Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off To Tilden Park We Go!
Above the hustle and bustle of Oakland lies a park waiting to be explored. Tilden Park is home to many kid friendly adventures. Last week, I packed up my boys and headed over the bay and through the woods to Tilden Park. It was well worth the trek (especially since it was one of those hot Sonoma days).
In general, Oakland’s weather is cooler than hot Sonoma. It has been ranked first for having the best climate in the U.S., based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.
Tilden Park is a great destination for days of fun. Steam trains, botanical gardens, farm animals and a carousel are a few activities within the park. Hiking, fishing, picnicking and swimming are other options as well. There is even a golf course where young golfers can practice swinging their clubs (hopefully at a ball rather than each other).
Since Bobby is huge fan of trains, our trip revolved around the steam train and then the Little Farm both in Tilden Park. Since I am a huge fan of all things with sugar, our trip ended with a stop by Fentons Creamery.
Our first stop was the Little Farm. Nestled within Tilden Park, the Little Farm is home to loads of friendly animals. Bobby spotted cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens. With nice grassy areas, the Little Farm is a great for a picnic.
Dirt paths surround the Little Farm, so it can be a bit of a pain to negotiate a stroller through the area. Also, don’t forget (like I did) to pack food for the animals! Some folks fed celery to the cows and bread to the ducks. Also, this spot does have bathrooms, although be forewarned that they are extremely rustic.
Our second stop was the steam train. This was the highlight! It alone was worth the drive. Weaving through trees across bridges and through tunnels, the train provides much to see. We even passed another train along the way. Our ride lasted about 20 minutes. After which Bobby got to marvel at the big steam engine and meet the conductor who was well versed in Thomas the Train lingo.
With $3 tickets per ride for adults and children over 2, this train is a bargain. Be sure to check the train schedule before you go as the trains start running late morning.
The train whistle is rather loud so sit towards the back of the train if your kid(s) are sensitive to loud noises. Also, if your tots are young, then you’ll want to sit next to them on the train as the ridge is a bit sketchy at times.
Our third and last stop was Fentons Creamery. After working up an appetite at the Little Farm and the train, it was time for a creamy snack. So, we ventured to my all time favorite spot for ice cream, Fentons. I Indulged in Swiss milk chocolate ice cream as a tribute to my late grandfather (he was Swiss). Bobby indulged in a chocolate ice cream sundae with hot fudge which I took as a tribute to the massive amount of all things chocolate he enjoyed in utero.
This is a great place for kids with food allergies. Just tell your waiter, and they will be extra careful. If the wait isn’t too long, then wait for a booth. The tables have bistro chairs that while charming are a bit wobbly for little movers and shakers. If the wait is long, then take your treat to go and enjoy it on the patio or down the street at St. Leo’s church where there is a nice lawn for kids to expel that sugar rush before packing it up for the drive home.
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo is the ultimate Sonoma Modern Mama who loves exploring the town with her eldest son, Bobby and her brand new baby boy, Constantine Joseph. She writes blogs about anything and everything related to parenting young children, including at her own site here. She is also a board member of the Sonoma Valley Mothers Club, an organization that supports women with young children in everything from parenting to socializing. The club is open to all Sonoma moms. For more on the club, visit sonomamothersclub.org or call 996-9890.