By Gina Ramsey
After holing up indoors for months, kids (and grown-ups!) are ready to stretch their limbs and soak up some sun. Just in time for summer, city parks are allowing use of facilities including basketball courts, workout equipment, and playgrounds.
Parents and guardians at wit’s end would head over to a park in hopes of relieving their antsy children’s energy, only to find yellow caution tape wrapped around playground equipment during most of last summer. However, as CoViD cases begin to decline and more public spaces lift restrictions, folks are rediscovering neighborhood parks. Within the city of Long Beach, there are over 100 parks. These include everything from simple open-space greenbelts and walking-trails to larger parks with basketball courts, sports fields, and bright colorful playground structures.
Whaley Park, which borders Cal State Long Beach on Atherton Street, is one such gem. Aside from large open spaces, the park has a baseball/softball field, basketball courts, picnic areas, and an expanded playground. The enormous playground, funded by a grant from Cal Recycle, was created using over 1,600 tires and includes web-like climbing structures, swings, slides, musical hands-on toys, swinging carrousels, and hand-operated sand cranes as well as a fenced toddler playground separate from the larger one. During baseball and softball seasons, the field is busy with game activity and a snack shack that helps support the league.
Tucked behind bustling 2nd Street in Belmont Shores, Livingston Drive Park is a favorite of those with younger kiddos. With a large playground structure and a separate tot area as well, Livingston Park is enclosed on all sides by a short wall and safety gate to keep little ones from running out. There are picnic tables and shady green spaces for a lazy afternoon hangout.
Bixby Park on Cherry Avenue is another wonderful place with a variety of amenities. The park, which expands across three blocks, includes a mobile skate park, dog park section, volleyball court, equipment for a fitness loop, and several benches in shady open areas. The playground is large and has plenty of structures on which to climb, push, pull, bounce, spin, swing, and slide. On Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, part of the park hosts a popular farmers’ market, which attracts many families who may come for a smoothie and stay to relax at the playground.
A few Parks with Playground Structures/Equipment:
• Admiral Kidd Park: 2125 Santa Fe Ave.
• Alamitos Park: 72nd Place and Ocean Blvd.
• Bayshore Playground: 5415 E Ocean Blvd.
• Birdcage Park: 6501 Parkcrest, cross streets Parkcrest and Knoxville
• Bixby Park: 130 Cherry Ave.
• Bixby Knolls Park: 1101 San Antonio Drive
• Cesar E. Chavez Park: 401 Golden Ave.
• Channel View Park: 7th Street to Loynes Drive at Los Cerritos Channel
• Cherry Park: 1901 E. 45th St.
• Craftsman Village Park: 851 Orange Avenue
• El Dorado Park West 2800 Studebaker Road
• Heartwell Park: 5801 E. Parkcrest St.
• Lilly Park: 3200 Lilly Ave.
• Locust Tot Lot: 2331 Locust Ave.
• Los Altos Park: 4581 Stearns St.
• Los Altos Park Plaza: Los Altos at El Prado and El Parque (near Anaheim and PCH)
• MacArthur Park: 1321 E. Anaheim St
• Marine Park (Mother’s Beach): 5839 Appian Way.
• NAACP Freedom Park: 2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
• Orizaba Park: 1435 Orizaba Ave.
• Pan American Park: 5157 Centralia Ave.
• Peace Park 1411 Atlantic Ave.
• Promenade Square Park: 215 E. First St.
• Ramona Park:3301 E. 65th St.
• Recreation Park: 4900 E. 7th St.
• Seaside Park: 14th Street and Chestnut Avenue
• Somerset Park: 1500 E. Carson St.