Benicia Parks Superintendent Rick Knight calls the Community Park “the jewel of our community.” Now in it’s 22nd year, the park has brought together several generations of family and friends. The park playground is now in it’s second incarnation after a makeover in September of 2015 funded by Benicia’s Measure C (see Beniciamagazine.com/December-2015). The new playground features equipment made from recycled materials as well as equipment for kids across ability levels, such as the AeroGlider, that’s safe for those in wheelchairs.
This park, affectionately dubbed “the big slide park” by many, truly has something for everybody, regardless of age and interest. For families, the main practical benefits include ample and easy parking; play structures for both toddlers and older kids and nice bathrooms in sight of the playground. Though the slide might look intimidating to little ones, it’s not fast moving and there’s plenty of room for parents to join too. Eight reservable group picnic sections with seven tables each (two in the shade) and four large, shared barbeque pits make the perfect place for birthdays and family gatherings. Each area seats about 46 people, and they’re nestled between volleyball nets, a grass play area and the playground.
In totality, the park encompasses 50 acres and for those looking for a quieter, more contemplative (and perhaps solitary) way to enjoy the outdoors, there’s a mile long walking loop that circumnavigates the property and a path directly to Lake Herman, a favorite local fishing spot. A nine-hole disc golf course also skirts the outside. Brian L. from San Francisco offered a Yelp.com review of the disc golf course, warning that players might want to skip the course on the windiest days of the year, but that “it's fun enough and long enough to make it well worth a trip out from farther away if you're looking for a new course.” The course also boasts views of Mt. Diablo, Lake Herman, the Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay.
In addition to four multi-use fields (for soccer and softball), there are two little league baseball fields, where hundreds of youth play team sports each season, and a roller hockey court, which, according to Alvarez, will be getting pickle ball lines this spring or summer.
Benicia’s large X Park is also on the premises, which put Benicia on the map for Bay Area skaters and provides a safe environment for local teens. The course has a 4.5 star Yelp rating and has a reasonable difficulty level for seasoned skaters, as well as specified beginner hours so new skaters can gain confidence on the terrain.
For dog lovers, the city’s only designated dog park is also onsite, and will see renovations this spring. Within the ample terrain is a smaller enclosure for those with small dogs or dogs that may be less comfortable around other animals.
Benicia resident Rodney Lee D. on Yelp says, “I love this big park! Ever since elementary school, I have come here for soccer, baseball, softball, parties, etc. A lot of space and lots to do recreationally, even for your pup! There's a skate park and the local favorite big slide. Facilities all function well with decent upkeep. This is a great place to have fun, throw your family functions, or just watch some competitive sports play by our local youth sports team.”
In form and function, this “jewel” creates an all-inclusive outdoor gathering space where the word “community” can be defined and re-defined through generations of Benicians.
Benicia Community Park
Nicknames: The Big Park, The Big Slide Park
Total acreage: 50
Year Built: 1994
Huge concrete slide
Eight reservable picnic table sections with 368 total seats
Four multi-use fields
Two little-league fields
Nine-hole disc golf
Roller hockey Rink
Mile-long walking trail
Trail to Lake Herman
Designated dog park
Volley Ball nets
Recreational grass areas
Soon to come: Pickle ball