Few visitors make it to the west-most edge of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but those who do are often startled by the sight of this enormous windmill facing onto the Pacific. Queen Wilhelmina’s Windmill is one of two enormous windmills that were built in 1902 to help bring water into Golden Gate Park and nearby areas. This recently restored treasure is surrounded by a lovely small garden, which explodes with tulips each early spring and dazzles with other blossoms most of the year.
It’s the perfect place to bring a picnic or plan your lunch outing while exploring San Francisco’s west side. Even on sunny days when the afternoon winds pick up along the coast, this garden treasure is still fairly well sheltered from the coastal breeze by surrounding trees and its slightly sunken location. The windmill itself inspires photos of all sorts, and you may happen upon an artist at work capturing its likeness in paint. Small children love to race around the garden paths and explore the nooks around the base of the structure.
While you’re there:
Ocean Beach is right across the street, so stroll on over to make a sand castle. Also, the Beach Chalet restaurant is just a short stroll away, with its “Park Chalet” outdoor service that is very popular for families with tots on sunny, warm afternoons as we are so lucky to have spring and fall (not so in July). They often have live music as well, adding to the festive ambience. Here is a shot of the approach from the park-side footpath; you can also enter from the front side on Great Highway. The windmill is also an easy stop on your way to or from Fort Funston–another great FREE attraction in San Francisco.
I’m very sorry to say the SF Culture Bus has been discontinued due to insufficient ridership, which now makes reaching most destinations in Golden Gate Park by public transportation—especially the west end—a very slow undertaking for visitors staying downtown. The Fulton 5 line will take you along the northern edge of the entire park, but slowly (more public transit help here). For most visitors with small children traveling out from Fisherman’s Wharf or the financial district, a car would certainly simplify things–and will make it easier to explore other nearby attractions in the Outer Richmond district and along the coast.
Congratulations to Kim Cotton, winner of the $50 gift certificate from our sponsor: Jet Set Babies!
Save 15% on your own order!
For the rest of you, Jet Set Babies is offering a generous 15% off your entire order of baby (or toddler!) supplies for deliveries now through December 25, 2009, when you use the checkout code: TravelswithBaby.
That ought to help you gear up for holiday travel.
I’ll be announcing another Gear Up for Holiday Travel giveaway soon! In the mean time, you can also click here to see more discounts from my advertisers.
Last weekend, we traveled to Monterey to help celebrate two very special birthdays in my family, plus the 25th anniversary of the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium. While it goes without saying that the aquarium is glorious and is a must-see for any family traveling to or through Monterey, CA, it’s the unexpected OTHER attraction that I’m even more excited to share. (And unlike the aquarium, it’s free!)
“Dennis the Menace Playground” is located in the heart of El Estero Park in Monterey, on a small peninsula surrounded by waters navigable by rented paddle boat. The sprawling play park was created by the author of the Dennis the Menace comic strip as a gift to the city, and has something for kids of all ages, with baby swings and a separate fenced toddler playground on up to a climbing wall and skate park for teens.
Its more unique features include the wide suspension bridge, a small shrub labyrinth with play structure in the center, and the fabulous red-roller slide popular with preschoolers and tweens alike. The retired Southern Pacific steam engine at the entrance is also a popular climbing structure.
More tips for your visit:
- Bring a picnic or buy burgers and refreshments at the booth on the parking lot.
- The playground is open daily from 10 a.m. to dusk, and is closed on non-holiday Tuesdays Sept. through May.
- The Monterey Municipal Beach is across Del Monte Ave. from the park and offers great late-day lighting for pictures with its rare (for the West Coast) northern orientation.
- Click here to see a Google map with Dennis the Menace Playground.
Reminder: $50 gift certificate giveaway in progress!
Let Jet Set Babies ship your baby or toddler essentials to your next vacation destination (or heck, your home!). Baby food, toddler meals, diapers, wipes, sun block, infant formula, and more. Enter to win a $50 gift certificate!
