Which Park for Babies?

Parent Q&A

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  • Parks for a Crawly 9 month old?

    (13 replies)


    Our daughter's not walking yet, but still has tons of crawling energy. She loves pulling herself up and cruising as well. Any good places to go? Having trouble finding a specific park that fits this specific transition phase...like, I know she'll be walking soon enough, but what to do until then? 

    Snow Park has a toddler playground that has a gate. Def some stuff for her to crawl around on. I took my daughter there as a crawly and still go there and she’s 2+

    Here are some ideas:

    Peggy Thompson Pierce Street Park in Albany has a great little kids/crawlers playground which is fenced in.

    Christie Park in Emeryville also has a nice crawler area with little mounds in the rubber flooring and things to pull up on.

    If you are willing to drive a little, Hal Brown Park in Larkspur has a great crawlers area with lots to explore on the ground.

    Have fun!

    You could try the bay area discovery museum in Marin. They have a nice tot area for crawlers and early walkers with lots of padding and things to pull up on.

    Totland in Berkeley is all fenced in and has a sandpit. We spent a lot of time there when the kids were younger.

    Also, we used to live near San Pablo park and there is also a fenced-in area there.  It is often empty in case you're worried about other children bowling over the young one.

    Finally, live oak park has an even smaller fenced-in area.  That's a good one too.

    Snow Park's tot area is nice for crawlers/pulling up to stand. There is a low to the ground tube to crawl through, a low slide, and a bridge. My son had fun there before he could walk.

    Have you been to Totland? It's a good spot for this age!

    I had a wonderful experience with my crawling infant at San Pablo Park in Berkeley where there is wide open grassy fields as well as a nice toddler playground for when she’s older.

    Most playgrounds have a tot section for little kids (under 5) where the ground is rubberized and there are smaller play structures conducive to crawling and cruising. Some that come to mind that i know my kids enjoyed during this phase are Totland, Arlington Park, La Loma Park (the stationary train is an excellent opportunity for long-range cruising!), and Cordonices Park. Have fun! :)

    Not sure where you are, but Totland is great for this age, especially in the morning.

    Tot Lot in Albany! (Not to be confused with Berkeley’s Tot Land, which is also lovely.) This is a small corner lot with tons of push toys, walkers, things to ride on (when she’s ready), etc. Located on the corner of Talbot and Dartmouth. There are often some crawlers and cruisers there, as well as toddlers who want to ride toys (with their grown ups who want to sit down). Hope this helps! 

    Totland on Virginia is great, as are the toddler playgrounds at San Pablo Park and James Kenney Park. My daughter is also weirdly obsessed with Opal Staniek tot lot in Albany, which is tiny but full of preused plastic toys including lots of things to cruise around on!

    I’m curious to hear suggestions as my almost 7 month old has started to cruise and is very determined to keep at it! The Tot Lot in Albany comes to mind as there are benches that could be good for cruising. And the ground is soft. Totland in Berkeley might also work but the ground might be concrete, I can’t remember. 

    Willard park has a perfect place for crawlers.  Fenced in, small structures, little sandpit.  There's also Bateman Park (not Bateman Mall Park) that's all sand and full of toys.  

  • Things to do with babies and dogs

    (7 replies)

    I'm looking for suggestions of things to do out of the house that include my baby AND my dog. Ideally we are looking for things that include other kids or dogs! The obvious answer seems the park but many play structures fence out dogs. This is totally understandable but puts me in a bit of a bind as I only have so many walks in me in one day.

    Has anyone come up with a brilliant solution to this problem?

    She will be 6 months soon but suggestions welcome for any age; this issue is not going away. The dog is 30 lbs and well behaved in public places, also good off leash.

    Depending on where you live, Dracena Park in Piedmont may be an option if you are not too far away. We take our 5 month old and dog there often. It's an off leash park for dogs and there are a few small trails and lead down to the Dracena Quarry where there is a large grass area and play structure and rock climbing wall for kids. The dogs can only be off leash in the trail portions though. Om the same note, there is another playground with an off leash dog area/trails behind the high school in Piedmont as well. I usually strap the baby on a carrier and let the dog roam around the trails.

    I would suggest walks where the dog can be off leash & your baby can look around at interesting things -- the Albany bulb, Berkeley Marina, Point Isabel. I also wonder if there are parks without a fenced-in area, so you can have your dog close-by? Wondering about Ohlone Park (where you could bring your dog to the dog park to get tired out), or Strawberry Creek Park?

    I don't know where you're located, obvi, but there's a great dog AND human park by me called Canyon Trail Park. It's on the El Cerrito/Richmond border, you can find it easily on the Googles, and it's got a play structure next to a beautiful open field where dogs run around and frolic. There's also a fun little nature walk you can take down into the woods, over a little bridge to a pond and back up, which is very entertaining as your baby gets big enough to notice things that aren't boobs. 

