If you’re stuck at home, wondering what to do with the kids in Bakersfield, you’re not alone. Thankfully, just nearby is a park that will keep your kids busy, and most importantly, give you a break! Hart Memorial Park is one of the best parks in Bakersfield.
Hart Park is a 370-acre public park located within the Kern River County Park, just 8 miles northeast of Bakersfield, California. Hart Park derives its name from former Kern County Supervisor John Hart, who convinced the county to purchase the land on which the park was built back in 1921. Hart called upon Oakland landscape architect Howard Gilkey to design the park as a recreational retreat for Bakersfield residents. Gilkey was well known for incorporating water features into his work, so he took advantage of the nearby Kern River by including lakes and canals into the development. This was no easy process, and it ended up taking over 15 years for the park to finally be finished. The park opened to the public in 1929 with the name Kern River Park, but many years later, it was renamed Hart Memorial Park in 1947. Unfortunately, the Depression slowed the completion of the park, which was finally finished in 1936 with a great celebration. Since then, it’s been a fixture of the community, and many events are held there yearly.
What is the Hart Memorial Park?
Today, Hart Memorial Park is a favorite of Bakersfield residents. The picturesque 370-acre expanse of green space is one of the largest in Bakersfield. The recreational options available at the park are endless! Hart Park boasts two lakes, three canals, equestrian trails, hiking and biking trails, a golf course, disc golf, and lawns for sports and picnicking.
How do I get to Hart Memorial Park?
Hart Memorial Park is only a 16 minute drive from downtown Bakersfield! If you’re coming from Downtown Bakersfield, you’ll want to take the 178 and exit off of Mt. Vernon Avenue. You’ll follow along this road until you get to Alfred Harrell Highway. You’ll exit off of Hart Park, where you’ll be directed toward the parking areas of Hart Memorial Park.
Hart Memorial Park Address
Alfred Harrell Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93308
Directions to Hart Memorial Park
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Hart Memorial Park Hours
The Hart Memorial Park is open daily from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, or until sunset once COVID restrictions are lifted.
If you have any questions regarding park hours or closures, call the Hart Park Field Office at (661) 872-3179 for more information.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Hart Memorial Park?
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Hart Memorial Park is free thanks to it being a public park! However, if you would like to reserve areas of the park for events, you can do so, and fees are as follows:
Application fee: $30.00
Security Deposit: $500.00
Daily Fee – 2000 people or less: $600.00
Daily Fee – more than 2000: $1000.00
Music Events with Entry Fees – $1300.00
Reservations must be made two weeks in advance. Click here to make a reservation!
Top Reasons To Visit The Hart Memorial Park
The opportunities are endless at Hart Park! In addition to the trails, sports fields/courts, and playgrounds, residents love taking advantage of the following amenities:
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Enjoy a relaxing day on the water! Hart Memorial Park is home to two lakes that account for 10 acres of parkland. The lakes are filled with bass, catfish, and trout, making it a popular spot for fishing. Lake Ming is another great option just outside the park. Residents can fish or take motorboats out on the 140 acre reservoir that’s filled with crappie, bluegill, carp, rainbow trout, and large-mouth bass.
Hart Park Section 7 Picnic Ground
Section 7 is a one of the picnicking areas that can be reserved for groups. It includes restrooms, a raised bandstand, booths for ticket sales or concessions, fire pits, 2 large grills and 7 propane burners, 90 picnic tables, electrical outlets for lighting, and a playground.
Pyles Boys Camp/Golf Course Picnic Ground – Camping
Pyles Boys Camp is also available for events. This area of the park is 10 acres, 6.5 of which are turf. Another bandstand serves the camp, as well as 2 concession booths, 5 pits, 4 grills, 118 picnic tables, lighting poles and outlets, sports areas, horseshoe pits, and a children’s playground.
California Living Museum
Just to the east of Hart Park is the fascinating California Living Museum, or CALM Zoo. Exhibits at the zoo focus on animals and plants that are native to Kern County. Enjoy the reptile house, with daily presentations with the animal keeper. The children’s park is home to domestic and farm animals with whom visitors can interact. The California Coast Room features a giant viewing window and interactive touch tank. And don’t miss the Central California Children’s Railroad, that will take the whole family around the grounds for just $1!
10500 Alfred Harrell Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93306, (661) 827-2256
Kern River Golf Course
Enjoy 18-holes among nature at the Kern River Golf Course! It’s open to the general public, and offers instruction, tournaments, disc golf, foot golf, and great food at The River Grill. The events calendar is always packed with fun activities, though currently less so due to COVID restrictions.
12940 Rudal Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93306, (661) 872-5128
The city of Bakersfield has big plans for Hart Park! There are plans in works to transform one of the structures within the park into the Peacock Adobe Interpretive Center. The proposal as it stands will create a visitor center that will serve the entire county. If and when completed, the center will be home to an outdoor lecture center, picnic amenities, covered pavilion, walkways, and a roost for peacocks. Local members of the California Audubon Society are excited to have a dedicated effort in place to teach residents of Bakersfield about all the species of birds in Hart Park.
What is the best time of year to visit Hart Memorial Park?
Bakersfield experiences some of the best weather in the entire US, so there’s not really a bad time to visit! The weather is most ideal from mid-March to mid-June, and October to mid-November.
What should I bring to Hart Memorial Park?
What you should bring depends on the activities you plan to pursue in Hart Park! Of course, precautions should be taken when in the sun for extended periods of time. If you’re hosting an event on one of the picnic grounds, you should make sure you have procured the proper permits. Those include permits to use the ground, serve alcohol, use additional electrical equipment, sound amplification, etc. Be sure you discuss all your plans with the park to be sure your bases are covered.
Where to Eat Near Hart Memorial Park
Picnicking and grilling is extremely popular at Hart Park, but there are no concessions on site. You’ll need to head back towards Bakersfield for a meal, but nothing is far! Try Malt Shop for a quick burger. If you’re looking for a great sandwich or salad, head to Urbane Cafe. For some great southern cooking with a twist, check out Huckleberry’s Breakfast & Lunch!
What else do I need to know before visiting Hart Memorial Park?
- Alcohol is allowed with a permit from the Kern County Parks Department
- Swimming is at your own risk, there are no lifeguards on duty
- No firearms or weapons are permitted in Hart Park
- Pets must stay on leash
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