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.
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.
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.
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]