Community Services

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Camp Staff at Foothills Park

The Community Services Department (CSD) offers dozens of urban and neighborhood parks, outstanding classes for adult/seniors and kids, 40 miles of hiking trails, a municipal golf course, fascinating art exhibits, the Jr. Museum and Zoo, facility rentals, pools, and fields and gyms for fitness. Whether you're looking for educational activities for your kids, a place to relax, or place to explore the world around you, Palo Alto's Community Services Department is proud to offer programs, activities, and parks to meet all the needs of your family and to sustain a positive quality of life!

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Palo Alto Art Center

The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to see and make art, activate your creativity, and expand your community. Created by and for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 150,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs, including free-admission exhibitions, art classes for children and adults, school programs, and special throughout the year.

Palo Alto Children's Theatre

Palo Alto Children’s Theatre serves more than 57,000 community members each year with theatrical productions and programs for youth ages 3 through high school. Performing arts education opportunities include onsite classes, camps, and production experiences, as well as theatrical Outreach Productions (grades 3-5) and Dance in Schools classes (grades K-2) in all twelve PAUSD Elementary Schools.

Cubberley Artist Studio Program (CASP)

The Cubberley Artist Studio Program (CASP) supports the vitality of the arts in Palo Alto by providing City-sponsored, affordable studio space for artists, building creative community and fostering public engagement with the arts and artists.

Junior Museum & Zoo

The Junior Museum & Zoo is a place where children and their caregivers come to explore, discover, create and play. Through hands-on science exhibits and a diverse community of live animals, your child's natural scientist will be nurtured.

The Zoo is home to more than 50 species of animals—about 200 specimens in all.  Many of them are brought to schools as part of our Science Outreach program. Some of the animals include, raccoons, jungle bats, hedgehogs, ferrets, snakes, fresh water fish, invertebrates, birds, turtles and a giant tortoise!  In the new Zoo, opening Spring 2021, we'll have many more animals, including flamingos, spoonbills, and meerkats. 

In an addition to an amazing zoo, the Junior Museum offers numerous science programs for schools, community groups, and families, including summer camps and birthday parties.

Public Art Program

The Palo Alto Public Art Program promotes the highest caliber of artwork, commissioning memorable public artworks and experiences that stimulate discussion and thoughtful reflection, celebrating Palo Alto’s character and enhancing civic pride and sense of place.

Much of the review, discussion, and public participation that goes into the implementation of new Community Services programs, services, and policies takes place at three important Commissions that provide recommendations to the City Council, as well as to the Council’s Finance Committee and Policy & Services Committee.

The Office of Human Services assists with providing a safety net of services and works toward enhancing the quality of life in Palo Alto in a variety of ways. Human Services provides resources in the areas of child care, family services, landlord/tenant/mediation, and grants for non-profits.

The City of Palo Alto has almost 4,000 acres of parks and open space to explore, recreate, and relax in. Whether you are looking for a place to picnic with your family, playground for your kids, or trails that will help you to escape to nature, there is a broad assortment of open space areas to enjoy! Park Services also handles the maintenance of 162 developed acres of urban park lands. Besides maintaining urban parks, Parks Services handles landscape maintenance of libraries, community centers, business districts and utility sub-stations.

Park Services maintenance programs include the maintenance of landscape plant materials, irrigation systems, turf management, tennis courts, soccer fields, softball fields, baseball fields, playground equipment, picnic facilities, dog runs, basketball courts, and a lawn bowling green. Park Services also maintains school athletic fields and tennis courts at all elementary and middle school sites.