Barney Schwartz Park, Paso Robles


The longtime play structures on the lower end of Barney Schwartz Park in Paso Robles are getting replaced – possibly within a month!

UPDATE: See the new playgrounds!

 While I’m happy about the modernizations for safety and accessibility, I’m also wishing the old stuff could stick around forever. So here’s some throwback love to one of our favorite playgrounds before its purple plastic and log cabin vibe is gone for good.

From the city’s website: “Barney Schwartz Park is located at 2970 Union Road. Just off of Highway 46 East, surrounded by oak-dotted hills, Barney Schwartz Park … (holds) large scale tournaments for baseball, softball and soccer, (and) has a one million gallon lake, four group picnic areas, grassy picnic areas, two concession stands and two terrific playgrounds.”

We have a lot of memories at those two playgrounds:

  • Clara learned to walk there.
  • It’s the site of my very first solo outings as a new mom.
  • It’s also the site of my very solo outing with “two under two” (ok, well, almost. Technically it was was two under 2 years + 28 days, but who’s counting?).

Those firsts, paired with our routine trips there every week, sure make this fort-like playground with the cool purple tunnel a special place!

But, just like so many things, that’s all about to change. 

Overall, Barney Schwartz Park is 40+ acres overall. In my opinion, it also has three playgrounds total, not two like the city says. One is on top of the hill and the other two are down below by the sports fields. I say there are two down below  because one is distinctly for tots and the other is obviously for big kids.

RRM Design Group

The park opened in 2002, making the play equipment there is 15 years old already! You can’t tell so much on the tot lot down below, but the fort-looking big kid side already has boarded-up parts, broken and frayed climbing netting, and a sliding monkey bar track thing I heard a few older kids saying was getting too difficult to scoot across on.

Here’s a look at the aging features:

UPDATE: Here’s our review of the new playground!

The bottom pair of playgrounds are getting replaced:  The tot lot (ages 2-5) and the bigger kids’ one (ages 5-12) . As far as I know, the top playground by the lake is staying the same.

Barney Schwartz Park Paso Robles playground tot lotThe nonprofit REC Foundation (the folks behind the city’s downtown Summer Concerts in the Park) donated $250,000 for the new play equipment. The city tells me construction on the replacement playground will begin within the month!

I went over there with the kids a couple of weeks ago, and workers had already started replacing the benches.

Benches Before & After:

Old Playground Faves

The Purple Tunnel

Here’s my daughter playing in this tunnel over the years. Excuse me while I sit in the corner and CRY at the realization of how much  older she looks now.

The Wobbly Foot Bridge

How many of us were like “oh, cute! a bridge!” the first time we saw this bridge only to find out our toddlers were just going to topple down it? But then they were so proud once they mastered it after all their cute baby practice.

The Dual Steering Wheels

These are so simple, but always a major go-to for my kids. Here’s a shot of them both enjoying it a couple of years apart when they were about the same age.

Because, memories.

Tot Lot Slide

There’s two spots to slide, side-by-side. It’s just a little too steep and the kids always land square on their butts at the bottom. But they still laugh and go again.

This Water Thing

How cool is this contraption? It’s a spout with a foot pump over by the picnic area in between the two playgrounds. I’m not sure what it’s for, but the kids love playing with it. And they need me to step on it, so it’s nice that they can’t just mosey over there and douse theirselves whenever they want.

RELATED: Review on Barney Schwartz Park Lake | We love the little turtles who peep their heads out of the water, the ducks, and the little waterfall. We also do the kids’ fishing derby there

Some History

This is also a good time to reflect on some history about the park from The Tribune, since the park’s beloved matriarch, the late Mary Studer Schwartz, passed away this June at age 90. –

Mary Studer Schwartz — together with her late husband, Dale, a Paso Robles councilman and philanthropist who died in 2006 — … raised money to help create Barney Schwartz Park near Union Road and Highway 46 East. It opened in 2002 and was named after Dale’s brother, a longtime Paso Robles mayor. The brothers also served on the Paso Robles City Council together and co-founded the Paso Robles Golf & Country Club.

Here’s more info on Barney’s life.

The Tribune

See you there!



About Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is a journalist and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. A former newspaper reporter, Tonya shares unfiltered #momlife content about places to go with kids. Her family moved from California's Central Coast to Washington state in August 2020. Their adventures now continue in the Pacific Northwest.

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