When you visit this peninsular park and marina, it’s hard to believe that in the 1950s and ’60s the city of Berkeley operated a garbage dump here and was planning to extend the city 2 miles into the Bay by filling in 2,000 acres of water. Those efforts were thwarted by the Save the Bay movement, which started...
When you visit this peninsular park and marina, it’s hard to believe that in the 1950s and ’60s the city of Berkeley operated a garbage dump here and was planning to extend the city 2 miles into the Bay by filling in 2,000 acres of water. Those efforts were thwarted by the Save the Bay movement, which started in 1961 and led to the creation of many parks and trails where development had been planned.
Today there is only one obvious sign of its former use as a dump: a fenced-in chimney that vents methane gas from the still-decomposing stuff below. Now this urban wonder is home to a popular 3,000-foot recreational pier, a marina offering sailing and windsurfing classes, several restaurants, Shorebird and César Chávez parks, and several miles of trails. For young children there is Adventure Playground, a unique outdoor facility where kids can play and build things using found and recycled objects.
Acrobatic kite flying is a common, year-round attraction at César Chávez Park, and for a truly dazzling sight, check out the Berkeley Kite Festival and West Coast Kite Championship, the largest kite-flying festival in the United States, held here every July.
: Shorebird Park nature center is housed in the first municipal straw bale building in the United States––the building itself is a display on green building. Inside you’ll find a 50-gallon saltwater tank, a 30-gallon freshwater tank, and displays on marine mammals and birds, including bones, shells, and skins.
Accessible parking is plentiful throughout. The large undeveloped lot on the south side of University Ave. is scheduled to be paved in 2015.
At César Chávez Park, accessible portable toilets are off Spinnaker Ave. by the accessible parking spaces before the cul de sac, and midway on the eastern section of the trail. Another portable unit is near the off-leash dog area, and a vault toilet with running water is between the public boat launch and the lot serving berths B–E. In the marina’s southern area, accessible restrooms are on the east side of the marina office (locked 5 pm-4:30 am), the foot of the pier (no stall doors), and between the nature center and the playground (locked 5 pm-6 am).
At Shorebird Park and Cesar Chavez Park. Some are in the marina near berths D-E. All picnic areas are first-come, first- served.
Other Things of Interest
A pedestrian bridge at Frontage Road West crosses Interstate 80 and takes you to Aquatic Park—and, farther on, to Berkeley’s upscale Fourth Street shopping district. At Aquatic Park you can rent an adapted bicycle from the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program
and cruise for miles on the nearby paved Bay Trail.
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, January 16, 2015