Parks in Albany, El Cerrito & Richmond

Archived Responses: 

Good parks for toddlers north of Berkeley

June 2004

I am looking for updated recommendations for good parks north of Berkeley (e.g. Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond) that are good to take toddlers to. I think a lot of the ones in the arhive are rather dated, and anyway, there aren't a lot of them for parks in Richmond. Please include details about the number of toddler- friendly play stuctures and picnic areas, and how many other kids tend to be there most weekdays. This would be much appreciated. mom of young toddler Jennifer R.

The City of Albany has 2 parks for toddlers. Memorial Park (Portland & Carmel)was just re-done and opened-brand new play structure, grass, picnic areas! There is also the Dartmouth Tot Lot located on hte corner of Dartmouth & Talbot-hot spot for parents and toddlers! Chelle
Tiller Park at Key Blvd and Clinton Ave
Alvarado Park at Wildcat Canyon staging area at McBryde and Arlington
Marina Bay Park all the way at the end of Peninsula Ave
Arlington Park in El Cerrito before the Mira Vista Golf Club
I host a website with tons of West Contra Costa County activities for babies & mamas: click on the 'resources' link

A few of my favorite parks in El Cerrito are:

Castro- next to Castro Elementary - no sand! (my baby girl eats it by the handful, so that is a plus) a new toddler structure, a big field to run around on. no swings :(
Poinsett- off of Barrett. small, very shaded, nice toddler structure, a small sandbox, but no swings :(

in Richmond:
Alvarado- off Barrett at the entrance to Wildcat. huge play structures, some shade, picnic tables.
Marina Park- at the end of Marina Bay Parkway. very diverse group plays there! no shade, though usually cool since it is on the water.

if you are willing to go a bit further, Pinole Valley Park, Refugio Valley Park (Hercules) & Crockett Park are GREAT- all have good toddler play structures, shade, grassy areas & picnic areas, plus a diverse population.

my website has more information, plus links to city websites which have info on the parks.

also, it sounded like you are looking for opporutnities to meet other mamas & babies-- there is a playgroup that meets regularly at Pinole Valley Park Wednesdays 10-12 & another one at Crockett Community Center Fridays 10-12. both are very welcoming & have little ones from a wide age range.

have fun! if you are up for a park date, e-mail me Virginia

Albany Park

- Albany Park near the high school \tLots of running around room, interesting playground, scary spiral slide. \t

Dowling Park

re: places to see trains
I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this subject having been through two train mad boys (well, one fanatic and one a bit less obsessed.) The best and safest place I ever found was in Albany! It is Dowling Park which we first spotted from a train itself. Dowling is a bit hard to find. Enter University Village and then travel in a Westerly direction on 9th Street as far west as you can go until you get to a parking lot (where the road turns). Park in the lot in the guest spots at the end then walk west through a gate. There is a sign for the park. The park itself borders the train tracks and yet is completely fenced in. There are climbing structures to play on while waiting for the trains and a eucalyptus tree which is a wintering spot for Monarch butterflies. It is absolutely the best train spot. Lucy (Nov 2001)