Howarth Park is a 138-acre community park, known as Santa Rosa’s “crown treasure”. The park provides endless recreational opportunities with a beautiful lake for fishing and boating, a softball field, tennis courts, picnic areas, unique playground structures, miles of hiking and jogging trails, and an amusement area featuring a miniature train ride, carousel, animal farm, and pony rides.
Since 1950s, Howarth Park has been a Sonoma County landmark. Not only does the park have a large, contemporary playground, but it also offers numerous additional attractions. Children can take a ride on a miniature train, ride a carousel, see animals at the barn, and rent a boat to sail or paddle on Lake Ralphine, which is close to the park.
“Land of Imagination” is the primary play area that is separated into numerous areas, each of which is designed for a distinct age group. Children can engage in imaginative play in the Native American village and the Old West town in the middle of the playground. An extra playground on the other side of the parking area has swings and a rock climbing wall.
The Big K-Land area features attractions such as the train, carousel, and Animal Barn. All of these attractions require admission tickets, which are available for purchase at the Big K-Land train station. Tickets are $2 individually or $40 for a book of twenty-five (which can be used all season long).
The train ride will take you through a not-so-scary Haunted Tunnel (don’t forget to scream), across a bridge (keep an eye out for Alfred the alligator in the pond), and into the haunted woodland. The train is a scaled copy of the C.P. Huntington steam engine from 1863, which is on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
The Carousel is nearly 50 years old, with 30 horses and more than a thousand lights. Children can meet and pet a variety of farm animals, including pigs, sheep, calves, chickens, ducks, bunnies, and goats, at the animal barn.
Howarth Park also features tennis courts, picnic spaces, and Lake Ralphine, where you may sail or paddle a boat and fish for largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, and rainbow trout. The Boathouse rents boats, including sailboats, rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks, and canoes, for $12 per hour, depending on the kind. Online reservations must be made in advance.
Howarth Park is a favorite location for birthday parties and gatherings, and on a sunny day, it may become rather crowded.
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