Advice about Albany Parks

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2012

RE: Feeling isolated in the Berkeley Hills - walkable parks in other areas?

Memorial Park in Albany is wonderful. There is a bigger play structure for older kids and a fenced-in tot lot for younger kids. There are always other kids to play with, but not so many that it is crowded or overrun. In addition to the play structures, there is a great lawn for picnicking and the brand new Albany Aquatic Center is right next door. Albany is a great place to raise school-aged kids and you can guarantee that elementary school, middle school, and high school are all within walking distance from anywhere in the city because it's so small. The Albany Bulb is a nice short hike along the water with interesting art pieces, right next to the horse track, which kids may enjoy as well. Crown Beach/Crab Cove in Alameda makes for a great family outing on a warm day, and we love Miller Knox Park as well (in Richmond just past Albany, an underutilized gem). Maya

I'm an Albany mom who loves walking to our neighborhood parks. They're more simple than spectacular, but they're definitely an important part of Albany's strong community feel and friendly neighborhoods. The playgrounds at Memorial Park and Terrace Park are favorites for young kids, plus the Tot Lot for the really little ones. There's a list of all of Albany's parks, with location/directions and a blurb about each, on the city's website, here: Also, many Albany residents frequent Thousand Oaks Park and Adventure Playground in Berkeley. The former is within walking distance of much of Albany, and the latter, while a bit farther away (and best for grade school age kids), is special enough to be well worth the trip. Happy househunting! Holly

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

October 2003

RE: Parks with toddler areas

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! CG

The City of Albany has a toddler park (Dartmouth Toddler Park) located on the corner of Dartmouth and Talbot. Chelle

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)