Kensington Gem: Blake Garden - 510 Families
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Kensington Gem: Blake Garden

Blake Garden is a 10.6-acre public garden with stunning hill views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The garden contains a large diversity of native plants alongside unique structures. Kids like the reflection pool, flower garden, and Create-with-Nature Zone. No tree climbing or fruit/flower picking, which can be challenging for littles.

blake garden views of sf with adult and child
Take in the City views together | Photo: Sue C. via Yelp

I’ve lived in El Cerrito for the last twelve years and despite it being a six-minute drive from my house, I only heard about Blake Garden a few weeks ago.

The garden is a teaching and research lab for the UC Berkeley School of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design but it is open to the public on weekdays. My elementary-age boys and I recently spent a few hours there on a lovely warm afternoon, and we all had so much fun that we will surely be back very soon.

I took my toddler to Blake Garden today and we had the best time looking for butterflies and caterpillars, doing a little hike, jumping on stumps and having a picnic. ~ Maureen Burke

Find more East Bay gardens to explore with your children >

blake-gardens-el-cerrito
Reflection Pool at Blake Garden | Photo: Wendy Copley

The gardens are extremely diverse and a one- or two-minute walk along a path can lead you from a redwood-shaded area along a creek to a formal garden with a reflecting pool and a grotto. Other areas we explored included wetlands, a rocky area, a space filled with succulents, vegetable gardens, flower gardens and wide lawns with spectacular views of the Bay.

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The garden is located on a hill and some paths and stairways are quite steep or narrow. You can see a great deal of the park pushing a stroller but some areas will be difficult to access.

Blake Garden with kids
The kids found plenty to keep their hands busy | Photo: Wendy Copley

Kids are welcome in the garden, but they are asked to stay on paths and to stay off trees and rocks. This was a little hard for my boys because we walked past so many awesome climbing trees, but there were still plenty of interesting things for them to see and cool places to explore. Toward the end of our walk, we happened upon the Create-with-Nature-Zone. This area is stocked with items from around the park — stumps, logs, sticks, pine cones, leaves, flowers, and rocks — and kids are encouraged to use them to build structures. My kids joined forces with a few other children to create a tower from logs and they would have happily played in this area and built for quite a while but we had to leave because the park was closing. Next time!

Blake Garden Logistics & Hours:

Blake Garden is located at 70 Rincon Road, Kensington
Parking is easy in the free lot.
Website with downloadable map >

The garden is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on weekends and University holidays. (Sorry 9-to-fivers — I know this is a bummer.)

[All photos by Wendy Copley]

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7 thoughts on “Kensington Gem: Blake Garden”

  1. I love this garden … but as a busy working mom I love it even more when I have a kid-free morning! Much more peaceful 😀

  2. Not sure why this is advertised as an El Cerrito gem when it is located in Kensington, but besides that word parsing, I completely agree it is a beautiful place and a hidden gem.

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