Open for Danger: Adventure Playground Berkeley - 510 Families
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Open for Danger: Adventure Playground Berkeley

At Adventure Playground kids can imagine, build, and decorate their own play structures with saws, hammers, nails, and paint. They earn the right to use these tools by collecting hazards (like loose nails in the sand) with a magnet and turning them in at the loan desk.

Adventure Playground, Berkeley Marina

For older children, there are more permanent features like the climbing web and zip line too (for folks over six).

Adventure Playground is open from 11 to 5 on weekends throughout the school year.

Summer hours begin June 10 and include weekdays from 9 to 5.

Adventure Playground is tucked away at the Marina end of University (veer left once you pass the freeway) with views of the water, near a public restroom and picnic tables. It is adjacent to a more typical playground with swings if your kids don’t have the lust for danger that you had hoped.

Young children are welcome as long as they are within arm’s reach of a parent. Older preschoolers and young grade-schoolers love it. It’s a popular destination for elementary school field trips and a unique option for birthday parties. Berkeley's Adventure Playground

Hours and fees at Berkeley’s Adventure Playground

Beginning June 10, 2024, Adventure Playground hours are:

  • Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Playground will be closed when there is consistent rain throughout the day.

Free to the general public after signing a waiver.

What’s the big deal about Adventure Playgrounds?

Using a saw to cut through a board is empowering. Many of our urban kids have not experienced this ability to transform their surroundings and build things in the physical world. At Adventure Playground, children can experiment with risk and challenge in a way that a molded plastic slide on top of a rubber mat does not allow.

As Lenore Skenazy wrote in her Salon piece The War on Children’s Playgrounds, they don’t make ’em like they used to. Adventure Playground is a truly special (and fun!) place in Berkeley. In our effort to make playgrounds as safe as humanly possible, Skenazy argues that we’re also eliminating the fun.

She writes:

For the past 40 years or so, we have certainly been working to make our playgrounds safer than safe — maybe even safer than fun.

Didn’t think so. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued reams of playground regulations and actually gone so far as to recommend against “tripping hazards, like tree stumps and rocks.” Maybe we should just bulldoze the local parks and put in a couple of blobs — this time, made of plastic.

Welp, as I said, Adventure Playground is all kinds of wrong by today’s overly safe standards, but I think Lenore Skenazy would approve.

Visit the Adventure Playground website >

[Photo credits: Photo credit: Patrick Buechner, Wendy Copley, Norma Evans]

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