Berkeley's Totland is a small park, perfect for those who are more focused on play than relaxation. Located a tad northwest of University and MLK, the name is quite fitting as Totland's sweet spot is a pretty narrow age range — about 10 months to age 4. In fact, the park is so heavily frequented by 1-3 year olds, that it pretty much empties out around 1 pm when everyone is home napping.
Totland has been closed for a long time so that the City could refresh the equipment and grass. We are pleased to report that it is open once again. (Although some of the grass is still being protected by plastic fencing.)
Why people go there
A fence encloses the entire park, and parents and caregivers keep the gates closed, so no toddlers will escape. It's easy to find street parking, and many of Totland's visitors are neighborhood folks who push strollers there.
Baby swings and big kid swings, plus climbing things, and slides for two different levels of bravery are installed in the play area. The park features grass and picnic tables. Bring a blanket if you like, but if you're with a new walker, you probably won't get a chance to sit down.
Where a sandy area for digging once was, now a crash-landing-friendly playground surface has been installed.
Historically, the main attraction of Totland, for the tots, are the dozens of push toys and ride-ons that have been left by families who have outgrown them. There was no need to bring your own toys — the place was covered with them.
Little people delighted in trying out all of the colorful plastic vehicles, and even babies would find countless new surfaces to test out their pulling-up-to-a-stand prowess. Exersaucers and baby slides were often stationed on the grass as well. Time flies when you're a toddler at Totland and many children are carried away kicking and screaming each day; they just don't want to leave.
Will the playthings return? We don't know yet. Like “Casual Carpool”, the donation of toys to Totland was not a policy, but rather a movement. #Berkeley
What to know
Totland has a bathroom, but no changing table. Dogs should be left at home or at least outside the park's fence.
We recommend Totland for all toddlers, and especially for parents who are on their own with a new second baby. It can be hard to take two kids out of the house at first, and at Totland you can be assured that your mobile little one can't get very far away. Two words: FENCED. IN.
Totland's location is marked below with an A.
The building pictured at the top of this post is not part of the public space; it houses art classes for children through YAWS. Find details here >