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Walden Park
2698 Oak Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

This is the playground to come to in Walnut Creek for the toddler, pre-school set. Located on the north side ofMore one-acre Walden Park, the playground is small and its structures are modest and placed close together. But the small size and modesty is what parents like; it's easy to keep an eye on your kids. Walden Park also is essentially the back yard for families who live in apartments and condominiums along Oak Road.

What's here: There is a swing set with four swings, two for babies and infants small children, and there are two play structures. The three-tiered wooden structure has scoops on pulleys that allow kids to scoop up sand and then dump it out The main play structure has stairs, several different types of ladders that challenge kids of different ages in different ways and several slides, one of which allows kids to go down side by side. Circling the play structure are paved walkways where kids can ride their tricycles or scooters. Kids who are a little older can ride their trikes or two-wheelers around a walkway that runs along the perimeter of the park. The park itself has picnic benches, small rolling hills of lawn--perfect for a Frisbee or ball toss--and a basketball court that is popular with for pickup game.s. 

Coolest feature: It's not a play structure. It is three oak trees, around which are built retaining walls that also serve as benches. These benches, beneath the shade of the trees, are close to the play structures and allow a good place for moms, dads, granparents and other caregivers to sit and have a good view of their kids.

How's the sand? The sand is fairly medium-sized and grainy, but those oaks and other trees blow small sticks into it.

Close by: The Iron Horse and Contra Costa Canal trails. Renate, who would only give her first name and who was at Walden with her 23-month-old grandson, said she pushes Landon in a stroller the mile from her daughter's house. That's her morning exercise. Downtown is south on Oak Road, and the Contra Costa Centre Transit Village about 2/10 of a mile to the north,a s is the BART station. The center plans to lease space to a Starbucks coffee shop and other eateries in the near futue.

Parking? Not great. The parking lot has only 20 spaces and can get filled on weekends, with vehicles belong to families coming to use the playground, people accessing the trails, and men and women using the basketball courts. And, street parking is not allowed along this stretch of Oak Road. Fortunately, many of the park's users live in the nearby apartments and walk here.

Restroom proximity: Pretty close to the playground. Kris Gregory, a Concord resident who brings her daughter Brooke, 20 months, to Walden two times a week, described the restrooms as clean. But Renate said she's wary of the restrooms and has found them to be dirty. She suspects that transients might use them to wash up.

Safety issues? Sand accumulating on the tiers of the play structure with the sand scoopers can make the surfaces slippery. Renate said she's wary of the restrooms and has found them to be dirty and worries about who might be using them. She suspects that transients might use them to wash up.