There is a little something for everyone at El Cerrito's Castro Park; it shares a city block with Korematsu Middle School and Cameron Toddler School which adds up to a ton of well-maintained amenities for families. Castro Park is one of my family's favorite parks and includes a kickball diamond, playground, toddler ride-on toys, picnic areas, grassy field, and a cool rock climbing structure. My husband and I love the basketball courts for shooting, but when it is empty, my girls ride all their wheels.
Castro Park and Clubhouse PLUS Korematsu Middle School AND Cameron School Toddler Playground all on one block
Castro Park playground features
The playground is small but keeps my toddlers entertained with wheels to spin, little nook for pretend store play, and a tunnel to crawl through. It is partially enclosed and covered in wood chips. I am not sure what it is called, but there's arm exercise structure that you can spin, I found it strangely relaxing to spin it while I watched the kids play. Five picnic tables are situated in the middle of the playground and benches under the trees for parents to sit and watch the kids. Best for kids under 5 years old.
The rock climbing wall gets action from older kids. The girls like to hide under the wall and play. My attempt to climb was short lived but I've seen middle schoolers making it all the way to the top. Impressive! There are various sizes and shapes of holds which provide different levels of difficulty.
Castro Park's other amenities
The larger park includes a baseball field, grassy field, picnic tables, some barbecue areas, tennis courts, bathroom (as with all El Cerrito parks, you need the key, see below). Large park with playgrounds, BBQ area, picnic tables, sports fields and reservable clubhouse. The large grassy field has track on the perimeter for casual jogging. Furry friends run around the grassy area too.
My husband and I also play basketball here (or at least I try). Sharing the block with Korematsu Middle School, Castro Park and Clubhouse have access to some of the nicest basketball courts I've seen, and I wonder why there aren't more people playing basketball here on weekends — maybe it gets busy when we're not here in the afternoon. I have seen many little ones riding bikes and scooters here. It is a great, flat space to learn to ride a bike.
Castro Park Clubhouse
The Castro Park Clubhouse runs community classes including summer camp, parkour for children, and crossfit classes for adults. You can reserve it for special events via the website.
Cameron School Toddler Playground
Cameron School Toddler Playground is adjacent to the baseball field and is open to public from 3-6pm on weekdays and weekends. This little area is fun for toddlers (ages 0-3). It has see-saw, mini slides, playhouse and ride-on toys. There are two small picnic tables to sit and have a snack.
About El Cerrito park bathrooms
The bathroom (clean!) requires that you purchase the key from the El Cerrito Community Center for $18 to use it — and it works on other public parks in town. When you return the key, you get your money back. There's no deadline to return the key. This is true for all El Cerrito parks.
Address: 1420 Norvell St, El Cerrito, CA 94530