On any given day, you can experience the smell of barbeques and fresh-mown grass, the laughter of children, roar of skateboards, a parent’s cheer for a child’s first at-bat and the smile of a stranger who might become a lifelong friend. It’s the joy of Benicia’s Community Park, and why, for many, the park is not only the perfect place for year-round fun, but also an ideal venue in which to build community.

The 50-acre, award-winning facility offers an extensive array of activities to suit anyone’s style. Rick Knight, the City’s Parks and Recreation Superintendent, says that the soccer and baseball fields are very busy with league games and tournaments. In 2012, over 11,000 soccer players and 400-500 baseball players used the fields. Then there’s the 2,000-square foot X-Park. A recent sunny afternoon found several skaters performing tricks, even midweek, and sharing their passion for extreme sports. An in-line hockey arena awaits those wanting something a bit more competitive; and there’s even a disc golf course, although fewer people have discovered that gem. The park’s two playgrounds provide classic options for parents and children to gather—one for children two to five, the other for those slightly older, from five to 12. The park also boasts 56 picnic tables that can be reserved for groups and activities.

Loree Tackmier, a preschool teacher, brought her class here for an end-of-the-year celebration, as they’ve done for the past thirteen years. “The children can get their energy out. They get to play and have a good time.” Even our four-footed friends can enjoy the park—the enclosed dog park is just about the only public place a dog can legally be off leash in town. For quieter fare, walking, biking, hiking, and running trails surround the park. According to Knight, all of these activities build a sense of community. “The park is a great place to get out and see your neighbors.”

For more info or to reserve picnic areas, visit ci.benicia.ca.us.