the Willard Clubhouse summer program. I am thinking of sending my daughter there this summer and haven't been able to find out much info. I often see the after-school program there and like the vibe. Any thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated! Lila I'm not sure there is a City of Berkeley summer program at Willard - it is used for before and after care for the City of Berkeley summer day camp at Tilden Park - kids get picked up and dropped off from there. We love the camp and have also used the Willard after care program along with the camp and it has worked extremely well for our son. It's a lot of good old-fashioned summer activities, games, tie dye, beading, hikes, cookouts. All I know is he comes home filthy and exhausted every day and really happy. Heading for day camp year 3
Yes, there is a summer ''playground program'' at Willard Park. It only goes from 12 to 6 each day, but then again it only costs $5 a week. The kids go swimming twice a week at Willard Pool. Other than that, they just hang out in the park, play soccer, play with each other, do whatever. It's certainly not that exciting, but the counselors are usually really sweet, and we have loved signing up for this option. My son gets to play in the park all day with his friend(s) while I still have lots of free time to get done what I need to get done. (I'm a teacher, so I have a lot of time off in the summer.) Because it is SO cheap, I just sign my son up for all the weeks we even might be in town, and if we miss many of the days because we are doing day trips, so be it. City of Berkeley Day Camp, which has also been fabulous, is more appropriate if you need full time or morning care. Oddly, they use Willard Playground as their after camp site - the campers join the kids who are already there for the playground program, and they pay considerably more than $5 a week for the privilege of having those few hours of after camp care. A satisfied parent
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. That may be a no-brainer for me now, but wasn't then...We served sandwich fixings from Andronico's and got a carrot cake from Nabalom. The cake was not too 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!). Charlotte
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. Donna
Willard Park (at Derby and Hillegas) has a small summer program which my son is attending and really enjoys. They have scheduled activites, including a lot of field trips, but mainly the kids just play. They can opt to play the whole day if they want to, on most days. The price is quite moderate, probably around $400 a month for most people (less for us, since I'm low income). However, it is a small program and you have to get there on the morning that open it for sign up (a Saturday in early May), or you don't have much of a possibility of getting in.