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Saturday 28 July 2018

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland

If you're following along on Instagram you would've seen that the kids and I have been on the hunt for Stomper the elephant statues around Oakland. I have a post coming up next with all the Stomper statues we've found so far (about 35 or so), but today I wanted to share a park that we came across during out hunt for a particular Stomper.

Over the weekend we decided to go for a drive to find a few of the Stomper statues that the girls and I haven't been able to get to on foot. We visited a few, snapped some photos and headed off to the next one. However, when we made it to the Captain Stomp statue right on the waterfront we knew that we had to stop a little longer and spend some time exploring the surrounding park. 

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is somewhat of a hidden gem in Oakland. Being located right on the waterfront it's not what you'd normally consider "hidden" but given that it's surrounded by the Port of Oakland's container yards in quite an industrial area, it's not the sort of place most people tend to think of when looking for a park to spend an afternoon in. After this visit, however, this waterfront park has gone right to the top of my list for local picnic and BBQ spots! Just look at those views!

The park features a large covered area with tables, perfect for multiple groups or a large event. The covered area is still quite open, so those Bay views aren't restricted at all. Neither is the view of the surrounding grassy area which is perfect for kids to play games while parents relax at the tables. There was a party happening at the time that we arrived so I didn't take photos of this particular area. 

Instead we headed straight to the waterfront for a walk along the sand, stopping to take pictures with a dolphin sculpture along the way. I don't know if this sculpture was actually designed for lounging, but it sure did make the perfect spot. The kids thought it was pretty comfy!

We then walked along the small beach toward the observation tower at the far end of the park. Now, I won't lie, there was a fair amount of trash on the beach, and as you can tell, it's definitely not a beach for swimming - unless you happen to be one of the resident geese and love mud. We picked up trash and threw it away as we walked (the park does have a fair number of trash cans), but the waterfront could definitely do with a community clean up day.

From the waterfront we made our way up to the road and walkway that run alongside the container yard. I've always loved the bright colors and geometric lines of the containers, ships and cranes. We can see the Port of Oakland and the iconic cranes from our apartment, and to me it's a view that I enjoy just as much as our view over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing the port up close was pretty cool, and I've got to say that all those colors and lines made for pretty awesome photos. I'm a sucker for an industrial background when it comes to taking photos!

After hamming it up in front of the camera for quite some time the girls were keen to go check out the view from the observation tower. We climbed the stairs to the top and took in the views from a slightly higher perspective. The girls enjoyed looking through the tower viewer binoculars no matter what they pointed them at - San Francisco, container ships on the Bay, containers in the yard behind us, each other's faces...

We then took a walk along the pathways that lead down to the water. One such pathway features old railway tracks which the girls enjoyed balancing on.

We then started our walk back towards the car and, more importantly, to the Stomper statue we'd come here to see.

The Stomper statue "Captain Stomp" is located on the small observation and fishing pier that sits over the water. I think that of all the Stomper statues we've found so far (which I'll be sharing in my next post) Captain Stomp has to have the location with the best views.  He sure does fit the part in his captain's uniform.

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is located at 2777 Middle Harbor Road, Oakland.

The trails, picnic area, restrooms and observation tower are all wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Captain Stomp will be on display through to the end of the 2018 baseball season.

You can find out more about the park, including the history of the area here: https://www.portofoakland.com/port/seaport/middle-harbor/

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