Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tilden Park in Berkley

Tilden Park in Berkley

Tilden Park in Berkley is a very big place. The first time we visited for a hike, we could have easily come and gone without ever knowing what other fun places there were for kids and families to visit there.

The hiking alone in Tilden Park is wonderful. It is a wooded area, and tends to be fairly cool compared to many other places around the bay. Our preschooler didn’t have any trouble with the trail we hiked, but since we have only hiked twice here, I am sure there are places with much more challenging trails. However, if you want to hike with little ones, you won’t have trouble finding a good place to do so in Tilden.

In addition to the lovely hiking trails, Tilden Park also has a small train that can take you for a short ride through the woods, and even smaller trains that can take kids for a ride around the miniature train yard. The train runs on weekends only and parking is fairly limited in the lot right by the train. The trains open at 11:00 am, and it is best to get there a little before they start if you want to park close by.

There is also an Environmental Education Center. Inside there is a room-sized model of the Bay Area, and a few other displays to look at. Naturalists also occasionally bring out some of their educational wildlife ambassadors and give short talks about them. We were fortunate enough to get to see a small snake and a tarantula on our visit.

Right next to the Education Center, is what they call the “Little Farm”. It’s basically what it sounds like, a small area with farm animals. There are cows, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks, and rabbits. It isn’t a petting zoo, but if the animals happen to come up to the fence, they can be touched.  When we last visited, guests were allowed to feed lettuce or celery that they had brought from home to the animals. My kids were a little sad that we had nothing to feed because we didn’t know ahead of time. I know from experience that the feeding rules can change at these places depending on the health needs of the animals, so if you bring something, please make sure to check the posted signs to make sure what you brought is safe to feed before you give anything to the animals.

While we have never visited it ourselves, there is also a merry-go-round, a botanic garden, and something called the Brazil building at Tilden. We hope to go explore these other area soon. Most of these attractions are not grouped together, but spread around the park, so we haven’t been able to see more than one or two areas at each visit. To see a map to plan your trip, and check hours of operation and costs, you can visit the Tilden Park page of the East County Parks website.

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