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Adventure Playground

160 University Avenue, Berkeley, California
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4 Reviews
Type: Playgrounds & Playspaces
Ages: Ages 4 — 12
Cost: $
Hours of operation: Sat & Sun 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. School groups by appt. Rain close

The Adventure Playground is a wonderfully unique outdoor facility where kids can build and experience a playground built by other kids. Ride the zip line or hammer, saw, and paint. 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 . Be sure to dress your child in clothes that can get dirty, wet, painted on. Everyone must wear sturdy shoes like tennis shoes,  not flip flops, sandals or clogs.    

For safety reasons, groups of 5 or more       who show up without reservations, will be asked to leave. Only confirmed       groups will be allowed to enter.    
- For weekend reservations- please call           three weeks or more ahead, dates fill fast.    
The weekends 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.  For 5-10 children $55 per           2 hours,11-20 children $78 per 2 hours, 21-30 children $111 per 2           hours. 31-40           children is $132 per 2 hours.    
- During the school           year Special mid week reservations can be           available  for groups depending on the availability           of staff.      
Your reservation is  not confirmed until all three steps are complete:     
- You have spoken to us in person or on the phone           and we have penciled you into our calendar.  510 981-6720.    
- We  receive a completed reservation form and           full payment.    
- You receive a written confirmation from us.    
To download the registration form, go to:    

4 Reviews for Adventure Playground

February 09 2014
0 families found this helpful
"A Playground Like No Other!"

The Adventure Playground is one of my kids’ favorite places to visit and the reasons why are evident the minute you lay eyes on the place.   It is unlike any playground you will ever lay eyes on.  At first glance it looks like a shanty town.  But upon further examination, visitors notice the climbing structure made of reclaimed ropes and tires, the forts, the boats parked in the dirt, and the zip line.  Kids are wielding hammers, painting, and using saws. This is because the structures in the place are designed by kids.  

Many kids come here to simply play on these unique structures.  Others, like my oldest, come with expressed desire to add on to them.  If you want to use the tools though, you have to earn the privilege and doing that is fairly easy.  My daughter usually opts to take magnet tethered to the end of wooden handle and drag it through the dirt to bring up several stray nails she can return to the tool shed in exchange for a hammer.  Our friends have achieved the same privilege by alerting a staff member to a “Mr. Danger,” a nail sticking straight out of board presenting a danger to a playground visitor.

I won’t lie; a first visit to this place can be daunting.  The idea of letting your young child use tools is nerve wracking for any mom.   I did not allow saw use the first time we went. I have to say though that all to the nervousness dissipated when I noticed the rise in confidence swinging a hammer brought out in my daughter and the broad beaming smile across my son’s face when he conquered the zipline.  It was awesome!

- The playground’s bayside location at the Berkeley Marina makes for a varied weather experience.  Dress in layers or at least bring layers.  We have arrived here in sunny warm weather and left in gray cloud conditions.
- Wear closed toe shoes.  Repurposed lumber has a roughness that doesn’t lend itself well to sandal clad feet and as I already pointed out, there are stray nails in the dirt.
- Be vigilant!  This is not playground where you can park the kids and go surf on your iPhone. The staff here is not going to supervise your kids when they are out in the forts.  They will run some activities around the tool shed and help kids complete them but when the kids are adding on to forts, parents need to supervise.
- While I have seen toddlers at the Adventure Playground, this really isn’t an activity for this age group.

Have fun, be creative and tackle this experience because it really is a playground like no other!

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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
"Coolest Place EVER!"

I loved this place ever since i was a little kid now i bring the kids that i nanny for and they just adore it! you can basically do whatever you want. Build tree houses, slides, boxes, cars anything you can let your imagination think of. They have all the tools, paints, nails etc there that in order for you to be able to use these items you have to usually find garbage and trade it in for the tools. they also have a trolley thats a total blast and ends in a sand pit!

December 23 2010
5 families found this helpful
"Play and learn about recycling"

This playground constructed by children and volunteers out of scraps of wood, old nets, and machines is beyond unique. It changes by the day as wannabe “Bob the Builders”, adorned with work tools and safety gear, pound, saw and paint with great intent. After all, building a wonderland playground is serious business to the 4-13 year olds who seem to be the main construction crew. Besides giving rowdy youngsters a constructive outlet for their need to destroy and build, the Adventure Playground also gives children the freedom to create fantastic creations out of mere scraps. Forts, tunnels, bridges, pirate coves, and towers abound with imaginations running wild and taking form.  This is definitely a lesson in resourcefulness and creativity!

The staff lovingly checks all the structures to ensure that it remains structurally safe for playing on and around. Children also learn to care for the environment - in order to earn a tool, they have to pick up 5 pieces of trash, loose nails or rocks. Other nice features, also created out of scraps, are slides, a jungle gym created out of tires, and a zipline.

Children 7 years and older may enjoy the playground for a fee of $6 (when parents leave them to the supervision of the friendly staff). That being said, even our 4 year old (free but must be under parental supervision at all times) was totally enthralled by the playground. He can just about hit a nail with a hammer without mommy fearing for this little fingers. He ranks the Adventure Playground 10 out of 10, up there with Disneyland. If that’s the case, then this place wins the prize for value for money.

For younger siblings (under 3), the Adventure Playground can be a little dangerous.  A young child will require 1 on 1 supervision. Sharp and rough edges abound, along with splinters and nails. So, I definitely wouldn’t recommend bringing a toddler along unless one adult can keep both eyes fixed on the little one. But don't dismay because adjacent to the Adventure Playground is a new modern and safe playground suitable for toddlers. To top it off, the view of the bay from both playgrounds and the picnic tables is magnificent. Other facilities next to Adventure Playground is the Shorebird Park Nature Center (built out of straw bales, recycled materials and solar powered), clean bathrooms and picnic tables with BBQ pits. This could be a fantastic location for a 7 year old’s birthday party. (I’m already planning….)
Nearby parking is limited, but there is plentiful parking on the other side of the road.

December 23 2010
2 families found this helpful
"One of a kind experience!"

Adventure Playground in Berkeley is everything you think of as being Berkeley.  It is a hands on play based experience of taking reuse and recycle to a new level.   Kids get to hammer and saw to their hearts delight. Imaginations run wild using scraps for building all sorts of structures from forts to towers, to spaceships.  There is also a zip line build using scrap parts that older kids can enjoy.  Since there are rough edges everywhere, it's not safe for kids under 3.  However, there is a wonderful playground right next door that younger siblings can enjoy.  Our 7 and 9 year son and daughter haven't been able to stop talking about going back there since we were there last week.
At the nature center next door, you can see a state green building made out straw bales.  Clean bathrooms and picnic tables at the playground also make this place great place to celebrate a birthday.

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