Adventure Playground is 34 years old!
Directions to the Berkeley Marina
Adventure Playground is one of the Marina Experience programs and has been written up as a top 10 playground in National Geographic.
It was voted the Best Creative Playspace in Diablo Magazine. YELP has rated us 4.5 out of 5. We have been written about in the Chronicle, the Boston Globe and Newsweek as one of the Top 5 playspaces in the country.
To get information about our School year marine education programs, Summer marine biology, boating, green buildings, shoreline clean-ups, Bay festival, and more... see our Marina Experience web pages click here
Open 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday
Closed: all city holidays and when raining- On Sundays, No children can be left without a parent "drop ins" unless you have a pre paid playment card. Nature Center Office is closed.
See Job openings at the bottom!
FREE for individual families; parents/adults who accompany 4 children or less. Unless you are coming from an outside birthday party. Every adult must sign in on the waiver at the entrance for themselves and their children.
Fees: If you are bringing more than 5 kids, regardless of how many adults you have, you are considered a group and you must make reservations. Please, No groups of any size from daycare programs, you need reservations and to pay the fee.( see below)Scholarships are available.
PLEASE Multiple small families who meet to play in the playground with more than 5 children are considered a group and need prior reservations and will be asked to leave. This includes Birthday party families who don't have reservations with us but have their party in Shorebird and wander in together after or before their own party. It is a safety issue in helping us control the numbers of people. We appreciate your help.
Weekend days are very popular and the only way to keep it safe is for us to limit the numbers, so if you come in a group without reservations, you will be asked to leave. Supervise your children carefully and ask staff how you can help. Please review this whole page then scroll to the bottom of the page for group reservations information and costs.
History and Background
The Adventure Playground at the Berkeley Marina was opened in 1979. It is a wonderfully unique outdoor facility where staff encourage children to play and build creatively. Come climb on the many unusual kid designed and built forts, boats, and towers. Ride the zip line or hammer, saw, and paint. By providing these low risk activities Adventure Playground creates opportunities for children to learn cooperation, meet physical challenges and gain self confidence. Pictures of a fort building project. The concept for Adventure Playgrounds originated in Europe after World War II, where a playground designer studied children playing in the "normal" asphalt and cement playgrounds. He found that they preferred playing in dirt and lumber from the post war rubble. He realized that children had the most fun designing and building their own equipment and manipulating their environment. The formula for Adventure Playgrounds includes Earth, fire, water, and lots of creative materials.
Who should come?
Adventure Playground is designed for children seven years old and older, however younger children are welcome as long as they are within arms reach of a participating adult. Parents of older children are encouraged to participate (see below) and help out with safety for all children. Everyone needs to sign the walk-in waiver when you come in.
What should we wear?
Everyone must wear sturdy shoes like tennis shoes, NOT flip flops, sandals, crocs or clogs. Stepping on a nail is a possibility and sturdy shoes protect feet. Wear clothes that can get dirty, wet, painted on and you may consider bringing a change of clothes for wet or muddy days. Warning: Our playground paint is water based tempera (school paint) and it may not come out of clothing even with pre treating.
How can I as a parent or adult help when I am there?
When you are here, please, watch your child, respect our staff and our rules. Keep your cell phone in your pocket. Do not let your children under the age of 6 ride the zip line, even though you know think they could. Use good judgment and if what they are doing is destructive and dangerous- please stop them and cleanup. Remember children build these forts. Staff are making sure the playground is safe, you need to be sure your child is safe. Pick up the wood on the ground ( which is a trip hazard) and put it in the wood racks. If it is naily wood put it in the red zones. If you see things that might be dangerous, or if your child gets hurt, please tell the staff- so they can fix it and help you. If you have the time and skill, they need your help.
Adult Helper Cards
We have 5 X 7 job task cards for adults to learn about each job that they can help with, just ask at the desk. Jobs include:
Small wood helper-Assisting kids with clamps and picking out the soft woods for them to learn to saw and hammer on.
At the base of the trolley we need help shoveling sand at a 45 degree angle so the children slow down and stop.
We do ask that you do NOT HELP children onto the wooden seat at the top of the trolley platform. If they cannot do it themselves, they are not ready to ride yet.
We always need people to assist staff behind the tool counter passing out tools to the children. Please clarify that job with staff so you know which tools should NOT go out
We are always looking for volunteers to help in the playground- must be 14 or older.
Students can get community service hours helping on weekends or in the summer.
If you are interested you need to call us. If you want to work more than 20 hours, we can give you info on how to get a current T.B. Test and where to get fingerprinted with the Berkeley Police.
