Park Profile: Dorothy Bolte Park in the Berkeley Hills - 510 Families
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Park Profile: Dorothy Bolte Park in the Berkeley Hills

With a thrilling 40-foot concrete slide connecting two playgrounds, Dorothy Bolte Park in the Berkeley Hills provides hours of amusement. My two and four-year-olds couldn’t get enough of the exhilarating slide, climbing the stairs over and over again to then slide back down shrieking with joy. The best part is that it’s the lesser-known concrete slide park to its sister Codornices Park, and so there are generally no lines to put a kink in the fun.

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The view from the top of the slide is daunting at first | Photo: Julie Herson

Dorothy Bolte Park Features

Location: 540 Spruce Street at Michigan Avenue, Berkeley CA 94707
Unique Features of Playground: The lesser-known 40-foot concrete slide in Berkeley that’s fun for kids (and adults!) of all ages. Two playgrounds for both big and little kids.
Swings: Nope
Fenced in? No. The upper toddler playground is set back and down from Spruce St., but is not fenced. The lower playground isn’t fenced either but requires climbing many stairs or a hill to escape.
Surfaces: Sand in the play areas, with concrete and some cushy rubber mat areas as well.
Bathroom: Unfortunately not.
Unique Features of the Park Overall: Lesser known park so it’s generally not at all busy. The concrete slide, lovely forested setting, and peek-a-boo views make for a lovely afternoon of play.
Lunch tables & seating:
A bench at the top lot for eating, with many seating opportunities in the shade on a concrete wall or in several grassy areas. A sitting bench in the bottom playground is ideal for relaxing on and watching your kids play.
Parking: Easy street parking along Spruce Street. Some people speed down the road in this area, so be extra careful when loading and unloading the car.
Shade: Plenty. Lots of large oak trees and places to lay out a blanket.
Pros: Mixed-age appropriate with a toddler play area up top and bigger kid climbing structure in the lower level. Super fun concrete slide. Not often busy. Plenty of shade.
Cons: The slide can be dangerous for younger kids (my two-year-old handled it fine; it was exciting for me!). Many people like to walk their dogs in the paths and grassy areas near the park, so be aware if you have dog-sensitive kids.

Where to Scramble: The Rock Parks of North Berkeley >>

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A nicely sized play structure for the under-five set in the upper-level playground | Photo: Julie Herson

Dorothy Bolte Park For Toddlers

Dorothy Bolte Park offers so many places for toddlers to play. Bring your sand toys to enjoy the deep sandy area in the upper playground. See how gears work with the clock-gear play feature. Rock back and forth on the bouncy toy. Climb up and slide down the simple play structure, ideal for kids under five. There’s also a cute little concrete wall area that my two-year-old enjoyed practicing her balancing skills on. If you have an adventurous toddler, the concrete slide is certainly an option. I find the higher sides and straighter line of this slide as compared to the Codornices slide, make it safer and more approachable for younger kids (my two-year-old is scared of the Codornices slide but enjoyed the Dorothy Bolte slide without a hint of fear).

A Park With A View: Glendale La Loma Park in the Berkeley Hills >>

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We certainly got our workout going up the stairs, over and over and over again | Photo: Julie Herson

Check out Cheese Park in Richmond for yet another super cool concrete slide! >>

Dorothy Bolte Park for Big Kids

Kids of all ages love the concrete slide, myself included. The lower playground at the bottom of the slide has many climbing apparatuses and sand. There is also a forested area and a creek down below the playground that bigger kids may enjoy exploring. If you have kids of mixed ages this playground is great. You can easily view the lower area from the toddler playground.

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The big kid playground on the lower level offers many climbing features | Photo: Julie Herson

The Bottom Line On Dorothy Bolte Park

If you love Codornices Park and the epic concrete slide, you’ll love the less busy and less scary Dorothy Bolte park and slide. The quiet neighborhood atmosphere, large mature trees, and clean simple play areas offer plenty to enjoy. The sweet spot for this park age-wise is 2-8. But then again, my husband and nine-year-old also enjoy the slide too. So if you’re looking for a low-key park to check out, Dorothy Bolte Park in the Berkeley Hills is a terrific option.

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View from the bottom of the concrete slide | Photo: Julie Herson

What to Bring to Dorothy Bolte Park

  • Cardboard: If you’d like to speed down the concrete slide faster (and protect pants), bring a cardboard box (or several so sharing isn’t required).
  • Sand toys
  • Blanket to lay out on the grass for snack-time
  • Masks and hand sanitizer

Check out even more totally awesome Berkeley Parks and Playgrounds >>

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