The long-anticipated Jean Sweeney Open Space Park in Alameda took down the construction gates and welcomed the public last week. It was a stormy weekend for an outdoor park trip, but Alameda residents were not thwarted by the weather. The park was teeming with families admiring the awesome new play space.
Visiting Sweeney Park in Alameda
Parking is super easy and free, directly in front of the playground. There are bike racks as well, and the bike path runs right next to the playground.
The 22-acre park has been under construction since the beginning of 2017. The Jean Sweeney fund raised 6.5 million dollars for the park project. It’s not all finished yet, but the section that is open is evidence of money well spent. Walking paths and landscaping indicate thoughtful planning, and there are lots of big open spaces with benches and picnic tables.
The playground is super cool! It’s versatile with various sections appropriate for a range of age groups.
Three-cheers for fenced-in toddlers!
For 2 to 5-year olds, there is a fully fenced-in play structure and a swing set (with bucket seat swings). The contraption that unlocks the gates is baffling to the kids (and some of the parents) so once they’re in, they’re not getting out without adult help. I have one child who is a runner, so I appreciate a good toddler corral!
Best features of Sweeney Park playground
- Four tiers of rope climbing
- Super-sized interactive chime instrument
- Extra-wide slide with an AstroTurf-protected landing at the base
- Zip-line with seat for riders
- Water play sandpit area (bring a change of clothes!)
Watch out! It’s worth noting the park design includes a set of very large, wide stone block stairs to the right of the slide. They are so wide that I as an adult had to really stretch each step and watch my balance. It felt unsafe enough I asked my kids to steer clear of the rock stairs. If a child stumbled, lost their balance and fell they could suffer some real damage on the way down.
A well-designed set of climbing pegs with a rope railing sits on the other side of the slide. Nearby boulders and wood logs will appeal to big kids who like climbing, however, the safety of that area for toddlers is questionable. If, like mine, your 3-year-old likes to live dangerously, then enjoy!
Facilities at Sweeney Park
The bathrooms are directly beside the toddler area and though they didn’t have toilet paper the day we went (BYO!), they do have a changing table. Score! There is also a drinking fountain out front and clearly marked garbage and recycling bins.
The trees will be beautiful someday, but right now they’re too small to provide any shade. Bring sunhats!
For picnicking, a large slab with sheltered picnic tables and big bbq pits sit adjacent to a large green field. Because it’s new, everything is clean. For outdoor birthday parties and family outings, it’s welcoming and user-friendly.
Still-to-come at Sweeney Park
The playground is on the route of the Cross Alameda trail which runs along the full length of the northern edge of the park. There are many cool things still to come like community gardens that will grow produce for the adjacent Alameda food bank. A lot of the Sweeney park is still in the works, but this playground is hours of fun, in a pretty and safe area. Even in the wind and rain, my family had a great time!
Sweeney Park is located st 1925 Sherman St, Alameda, CA.