This post is part of Photo Friday at Deliciousbaby.com. Head over there for more fun travel shots and ideas for your own travels.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy learning how and where to shop for baby essentials when I travel (you could say I’m a bit eccentric that way), but sometimes—like when you’re arriving completely jetlagged with three people under 6 years old, 2 of whom who can’t wait to hit the sand—let’s face it, it’s nice to have the basics on hand and ready to go. Instead of dragging my family to the local markets, I’ll be dancing with them on the beach!
Congratulations to Steph, a mom of THREE 1.5-year-olds, and winner of my CARES flight harness giveaway! Steph’s second entry (blog subscription) was the winning entry randomly chosen using the Random.org number generator. Steph, please email me within the next 3 days so I can get your CARES on its way to you.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I enjoyed reading through your various family travel plights and wish I could give you each a CARES—or dedicated nanny, if not a Sherpa—to help with your upcoming travels. Steph, I wish I could give you THREE of these puppies, but here’s a start anyway. And thanks again to our generous sponsor, Kids fly Safe.
For everyone else, remember that you’ll find more info on CARES and other car seat alternatives on the Travels with Baby site. And for travels with car seats… check out these helpful accessories and travel bags that will help make getting them through the airport, onto the cruise ship, or across the train station much simpler.
More help for traveling with car seats?
Don’t forget to check your copy of Travels with Baby Part 4 for tips on installing car seats in other vehicles, car seat laws across state lines, driving with children in foreign countries, using car seats in RVs, and more; also see Part 5 for everything you need to know about using car seats on airplanes.
Next “Gear up for holiday travel” giveaway coming up later today!
Okay, what’s the next best thing to a dedicated nanny or Sherpa to help ease your way through the airport and to your vacation destination with your baby or toddler—or both? I’ll be giving it away next.
Related posts and links:
A Closer Look at CARES
Great products and gear for travel
Important distinctions between CARES and the Baby B’Air
Ask Shelly: Tips for visiting Rome with toddler, senior, and possibly car seat?
Ask Shelly: Would you take the Sit ‘N Stroll on my Air New Zealand flight?
FAQs and Popular Topics at TravelswithBaby.com
When I first read this note from a fellow Shelly (extra points for one “e”!), I thought this mom was admirably ambitious. But before I could respond, she contacted me with the news that she had since learned that she is also pregnant… with identical twins! Any of you who have visited Rome with children, taken multi-generational trips—or traveled while pregnant (x2!), please feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below, along with links to any of your own posts on these topics that may be of help.
I just recently found your website and I love it. I have your book ordered on Amazon and should have it next week. I’ve read most of your posts about strollers (we are going to start looking for the Maclaren Triumph), car seats, the CARE strap etc. Since I don’t have your book yet and I’m impatient I thought I’d send a note, on the off chance that you might have time to reply.
We are leaving Nov. 4 with our 2-year-old and my husband’s 85-year-old mother from Indianapolis to stay in Rome for 10 nights. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I’ve been to Italy a few times before but never with a baby or a senior. I feel good about the stroller recommendation and will start working on getting the Triumph. However, I’m still confused on what to do with the car seat.
I went ahead and ordered the [Traveling Toddler] car seat strap that you suggested because I love the idea of strapping Alex to luggage and rolling him around and I’m sure he would be more comfortable in the seat. However I’m not sure about using the car seat in Italy. We will be relying on chauffeured cars, trains, and bus trips to get around to other cities from our home base in Rome. I read on your site that a lot of these cities don’t require car seats by law, etc.
My goal is a safe, comfortable baby and parents who don’t bring bulky heavy things they don’t need. What would you do in my situation? To bring the car seat to Rome or not to bring the car seat to Rome that is the question? Any info recommendations on my specific need would be greatly appreciated.
First, let me say immediately that the “don’t require car seats by law” clause I referred to with regard to New York City, San Francisco, and most major European cities, concerns only taxis and chauffeured private vehicles, but not rental cars you pay for and drive yourself; odd and somewhat confusing, I realize. Safety, however, is its own concern here. (Have you seen Italians drive!?)
Bringing the car seat?
I leave it to you whether you want to bring the car seat from home or not. I agree that for the long flight, at 2 years old, he may be more comfortable in a car seat and more easily contained by the car seat buckles than the airplane seat buckle if you think he might be a “flight risk” (some kids have more of an issue with this than others).
