Mom Recs: Huntington Falls and Strawberry Hill
By Beth Ryan
My kids really enjoy stepping stones. We can easily spend a half hour bopping back and forth on the flat stones of a well-landscaped front walkway. So the huge stones at Stowe Lake which cross in front of the giant waterfall are a favorite destination. They are BIG, and the gap of water is relatively small. My kids only get their feet wet 50% of the time.
And do yours like to climb stairs as much as mine? (Despite often being too tired to walk on a flat surface in the supermarket?) If so, take the stairways along either side of the man-made, Disneyland-esque Huntington falls. Cross the cool bridges, and make it to the very top for a gorgeous view. After the falls, keep going a little further up the path to the very top of Strawberry Hill, where you will be rewarded with a cluster of mysterious ruins that make for great climbing structure and some intense imaginary play. The jagged formation are the remnants of the Sweeney Observatory and pond, built in 1891 by a wealthy man who lived on Judah and 7th. The Observatory (built to observe the view, not the stars) crumbled in the 1906 earthquake, much to the delight of its detractors, who thought it garish against the natural beauty of the park.
The whole excursion is one of our favorites because it seems adventurous but is rather convenient. You can usually get a parking spot right by the concrete bridge at Stowe Lake. Cross the bridge onto the central island and turn left to get to the foot of the waterfall. Bathrooms and a snack bar are nearby at the boathouse.
Beth is an archaeologist, freelance writer, and compulsive researcher. She lives in the Outer Sunset, but drags her two kids and husband to sites all over the Bay Area.
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