Salt & Fog

The Art of Veronica Casson

San Francisco

Exploring Golden Gate Park

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson2 Comments
GGP+posible header

It’s impossible to not succumb to routine when you are a stay-at-home mom. Which is fine. Kids need routine. It helps them developmentally. It gives them a sense of control. But, It can be dangerous. While routine is grand, it’s equally as important to change it up sometimes and open ourselves up to new experiences.

In years past I spent almost the entirety of the week with only Luke and myself. Now that he is three, attends preschool three mornings a week, sees grandparents once or twice a week and Julie is able to work from home on Friday, our days are not as solitary as they once were. As many parents will understand this is both a relief and a tragedy.

With all this in mind I vowed to treat last Thursday a special day. Not just a day to get through until dinner time. A day to look for magic.

Here's what I did:

I let Luke decide what we were going to do. (With some guidance of course.)

I offered him these suggestions: go to a museum, explore golden gate park, go for a hike along the coast.

When I told him he got to pick his eyes grew really wide and  super serious. "I want to do Golden Park in Fran Fran-Frisco, " he said.



In case you don't know, towards the west end of Golden Gate park not far from Ocean Beach, there is a Buffalo Paddock where six or seven large bison roam about gnawing on the grass and begrudgingly posing for pictures.

Luke could already see one from his window when we were parking. He got so excited he started singing to them.


They are so big! Until I am standing next to them, I forget how massive and prehistoric the Buffalo are.


Luke said, “I want to see them from all sides” so we walked along the perimeter of the fence and discovered an expansive sandy dog park hidden in the trees.


Byron found a pack of mid-sized dogs to run around with. Luke was nudged into a game of fetch by a friendly lab. Every time the dog would retrieve the ball and drop it at Luke's feet he would crack up.

gg dogpark



We unpacked our picnic of string cheese, salami, veggies sticks and yogurt dip at Spreckles lake. Home of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club (SFMYC)m Spreckles Lake is  a man-made reservoir created exclusively for model boat builders. It’s the only place in San Francisco you can drive a model boat without a permit. Who knew?



Apparently you can get a kid to sit still and  eat for a while if you can just get others to drive models ships around.  Good tip for you there.

gg eatinh


While we were cleaning up lunch Luke spotted a gopher peaking out of his den. It would hide for a few moments and just when Luke thought it was gone it would pop up again creating another giggling fit. Oddly Byron could care less.


Stow Lake

boating house

I think the docks, boathouse and grounds surrounding Stow Lake are darling. I had no intention of actually going on the boats, I just brought Luke there as we were near by and I enjoy the atmosphere. Once he realized getting in one of the boats and floating about was an option, there was no going back.


I was nervous about my steering and rowing abilities, but, trying to not let that show, I piled the boys into one end of the boat and pushed off the other. There were a few times we spun out of control, and once we almost collided with a nest of seagulls but other than that I did all right. Oh, we got turned around in a tunnel once too when I tried to take a photo. But who’s counting?. We were able to do the whole circuit before our hour rental ran out, no one fell in, and we all had a wonderful time. Even Byron did I think.

Stow Lake Birds
Luke and V Stow Lake

Before leaving we split an order of fries in the boathouse while Luke repeated stories of everything we had done that day. He still does too. So worth getting out of my comfort zone.

Byron in Stow Lake Boathouse entryway.

Byron in Stow Lake Boathouse entryway.

Stow Lake Monkey Bars