Picnic areas

Picnic Area FAQs

I’m interested in renting a picnic area. Where can I find more information?

Picnic areas are available for reservation and rental year round at Burgess Park and Nealon Park. A list of available picnic areas and relevant documents, including our Picnic Information and Use Policy, Reservation Form, and Rental Insurance Requirements can be found inside our online facility reservation portal.


How do I know what areas are available and when? Also, how do I know how much space I’ll need?

You can check the schedule via our online facility reservation portal, or contact our office at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium. A map of the different areas as well as a table of the amenities they contain is available in our Picnic Information and Use Policy.


Once I know the area I want is available, how do I reserve?

You can reserve areas online through our online facility reservation portal, by visiting our office at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium, or by emailing us a pdf copy of your completed reservation form.


When do I need to pay?

Payment for all picnic areas must be made at the time of the reservation. Online reservations can be paid with a Mastercard or Visa. In person reservations can be paid with cash, check, Mastercard or Visa.


How much do I need to pay?

The hourly rates for the various picnic areas at Burgess and Nealon Park are listed on the first page of the Picnic Information and Use Policy. It is important to note that there are different rates for residents and nonresidents and that residents of unincorporated Menlo Park will be charged as nonresidents.


How do I know if I need a Certificate of Liability Insurance?

A Certificate of Liability Insurance is required for all field, gym, and indoor facility rentals, all non-resident picnic rentals, and any picnic rentals (resident or non-resident) serving alcohol or using special equipment such as, but not limited to, additional cooking apparatuses, tents/canopies, bounce houses and other inflatables.

Please see our Rental Insurance Requirements for more information and a sample Certificate of Liability Insurance. If you have any further questions, please contact our office at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium. We do not require insurance from specific providers, but can give you a list of companies that have worked for other renters in the past.


Can I add a field to my rental?

Yes, both Burgess Auxiliary Field #9 and Nealon Auxiliary Field #5 can be added to a picnic rental, based on availability of the space. For more information on adding a field rental to your picnic reservation, please contact our office at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium. It is important to note that the city requires a Certificate of Liability Insurance for all field rentals, regardless of residency.

Please see our Field Information and Usage Policy for policies on using the field.


Can I bring a bounce house to my rented picnic area? 

Bounce houses are allowed at city picnic areas with a Certificate of Liability Insurance (see question above). Any bounce house or other inflatable must fit inside your reserved area and must not block any pathways.

For more information, please see our Picnic Information and Use Policy.


What about catered food, cooking apparatuses, food trucks, or alcohol?

Catered food and food trucks are allowed with a valid COI. Please note that any food provider must have the appropriate up to date permits. Food trucks may not drive onto the field or into the park, but must park in a designated/legal parking spot. Cooking apparatuses such as bbqs or grills are allowed at Burgess Park with a valid COI, but there is no cooking allowed at Nealon Park. Beer and wine can be served with a COI, no glass bottles, no hard liquor.

For more information, please see our Picnic Information and Use Policy.


Are there outlets and water sources in the park that I can use for my event?

There are outlets in the park, but we can’t guarantee that they will be working/available to you. Other renters, unexpected outages, required maintenance, and other factors could limit the viability/availability of power sources, so we do recommend that renters bring their own generator or other such portable power source.

There are no public access water sources in the park aside from the bathroom sinks and water fountains.


What’s the policy on dogs?

Dogs are allowed in the picnic areas, but must be on leash at all times.


What about music?

Amplified sound is not allowed without a noise permit. If you’re planning on using anything more powerful than a standard portable speaker, please reach out to the City’s Planning Division.


I only see picnic areas at Burgess and Nealon Park. What if I want to have a picnic at a different city park?

Any picnic tables at parks other than Burgess and Nealon Park cannot be reserved and are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no cooking onsite allowed at the other parks and you would not be permitted to bring a jumper or any other special equipment.