Maruta Gardner Playground at Bonita Cove Park

The Maruta Gardner Playground at Bonita Cove Park is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It has so many cool features. I was very excited to share a sneak peak of this park before it opened and to announce the grand opening, and now I’m thrilled to share all the details of this super cool playground. 

The gazebo at this park cannot be reserved with a permit.

Bathrooms, Parking Lot, Public Transportation

Playground, NEW Playground, Tot Lot, baby swings, regular swings, ADA Swings, group swings, tandem swings, medium slides, small slide, roller slide, seesaw, sand, rubber ground, spinners, climbing structure

Large grassy area, ride a bike, volley ball courts, 

Alcohol NOT Allowed

Murata Gardner Playground

The playground at Bonita Cove was renamed in honor of Maruta Gardner, a neighborhood resident and activist. Gardner was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 2016, while she was cleaning up graffiti on a corner near Jetty Road and Mission Boulevard. It’s a beautiful tribute to a woman who did so much to make this playground a reality. 

I think I could possibly devote an entire post to the *just* the swings at the Maruta Gardner playground (and it wouldn’t even be boring)! There are regular (saddle) swings and a fun set of tandem swings (sibling swings) that have a high back for children who might not be able to sit on a saddle swing. But there is also a group swing and a swing carousel with bucket seats (baby swings)!

How fun does this look?? It has three baby (bucket) swings that can be pushed at one time. 

Bonita Cove Maruta Gardner playground - large pink rope course climbing structure
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The coolest feature of the playground though has got to be the rope course (designed to look like the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster across the street)! 

The play area is designed for children aged 5-12, and I’d say that’s about right. Littles can very easily slip through the ropes and fall. For that reason, I think this park would be very difficult for any self-admitted “helicopter parents” – those ropes are a few feet over my head!

But the Maruta Gardner Playground isn’t just for big kids! This tot lot is a lot of fun and features two small slides (one is a roller slide!) and interactive musical elements. 

Some other fun features are a four (or more!) person seesaw / teeter totter and several spinners.

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Beach Chairs and Hammocks

How cool are these? I think they’re the most “San Diego” park benches ever and I love them. Fun built-in beach chairs with umbrellas and hammocks too!

Bonita Cove Gazebo

This covered picnic area/gazebo is perfect for parties and play dates! There are three rectangular picnic tables that are ADA-friendly. This gazebo is first come, first serve… it cannot be reserved with a permit. 

Bonita Cove Gazebo

Other Amenities

Other upgrades to the park in the playground included replacing the comfort station (restrooms), installing a new shade structure and new security lighting, as well as upgrading the sidewalks to be ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act).

The new restrooms are unisex, with stalls available to any gender and the sinks located outside. At this time (June 2021), the city is waiting on electrical components so the comfort stations are closed. Timeline for reopening is TBD. 

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Volleyball Courts

Another very “San Diego” feature of this park are the volleyball courts! I counted four areas for volleyball nets. 


Visitors have a couple of options for parking for Bonita Cove park, one on West Mission Bay Drive and one off Mission Blvd. Both are very large, but fill up on the weekends! You can see a map of the area at the bottom of this post.

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Right on the Bay

If you have a water baby (like I do) then you should know that the bay is right by Bonita Cove Park. If my daughter spots any body of water, it’s only a matter of time before she’s soaking wet (lol), so maybe bring a change of clothes to this park? 

3 thoughts on “Maruta Gardner Playground at Bonita Cove Park”

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. I chatted with a City employee and he said they’re having some trouble with electrical in that building. Should be open within a month.

  1. Hi! Love your site, it’s super helpful. I was wondering if I could copy one or more of your articles and put them in my monthly newsletter? I would give you the byline and/or link to this site, whatever you prefer. I’m a local realtor looking to promote some of the cool things about San Diego.


    Dave Dennis
    Coldwell Banker West

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