West Oakland Farm Park has it all: farm, playground, green space, animals, and an amazing mission. My two- and five-year-olds loved visiting with the chickens, roaming through the rows of vegetables, and climbing all over the play structure.
The 1.4-acre park is managed by City Slicker Farms. The urban farm aims to connect neighbors, create a safe recreation space, and increase access to healthy foods for low-income families in Oakland. A visit to the park not only means time for fun but also a chance to educate children on how food is grown and food justice.
West Oakland Farm Park Features
Location: 2847 Peralta Street in Oakland
Hours: Playground open daily 11 am – 5 pm; Farm area open Saturdays 11 am – 5 pm.
Unique Features: Play structure includes a tall slide, bridge, monkey bars, and several climbing opportunities; farm-themed playhouse; a four-way bouncy toy; suspended stepping stones. Farm area includes a vegetable garden, herb garden, two chicken coops, compost station, demo kitchen, orchard, community garden plots, outdoor classroom, bee apiary, pollinator garden, and a “free-range” rabbit.
Swings: A big kid swing and seat swing (no baby bucket swings).
Fenced in? Partially; the entire 1.4-acre park has a fence around it, but the playground area doesn’t have a dedicated fence.
Surfaces: Wood chips near the play structure and swings. The farm area’s paths are dirt or wood chips.
Bathroom: Yes, but it’s basic and closes 30 minutes before the park closes.
Lunch tables & seating: Several benches and wooden tables scattered throughout and one long table near the demo kitchen/entry area for large group gatherings or meetings.
Parking: Easy and free street parking.
Shade: Because the park is also a working farm, there is very little shade (most of the harvested plants need full sun). There are a few benches near the entry area and playground that sit under wooden canopies.
Covid-19 Safety Measures: Visitors must wear masks when interacting with City Slicker Farms staff or volunteers, or on the playground.
Pros: Wide variety of farm plants and animals appeal to mixed-age groups; clean grounds; opportunities to learn/observe about growing food and plants; plenty of tables for groups of any size; beautiful native plants.
Cons: Play structure may not be great for young tots. The working farm area has some innate hazards like garden tools, wire fencing, old machinery, or discarded wood. Open hours may not accommodate all schedules. Located in an industrial area with truck traffic which created some noise pollution.
Enclosed Farm Area is Little Kid Friendly
The farm area is fully fenced-in and is the perfect space for nature exploration. City Slicker Farms grows a range of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs for their Farm to Fridge food sharing program. We visited in the late fall so that meant lots of dark leafy greens, winter squash, and fava beans filled most of the garden rows, while citrus fruits were ripening in the orchard.
The chickens were a hit with my kids. There is a large coop in the back, plus a smaller coop with an observation area near the herb garden. Chance, the rabbit, also roams throughout the grounds, but we didn’t have a sighting on our most recent trip.
I like to encourage my kids to use all their senses when in a garden. There are so many plants and insects to see, touch, hear or smell on the farm grounds. But, visitors are asked to refrain from picking the produce and flowers. Games like I Spy or a scavenger hunt are also fun ways to keep kids engaged and extend a visit.
Farm Park Playground Suitable for 5+
In the corner of the park is the playground. This area is best for five years and up, though my fearless toddler held her own. The play structure has a smaller footprint but offers a range of features to keep kids moving and playing. The little farm playhouse adds a charming touch. It’s fenced-in on two sides and located far from the entry gate, but it’s probably best to keep your eye on the younger kids. The playground isn’t directly next to the farm area, so that makes supervising kids in both areas a challenge. I recommend starting at the farm then moving to the playground. There’s also a small grassy area between the entry gate and playground which may be nice for picnicking on a blanket.
The park is relatively quiet. We visited on a weekend and there were more gardening volunteers than park visitors. However, the space is designed to host groups like schools and 4-H, so you may encounter a larger group.
The Bottom Line on West Oakland Farm Park
West Oakland Farm Park is a great option for preschoolers to elementary-aged big kids. The farm animals and crops offer plenty of nature-based entertainment and education. The playground is small but mighty. The grounds are clean and inviting; the staff is dedicated to supporting the community. We’ll be back!