One of our favorite activities is to walk the trail to Jewel Lake, behind the Little Farm in Tilden Park. I have a child who loves to run and I feel completely safe in setting her free there. She is also just as likely to discover the smallest pebble embedded in the ground or a bug crawling on a leaf and will stay there absorbed in it until her curiosity is satisfied or she has some other impulse.
On a recent walk, she crouched down near a small stream of water. After a moment she stood up and started moving her little body. She told me that the water was music and stood there dancing for some moments. To me, this is one the great privileges of parenting. Watching a new person experience the “music” of a stream or the mighty work of the tiniest insect. It’s all new and there are so many opportunities for ordinary magic.
Jewel Lake is in the Northern part of Tilden Park (the Marin side rather than the Ashby side). Download this detailed trail map. Free parking is available in the lot for the Nature Center. While you're there, stop by the Little Farm or the many other free activities in Tilden Park.