Sunday, January 18, 2015

Toddler Outing: Alviso Marina County Park (San Jose)

Outing idea of the day: Have you been to Alviso Marina County Park in the Alviso area of San Jose? We went for the first time last Sunday and had a blast.

Amazingly, I'd never been to Alviso, which is just a short distance from the whole Great America area complex. Formerly its own little town, Alviso has now been swallowed up by the city, but totally maintains its unique, coastal feel -- more Monterey than San Jose. The county park there offers lots of running room among the reeds and pools of the baylands. The best part, toddler-wise, is the network of raised boardwalks -- they are pretty securely fenced and are perfect surfaces for run, run, running! There are also miles of packed dirt trails along the top of the levees -- although these aren't enclosed, I wasn't at all concerned about Toddler X toppling over the edge. It was totally uncrowded, so he was able to run ahead and loop back, again and again and again. You'll encounter some runners/bikers (though no bikes -- or dogs -- on the boardwalks, so they're a very safe place to let your toddler run) and lots of birders, but overall it was very peaceful. 

When we went, it was crazily foggy -- like, a max of 1/4 mile visibility -- and I think that added to the cool factor. I'm guessing it would still be pretty neat on a sunny day, but checking it out on a foggy morning would be my top pick.

There are clean bathrooms (including a changing table!) and plenty of free parking. Be sure to use the boot scraper near the bathrooms before you get back in the car -- we accumulated a good bit of dirt while tromping along the trails. 

Final tip: if you have a train lover, a set of Amtrak tracks runs right alongside the park and heads off across the bay on a levee. If you walk down to the little pond just below the restrooms, you'll be right by the track -- we got to see two trains pass just feet from us in the space of about 15 minutes. 

We tacked on a really nice 3 mile stroller walk after our playtime (I'd advise a BOB or other rugged stroller), and Mr. X returned for a long run yesterday, so this is a great spot for some family fitness. 

Free, close by, nature and lots of room for a toddler to run? Sign me up! smile emoticon

Happy toddling!

** This was originally a Facebook post. To see the post and reader comments, click here.

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