Dartmouth Tot Lot in Albany, a love story - 510 Families
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Dartmouth Tot Lot in Albany, a love story

Dartmouth Tot Lot (officially called the Opal Staniek Tot Lot), situated on the corner of Dartmouth and Talbot in Albany, is a tiny park offering up cheap fun. This tiny park is filled with many toys of all kinds from push cars, play houses, sand toys, balls and musical toys (note that none of the battery operated toys work). There is always something different to play with every time we visit the park. Because this park offers so many variety of toys, it is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to share and trade toys with one another.

Why we love Dartmouth Totlot
Play structure at Opal Staniek | Photo: Kat Choi

The curved accessible ramp by Talbot Ave entrance is a fun place to slide down on push cars for tiny thrills (the ramp has very low incline).

In addition to the popular toys, there is a tiny play structure and bucket swings. There are benches along the perimeter and two picnic tables for lunch and snacks. The park gets shady in the afternoon especially around the sandpit area, so little ones feet won’t burn if they decide to go barefoot.

Dartmouth Totlot
Albany’s Dartmouth Totlot is small, fenced-in, and teeming with activity for little ones | Photo: Kat Choi

The Dartmouth Tot Lot is rather small which makes it perfect for crawlers to toddlers. It’s fully gated, which means no escaping, just be prepared for the tears once you do decide to leave – it’s always so hard to leave.

Just a fair warning, the park is quite popular for Albany locals in the morning, so try and stop by after lunch when everyone is home napping.

Opal Staniek Park Albany
Opal Staniek Park Albany has toys and play houses to spare | Photo: Kat Choi

There is a working water fountain but no restroom; the Albany Library is just a block away with a nice clean one. You can find parking easily on nearby streets.

I go to Opal Staniek when I am too lazy or tired to physically play with my daughters (moms need a break too!). The small park is perfect to keep eyes on both kids with a variety of toys to keep them busy for good 30 minutes. It’s a win win for all of us!

[Additional reporting by Anna Azimi; All photos by Kat Choi]

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2 thoughts on “Dartmouth Tot Lot in Albany, a love story”

  1. Hi,

    This is probably not the right place to ask this question but I am a parent in need of help. I have a six year old child with Aspergers who is obsessed with Minecraft. He attended Edmo Minecraft summer camp and had tons of fun. I am looking for a person who is a master in Minecraft with building worlds. Since I know nothing about Minecraft I am bombarded by questions each day while he builds his worlds and watches tutorials he finds by himself on YouTube showing him how to build. I am looking for an instructor that would spend and hour a week on a weekend day showing my six year old son how to build and answering all of his questions. He is only six but because he has Aspergers (Very high functioning Autism) he is extremely smart. I am willing to pay $75 an hour once a week. And we can meet in a library or other quiet space for a 1 hour lesson. I really hope to find someone because everyday he wants to know if he can go back to Edmo Minecraft summer camp and it is breaking my heart. I am located in the Bay Area. And if you know of anyone who is interested please email me at bilaliyah@gmail.com.

    Thank you,

    Bilaliyah Sabir

  2. The name Opal Staniek Tot Lot honors the kind and generous woman of the community who donated her property and made this tot lot this gem for children right in the neighborhood. The name celebrates not only her legacy but is a nod to the unique and loving story behind the playground and may inspire others to contribute in various ways. Very disrespectful and tone-deaf for the City of Albany staff to rename it.

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