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Thursday 16 May 2013

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

The second Tuesday of each month is free entry day at San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Yesterday just happened to be that day so after dropping Ava off at school in the morning Lola and I hopped on the train and headed into the city with some friends for a few hours amongst the flowers.  

So much green

Lola and her friend Solly were pretty excited about the trip into the city. Lola always enjoys looking out the window of the train and pointing out what she can see, but with her train obsessed buddy by her side it was much more fun than usual. They spent most of the trip staring out the window together. Just look at how cute they are!

I can see cranes, and a freeway, and trucks...

Once we arrived in the Botanical Gardens we made a beeline straight for Waterfowl Pond to look for turtles - and waterfowl, of course. The turtles were to be found sunning themselves on rocks in and around the pond. Any near the edge dived into the water as soon as we got close but those turtles further off shore were happy to stay put and continue basking in the sun. The pond is surrounded by the most amazing large leaved plants. The kids were in awe of these gigantic leaves, although they discovered pretty quickly that they're covered in spikes!

Ruth and Solly look for the turtles

Turtles sunning themselves

It's spiky!

Our next stop was a giant New Zealand Christmas tree. The kids had fun playing in around the long dangling branches that hang down like curtains, but of course they wouldn't stay still for a photo! An inquisitive squirrel (eager for the kids to drop their snacks) was more than happy to pose for the camera as he followed the kids around the tree.

The perfect hide out for kids

Cheese! The only time she stood still.

Lola runs through the branches

Our not-so-shy squirrel friend

Zellerbach Garden of Perennials with its lovely seating areas and views over the gardens was our next stop. Lola enjoyed pointing out all of the pink flowers that she liked as she and Solly balanced along the edges of the garden beds.

"I like the pink flowers" says Lola
More pink flowers over this way...

Follow the leader

Sutro Tower from the Botanical Gardens

Lola lead the way up the hill toward the succulent garden with a stick held in place behind her as a tail while singing "Follow the mouse, follow the mouse" over and over. I'm guessing this is something she's seen on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but I'm not familiar with it. It was cute none the less and we made sure to "follow the mouse".

Follow the mouse...

Oh, and then the kids took a little detour for a running race...

And they're off!

It's close at the start

Then Lola breaks away...

...and she's the winner!

Heading toward the Succulent Garden we came across the crazy plants below. I love them! They remind me of something out of a Dr Seuss book.

I'm sure the Lorax is about to pop out!

My favourite plant

We finally made it to the Succulent Garden which reminded me a little of our own garden back home in Australia with many of the same plants featured. I wonder if our yuccas and agaves are doing quite as well. One thing I know for sure is that there's no way our tiny grass plants will have grown to the size of the one below. That plant must be hundreds of year old to be that size. And someone has given it a lovely haircut!

Succulent Garden

This grass plant has had an odd haircut!

One of my favourite parts of the Botanical Gardens was the Redwood Grove. The shade provided by these giants makes the lush grove such a relaxing place to wander through. I'm always in awe of these beautiful trees. They just really feel like California to me.

Photos never do these giants justice

Lola and Solly looking up, up, up...

Posing for photos

By now it was time to start heading back to the entrance so we could go home and pick Ava up from school. Of course, this was when the kids got their second wind and decided that making a run for it would be much more fun!

Quick, let's run away...

Luckily they tired quickly and were easy to find.

Lola rests on a rock

With limited time before having to head back to Berkeley to pick Ava up from school we didn't quite get to see half of the gardens. I have a feeling we'll be heading back again sometime soon. There's still so much more to explore in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

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