Not bringing the car seat?
For the case of not bringing the car seat, you might consider using CARES on the flight, which anyone considering can read more about in my detailed CARES review and in Car Seat Alternatives. It looks like you already entered to win a CARES in my current giveaway, so good for you!
You can also rent a car seat in Rome for just the time you would need it – or a stroller for that matter – from the Rome baby gear rental agency listed on my site.
Around Rome with seniors and strollers:
While in Rome, public transportation and trains will provide freedom from car seats with adequate safety and is usually a great way to explore. However, if you hope to do much sightseeing in and around Rome with both a stroller and a senior citizen (and a pregnant lady with jetlag!), a hop-on/hop-off bus pass in Rome for a couple of days might be just the thing to help you all see the more spread out city sights comfortably without the extra stops, navigation, and mileage put on by seeing Rome as “a Roman.” You can save your legs for walks to the sights closer to your lodgings, rather than the not-so-scenic Metro system. The lower deck of the bus is even wheelchair-accessible—and therefore stroller-friendly.
Here are the Rome Hop-on Hop-off Stops:
2. SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE – Via Liberiana 16 – the side of Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore
3. COLOSSEO – Via Celio Vibenna
4. CIRCO MASSIMO – Opposite Piazzale Ugo La Malfa
5. ISOLA TIBERINA – Piazza di Monte Savello ATAC bus stop
6. BOTTEGHE OSCURE – Via Botteghe Oscure
7. CHIESA NUOVA – Piazza della Chiesa Nuova (Corso Vittorio Emanuele)
8. SAN PIETRO – Opposite Caffè San Pietro, no. 36 (for Vatican city)
9. PONTE SANT’ANGELO – Piazza Sant’Angelo opposite the Castle
10. PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE – wait for the bus in front of the “Gusto Restaurant
11. PIAZZA NAVONA – Corso Rinascimento
12. PIAZZA VENEZIA – Museo Vittoriano, side of “colonna Traiana” Monday to Friday ATTENTION: the side of Piazza Ara Coeli on Sundays and Bank Holidays (without sign)
13. TRITONE – Via del Tritone
14. PIEMONTE – Via Piemonte
15. VIA VENETO – Via Boncompagni corner Via Veneto
16. PIAZZA BARBERINI – On the square beside the Optician shop
17. REPUBBLICA – Piazza della Repubblica corner Via Terme di Diocleziano
You can check out more details about the Rome hop-on/hop-off here. Children 5 and under ride free. You might also be interested in the hop-on/hop-off addition that includes the river boat—extra fun for the toddler and a nice way to see the old city.
As someone just about to head down the coast with 4 generations of family myself, I salute and admire you for undertaking this trip with your extended family! I would love to hear how it goes.
Good luck & safe journey,
http://www.travelswithbaby.com/ twitter facebook
PS This photo is a snapshot I took of the Roman Forum, one of my favorite places on earth. Someday I hope a small smidgen of my ashes will be scattered in a corner there.
CARES slips over the airplane seat back and joins with the seatbelt to create a 4-point safety harness that can be used for children up to 44 lbs. and 40” tall. It’s also the only flight safety product that’s FAA-approved for use by children during all phases of a flight, including taxiing, take-off, and landing. Not to mention, it weighs only 1 lb. and packs into its own stuff sack (as shown below).
If you’d like to improve your odds of being the lucky winner of this CARES, you can get up to 3 additional entries (only 1 entry per method, please). Here’s how:
1. Subscribe – Subscribe to this blog using the spam-free email subscription box above. Then leave an additional comment below this post telling me you’ve done so. If you’ve already subscribed, go ahead and add your extra post. Thanks!
2. Twitter – Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, including @travelswithbaby and a link to this post http://tinyurl.com/yc7s3uv, then leave an additional comment below with your twitter handle. (Again, thanks!)
3. Facebook – Visit the new Travels with Baby page and become a fan if you haven’t already, then write your reason for wanting this free CARES on the Travels with Baby wall. After that, leave an additional comment below telling me you’ve done that, too.
Mark… set… good luck! More great giveaways coming up!
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guideTravels with Baby
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