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Saturday 31 May 2014

Koret Children's Quarter, Golden Gate Park

Last weekend we spent an afternoon in Golden Gate Park. It was such a beautiful. sunny day; perfect for hanging out in the park.

Golden Gate Park is huge. It's bigger than Central Park in New York (something that SF locals enjoy pointing out to New Yorkers!) and contains so many wonderful things to explore. As we always visit Golden Gate Park on foot we tend to stick to a small area at a time. Usually we're going there for something in particular: birthday picnics, exhibitions at the de Young, visiting the Botanic Gardens or Japanese Tea Garden or getting our science on at Cal Academy. Each visit we tend not to venture too far from our particular destination so even though we've been to Golden Gate Park many times there's still so much of it that we haven't seen.

And can you believe that one of those places that we were yet to visit in Golden Gate Park was the Koret Children's Quarter? How was it possible that after two and a half years we still hadn't been to this wonderful playground and carousel? Admittedly, I'd purposely never told the girls that there was a lovely playground and carousel in the Golden Gate Park. Once they know that there's a playground nearby trying to do almost anything else becomes a challenge!

Ava and Lola were pretty excited when I told them that we were going to a playground in Golden Gate Park. As soon as I mentioned that the playground features concrete slides and a carousel (two of their favourites) their excitement levels went through the roof!

Our first stop at Koret Children's Quarter was the vintage carousel. This beautiful carousel, dating from 1914
features 62 ornately decorated animals including frogs, cats, dogs, roosters, pigs, dragons and of course horses. With all those different animals to choose from the girls were still keen to just ride horses. I did manage to convince them to ride other animals as well but they would only do so as long as they could ride a horse on the next turn. I was pretty obsessed with horses when I was a kid so I'm pretty sure I would've done the same!

Mathilde went for her first ever ride on a carousel (most things are a first at her age!) and she seemed quite entranced watching the animals go up and down as we spun around. Mathilde and I sat safely on a bench seat on the carousel but I couldn't resist posing her on the animals while the carousel was stopped.

Then it was on to the playground equipment. The playground is quite large and features all the regular equipment: swings, slides, climbing frames, wobbly bridges, monkey bars, zip line... The play equipment is separated into three sections, each distinctly for a different age group. There are large sand areas for digging in, plenty of grass to run around on and a section featuring ocean themed sculptures to climb on. While Ava spent much of her time on the climbing frame, monkey bars and zip line, Lola was pretty happy to stick with playing in the sand (something that she had a major aversion to only a year ago) and climbing on the sculptures.

The girls were keen to go on the concrete slides but also a little scared. They love the concrete slide at Codornices Park here in Berkeley, but after one of their friends knocked out a tooth on the edge of it they've been a little reluctant to slide. The playground at Koret Children's Quarter features three concrete slides: two long, narrow slides that run next to each other, and a small concrete "hill" perfect for younger kids to slide down. Ava warmed up with a few practice runs on the hill slide before plucking up the courage to ride the big slides. A few rides later and she had completely forgotten her fears. Lola was too scared to ride the big slide so she stuck to the hill - mostly while sitting on Daddy's lap.

Also located next to Koret Children's Quarter is the Sharon Art Studio where various art classes are held. It was closed for Memorial Day while we were there but we were able to walk around the building's lovely terrace. It's such a beautiful building.

Koret Children's Quarter is sure to become a fast favourite with Ava and Lola - and eventually Mathilde too. Now that the girls know of its existence I imagine that we'll struggle to visit Golden Gate Park without stopping by for a slide and carousel ride.

Then again... they were a little scared about coming back to Golden Gate Park when they spotted the "Coyote Alert" sign on the way out!

You can see more of our other visits to Golden Gate Park here:
California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco Botanical Gardens
Japanese Tea Gardens


  1. looks like such a fun day! I love antique carrousels!

    1. The carousel is beautiful, isn't it? We're lucky to have at least four vintage carousels nearby that I can think of. A carousel ride always makes the day feel special :)

  2. I had no idea one could even slide down a concrete slide! Very cool. Coyotes, not so cool. Are they like dingos?

    1. All I know about coyotes I've learnt from Looney Toons!
      I've only ever seen one in a zoo. I remember there being a sign up asking people not to make loud noises so I guess they're pretty timid creatures. I think of them as being like a little, scrawny wolf - but not scary like a real wolf.
      The concrete slide is pretty cool. You need to slide down on cardboard otherwise it hurts!

  3. I see you are using cardboard in the pictures. We are contemplating making one in the hill in our backyard:)


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