Strawberry Canyon Pool at UC Berkeley

Operated By:
UC Berkeley
All Ages

Parent Q&A

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  • Just registered my to be 4 year old for Tiny tots swim lessons in August at Strawberry Canyon. I just realized that they are actually 4 days per week (M,T,W,Th) for two weeks. That seems like a lot for a 4 year old to handle on top of a long day at school. Has anyone done this/ have experience to share? Were the lessons good and did the intensity help some of the skills sink in? I'm just wondering whether it will be worth it. Last summer we did lessons at King pool and the experience was mixed so I'm looking to try a new place.

    We had really great success with this the last few summers. More time spent in the water helped our daughter feel more comfortable in it. I think seeing other kids find joy in it helped too. 
    We did weekly lessons year round and the progress seemed to stall all the time. But having so many classes in a few short days helped to reinforce what she was learning too. 

    I’d recommend it if you can swing it. It’s a big commitment over those two weeks. 

  • Hi! Has anyone registered their toddler to swim school at the Berkeley parent/infant or tiny tot swim camp at the Strawberry Canyon Recreational pool? Thinking about registering but wondering if it would be too cold? Anyone has experience with their toddler there? thanks! 

    Um, I tried to register my 3 year old a few days ago and Strawberry Canyon is total full for the summer already 🤯 so I joined the wait list...

    Hi we did this a few years ago. My son was 3 or 4 and he had no trouble with the cold, nor did anyone else. It was lovely hanging out there for 30 minutes. 
    i dont know how much value it added since i really wanted him swimming and sharing 1 instructor for 4-5 kids for 25 minutes wasnt the beat use of our time, and they were never consistent, but we also do a lot of water time so our son was already comfortable 

Parent Reviews

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Cal Youth Aquatic Programs at Strawberry Canyon Pool has lessons - parent/caregiver goes in pool with the child at that age. 

Swimming Lessons (Aug 5, 2021)

We found openings for private lessons at Strawberry Canyon Pool (UC Berkeley). Sadly our experience was sub-par. We had a different instructor almost every week, zero communication between instructors, no apparent curriculum, and a general lack of professionalism. We spoke with both the coordinator and the program director but nothing changed. We won't be going back.

I wish you luck in finding a top-notch program. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2010

I want to enroll my 3.5 year old in swim lessons this summer. Does anyone have any experience with Strawberry Canyon at UCB? I've heard great things about Haufler Aquatics, but Strawberry Canyon is much closer to my house. water mama

My 3 year old daughter took lessons last summer at Strawberry Canyon and loved it. She bonded with her teacher and really progressed. The pool has wide steps great for teaching little ones and it ends up 2-3 kids per instructor. Parents get to be just a few feet from the pool to watch and offer support. The only downside was when it was windy up there. But really my daughter didn't mind. I was just glad I didn't have to get in the pool! love strawberry canyon

I love the swim lessons at Strawberry. The pool and surroundings are beautiful. However, it is FREEZING. You need to keep this in mind -- it gets foggy/windy/etc. Because of this, we occasionally skip class on the coldest days, but overall, a nice experience.

April 2010

Re: Infant swim class (for 6-9 months)
We enjoyed the swim camp at Cal Youth Camps (Strawberry Canyon pool) last summer. A 6-month-old can't do much in the pool, really, but the water was warm and the instructors were friendly. Mary

Oct 2009

Re: Toddler/baby pool in east bay
Strawberry Canyon has a toddler pool outdoors but it is super warm. We played with the kids as toddlers on the steps leading into the main pool and there are some grassy areas to lay your towels on. kl

Sept 2009

Re: Swimming program for 5 month old
I know I did a swim class with my 6 month old through UC Berkeley's rec programs. we had fun.

March 2009

Re: Swimming class for 4-month-old
Cal Rec has swim classes for parent-baby which start at 6 months of age. They are outdoors but by June it was quite nice. Since then we have taken and seen others and really glad we did them at Cal - the student-instructors were fantastic, high teacher-student ratio, very engaging with singing and boucing in the water, and not that pricey. Mother Fish

August 2008

Re: Class for 2.5 year old that focuses on swim skills
I recently signed my 3-yo up for the tiny tots swim at Strawberry Canyon - then he refused to get in the water without me!! They were very accomodating and switched us to a parent and kid class even though he was too old. Once I got in the water he loved it! Talk to or email the coordinator at Strawberry (or wherever else has a mommy-and-babe swim and is convenient to you) and see if they'll allow an older child. I'd also suggest going to the YMCA during their Tiny Waves family-swim time that is for 4 and under. You don't really need a class to play in the water with your kid! I think the more time in the water the better. mama to a soon-to-be fish

May 2005

Re: Pool near N. Oakland for family swim
How about the pool at Strawberry Canyon, on the Cal Campus? They used to have some open swim times every afternoon, but I haven't been in awhile. Very inexpensive, but sometimes a bit hard to park. Patty

Re: Pool near N. Oakland for family swim (May 2005)
Try Strawberry Canyon.
Non-University people can use it with a day pass. It is not so far from North Oakland really. I don't think they have an official ''family time'' but the pool is fairly shallow and seemed to be used largely by parents and kiddies-(-there are ''lap pools'' elsewhere.) It's been a while, but I used to take my kids there sometimes and it was very nice. henny

April 2002

We've very much liked the swim lessons both at Strawberry Canyon and Haufler Aquatics (they are at Holy Names this year). The Strawberry Canyon ones are more formal American Red Cross badges but they have enthusiastic college age teachers (a lot of Cal Swimmers teach there). You can't predict who is going to be teaching at what level, though. Information available here: Of all of them, I like the Strawberry Canyon ones the best. Oakland Mom

Strawberry Canyon has a comprehensive learn to swim program with lessons taught by certified WSI swim instructors in the summer camps Explorer(4-6 yr olds)and Blue Camp (7-11 yr olds). We also offer group lessons and private and semi-private lessons. All the info is on our web site at - click on Strawberry Canyon. Jennifer

From: Christina

Strawberry Canyon offers swimming lessons starting at 6:00. For a three year old, it looks like they offer a class where you get in with your child, and one where you don't. We've had really good luck with these classes. Last summer, my 6 year old (who had had three previous years of swimming lessons somewhere else where she refused to put her head in the water) finally learned how to swim, and enjoyed it! It may have been that she was finally ready, but I was quite impressed with the teachers -- they were very patient, and seemed to have had training on how to work with kids. Maddy loved them all. The number is: 643-CAMP It can sometimes be a little cold, but the water is always quite warm, and the kids don't seem to be freezing (although the parents up on the deck do.)

From: Janeen

Strawberry Canyon has swim lessons for all ages. I know they have classes that start at 6:00pm and I think on class after that as well. I've taken my two young ones there for the past two years and have had good experiences with them.

From: Laura

We are taking parent/infant classes at Strawberry Canyon, which costs $45 (UC affiliates) for 8 *days*. Other parents mentioned lessons elsewhere at $45 for 8 weeks! Can this be true? I would like to hear more, especially about outdoor pools. Thank you.