Which Park for Toddlers & Preschoolers?

Parent Q&A

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  • Playgrounds with "big kids" (4 year olds)

    (3 replies)

    I am looking for playgrounds to take my 4 year old daughter to where there are other "big kids." It seems that there are either very small kids there, or kids more in the range of 7-10 every time we visit a playground in the afternoon. Can people recommend a spot where there are 4 and 5 year olds out running around, looking for a playmate?

    Thank you.

    We've had some luck at Dracena in piedmont! 

    I suggest you have a another kid her age meet you at the park. Or offer to take another kid to the park. Either way, make arrangements so she can have fun at the park. 

    I'm not sure where you're located but I take my 4 year old to Albany Memorial Park at least twice a week and he always finds kids his age to play with. Most of the "big kids" seems to be there after 3:00. It's a great park for bikes/scooters too. Also try to connect with other caregivers at the park so you can coordinate meet ups at the park. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Parks without sand

March 2006

Does anyone know of any parks in the east bay that do not have sand? Preferably ones that are gated. Sometimes I would like to take the kids to the park and not have the car wrecked by the end of the day! Have a beach in the back seat


most of Alameda's parks only have sand in dedicated sand box areas. I don't think Franklin Park has a sandbox though, but I may be wrong). Most are also fully fenced. I know Little John Park is on Sherman and Buena Vista. Lincoln Park on High Street might also not have sand but I don't think it is completely enclosed.


As far as I can recall, Aquatic Park does not have sand.


There is a nice playground and park in El Cerrito that has no sand. There is wood chips under the play structure. It is Castro Park located on the corner of Norvell and Gladys. > > From San Pablo Avenue go east on Potrero Avenue, go past the light at Richmond Street and turn right on Norvell, then go one block to Gladys. anon


Try Joaquin Miller playground on Joaquin Miller just up the hill from 13. If you explore a little, you can also find parks farther south-San Leandro, I think, Hayward, Fremont, if you want to spend a little more time.


Tot Park with Shade

March 2004

I am tring to find a decent playground that has a nice tot area and good shade coverage from noon-3pm -- both on the play structures and a grassy area. I love Jordan park but it lacks the shade; Dimond park has the shade but lacks a decent playground for tots. Thanks for your recommendations! Amy


Lincoln Park in Alameda has a splendid playground located among an abundant group of large oak trees. The main playground is bathed in shade all day long. The adjacent tot playground is a little less shady, but I found the main play structures are actually somewhat better for toddlers. The tot structure involves a hard-to-follow-the-baby-through tunnel which opens to a slide and a drop. Stick to the main playground and I assure you will experience a sun-free day in the park. There are also shaded grassy areas. MEG


Try the new park on Joachim Miller, between skyline and mountain on the north side. We were there at 4 the other day and it was lovely and shadey. It is ringed w/trees and has structures that my provide some shade themselves. no sand pit. park lover


Playground with Backhoe?

Nov 2003

My 2.5 year old and I are looking for a playground where the sandbox has a ride-on structure that looks like a backhoe. There are two levers that operate the arm and bucket, and you can move the sand around with it. We once stopped at a playground somewhere in Berkeley where they had such a thing and my little guy would like to go back but I cannot remember where this was. Thanks.


While I've never seen what you describe at a park in Berkeley, there at two at the Portview Park in the Oakland Harbor. It's off 7th Street, but a bit tricky to get to so you may want to check a map/parks dept. It's a nice park, with a play structure, restrooms, and veiws of all the port going-ons. It is a bit secluded, so you may want to go with another adult. Anon


San Pablo Park in southwest Berkeley has one of those. It's about 2 blocks east of San Pablo Blvd. between Dwight and Ashby. There are two playgrounds in the park - one for little kids and one for big kids. The backhoe is in the little kids' playground. in the neighborhood


It's not in Berkeley, but there is an amazing park at the port of oakland that has a backhoe. But more importantly the backhoe is just something to do in between sightings of Huge ships coming to port. All the cranes are right there, even the drive seems out of this world. (But okay I am a lover of ships, and cranes). Still, it is worth a visit. more info: http://www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/baytrail/vtour/map5/access/portview/pviewmharbor.html


Parks with toddler areas

October 2003

I am looking for recommendations for parks with good toddler areas. We are a group of 3-5 parents with toddlers between 14 and 20 months, all fairly mobile. Our intent is to check out various neighborhood parks, to vary our activities, and also to find parks near places where we run errands so as not to tax the little people's patience! I have checked the archives and we have been to Totland, Willard, Aquatic, Live Oak and Grove parks in Berkeley plus Little Farm at Tilden and 1 of the 2 FROG parks in Rockridge and liked all of them. The Berkeley Parks and Rec Department website is particularly good, but Oakland's website only lists addresses, not amenities or equipment. We like visiting both ''destination'' parks and simple neighborood parks with playground equipment for toddlers. Can you all give us the rundown on the parks in your neighborhoods or other ones you've been to? Lisa


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