Hercules & Pinole with Kids - 510 Families
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Hercules & Pinole with Kids

What to do with kids in Hercules and Pinole? When Aileen offered to share her favorite insider tips to parenting in the Pinole/Hercules area, we said, “Heck yeah!” Aileen is the {510} mom of two little ones ages three and one.

The Pinole/Hercules area may be small, but there is plenty to do with kids! Here are ten of my favorite places:BearClaw Bakery in Pinole

  1. Hungry? Have breakfast at BearClaw Bakery. This bakery is extremely kid-friendly. They have a large stack of coloring books, crayons, and markers. When we walk in, we are greeted by a child-sized stuffed bear – usually wearing a hat. My kids love to give the bear hugs and try on his hat. Bear Claw has delicious donuts and breakfast burritos, along with a full lunch menu. They are my go-to for Birthday cakes. Note: Bear Claw Bakery is closed on Sundays.
  2. Stop by the year-round Farmers Market in downtown Pinole on Saturday mornings. This outdoor market features organic produce, fresh-baked bread, local honey, orchids, free-range eggs, infused balsamic vinegar and marinades, as well as several artisans selling their homemade work. We always keep an eye out for the Friends of the Pinole Library selling used children’s books for $1-$2. Once we’re done, we head across the street to Fernandez Park for play time.
  3. Ride bikes and watch the trains at Shoreline Park. This park has breathtaking views of the Bay, a boat-shaped play structure (including a large steering wheel), baby swings, a large grassy area with a track surrounding it (perfect for bike riding), and trains that go by several times an hour. There is also a bathroom, water fountain, and beverage vending machine. This park is attached to the Bay Trail, so I can sneak a work-out in, too.
Shoreline Park Hercules
Learning to ride a bike at Shoreline Park in Hercules
  1. Sign up with First 5 for free kids classes. Though technically in San Pablo, I love this program, so it had to make my list. First 5 is a state-funded program open to anyone living in the area offering tons of free classes for kids 5 and under. Some of the classes we have enjoyed: baby sign language, music and movement, gymnastics, and several art classes. First 5 also offers free prenatal yoga and parenting classes (childcare is usually included).
  2. Visit the Pinole Dog Park – even without a dog. My little kids love watching the dogs play, and the parks are totally fenced in, so we can watch from the outside. We also like to say “hi” to the peacocks down the path, right past the small dog park.
  3. The Hercules Library is our favorite library. Because of the separate children’s wing, we don’t have to worry about disturbing an adult trying to read when my kids aren’t super quiet. I often see parents hanging out in the comfy couches while their kids play with the many toys. The library hosts family story time on Tuesday evenings, a play group on Wednesday mornings, preschool story time on Thursday mornings, Minecraft on Saturdays, and so much more.

Hercules Library

  1. Feed the ducks at Refugio Valley Park. This park has a large grassy area perfect for a picnic or game of kick ball, two play structures, and a large pond full of ducks and geese. If we forget to bring bread for the ducks, there is a grocery store across the street. We like to follow the little-known dirt trail hidden behind the large play structure. This is a great spot to fish for crawdads.
  2. Head over to East Bay Coffee for Ukulele Night. Not only do they offer delicious coffee, but ukulele night is a blast for the whole family. East Bay Coffee also hosts live music, open mic night, and Sunday worship sessions.
  3. Take a nature walk in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. If you haven’t visited Point Pinole, what are you waiting for? There are lots of stroller-friendly trails (some paved, some not), a play structure, and beach access. It is also a popular spot for fishing. Parking is free on weekdays and $3.00 per car on weekends and holidays. Dogs are $2.00.

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline with kids

  1. Let kids practice their building skills at the free Home Depot Kids Workshops. These workshops are held at the Hercules Home Depot on the first Saturday of every month starting at 9am. The Home Depot website says classes are for 5 to 12-year-olds, but I take my 3-year-old and he does fine with help. Home Depot provides the kit, guidance on how to make it, and every child gets an apron and pin to take home with their complete project.

What would you add to Aileen’s list of great places for Pinole and Hercules families?

Aileen is a stay-at-home mom raising two kids in the (510). She shares her favorite family-friendly recipes, kid-friendly projects, and money saving tips at aileencooks.com. And her cookies look delicious!


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[Photos provided by Aileen and Annie Burke (Point Pinole) and used with permission]

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3 thoughts on “Hercules & Pinole with Kids”

  1. I second the Hercules Library recommendation! I just went there for the first time last week. Great space and lots of material on the shelves. It’s part of the CCC Library system.

  2. We also love Fernandez Park downtown, which has a playground, a tot lot, a path that you can walk or bike (it’s a great path for beginning bicyclists, especially if you’re chasing them on foot) all the way down to the shore, and an elevated train track to do some trainspotting! Kids also love to go feed the ducks on the bridge to the Senior Center right next to Fernandez.

    And of course there’s also our best kept secret, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, also an excellent place for kids to bicycle (helmets required!) both on paved paths and on trails, and with a playground, picnic benches, beaches, views, and a pier, as well as a bridge to watch the trains go under you, and you might even see some horseback riders.

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