Channing Way & 4th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
While certain parts of Aquatic Park itself may have a less-than desirable reputation (the Emeryville end is probably best avoided) Aquatic Playground, at the other end of the park is another story. The “Dream Land for Kids” play area constructed by volunteers in 2000 is a playground fantasy in wood with turrets, castles, bridges, tunnels, and a few touches of whimsy, like the painted dragon and the beached “boat” that make this playground both safe and magical. Little rascals can wear themselves out with the tire swing and big-kid swings, a sand area, cool slides, and an adorable butterfly/hummingbird garden. The tot play area also has a fantastic puppet theater with bench seating. Best of all for train-obsessed toddlers, the railroad tracks are right by the playground (yet safely enclosed by fencing), so that little Thomas-fanciers can sit and watch the passenger and freight trains rumble by. We especially love that there are beginner’s monkey bars– low enough that your little tyke who’s just learning to do the monkey bars can get up and swing without being terrified. Meanwhile, bigger kids can accompany mom or dad and hike the two-mile trail all around the park, or practice riding their bikes in a safe, traffic-free zone. The park also provides a wide range of recreational opportunities, including bird-watching, boating, and hiking; just make sure parental supervision is in place when wandering through nature!