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Beaches and boats in San Francisco

We haven’t brought the kids to San Francisco very many times. The pandemic put a damper on a lot of city outings, and then we were just juggling a lot and bringing a couple little kids to the city was a bigger challenge than we were prepared for. Things have calmed down a bit now, and this month we decided we were in a much better position to bring the kids on little trips to the city.

The first adventure was a long day with both a trip to the zoo, and a visit to the beach. It had been over a year since we’d been to the San Francisco Zoo, so Aaron was only a year old when we were last there. Adam seemed to remember it somewhat, but he definitely seemed more interested in the gardens and running around than the actual animals. That’s OK though, there was plenty of both for everyone to have a good time!

We got there in the morning and stayed for lunch, and then made our way across the street to our second destination of the day, the beach!

The last time Adam was at a beach was when we were in Florida all the way back in 2019. Aaron had never been to a beach! But they’d both seen them on TV plenty of times. They knew about the sand and water, building sand castles, and were pretty excited about the prospect of going. I wasn’t sure it would live up to their expectations, especially with how cold the ocean water is in northern California. I had nothing to worry about, my little California boys basically want to live at the beach now.

Little Aaron was definitely feeling the chill of the ocean water, but even through shivering, it was hard to get him out. Logistically, I think I was the only one who struggled a bit with it all. Sand gets everywhere, and there was so much stuff to clean. Plus, beaches are 45-60 minutes from home, depending upon traffic, and that’s a lot of time on the road for a beach visit. I think our next step is to find some non-ocean beaches closer to home. And as a bonus, non-ocean beaches will have warmer water!

The following weekend was spent with another trip up to San Francisco, this time to attend a birthday party for one of my friends in Golden Gate Park. It was great to see him and I’m glad we went, but MJ and I were the only parents there wrangling kids among a crowd child-free San Franciscans, so that was a little awkward for me.

When we wrapped up at the party, we took the kids over to see the bison paddock, and then what turned out to be the big event of the day for the kids, paddle boats! I had never done paddle boats as an adult, and I always kinda wrote it off as an expensive, silly thing, but it was actually a lot of fun, and now Aaron asks to go on boats all the time. Maybe next we’ll do a ferry in the bay.

At this point we were getting into “long day” territory and we had to decide whether to drive home, or visit the San Francisco sushi place we frequented when we lived in the city. We went back and forth a little, but decided to push on forward and get dinner in the city. It was a delight to see the owners and sushi chef who we used to see on a weekly basis, and this was their introduction to our kids! But just like the party in the park, it was a jarring experience to be socializing with people who had known us before kids, and suddenly our conversations and situation were so different.

Still, we go to enjoy a bunch of our old favorites, and even managed to find food on the menu that the boys would eat so they had a healthy dinner.

It was fun driving into the city, but I think our next visit will be via BART for a visit downtown. The Adam hasn’t been to Pier 39 since he was very little, and Aaron has never been, I think a stroll along the Embarcadero will be a lot of fun for all of us, and maybe a visit to the aquarium, given how much Aaron likes to watch fish.