Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest returns to Alameda's Crown Beach June 11

Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest returns to Alameda’s Crown Beach June 11

Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest returns to Alameda's Crown Beach June 11
Clockwise from Left: Crown Beach in Alameda. Sand Castle and sculpture contest happening June 11. Meet the star of Del Valle Regional Park’s snake program, Julius Squeezer. (Photos courtesy East Bay Regional Parks Department)

SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY AREA (June 5, 2022) — Castles of sand will rise from the strand once again on Saturday, June 11, during the 54th annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest at Crown Beach in Alameda.

This is always a great family event, a tribute to everyone’s creativity and sense of humor. It’s free, co-sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District, Alameda Recreation & Parks Department, Alameda Youth Committee, and the Bay View Women’s Club.

If you don’t participate, it’s fun just to check out the contest entries.

Registration is from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Crown Beach bathhouse in the categories of ages 12 and under, 13 and over, or family group.

Between 9 a.m. and noon, contestants can construct either a castle or a sculpture, using only items found on the beach. Judging starts at noon, ribbons and trophies are awarded at approximately 1 p.m. At high tide, King Neptune reclaims all entries.

The Crown Beach entrance is at the intersection of Otis and Westline Drives. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For more information on the contest, click here.

Dashing Dragonflies

Nearby at Crab Cove Visitor Center, dashing dragonflies are the theme of Family Nature Fun Hour from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. the same day as the sand castle contest. And the program repeats at the same time on Sunday, June 12.

The naturalist staff will talk about the insects’ life cycle, then lead a search for them at a nearby pond.

The program is free and registration is not necessary. All are welcome. The center is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue, or you can walk to it from the Crown Beach bathhouse. For information, call 510-544-3187.

Tea party

Coffee, tea and conversation with naturalist Trent Pearce are the attractions of a free program from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 11 at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.

Trent has lots of information about the plants, animals and trails of the Nature Area.

This is a drop-in program. Registration is not required, and all are welcome.

The center is located at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, accessible from Canon Drive via Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Little Things

More programs in the series “Little Things, Big Deal” are on the calendar from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. on every Saturday and Sunday in June at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

The “little things” are plankton, microscopic organisms that are critical to life in the Delta and beyond. Naturalists will set up microscopes at the Big Break visitor center to help you view the organisms and learn how human activity is threatening them.

Big Break also will host a bilingual campfire program (English and Spanish) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12. The campfires are free and registration isn’t required. The host is naturalist Misti Marsh.

Bring a picnic dinner to the park, then join the campfire activities, including that gooey treat, S’mores. The program’s the same both days; attend one or the other.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 510-544-3050.

Snake charms

Julius Squeezer, the live snake ambassador at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore, is the star of a snake program from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 12 at the park’s visitor center.

Learn about snakes’ role in the natural world and enjoy a safe, close-up encounter with Julius.

Del Valle is at the end of Del Valle Road off Mines Road about nine miles south of downtown Livermore. There’s a parking fee of $6 per vehicle.

This is just a sample of activities available in the regional parks. For a complete schedule, visit the website,, and click on “Things To Do” at the top of the home page.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at