A tip – if you go to Tilden on a Sunday between noon and 3 pm. you can walk the length of the tracks, passed the ticket office and go under the tracks through the tunnel. You will emerge at the home of the Golden Gate Live Steamers. It’s a non-profit museum running a miniature rail way that’s even smaller than the Redwood Valley Railway. On most Sundays they offer rides against donations on their small trains.
The Redwood Valley Railway in Tilden Park above Berkeley is just the cutest ride! You can get a 5 ride ticket for $12 and ride the genuine, small scale steam train through a landscape that feels authentic Wild West. The conductor shouts ‘Aaaaall aboard!, the whistle blows, people holler when you go through the tunnel and the ride is about 10 minutes long – best value for money in the Bay Area!
Tilden Park runs almost the length of Oakland, the East Bay. Basically you turn left off the freeway and keep going until you go up, up, up, and you’ll find yourself almost up in the clouds (on some days in the clouds) with all the Bay spread out far beneath you.
The park covers a huge area and include a vintage carrousel, a swimming lake, a small farm and an activity center. Plus the small scale steam trains! If you have children along, take them here for the carousel rather than pay over the top for the one at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Being a tourist in San Francisco is pretty boring. Surprised? Well, you walk around with all the other tourists looking at Union Square, try to find a decent meal at Fisherman’s Wharf and miss all the fun. I’m sure I would never have discovered Hyde Street and Polk Street if it wasn’t because I found friends on Hyde Street I could stay with. And we would never have discovered Tilden Park if we hadn’t been travelling with a 2.5 year old toddler. More tomorrow but here is what one of the main attractions of Tilden Park looks like…