Today we went to the Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) homed within the beautiful Kelley Park at 1300 Senter Road. As the weather is getting better, we are always on the lookout of places to go with our kids. The little one being only 8 weeks, our options are somewhat limited but we try to do what we can. For example, a few weeks ago, when she was about 5 weeks, we had a picnic in the grass around the pond by the Berryessa Library.
We got to the park around 11:00 a.m. and parked in the shaded area of the nearby Happy Hollow Park parking lot. The JFG is not hard to find. As soon as you enter Kelley Park, you can pretty much experience the beauty of the park in its surroundings – serene, green, and inviting. The JFG is right off the main walking path to the right. Upon entering it, my first impression was that it was busy. I am not sure why I was expecting any different. It is a Sunday today so the busyness of the place should have been expected. Anyway, you are greeted by a little pond upon entering and a some fish.
As you proceed further, you are greeted by the extension of that same pond but this one is cleaner and filled with more and prettier fish as well as ducks. You can buy fish food for $0.25 which we did twice and J had a great time feeding the many hungry ducks clamoring for some grub. The fish didn’t seem particularly interested in the food on one side of the pond – the other side of the pond had more fish interested in the food being thrown at them and made the quintessential fish face which amused J (and me :))
As we proceeded further into the Garden, we came across a waterfall and up a little hill (needed to push our stroller up high but being that it is a BOB, it worked great), we came across a bridge that is akin to all Japanese gardens and which provided a great photo-op even though the pond under it wasn’t the cleanest. At one point, there was a short line of people waiting their turn to take pictures on the bridge. My toddler J seemed impressed with the waterfall. He wanted to keep looking at it and kept pointing at it as we crossed it. I would love to bring him back here and let him take his time enjoying the Fall.
We picnicked on the grass next to the bridge and were there for about 20 minutes and finishing up our food when a park custodian came by to tell us that we were not allowed to picnic in the grass anywhere in the JFG because they had to maintain the grass (even though there was a photoshoot that could potentially also harm the grass happening just 50 feet from where we were seated but because you pay for professional shoots, that may be permissible). Anyway, we were almost done so we just finished up and wrapped up our picnic.
We liked the little we saw of Kelley Park and really liked the JFG. We’ll definitely be back!!!