We welcome donations of scrap materials that stimulate creative play: fabric, sturdy old wooden furniture, 8D, and 16D nails, washable tempera paint, large 3/4" or 1" thick plywood pieces, 2 by 4's, or very small blocks of wood. Please no pressed wood or particle board. Please do not leave any materials that could hurt a young child with bare hands- no metal, sharp, splintery wood or house paint. No old or thin wood please, The dumpster fees for hauling away the materials are very high. Call first, if you are planning on dropping items off so we can let you know if we can use them. 510 981-6720. We need 2x4s and small wood!
Can I drop off my child?. Yes, Children seven years and older may stay "drop in" in the playground without their parents for up to three hours. A current registration form must be on file and parents must check with staff show them their receipt or playment card and sign their children in and out. The fee is $10 per child (for kids over 7 yrs old without an adult) who are registered "drop ins". This is payable in the Nature Center Once you pay, you bring your receipt or playment card to the playground for admission for your "drop in" and check in with staff. Playment cards allow you to pay in advance for multiple days and Sundays, when the Office is closed. Pick up time is no later than 1/2 hour before we close. No "drop ins" unless you use your playment card on Sundays.
What about if my child wants to be a "drop in" with a friend? Have their parents download the form, fill out this registration and the waiver and bring it with you when you come. Pay the fee in the Nature Center and bring the receipt to the playground. No waiver, no "drop in". Everyone fills out a new form for the the school year regardless if you filled one out for the summer.
Summer Marina Adventures Calendar- for Julyand August see these special activites for drop-ins and children with parents.
For safety reasons because the playground gets crowded, any groups with 5 children or more who show up without paying for reservations, will be asked to leave. Only confirmed paid groups will be allowed to enter. Once your reserved group time is over, we ask that your whole group exit the playground for the remainder of the day.
What you get when you make reservations with us:
1. You will be the only group allowed in at that time. We will ask unreserved groups to leave.
2. Your group will meet the staff at the front of the playground, get a safety talk, instructions on how to use tools and what the rules are.
3. Your group then gets a guided tour and a demonstration on how to ride the Zip line and the rope swing safely.
4. The adults in the group will be given instructions on how they can help to keep the playground safe. Shoveling the sandpile, helping in the small tool area, supervising building, helping at the tool counter.
If you want extra staff help to do a special building project during a weekend, you need to make special reservations for this addtitional staff and pay an extra $62. for an hour of help.This depends on the availability of staff.
Midweek reservation are available depending on staff availability.
For weekend reservations- please call three weeks or more ahead, dates fill fast. A.P. is open 11am-5pm. The weekend time slots are 11a.m.-1 p.m. , and 1:30a.m.-3:30p.m.
- Groups of five or more children must make a reservation and pay a fee.
- Fees are:
5-10 children $73 per 2 hours
- 11-20 children $103 per 2 hours
- 21-30 children $146 per 2 hours.
- 31-40 children $174 per 2 hours.
41-50 children $200 per 2 hours- if available
Mid week school year reservations can be available or groups depending on the availability of staff.
| Additional information for group reservations. Your reservation is not confirmed until all three steps are complete:
1. You have spoken to us in person or on the phone and we have noted you into our calendar. 510 981-6720.
2. We receive a completed reservation form group reservations and full payment. We do not take credit cards. Do not mail your form in without talking to us first, we may not have your date available.
3. Payment must be made no later than 2 weeks before the trip.
4. Once we receive payment, you receive a written or email confirmation from us.
5. The confirmation and playground information needs to be read by the adults who are going to be supervising before they come into the playground so they know what to do.
If you want your receipt, we can mail it to you with your confirmation, otherwise it will be stapled to your confirmation form.
If you have to cancel your reservation, Please call us promptly 510 981-6720 as we have waiting lists for dates. Do not assume we will cancel on you. We need to hear from you that you are no longer interested in the date. In order for you to get your money back you need to cancel no later than 2 weeks before your date.
Rain dates can be rescheduled or if you need a refund you need to send the receipt and a letter explaining why you need to cancel to the Nature Center office.
Listen to the sounds of Adventure Playground on National Public Radio.
For more information about Adventure Playgrounds see this website: http://adventureplaygrounds.hampshire.edu
We have JOB OPENINGS for the School year and summer now. We will be looking for people available weekdays and weekends. If you are interested in interviewing for a position you must have experience working with children, and or a specialized talent working with carpentry. Must be 18 years or older. Job is out of doors, fun in the sun. Pay is $12.33 to 17.33 per hour depending on experience. Please down load the application information below or call now for an application to be mailed to your home. If you are qualified we will call for an interview.
Detailed job description & Application aPDF Application & AdventurePlayground Supplemental Questionnaire Please mail it to:
Shorebird Park Nature Center
160 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710