Frolic In An Unexpected Urban Gem: The Morcom Rose Garden - 510 Families
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Frolic In An Unexpected Urban Gem: The Morcom Rose Garden

I’ll let you in on a fun little secret about the wild turkeys in Oakland: they live in the Morcom Rose Garden.

The Morcom Rose Garden is a peaceful oasis on the residential Oakland-Piedmont border, close to the Grand Lake neighborhood and Piedmont Ave. This floral sanctuary, which is maintained solely by volunteers, is a great place for an easygoing, low-key outing with children.

Morcom Amphitheatre of Roses with walking paths, toddlers, and lots of roses
May roses at the Morcom Rose Garden | Photo: Julia Gidwani

We enjoy pushing a stroller or just walking the winding paths of lush blooms, stopping by all the flowers, and taking in their wonderful fragrance. Though you can frolic in the gardens any time of year, the most vibrant time is the bloom season, which is typically mid-April through October. 

What kids love about the Rose Garden:

  • Frolicking around in the winding pathways
  • Touching the cascading fountain
  • Inspecting and smelling all the flowers
  • Collecting fallen petals, and plucking dandelions to blow in the wind
  • Watching birds, squirrels, butterflies, and turkeys. (But don’t feed the turkeys!)
Wisteria blooms in late October at the Morcom Rose Garden | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Morcom Rose Garden Features

Location: 700 Jean St, Oakland, with entrances on Olive Ave, Chetwood St., Oakland Ave. and Jean St.

Morcom Rose Garden
There are many flat trails perfect for new walkers to explore at the Morcom Rose Garden | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Unique Features: Cascading fountains, winding trails, thousands of roses, and sometimes illusive turkeys.
Playground: Nope!
Fenced in? No, but there are tall garden walls with flights of stairs which will keep kids enclosed deeper into the gardens.
Surfaces: Cement, both stroller and wheelchair friendly with ramps. Also lots of steps.
Bathroom: Yes, but it’s not reliably open, or clean.
Lunch tables & seating: There are a few benches throughout the gardens, but no tables.
Parking: Free street parking is pretty much always available all around the park. Watch out if you’re driving a manual transmission, parking on the hills can be quite steep.
Shade: Plenty of shade to be found under trees and by walls.
Pros: Location, easy to social distance, unique and beautiful.
Cons:  Large reflection pool is at ground level and though lovely to look at, watch kids carefully so they don’t fall in, the water isn’t that clean. Also, roses inevitably mean thorns, so I teach kids to smell, not touch.

The Bottom Line on Morcom Rose Garden

This is a popular destination for families, people walking, and workout groups, so plan your visit for an off-peak time during the week if possible. Get a little lost in the lovely gardens, and try to find some turkeys.

Our favorite admission-free garden in Oakland is the Gardens at Lake Merritt >

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