Tilden Park Adventures

Before I knew I was moving to a more northern part of the Bay Area, I signed my son up for a 2 week sport camp at Cal so he could be with his pre-school friends. Once I moved, I realized that driving the highway in the direction of traffic in the morning would be a nightmare and I needed to find an alternate route. Google told me I could drive backroads south, and cut through Tilden park to get to the back side of the university campus everyday.   

Every morning my son and I would get up early, wave to his sister and dad, and drive down through beautiful hills, park lands, and windy roads to the end up at the prettiest part of the UC Berkeley campus. One day on our drive, I saw the sign for Inspiration Point. I head heard about it, passed a few times, but had never seen. In a totally split second decision, I sharply turned the car in the lot.

“Mom, why did we stop”. “Come on son, let’s go see what this spot is all about.”

My son a little dubious since I’m always touting the need to leave on time and concerns about being late. But he got out o the car and walked with me over to the oversight plaque. In front of us stood a beautiful view of vegetation, hills, and trees for miles around. It was a stunning vista, though honestly, not one of my favorite of the park. My son enjoyed reading the plaque, taking a few pictures, but mostly he liked being with his mom.

Beautiful, view, but not one of the best in the park

As we continued down the road I said “Tomorrow, I’ll show you my favorite view in the park”. With that statement I started a routine spanning the next few days that I’ll treasure forever.

Every morning, we tried to leave about 15 minutes early so we could stop and have a new “adventure” along the way. It didn’t happen every day (some days I had meetings, some days I had car or traffic issues), but we did have a number of adventures exploring the park.

After I saw how much Santiago liked Inspiration Point, I took him to the overview at the Lawrence Hall of Science. From there you can see all of Oakland, Berkeley, and across the bay to San Francisco and San Rafael.

The next fun stop was the Tilden Park Golf Courses. Knowns as being a very hard course due to the hills, we got to see the start of the course and its mist covered hills early in the morning when all was still quiet.

Our next stop was a bit of a bust. We wanted to see the UC Botanical Gardens, but it turned out they weren’t open, and wouldn’t until after I needed to drop off my son. We took a quick peak through the gates, but didn’t get to see much 🙁


Our last stop was both of our favorites. We stopped at the Tilden Park Botanical Gardens, and had time to walk along all the paths and bridges. The place is serene with running water, cozy quiet spots, and beautiful greenery all around. My voracious reader was reading aloud all the plaques, and taking care to learn of the different varieties of vegetation that grew in the gardens

I started the 2 weeks dreading the long commute each morning. By the end I couldn’t wait to get in the car with my son and see what new discovery we would make that day. Being a person who’s so efficiency oriented, it was a good reminder that every once in awhile you need to stop, slow down, and embrace life because that’s where adventure will blossom.

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