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January 16, 2008 > Something for everyone at Kennedy Park

Something for everyone at Kennedy Park

By Terrie Rowe
Photos By Samira M. Hamid

Kennedy Park, located on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward, is a nearby 13-acre destination ideal for family and friends. The park has the usual playground, swings, and climbing equipment for the little ones to enjoy, but also offers pony rides and a carousel. Unique park features for the whole family to enjoy include the park's train, The Kennedy Express which circles the periphery of the park and a petting zoo called Triple Pines Ranch with goats and other farm animals.

Children and adults will appreciate the wide expanse of open lawns perfect for soccer and other lawn games. Kennedy Park also has tennis courts and horseshoe pits. There are a number of picnic areas of various sizes that can be reserved for birthday parties or family gatherings. Each picnic spot features tables, benches and a BBQ. Don't feel like grilling or packing a picnic? Hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and ice cream are available for purchase at the snack bar during weekends and school holidays. Take-out food as varied as tacos, burgers, chicken, Hawaiian and Italian cuisine can be found on Hesperian Boulevard within two blocks in either direction of the park.

Kennedy Park is adjacent to a popular Hayward area destination, McConaghy House, a 1880s restored and furnished Victorian home and carriage house. Also nearby is Bohannan Field, a softball and soccer field featuring lights for night games. Behind the park is Skywest, a 125-acre, 18-hole golf course that offers a full service driving range, professional golf instruction, a complete pro shop, practice putting green and a bar and grill.

Not surprisingly, Kennedy Park is the most popular park in the HARD (Hayward Recreation and Park District) system, serving an estimated 450,000 people a year. "It's a wonderful family destination, there is something for everyone," said Karl Zabel, Operations and Development Supervisor with HARD.

Kennedy Park used to be known as "Airport Park" until it was renamed for President John F. Kennedy following his assassination in the early 60s. Long-time residents may remember the fighter jet that was in "Airport Park" for children to play on.

The park is also home to Hayward's Zucchini Festival, a two day celebration held each August featuring kiddy rides, live music, a classic car show, craft booths, and community information booths. It also features food - much of it made with zucchini. The park hosts the Easter Bonnet Parade and Egg Hunt, and on the first Saturday in August, the "Recriesta," a children's carnival. With all these activities, Kennedy Park is more than just a park; it is a place of relaxation and celebration.

Hayward's Kennedy Park is open to the public free of charge from sunrise to sunset and has ample free parking as well. Rides and concessions are open during school vacation and most holidays and weekends, weather permitting, from 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tickets for rides and the petting zoo are available at the snack bar, and ride packages are available. For more information about ride packages call the snack bar at (510) 670-7275.

For more information about Kennedy Park, contact HARD at (510) 581-0223. To reserve a picnic area, call (510) 881-6700 Monday - Friday, between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. There is a fee for reservations.

Kennedy Park
19501 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
Open sunrise to sunset
Park Use: Free
Pony Ride: $1.50
Train Ride: $1.25
Petting Zoo: $1.25
Merry-Go-Round: $1.25
(510) 670-7275

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