Best Place to Park the Kids 

Camp Emeryville

No, it's not Camp Winnemucca, Camp Bubbling Brook, or Camp Whispering Pines. There isn't a tree within half a mile and the "lawn," surrounded by a chain-link fence, measures 10 feet by 10 feet. There are no pristine lakes, no rowboats, no canoes, no campfires, and no s'mores. But for a fun, wholesome, and affordable summer-camp experience, this is the place. Run by the City of Emeryville's Recreation Department, Camp Emeryville is located on gritty San Pablo Avenue, across from Kentucky Fried Chicken and down the street from the Oaks Card Room. It's an urban camp, with field trips once a week (three per week plus an overnighter for older campers), and, for a minimal additional charge, daily swimming lessons at nearby Emeryville High School's pool. Lunch and morning snacks are included, activities are imaginative and well-planned, and the counselors are enthusiastic, responsible, and hip. With nicknames like Scar, Diamond, Chicken, and Moondog, how could they be anything but irresistible to kids? And for very, very happy campers, there's a wintertime session too.

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