There she was — just starting to hold up her wee sweet head.
Not quite 5 months old, our then-baby girl went round and round on the adorable merry-go-round. Ride after ride bought her -- and us -- new found joy. It was our first trip to Small World Park, and it was delightful. From then on, we visited the Pittsburg gem nearly every week for several years.
Our girl is 10 now, but we have the sweetest memories of the park that features a handful of amusement rides and play areas. I always say this is one of the best little secrets in East County.
Spread out over a huge piece of land behind the firehouse on Harbor Street, the park offers kid-size rides such as a darling Ferris wheel, a whale ride for toddlers, a sweet train and the ever-popular carousel.
In between rides, families can hunker down in a variety of areas with their picnic lunches. Kids can run themselves ragged on several play structures featuring slides and swings. For special events and birthdays, the park offers a few specialty spots. Among the charming choices, there is an open fort area, a barn yard zone, a dinosaur den and the much-coveted enclosed castle, which boasts a slide and ball pit. There is an extra cost for these facilities.
Antioch's Cynthia Arnold held a party for her youngest daughter there. "(It was) Kennedy's first birthday. It's such a sweet place, so quaint," she said. "And the people who work there are really, really nice. It
Honey O'Leary is also a big fan of Small World Park.
"St. Peter Martyr School hosts a family picnic each year for all students, parents, alums and anyone else who happens by," said the Pittsburg resident, who recently enjoyed a great afternoon there with her grandson.
Allison Hatcher, wife of Pittsburg native and comedian Johnny Steele, said she loves the park. "I've always thought it deserved more notoriety."
And just when you think that's it, the kids can head over the lagoon, where they can catch and release the crawdads. This is a BYOP -- bring your own pole -- venue. Most choose to just use a long stick, string and hot dog as bait.
It's been 13 years, but Tom Lamothe still remembers the party for son Andy's 10th birthday. "The boys had a great time catching crawdads out there. Where else can you do that and the kids are safe?
"That's still a great memory for us all." Geared for younger ones, the place is a bargain to boot.
It's good to note that the park doesn't have a concession stand, so if you plan to eat, pack a meal or bring something to barbecue on one of the many grills offered. Or, head down the street a couple miles and visit another Pittsburg gem, the New Mecca.
Small World Park is at 2551 Harbor St. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through Aug. 19; and then weekends only from Aug. 25 through Oct. 30. The cost is $2 for children younger than 15 and senior citizens; $4 for 15 years and up. Wristbands for unlimited rides are $1.30. For more info, call 925-439-4879. For reservations, call 925-252-4842.
Contact Trine Gallegos at email@example.com.