    Family of two preschoolers and a similarly sized dog here! Plus, we are apartment dwellers so multiple walks with dog and kiddos is necessary - I feel your pain! As your baby ages, the dynamics will change. For now you can focus on dog parks while baby wearing and off-leash areas or easy hiking trails with leashed dog plus stroller. Once the baby is walking, you can still do the same - off leash areas while toddler wearing and on-leash hikes with stroller. You'll soon know ALL the restaurants with kid friendly and dog friendly outdoor eating areas. But really, the best place of all is Pt. Isabel. You will come here often and it will be great for hearty dog runs while you enjoy a stroller walk that will eventually be kiddo walking alongside you. 

    Have  you tried walking at Point Isabel?  I have been taking walks with my daughter and dog there since she was 7.  There are a LOT of dogs, but it is a beautiful setting, beautiful views, and there is even a dog washer there.  http://www.ebparks.org/parks/pt_isabel

    Have fun!

    hi!   If you haven't discovered it already, Point Isabel is a wonderful place to walk with your baby and your dog.   It is just past Costco.   Everyone seems like they are in a good mood there and if it's a clear day, the view is spectacular.  Plus your little one will be interested in all the dogs and action around him/her.    I've only been to the Albany Bulb once, but it also seems like a good place to walk with both; much less busy than Pt. Isabel.    Enjoy!

    Albany Bulb! Maybe not quite time at 6 months but within a year it will be perfect. Toddlers love digging in the sand and it’s off-leash for dogs. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Picnic Spots with 6-month old

Oct 2010

New to the area and need to find the best parks/picnic spots to go with a baby. Don't need a playground but would like somewhere peaceful with nice areas to lay out blankets (ideally with shady options). What are the best spots in Berkeley and surrounding areas? Gettin' baby some fresh air

The UC Botanical Garden seems a perfect option for what you are looking for. It's very peaceful (a living museum of plants rather than a park) with a lawn and lots of tucked away picnic tables and benches surrounded by an unsurpassed collection of naturally landscaped plants from around the world. May I particularly recommend stopping by the benches in Asia by the creek beneath the Dawn Redwoods. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu manoux

There is a sweet little park where Colby street dead-ends behind Alta Bates Emergency Room. There is grass, shade, baby swings, toddler play area/sandbox and a few communal toys suitable for babies and toddlers. I used to go there regularly, mostly because it was an easy walk from where I live, and usually pretty quiet. Caveat is that it's not so great if you have to drive to get there -- parking is tough around the hospital. L

Playground for babies that are not yet walking?

Jan 2010

Hello all, I'm new to the East Bay and I'd like to find a playground around North Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington or Albany where I can take my 1 year old daughter that is not walking yet. I'd like to find a place where other moms/nannies bring their babies and let them interact with each other, crawling, cruising or sitting in the grass, sand or blankets. Can you also let me know a good time of day when these places have the most babies? I've taken my daughter to tot lots and other playgrounds but most of the time there are only older children who walk, so she doesn't get to interact with them very much. She gets really excited to see other babies and kids, though. I'm especially interested in places where we can go during the weekend, thank you very much for your help, Carolina

Cedar Rose Park (Between Cedar and Rose at Chestnut St.) has the advantage of not too many older kids (older kid park a few dozen yards away), fenced -in so it feels safe, lots of sand, and walking distance to Acme Bread and Cafe Fanny. And a nice view of the hills from the open grassy part. Another nice, fenced-in place is the little playground by King Pool on Hopkins, though I've rarely been there when it's been in the sun -- can get windy so bring extra jackets. Great bakery and Monterey Market down the street. Carey

Totland in Berkeley is a great place to sit with a baby and watch toddlers play. Just off MLK near Virginia.

Park with swings for babies

Sept 2007

I really want to take my 5 1/2 month old daughter on an outdoor swing. (One of my most favorite childhood memories!) Looking for suggestions on a good (ie: safe, well-maintained) park (or parks), preferably in the East Bay (ranging from San Leandro/Oakland to Emeryville/Berkeley to ElCerrito/Pinole/Hercules) which have baby/infant suitable swings for her age. She can sit by herself (mostly supported), yet needs a securing strap to stay in. Though, I would prefer a swing set that has an infant chair attached. I've seen them in other areas, yet not locally. Any suggestions? Thanks! ~Mama seeking swing

Try Bateman Park next to Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley. It has a couple of infant swings and is gated.

There are a lot. Totland in Berkeley, the Berkeley Marina playground, Lake Merritt (Lakeside Park by the birds and Splashpad Park by the library), Jordan Park in Oakland are just a few that come to mind. anon

Parks where Spanish-speaking nannies meet

Aug 2001

I am looking for a park or play group that my very sweet spanish-only speaking care giver can take our 8 month old daughter to during the day. I think it would be good for both of them to get out and socialize. What parks to caregivers congregate at in the North Oakland, Berkeley area? Does anyone know of a M-F (8am-3pm) playgroup that she would feel welcome to join? Thanks. Nancy

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

The woman who takes care of my daughter and many of her fiends who are also care providers, are all Spanish speaking and congregate at Bateman park on Prince St. behind Alta Bates. They don't have any formal kind of play group but are all very welcoming. Liz

there seems to be a lot of spanish speaking nannies at Bateman Park right near Alta Bates hspital on Prince Street. Shoshana