In crowded, urban environments like San Francisco, playgrounds for children have special value. Not just for kids but for the entire community. And with the high cost of San Francisco real estate and limited supply, it’s no wonder that these special places are in short supply.
For families on vacation, a playground provides a welcome break from sightseeing, and a chance for little ones to burn off some energy. It can also provide a glimpse into the local culture through the design of the park and the ways that kids and families interact with the park and each other.
Learning and growing takes serious play
According to children’s playground designer Monique Engelund, from Danish studio Monstrum, “The world is a truly fantastic, colorful, and thrilling place for kids to grow up. And playgrounds need to be equally inspiring.”
In recent years, debate has surfaced about whether playgrounds in the U.S. have indeed become too safe and standardized. Luckily, there are exceptions to that trend. And there is no better example of this than the Children’s Playground at Yerba Buena Gardens.
A children’s garden like no other
Located right in downtown San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens features the rooftop Children’s Garden. Designed by Adele Santos, this is the perfect place for family fun with interactive and engaging areas for kids that have an emphasis on discovery, nature, and play. This one-of-a-kind, urban playground is just minutes from the Children’s Creativity Museum and the beautifully restored 1906 LeRoy King Carousel.
At the Children’s Garden, thrill-seeking tots can fly down a 25-foot-long tube slide and get lost in a labyrinth. It also includes the Play Circle which incorporates a sand circle, a playground, and a xylophone that kids can play to their hearts content—all designed by M. Paul Friedberg, known internationally for his pioneering work in urban playground design.
There’s even a labyrinth of growing hedges to mimic a child-size version of those found in ancient castles. A stream and fountain are incorporated for children to have fun with the flow of water—whether creating dams or irrigating the gardens.
For kids fond of lots of action, they can climb up a jungle gym and a kid-safe climbing wall—just like their adventurous parents. An outdoor amphitheater offers engaging, seasonal youth performances and public events. And an indoor bowling ally and ice-skating rink are just steps away. The huge Children’s Garden covers an amazing 130,000 square feet and is built right on top of the Moscone Center.
What can kids do at the YBG Children’s Playground?
- Fly down a 25-foot-long tube slide
- Get lost in a labyrinth
- Dig in an oversize sand circle
- Scale a climbing wall
- Bang on a xylophone
- Splash in a stream and a fountain
- Climb up a jungle gym
- Attend a seasonal outdoor performance
- Go bowling
- Chill on an ice-skating rink
- Ride a historic carousel
- Smile all day long
Safe, clean, fun right in the heart of SF
There’s no better place in San Francisco to take your kids for a safe, clean day of fun and activities. It’s where you can embrace your every mood, celebrate diversity, and find green relief.
And for travelers looking for the perfect kid-friendly destination to let the rascals burn off some energy, Yerba Buena Children’s Garden delivers all the smiles and fun your kids are looking for.
Get over here
Come on by on your next visit in San Francisco. We look forward to seeing you soon.
As Founder + CEO of MJMMG, Mary J. McCue leads a multi-disciplinary team managing Yerba Buena Gardens. She also planns, activates and programs other prominent, award-winning public spaces throughout the US. Send Mary an email or just call 415.477.2600.