Best BARTable Play for Toddlers – 510 Families
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Best BARTable Play for Toddlers

Riding BART can be a real treat for train-loving toddlers, while parents appreciate the convenience (no parking!). So we’ve rounded up a handful of mostly free BART-friendly destinations for toddlers and their parents. See the map and plan your next adventure >

Downtown Berkeley BART, the University of California & BAMPFA (Free-ish)

Cal isn’t just for big kids! There’s so much to explore at the University, from dinosaur skeletons to the Campanile. Head East toward the hills from the Downtown Berkeley BART station past BAMPFA and you’re one big block from a field to explore at Crescent Lawn. Grab snacks from the small quick-serve restaurants along Center Street. Check out some of our favorite places to visit on campus >

BART Lines: Red Line Richmond-Millbrae+SFO or Orange Line Berryessa/North San Jose-Richmond
Station: Downtown Berkeley
BAMPFA: 2155 Center St, Berkeley

toddler looking at T.rex
The T.rex at the Valley Life Sciences building at Cal | Photo: Julie Herson

Embarcadero BART, Gondola & Floating Playground (Free)

Not in the East Bay, but a fun option if you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, the Embarcadero station is the first stop after the tunnel. Walk about five minutes toward the corner of Fremont and Mission. This incredible public park is above the transit center featuring a living roof with a walking trail lined with benches surrounding grassy lawns, fountains, and a children’s play area with frequent kids’ activities. Oh, and the gondola ride is FREE. There’s so much going on at Salesforce Park for kids >

BART Lines: Red, Yellow, Green, or Blue
Station: Embarcadero
Salesforce Park: 425 Mission Street at Fremont, San Francisco

Salesforce Park Playground
Children’s Playground at Salesforce Park | Photo: Whitney Moss

Downtown Berkeley BART, Berkeley Central Library (Free)

Walk down Kittredge Street from the downtown station and discover why the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library is totally awesome for families and kids. They have tons of programming for little kids, from story times to art classes. Check out their calendar of library events or just drop in to read some books. More to love about your public library >

BART Lines: Red Line Richmond-Millbrae+SFO or Orange Line Berryessa/North San Jose-Richmond
Station: Downtown Berkeley
Berkeley Public Library: 2090 Kittredge Street, Berkeley

child at library with stacks of books
The library is great rain or shine | Photo: Anna Azimi

Rockridge BART Station – Frog Park (Free)

A short walk from Rockridge Station, Frog Park is home to a cute playground featuring a whimsical wooden play structure. The play structure provides small children with plenty of climbing fun, slides, a pond, and a bit of nature. Read more about our pro tips for visiting the Temescal Farmer’s Market, Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt & Frog Park. More to do in Rockridge with kids >

BART Line: Yellow Line Antioch-SFO+Millbrae
Station: Rockridge
Frog Park: 5500 Claremont Avenue, Oakland

Frog Park Castle| Photo: Julia Gidwani

Embarcadero, Sue Birman Playground and Ferry Building (Free)

Hop off at the first stop after the tunnel. Sue Birman Playground has a cute boat structure for small children, as well as a ton of larger climbing opportunities for your little ninja warriors. It’s also right near the Ferry Building if you’re looking to grab lunch or a snack. Here are some of our favorites in the Ferry Building >

BART Lines: Red, Yellow, Green, or Blue
Station: Embarcadero
Sue Birman Playground: 100 Washington Street at Drumm, San Francisco
Ferry Building: 1 Ferry Building at the end of Market Street, San Francisco

Sue Birman Playground on Embarcadero, SF | Photo: Sally Mason

19th Street Oakland BART, Fairyland ($)

Fairyland is a ten-minute walk along Lake Merritt past Snow Park so don’t use up all your energy before you get to the main destination. This iconic local favorite isn’t just for a quick stop, so plan on spending a good chunk of time enjoying all the rides and whimsical attractions. Or, figure out if membership makes sense for more frequent visits. Here’s our guide to Fairyland >

BART Lines: Red, Orange, or Yellow
Station: 19th Street Oakland
Children’s Fairyland: 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland

fairyland entrance with iconic shoe
The old woman who lived in a shoe welcomes children through the magical gates of Fairyland | Photo: Fairyland

Lake Merritt BART, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) (Free-ish)

Walk one block and you’re there. Did you know you can visit the gardens at the OMCA for free? They are beautiful, newly re-landscaped, and super kid-friendly. In the center of the gardens is a large and lush lawn that’s perfect for picnics or burning off some energy before or after a BART ride. If you have more time, consider exploring the museum, which has a lot to excite and entertain small children. Their new Nature Playspace is particularly great for little kids.

BART Lines: Green, Orange, or Blue
Station: Lake Merritt
OMCA: 1000 Oak Street between 8th and 9th streets, Oakland

OMCA garden and outdoor stage
Enjoy a beautiful green space in downtown Oakland | Photo: Maureen Burke

12th Street BART, Oakland, MOCHA ($)

Just a few steps from the 12th Street BART Station if you exit at 13th street, the Museum of Children’s Art, AKA MOCHA, is a terrific option for your artistically inclined kiddos. Exit BART into Oakland City Center and you’ll find yourself on the lower level with direct access to the doors of MOCHA.

BART Lines: Red, Orange, or Yellow
Station: 12th Street Oakland
Museum of Children’s Arts: 1221 Broadway Lower Level, Suite 49, Oakland

Drop-in open studio at MOCHA | Photo: MOCHA
Drop-in open studio at MOCHA | Photo: MOCHA

What are some of your favorite BART-friendly toddler spots? Share them in the comments!

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