Park review: Totland in Berkeley

Berkeley’s Totland is a small park, perfect for those who are more focused on play than relaxation. Located a tad northwest of  University and MLK, the name is quite fitting as Totland’s sweet spot is a pretty narrow age range — about 10 months to age 4. In fact, the park is so heavily frequented by 1-3 year olds, that it pretty much empties out around 1 pm when everyone is home napping.

Why people go there

A fence encloses the entire park, and parents and caregivers keep the gates closed, so no toddlers will escape. It’s easy to find street parking, and many of Totland’s visitors are neighborhood folks who push strollers there.

Baby swings and big kid swings, plus climbing things, and slides for two different levels of bravery are installed in the play area. There is a sandy area for digging and some grass and picnic tables. Bring a blanket if you like, but if you’re with a new walker, you probably won’t get a chance to sit down.

The main attraction of Totland, for the tots, are the dozens of push toys and ride-ons that have been left by families who have outgrown them. No need to bring your own toys — the place is covered with them.

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Little people delight in trying out all of the colorful plastic vehicles, and even babies will find countless new surfaces to test out their pulling-up-to-a-stand prowess. Exersaucers and baby slides are often stationed on the grass as well. Time flies when you’re a toddler at Totland and many children are carried away kicking and screaming each day; they just don’t want to leave.

What to know

Totland has a bathroom, but no changing table. Dogs should be left at home or at least outside the park’s fence.

We recommend Totland for all toddlers, and especially for parents who are on their own with a new second baby. It can be hard to take two kids out of the house at first, and at Totland you can be assured that your mobile little one can’t get very far away.

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Photo Credit: Whitney Moss (1) and  Archibald Jude (2,3) via Compfight cc