Now that we are slowly going back to normal, museums, educational and historical hubs, and recreation centers in Bakersfield have opened their doors to the public, although they still require social distancing and operate in a limited capacity.
Below is the list of the top five kid-friendly places in downtown Bakersfield that may interest you.
1. Buena Vista of Natural History and Science
The 20,000 square foot museum carries an extensive collection of fossils from the Miocene period (14-15 million years ago), classrooms, exhibits, and a paleo-laboratory. The vast majority of specimens were collected from an area near Sharktooth Hill, which lies northeast of Bakersfield.
Aside from the extensive collection of fossils dating back from Miocene, Paleozoic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, BVM also carries taxidermy specimens from Africa and North America, rocks and minerals, and petrified woods.
In partnership with the Native American Preservation Council of Kern County, BVM now also houses artifacts from multiple Kern County sites and showcases replicas of the Yokuts village. The Yokuts are an ethnic group of Native Americans native to central California; before European contact, they consisted of up to 60 tribes speaking different but mutually intelligible languages.
The BVM provides uniquely child-friendly programs such as school tours and field trips to help kids learn about paleontology, biology, geology, anthropology, archeology, astronomy, and anatomy. The museum also offers summer science camps for first to sixth graders and paleo digs held in The Ernst Quarries, which is located near Sharktooth Hill, California.
Address: 2018 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: (661) 324-6350
2. Mcmurtrey Aquatic Center
This state-of-the-art aquatic facility is ideal for swimming, diving, and other recreational activities. While recreational swim is only open to the public between June and August, water walking and lap swim are offered year-round in the competition pool.
Features and amenities:
- Heated Olympic-sized competition pool
- Plunge pool with diving boards
- Kiddie pool with double water slides and interactive wet play equipment
- Lifeguards on duty during business hours
- A wide range of water recreational sports like scuba diving, swimming, diving, water volleyball, aquatic fitness, water polo, etc.
- Picnic areas for public use and rentals
- Locker rooms with showers
- Snack bar
Address: 1325 Q St. Suite 200, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: +1 661-852-7430
3. Jastro Park
This two-square-block public park in Bakersfield is located between Elm Street and Truxtun Avenue. Being more than a hundred years old, this park is dotted with old towering trees that make it a perfect place to have a quiet morning or afternoon stroll.
The park features two picnic areas available for public use and rentals if you need them for family events like birthday parties.
Other amenities you can find in Jastro Park:
- Outdoor amphitheater with a stage and seating
- Spray pool or splash pad (open to the public between April and October)
- Picnic areas complete with lights, tables, and barbecues
- Basketball court
- Two horseshoe pits
- Six tennis courts
- Open grass suitable for lawn sports
- Volleyball court
Address: 2900 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: +1 661-326-3866
4. Saunders Park
The park features a playground and a splash pad open to the public between April and October. It also has lighted basketball courts and picnic tables with barbecue pits.
Address: 3300 Palm St., Bakersfield, CA 93309
Phone: +1 661-326-3866
5. Jefferson Park
Being one of the most “equipped” public parks in Bakersfield, it has become the town’s favorite in recent years. It features reservable picnic areas with covered serving sites, barbecues, and lights; two tennis courts; four basketball courts; horseshoe pits; and an open grassy field perfect for lawn sports.
Meanwhile, the main kid attractions are the spray pad (free) and a kiddie swimming pool ($1 per person).
- Adult pool
- Outdoor amphitheater (with terraced seating on grass)
Address: 801 Bernard St., Bakersfield, CA 93305
Contact: +1 661-326-3866