Heading to Bolivar Park in Lakewood for the first time? It’s a great pick, for climbing, shade, and it’s star feature- a working Zipline! Everything you need to know to tackle Bolivar Park with kids, whether it’s your first visit (or your 100th!)
In the past few years, Bolivar Park in Lakewood has undergone some pretty impressive renovations. Whether you’ve got big kids or little kids, there is something at this park for just about everyone.
With it’s central location for Lakewood and North Long Beach, you can squeeze in a quick trip to Bolivar around errands at the Lakewood Mall, or make it your destination for a full moring or afternoon of play.
But before you head over to Bolivar Park, let’s look at some of the logistics to make your day at the park smoother (and a lot more fun!)
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Planning a Visit
Bolivar Park is located at the corner of Downey and Del Amo in the city of Lakewood, California.
El Dorado Park
3300 Del Amo Blvd. Lakewood, CA 90712
How is parking at Bolivar Park?
Free street parking is available along the edges of the park (we usually park on Downey). Watch out for street sweeping signs- those tickets get expensive!
Parking is generally not a problem, though the area does get busy during pick up and drop off times for nearby Riley Elementary.
What facilities does Bolivar Park have?
In addition to the two wonderfully maintained playgrounds, Bolivar Park also has two full size basketball courts, two baseball fields, and a public swimming pool.
Officially, use of the sports fields is by permit only (read more at the City of Lakewood Website), and at the time of this posting, the pool was being leased by the Lakewood Family YMCA. For the latest information on the pool, visit the City of Lakewood Aquatics site.
Does Bolivar Park have sand?
Sorry, sand-phobic mamas! While there is lots of grass and foam under the play structures, there is also LOTS of sand at Bolivar, both on the Little and Big Kid Playgrounds.
Does Bolivar Park have shade?
Bolivar Park has some scattered shade throughout the grass, but the playgrounds are largely in the sun.
Sun shades installed over the Big Kid park help, but if it’s a hot day, there’s going to be a good amount of time in the sun.
Does Bolivar Park have bathrooms?
Bolivar Park has centralized bathrooms located in a grey building near the pool. It’s in between the two playgrounds, meaning you can get to it easily from either one.
But it also means it’s not super close to the Little Kid Playground, and you may have to rush for the bathroom with younger kids and cross your fingers they’ll make it (we can tell you from personal experience- they don’t always make it.
Once your kids are potty trained, the bathrooms at Bolivar Park are reasonably well maintained. There are private, clean stalls with flushing toilets, running water with soap at the sink, and an automatic hand dryer.
What is the best age range for Bolivar Park?
Bolivar Park has two different playgrounds, one for kids ages 5 and under, and one for kids 5 and up. Both playgrounds are different, but the park for younger kids is substantially bigger than the Big Kid side.
This park is difficult if you have kids in both age ranges. Decide ahead of time whether you’ll be sticking to one side, or going back and forth, and prep your kids ahead of time.
The Little Kid Playground at Bolivar Park
The Little Kid Section features a gated playground, with a gate with a handle on the outside of the playground (making it pretty good at containing little guys!).
There are exceptional climbing, balancing, and sliding sections. The playground at Bolivar is Pirate Themed, with lots of room for imaginative play.
There are lots of swings to choose from, including a double swing featuring a bucket seat for an infant and a regular swing for an adult or older sibling.
This playground is also reasonably inclusive, with a ramp to the higher sections of the playground and various toy options for less mobile children or those who use a wheelchair.
The Big Kid Playground
The Big Kid Playground at Bolivar Park is smaller, but with enough exciting features to keep it fun. There’s a ton of climbing of all types, and lots of ways to spin around (which, as it turns out, is great for sensory development).
There is a small stash of swings as well, two during Covid and four under normal circumstances.
The star of the Big Kid playground, by far, is the Zipline. Kids wait in line at a ramp, and then sit or stand on the Zipline’s disc to wheeee their way to the other side.
Playground etiquette means that if there’s a line, your little will be expected to bring the disc back to the next person, waiting at the ramp.
How long should you expect to stay?
If you’re visiting just one playground, you can expect to stay and play for two or three hours, depending on your kids’ stamina.
You can also extend your day of play by visiting both playgrounds (depending on the age of your kids) or bringing a Frisbee or ball to throw around with your kids in the ample grassy fields.
Are there picnic tables at Bolivar Park?
Bolivar is a great place to bring a picnic lunch or dinner.
You can bring a blanket and park yourself in the shade, or use one of the picnic tables under the spacious, shady gazebos. These are often reserved for parties during the weekend, but are mostly available and free to use during the week.
The Little Kid Playground also has one of those adorable mini-picnic tables our kids loved so much. It makes for a great playdate location, as the adults can sit at the larger picnic table and kids (kindergarten and under) can set up at the kids’ table.
Would this be a good place for a party?
City of Lakewood does issue permits for structures and facilities to residents, such as the picnic structures or community rooms. If they are not reserved, they are available for use on a first come, first come basis.
As of this posting (check here for the latest information), you can hold casual parties with your own set up in the grassy areas, too. No bouncers, full tents, or food trucks, taco trucks, etc are allowed.
You also may not hold a party within a fenced in playground, so setting up shop inside the Little Kid Playground wouldn’t work. Instead, set up your party on the grassy area next to it.
Why we love Bolivar Park
This park is clean, well maintained, and offers two playgrounds to help extend (or limit) play for as long as you need it to.
It’s a great playground for sensory play (climbing, swinging, sliding, spinning) and offers our kids a little more adventure than a standard playground.