Entrances on Shasta Road, Canon Drive, and South Park Drive, all accessible from Grizzly Peak Blvd.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tilden Park Description
Hidden in the hillside folds of Tilden Park are a lavish, historic merry-go-round with hand-carved and hand-painted animals, a miniature ride-along steam train, a pony ride, and the beloved "Little Farm," a petting zoo featuring horses, cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs, and more that seems designed for an Old McDonald's sing-along. But that's not all, not by a long shot. There are also enormous lawns for rolling on, picnic grounds, and guided nature walks designed especially for spotting frogs, turtles, and nesting birds. And on hot days there's beautiful Lake Anza, with a roped-off swimming beach perfect for beginning swimmers. Be sure to check out our other Berkeley vacation ideas.
Babies: The steam train will be your first stop if you've got a one-to-four-year-old; the ride is a thrill-a-minute for Thomas the Tank Engine fans. The Merry Go Round's also a hit, and the Little Farm.
Toddlers & Pre-K: No question that Lake Anza is the hit for kids ages 3-14; the beach is wall-to wall-splashing kids on hot days. And it's a gradual incline with a long expanse of shallow water, perfect for beginning swimmers. Teens and preteens like it too; the rolling lawns behind the beach are popular for picnicking, sunbathing, playing frisbee and volleyball, and checking out other teens.
School-Age Kids: The classic, old-fashioned amusement park food (hot dogs, cotton candy, and pink popcorn) sold at the Merry-Go-Round's snack bar are reminiscent of the County Fair and thus appreciated by school-age kids and pre-teens.
- Avoid late morning and early afternoon on weekends for the merry-go-round and steam train: The lines can get very long, which is hard on young children, who may get tired and cranky waiting.
- Pony rides are closed for repairs: They plan to reopen in spring, 2010.
- Rain or shine: The merry-go-round, which is in a covered enclosure, operates in the rain, but the steam trains do not.
- Holiday specials: During the last three weekends in October, the carousel gets transformed into "Scary-Go-Round," and during late November and December it's decorated for the holidays as a fundraiser for local charities.
Just the Facts
Hours: Merry-go-round: Most of the year, weekends only 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Christmas Fantasy: Last week of November until December 23, nightly from 5:30-8:30; Little Farm: Daily, 8:30 - 4 p.m.; Steam train: Weekends only, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or dusk, whichever comes first; Lake Anza: Open daily, May-September; weekends only September to May.
Recommended Time: Half day