Without any fore thought on our part we decided to go to Golden Gate Park. Our only aim was to see the buffalo that are said to live there. They alluded us. Good thing we don't rely on our buffalo hunting skills for survival since we couldn't even sniff out captive ones. Some research on our end would have been helpful. So without any solid plan, this became an adventure on a whim. It was thus, that we came to enter the peaceful garden that day, with our stroller, and diaper bag, and two tiny children.
There is an entrance fee of $7 for adults. I'll do the math for you. That's $14 dollars...to enter. Upon entering we quickly discovered that the terrain was not stroller/kid friendly. Most notably you had to cross several narrow, staggered step stone bridges void of any type of railing system. Said bridges got you from one side of the koi ponds to the other. It soon became clear why they didn't charge an entrance fee for children...fish food.
Well, we immediately turned that stroller around and asked for our money back sighting the difficulty we would have getting through the garden. We got a clanging, 'no.' Zen hopes were replaced with the tension of being sorely out of place. Leaving right then would have felt like a waste of $14 dollars so we bushwhacked our way through that garden at speeds alarming to those looking for tranquility.
We slowed to show our 2 year old a congregation of koi that had gathered near the edge (probably licking their fish lips at the sight of him coming). As we were pointing out the fish to him, a grown man knelt in front of us and leaned way over the water blocking our view and giving us a whole new view to deal with. He was cracking two smiles and cooing at the fish. One tap, just one quick tap and this garden might be entertaining after all. We moved on.
Noting the large sandbox, I was sorry we didn't bring in our bag of sand toys. Fortunately, there was already a rake provided. Maybe it was a more kid friendly park than I previously thought.
As we were nearing the last bridge before coming to the exit, we got caught behind three young girls chattering away more loudly than probably permissible to those in charge of zen-ness, 'like, omg!"....splash.... Zen karma? Yes, the pond captured one of the girls. Fortunately for her, the koi were still captivated on the other side of the pond by Mr. Happy Pants.
Drenched from head to toe, she curled into a ball in the center of the bridge and wailed, "I don't know what to do!" Her friends knew what to do. And their laughter echoed through the rock garden and bird statues. It was at that moment I felt the tension and stress leave me in a wave that started in my core and exited through my fingers and toes.
With a deep cleansing breath I realized the garden worked its calming magic on me after all. We felt we got our money's worth.
Should you choose to visit the Tea Garden please note that it is free Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,...if you enter before 10:00am. It is the oldest public Japanese garden in these here United States. Well, there's something! Here is the website if you want to check out more: San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden
While this adventure is listed as a 'Toddle Flop,' we still had fun and may try it out again one day sans stroller ect.
Anyone else been to the Tea Garden?