The Heather Farm playground in Walnut Creek offers hours of fun for families with children of all ages. We particularly love its artificial turf-covered mounds that children can slide down on sheets of cardboard, its massive climbing wall, and a nearby pond for scootering and stroller walks. Be prepared to keep moving given the large size of the playground and park area. For grandparents and weary parents, there are twelve or so shaded benches within the playground area so you can sit close enough to keep an eye on adventuring kids.
Heather Farm Park Features
Location: 301 N San Carlos Drive in Walnut Creek
Unique Features of Playground: All-ability playground features; tot lots; turf hills for cardboard surfing; climbing wall; curvy slides; vibrant climbing structures, sand pit with water feature.
Swings: Two bucket swings; four regular swings; two accessible swings for special needs children.
Fenced in? Not really, and there’s a lot of room to run.
Surfaces: Cushy rubber mat surface near the play structures, turf hills, natural grass in the fields, sand area with water feature. The rubber mat surfaces are getting a bit worn out and have divots — so careful with little ones running around.
Bathroom: Yes, across the parking lot at the swim center.
Unique Features of the Park Overall: Swimming at the Clarke Swim Center; tennis; equestrian center; skate park; gardens; off-leash dog park; bike paths connecting the Iron Horse Trail; sand volleyball court; fishing pond; garden and community center; six athletic fields.
Lunch tables & seating: Several benches scattered throughout with shaded canopies and several tables that can be reserved for parties.
Parking: Large free parking lot shared with swim center. Not usually difficult to find a spot during the week (unless in the afternoon during swim season when swim classes are in full swing); weekends are more difficult.
Shade: Some. There are umbrella coverings throughout, but it’s still pretty exposed to the sun. The playground area isn’t too shaded so it can get rather hot. Wear a hat and bring sunscreen!
Pros: Mixed-age appropriate; lots of wide open space; sports facilities; inventive play structures; swimming right nearby.
Cons: This fabulous playground and park can get crowded on the weekends. Lots of geese, and yes goose poop, in the fields.
Cardboard Surfing, Rock Climbing, and Slides — Galore!
We last visited the playground after school on a weekday and it was much less crowded than on popular weekends. Our five-year-old daughter loves exploring the three play structures, climbing the rock wall, and pretending to treasure hunt in the play pirate ship. At her age, she can tackle all features of the playground without my assistance except for when she gets to the top of the rock wall and she needs help getting down. She will also go down the curvy and long slides on the larger kid play structure, but still gets a little spooked on how fast she slides down them.
The artificial turf-covered mounds in the middle of the playground are the most popular feature of the park. Our daughter insists on using cardboard to scoot down, but there are plenty of kids who slide and tumble down the mounds on their tushes and tummies. We didn’t see too many pieces of cardboard to use around the park last time, so we’ll probably bring a few of our own next time around. It may take younger kids a few running starts to get to the top of the steepest mound, but the trip down is worth it!
While the kids don’t seem to mind and it doesn’t tamper the fun, the last year or so has put noticeable wear and tear on the playground’s ground surfaces. The rubber mat surfaces are worn down in some areas of the playground—with varying sizes of holes (so be careful not to trip). The artificial turf-covered mounds now have a Frankenstein look where there are gaps from likely past patched repair jobs. The playground could use a cosmetic facelift in parts, but we take that to mean that it’s just so well-loved (kids hit this playground hard in the summer!).
Heather Farm Community Park Features
The playground at Heather Farm is only one of the attractions at the park. Another popular park activity is the pond and surrounding cement walkways. It’s a popular spot for walking (for exercise or with strollers) and scootering. Apparently, you can also fish in the pond (requires a valid fishing license). Geese are fun to watch, but be mindful of geese’ poop — there are lots. I’d suggest bringing baby wipes and hand sanitizer just in case. Some kids can’t help themselves but touch it…
The park also has a beach volleyball court, a few basketball courts, a botanical garden, and the Clarke Memorial Swim Center (adjacent to the playground). There is also a dog park at the north end of the park for those with furry friends. Lots to offer and explore!
Food and Drink Nearby
When our daughter finally tires of the park, we sometimes cross Ygnacio Valley Road to get a boba tea drink at T4 or head to downtown Walnut Creek to our favorite family-friendly restaurant, Gotts Roadside. A few of our favorite kid-friendly activities nearby Heather Farm include the Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery (our daughter loves the scavenger hunt) and Mini-Golf at Putter’s Goat Track Country Club located in downtown Walnut Creek.
The Bottom Line on Heather Farm Park
The Heather Farm Community Park and Playground is worth the drive for it spacious community park offerings and playground. We can get a few solid hours at the playground alone. Pair it with a trip to downtown Walnut Creek for some good eats and shopping and it makes for a family-fun day.
Heather Farm Park is located at 301 N San Carlos Dr, Walnut Creek, CA.