Day Trip Adventure: Panhandle walk and playtime at Children’s Playground

Walk the Panhandle, Play at Children's Playground, and ride the Carousel

Cody Tolmasoff
7 min readMay 14, 2020

This is part of a series of family-oriented day trip outings around the San Francisco Bay Area I look forward to enjoying with my kids once social distancing and shelter in place isn’t the norm any longer.

Alvord Lake in Golden Gate Park by Cody Tolmasoff

Panhandle Walk and Playtime at Children’s Playground — A Bonus Adventure

This playground has been THE destination for kids living in the Bay Area for well over 100 years. Lucky for us we can still enjoy the Carousel, and bring our own kids here for their adventures.

It is said that Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park is one of the first public playgrounds in the nation (with previous examples in New York’s Central Park, and Chicago’s Lincoln Park). The Victorian playground (a project of William Hammond Hall’s) was dedicated on December 22, 1888. It was much different than the one we enjoy today however offering wooden slides for boys and girls, homemade wooden swings, a metal circular slide, donkey rides, and goat carts.

Around 1885 following the death of Senator William P. Sharon, the Senator left a bequest of $50,000 (around $1.2 million value today) for the beautification of Golden Gate Park in his will. The Park Commissioners at the time argued over what to do with the money for quite a while. Eventually, William Hammond Hall persuadee the park commissioners that a children’s quarters would be most beneficial.

The Sharon Building (today an art studio that offers classes) originally housed a soda fountain, a dairy room, storerooms for playthings (that were lent out), and stables in the cellar for the goats (an original attraction was driving a goat cart around). Next to the Sharon building was a carousel, which was originally housed under a tent, offering a…



Cody Tolmasoff

Parent-adventurer, creating memories for my two daughters around the SF Bay Area. Author & publisher at @adventuringin & Chief Happiness Officer at @kiddiewalks