Moms, did any of you get a little stir-crazy the first month of your child’s birth?!
I sure did! And so did little Ten Ten. We quickly discovered that Tenley loves the outdoors. Whenever she got fussy, we would buckle her in the Ergobaby and take a nice walk around the neighborhood.
After weeks of walking around our neighborhood, our walks became a bit mundane and we were feeling a little confined once again. Before Tenley was born, Brett & I would hike once a week. Our adventurous hearts craved for something more. We were missing our life outdoors, but as new parents, we were also wanting to be very cautious on where we take our little Ten Ten before her immunization shots.
One of the great things about maternity/paternity leave…
We are able to explore Southern California during the weekday and skip the weekend crowds!!
If you’re from Southern California, just imagine that feeling when the 5 to the 101 to the 405 to the 10 is not bumper to bumper. It is the best!
We (over)packed our diaper bag, went through numerous diaper changes and feedings…and about 5 hours later, we finally arrived to our first family outing at Descanso Gardens (which is only 20 minutes from home).
Do you know what I love about Descanso Gardens?
There is always something blooming at Descanso Gardens. Each and every time I come here, I am in awe of all of the different flowers, even during the winter time! To see what type of flowers to expect during your visit to Descanso Gardens, click here.
With little Ten Ten at 4 weeks old*, it was our first time together as a family at Descanso Gardens, and it was an overall success! Below are reasons why we enjoyed it and we know you and your family will too.
Top 5 Reasons Why
is Perfect for the Family!
5. Shade Everywhere!
At Descanso Gardens, there are lots of shaded areas to protect the kids from the California sun! If you catch the sun beaming on your shoulders, look no further, there will be a shaded area nearby. Descanso Gardens does a great job in providing natural shade with their tall redwood and oak trees, and with their installments of gazebos and arbor benches. With shade throughout the garden, this also makes it easy for you and family to pick a spot to sit and rest when needed.
On our trip, we utilized these shaded areas for when we had to change Ten Ten. We felt very comfortable doing so, as it was easy to find a shaded and private spot.
4. Keep Calm and Be Zen at the Japanese Garden
Once you cross over the cute red bridge over to the Japanese Garden, you and your family (including your little ones) will get a sense of peace and zen. There are several koi fish swimming in the pond to keep the kids entertained. It was also a great place to see artists drawing in their sketchbooks, people reading, and families simply enjoying the peacefulness of the Japanese Garden. We can’t wait to come back during the Cherry Blossom Festival in March! I can already imagine seeing the cherry blossoms blooming over the red lanterns of the Japanese Garden.
3. Stroller Up & Down the Hills of Descanso Gardens
Moms, are you ever in a constant battle of wanting to do some post-baby exercises? Post-baby exercise sounds like a good idea, but let’s be real, 90% of our days are filled with exhaustion from being on call 24/7 to our little one. When you actually have a moment of free time, you either want to nap or finally eat a meal that is not below room temperature. Am I right?! Because it always seemed like once your food is ready in the kitchen, the baby is crying in their nursery for you. Been there, done that TOO MANY times to count.
So when and how can we sneak in some post-baby exercise?
At Descanso Gardens you can! The great part is that you don’t realize you are throwing in some exercise time until you go home and discover that you have walked over 10,000 steps at the garden. You can easily get a good work-out, if you choose to go on the paths that go uphill and back downhill. Trust me, there are plenty of those routes!
BUT, if you are not feeling it on your trip, don’t fret, there are other trails that will take you to all the destinations that are flat. Just be sure to have a map open and ready! Uphill or not, you will still be surrounded by natural beauty of Descanso Gardens.
2. Peacefully Dine at Cafe Descanso
Image by Patina Group via Descanso Gardens
Do you ever go to places and feel like the only dining option is a place that feels like a enclosed cafeteria with plain white walls? And then you start to feel extra trapped because it is your only option and the kids are screaming, “MOM! I’m starving!” Then you try to be funny and say, “Son, you are not starving, your name is ______.”
Funny thing is…my parents used to say that to me ALL the time. Most likely, I will be passing that mom joke on with our little Ten Ten!
Luckily, at Cafe Descanso, it is anything but a confined cafeteria, it instead maintains the feeling of peacefully dining outside in a quaint garden. Cafe Descanso offers outdoor dining with covered and shaded seating. I will admit finding an open table can be a challenge. It is not because there is not enough tables, but because Cafe Descanso has great food at very reasonable prices. Brett and I enjoyed their Descanso Burger, which was tasty on a brioche bun and their Boddy Dog, which was similar to a Chicago dog. I must also mention their juices and lemonade are so good! I always order one or both drinks every time I visit Descanso Gardens. They also offer beer & wine at Cafe Descanso. There is certainly something for every member in your family!
1. Step into the (Secret) Rose Garden
Okay, it is no “secret” garden, because it is open to all who enter Descanso Gardens, but you will instantly feel like you are stepping into Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, The Secret Garden, and have escaped the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. It is personally the biggest rose garden I have seen. The Rose Garden at Descanso Gardens stretches 5 acres and is home to more than 16,000 roses.
There are roses that are beautifully wrapped around archways, fountains, arbor benches, and much more. You are surrounded by roses from top to bottom. You can not help but feel romantic when you are in here. My favorite part of the day was rocking Tenley in such a beautiful setting, as she was peacefully napping.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden
Worth the Mention:
Unfortunately, you can’t bring in your stroller, but you can park it right outside the house. At this time, Tenley was napping when we got to the Boddy House, so we decided to keep strollering instead of waking her up. I have been inside the Boddy House before and it is neat to see! The Boddy House is open daily, except on Mondays.
Tenley is too young to ride it, but it seemed like kids really enjoyed it and it gives parents a nice break from walking. We can’t wait to take Tenley when she is at least 30 inches tall!
Tips for Our Next Trip:
Admission is free on the third Tuesday of each month. If you and your family happen to be free, take advantage of it!
A good portion of the paths at Descanso Gardens are stroller friendly. We had minor difficulties using the stroller in the Rose Garden where it was a mixture of hard sand in some areas and grassy in others. It was still very manageable, but not as easy as the rest of the paths at Descanso Gardens. From this trip, we learned that our stroller is more geared towards paved surfaces. Next time, we will bring a jogging stroller.
Parents, do you have any tips on how to prepare beforehand for family trips?
Or making it on time to events? We are still getting the hang of it!
Let us know in the comments, below!
Until our next adventure…
Place: Descanso Gardens
Location: La Cañada Flintridge, California
Date: November 2016