Free Summer Fun at Bay Area Water Parks

Free Summer Fun at Bay Area Water Parks
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If you want to enjoy the sunshine without frying and you want to keep it free and local, grab some friends, slop on the sunscreen,  get the kiddos in their swimsuits and head to one of these local parks with water features.  Be sure to bring a dry change of clothes and slap a bit of sunscreen on yourself as well.

A few of the best parks in the Tri-Valley area with water features are Hap Magee in Alamo, Central Park in San Ramon and Sycamore Park in Danville.

Hap Magee Ranch is in a secluded spot not far from the old Danville cemetery and just a few turns off Danville Boulevard on La Gonda Way.  There are plenty of slides, monkey bars, swings and a see-saws as well as a lovely little sand pit next to the water feature area, though they request that kids keep the two separate.  The park also has a few picnic tables and grills and a large grassy area for kicking around a soccer ball or tossing a Frisbee.

Central Park is located at 12501 Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon, right next to the Community Center.  Since being renovated a couple years ago, the water feature added is now this spectacular fountain and mini-creek set up—perfect for little ones on hot days.  The playground is also much improved from the old, rotting wood and sand combo they had before.  Nearby are tennis courts and baseball fields as well as a few picnic tables.

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Sycamore Park is located in Danville right across from Sycamore Elementary School on Holbrook Drive, just off Camino Tassajara.  If you’re schlepping the kids to soccer camps, you’ve probably been there, as there are extensive artificial and grass fields up above the playground area.  The water feature at Sycamore has lots of different bright colored shapes to climb on and is less temptingly located from the small sandy play area.  There is playground equipment for little kids and a section with a larger climbing wall for the older ones.  One of my favorite things about Sycamore Park is the rubberized ground, which makes it ideal for crawlers—much more so than the wood chips or sand of many playgrounds.  The park features several bocce ball courts as well as a large picnic and barbeque area just up from the playground.  A walking path meanders down from the playground and around a two-tiered fountain, making it a great place for doing ‘laps’ with a friend or a stroller or both.

Photo:  ‘Keeping Cool’ by Maggie Smith