As we strolled around The Gardens at Lake Merritt, a chunk of Lakeside Park that shares a parking area with Children's Fairyland, my husband and I agreed that visiting botanical gardens always sounds boring, but is usually a big win with my family.
In the Sensory Garden, one of eleven themed sections of the Lake Merritt Gardens, we rubbed mint, lavender, and “pizza” flavored leaves (oregano) with our fingers. If your children cannot stop touching everything they walk by, this is the place to take them.
There is a Japanese garden with Bonsai trees, an Edible garden, and more in this 7-acre herb, shrub, and tree mecca. My camera lens was foggy when we visited, due to moisture in my purse (#momproblems), so the shot above is borrowed from Yelp.
There are over-sized leaf statues to huddle beneath, paths on which to skip, and, as of this writing, an empty river bed into which one can jump.
Add a visit to The Gardens to your list of things to do with visiting grandparents. Admission is free, but parking is $5.00.
Mom's groups that like to walk the Lake can stop by and find a shady bench on which to feed a baby.