Roberts Regional Recreation Area

Oakland

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello,

    For the past 5-6 years, when we wanted to swim in the middle of the day during the summer, we went to Roberts Park Pool in the Oakland hills. It's beautiful, cheap, and diverse. Unfortunately, Roberts is going to be closed this summer. I have no idea where we are going to swim in the middle of a hot day this coming summer. We live in Oakland. We don't want to join an expensive swim club or trek out to Lake Don Pedro or Cull Canyon all the time. Aside from Oakland City pools, which usually only have two-hour windows for recreation swim, is there any other option in Oakland for outdoor swimming in a pool that doesn't require a membership? (a cheap, cheap membership might work). Thank you for your help!

    Following! We’re in the same boat. Roberts has been our every-Sunday outing in the summer for me and my now13-y-o. No idea where to go now. 

    I'm an Oakland resident with an adult child, but I've been to LOTS of pools for lap swimming outside of Oakland during the pandemic. Although it's a drag (and increasingly costly) to go outside Oakland, there are some pools in Contra Costa County that are worth exploring. The City of San Ramon has a couple of wonderful aquatic facilities that include dedicated children's pools and water play areas with slides and other cool things (like a giant bucket of water that fills up regularly and dumps out on everyone). I live by the Rockridge Library, and it takes me 25-45 minutes to get there (and back), depending on traffic, of course. The weather is much better for swimming out there in the summer, and you could picnic and hang out for hours. Closer to home (although it sometimes can take longer to get there!) is the El Cerrito Pool, which also has a kids' pool and a water play area. Clarke Pool at Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek also has a dedicated children's pool. These are all public pools.

    For the last two years since they closed the Piedmont Pool, we've just been going to the beach in Alameda on summer days. It is quite shallow for a long way out (a really, really long way out when it's low tide), so it feels safe even for young kids or beginning swimmers. Lake Anza in Tilden Park is also a favorite. We used to love Temescal Lake too, although for the past few seasons it's been closed a lot due to algae blooms. Not sure what will be happening there this summer.

    Looking forward to hearing others' responses!

    Check out Mills College pool.  Their hours have been a little weird with Covid but it's beautiful, outdoors and affordable. 

    I know you specifically asked about outdoor pools but if you are willing to try an indoor pool the East Oakland Sports Center has a zero-depth entry pool with water play features and a large slide for bigger kids. 

Parent Reviews

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I've had lots of my kid's birthday parties at Roberts Regional Park. They have a wheelchair accessible playground, lots of parking (though you do have to pay $5 or something if you're not a member of the East Bay Regional Parks), bathrooms, big grassy areas and redwood trees and picnic tables, etc. You can reserve the picnic areas but I've often found a few open tables, or we've just plopped big blankets down in the field if the tables are taken. There's also a much bigger field by the lower parking lot if you needed more options. In the summer there are camps and stuff but in September it should be gorgeous weather and maybe less crowded? 

Look into Roberts Regional Recreation Area! It has reservable picnic areas tucked into a sweet forested area.

Hi! Robert's Regional is great.  There are picnic areas in a gorgeous redwood grove surrounded by trails with picnic tables.  Nice and shady on a warm day and even on overcast days it tends to be warmer up there than in the city below.  Just across from parking lot there is a fabulous playground and big lawns for any kiddos in attendance.  There are picnic tables by the playground as well but I think they get taken up quickly on weekend days.  There is a $5 parking fee per car but guests can park on Skyline and walk (its a 2 min walk).

Also Redwood regional is a great option as well.  Use the skyline gate, and park in the last parking lot.  There is a paved path with lots of lawns and picnic tables galore.  A small play structure right by the start of the redwood forest trails.  

I take my kiddos to these areas regularly for a hike, play, and a picnic. 

Hope this helps!

Check out Roberts Park in the Oakland Hills off of Skyline. Many moons ago, we had our son's 1st birthday there. We were able to reserve multiple tables at a picnic area near and open field area, where bigger kids could run around and play games. It was a really nice combination of trees and open space. And there's a decent sized parking lot.

https://www.ebparks.org/parks/roberts

Did you look into reserving a space? Technically you are supposed to reserve a space for events with 30 or more people at east bay parks and rec district parks. Roberts has a lot of reservable spaces if you are willing to be off of the main lawn.

RE: Toddler swimming in Berkeley? ()

We've done a number of swim classes in the area and it depends what you are looking for, your child's experience level, timing and price. I can't say that I'm familiar with the classes at La Petite Baleen so that would make my response less useful but I can tell you about our recent experience with our 4-year old. 

We got a groupon for Aquatech and liked the intro class. It was just 2 kids per adult and the facility is clean and the instructors are all good. We wanted classes on the weekend and it was great but we saw that it would be a long time before our child felt comfortable in the water. We could have continued but the cost was too high for us without the groupon.

Over the summer, we had a great class at Roberts Pool in the Oakland hills and it was in the evenings M-Thurs for two weeks. It was great because he was able to really make progress each day as opposed to waiting for each Saturday and taking a step back.

Currently, we are taking a class in Emeryville and it has less instruction. It is a parent/child class (the others were with just the toddler in the pool) and it is definitely focuses on singing and free play. It's great for the parents to interact with the kids in the pool but again, real swimming seems a long way off. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

 


July 2008

Re: Swimming classes for a two year old
Our son was two years old last year and he really enjoyed swimming lessons. Two-year old classes are all, I think, classes with parents primarily geared to getting the little ones comfortable in the water.

The place we started was at Lions pool in Dimond park. Saturday mornings, outdoor pool but heated. They actually have two classes, an A and a B. I think the ''B'' class is supposed to be a little more ''advanced'', but in practice, I didn't see it. The classes last summer were big classes with little individual attention from the instructors, but enough room to move around with the child and some attempts at structure--getting them to blow bubbles in the water, float on their back, etc. Toys to play with in the pool also.

We then discovered lessons at East Bay parks at the Roberts pool up in the hills. Also outdoor heated pool, with a great play area there as well (good for bribing). These classes (Parent-Tot) are much smaller than those at Lions, with more individual attention. And if you can go during the week, even evenings, you can get more classes (10) for the $50 than if you go on the weekends (3 classes for $30).

Three year olds like my son can go into the next class (Super Tot), where they go without parents. Good for us and good for him to be more independent. And they also offer individual classes for not much more money.

I hear the Y also has classes that are good, but haven't been.

Hope that helps. Bryan


Hi - we just started taking swim classes at Roberts Recreation Area pool, near Chabot Space and Science Center. Roberts is part of the East Pay Regional Park system. The pool is small, beautiful, nestled in the trees, near redwood grove, a great playground, a nice open picnic area and play field (frisbee, not a base ball diamond), and several large ''in grove'' picnic areas that are perfect for parties. The cost $30 for a series of three weekly classes. They even have weekend classes (yeah!), which is why we enrolled there. We are taking parent-tot classes - not much direct teaching of the tots, but direction and techniques to the group of parents, some one on one work, and a group gather time at the beginning and end of each class. Classes are large - about 15 pairs of parent-tots, but with two teachers. We are happy with it. They have a new series beginning in two weeks, I think. Go to the East Bay Parks web page for information. D sd


August 2003

Re: Picnic site for 1st birthday party
In Oakland, there is also the Redwood Bowl area in Roberts Redwood Park and in Roberts Park main area, there are picnic areas with grills, a baseball field, a large grassy area (big enough for frisbee, football, etc.). If you don't like any of your other choices, you can always go to Tilden in Berkeley. Have fun


One park you've left out is Roberts Regional Park, nestled next to Redwood Regional Park. It is easy to get to, has ample parking, a nice playground, huge grass area, and several tables. Nice view, too. One thing: each time we've had a get-together there, it's been chilly. Possibly a coincidence. Jennie