Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day and Shin Zen Garden (with pictures)

My Mother's Day this year began with a headache. I wasn't going to have any of that though. I met my sister and mom for Breakfast at our favorite place, Green Valley. As soon as I got my coffee and water I took some migraine medication and it knocked it out. So thankful! We spent quality time together chatting before we all headed off in different directions. Both of them were going to their own respective churches and I had to get back to my men. Bryan hates going to church on big holidays, so we decided to watch online. Bryan's mom was speaking at her church (and the church we will most likely attend...when we can) and we didn't want to miss it. Bryan hooked up the computer to the TV and we got to have church while Shepherd played, I did my makeup on the couch and Bryan relaxed. It was pretty perfect. 

Bryan asked me what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and I could only come up with one thing. I wanted to go to the Shin Zen (Friendship) Garden at Woodward Park. Other than the fact that it was a Japanese garden, I didn't know anything else about it. Also, I couldn't recall a time that I'd been to Woodward Park...but maybe once for a Kiss Country (93.7) $5 Concert? Who knows. Anyway, to my knowledge I had never been there and I'd seen one of my Facebook friends post about it. 

Soon we were in the car and on the way to the park! It's about a 45 minute drive, so it wasn't too much for Shepherd to handle and we picked up some In-N-Out on the way. Like I mentioned in my short and sweet post yesterday, I used my Samsung point and shoot for these pictures and wouldn't you know, Shepherd and Bryan are glowing in some pictures? Oh well. 

When you get to the park, there is a $5 entrance fee which gives you access to the whole park. I'm not sure if there are other parts that you have to pay an additional fee to get in but we paid another $5 to see the Shin Zen Garden and I'd say it was worth the collective ten bones. This would be a great place to sit, read and relax. Or a great place to hide when life gets crazy. There is a nice sized parking lot and you're greeted with lush greenery and this sign:

To the right of the entrance is the hut where you pay the entrance fee. To the very left, there was this guy waiting for us. We had no idea there would be peacocks roaming around but there were quite a few of them, both males and females.

 He doesn't look it, but Shepherd was totally into that peacock. He was mesmerized and kept pointing at it. Then he'd "talk" at it.

Aren't those colors just stunning? I haven't seen a peacock in real life since Fort Roosevelt at a local school here in town. It was neat.

There are multiple sections to the garden, and this was one of them. I was surprised at how many water features there are. Lots of creeks and waterfalls. It was incredibly peaceful. Shepherd had such a good time walking around. I kept hovering whenever we were near water. The kid loves it. 

Those are the only two pictures I got of us on Mother's Day and I can't say I'm fond of them but oh well. Such is life.

There were little stone benches and rocks everywhere, donated by various families. The section below had a dirt path that took you very close to the ponds edge...

where we saw a duck! There were signs that requested you stay on the pathways so even though all Shepherd wanted to do was run after that duck, we had him enjoy from afar. The duck was probably thankful.

The pictures below were taken from the top of a fairly steep bridge. Getting the stroller over it was not super easy, as there were tracks to help keep you upright. It was a great view. Below it was a koi pond. Shepherd loved seeing the fish! I do have pictures of the bridge coming up. It was gorgeous.

This area was on the other side of the bridge. Lots of little sitting areas near structures and water features. We didn't get to sit much because toddler.

From this area, when you look back, you could see the bridge we just crossed to get there:

Then, this little area wraps around and there is a big waterfall! Of course I wanted a picture of the boys in front of it; it was so hard to get Shepherd to look at me for it! He kept pulling Bryan's hair to hold him steady while he twisted around. I'm sure that felt reeeeal good.

I ended up with a good one though. I'll definitely be printing this one out. 

Okay, below is the steep(ish) bridge that you cross to get to the far side of the garden. Isn't it so pretty? I took a close up and then zoomed back a bit. 

Where I took this picture was a large covered seating area. We took a few moments to rest and just enjoy the view. Then, Bryan took a few shots of us. This one is my favorite.

On our way back towards the entrance, we saw that two peacocks were protecting this bush and had their feathers all the way up! It was a beautiful sight. They did not want ANYONE to come close to that bush. 

The peacock below is the same one that greeted us at the entrance. He was aggravated since the others were.

 When we got back to the front, I glanced back at the hut where you pay your entrance fee. It had a nice big sign saying No Photography, Please. I'm not sure if that meant professional photos or just family snapshots, but no one came up to me as I was taking pictures and I didn't read that sign until the very end. Oops!

If you are in the Fresno area, I definitely recommend checking out this garden. It's not really a picnic type of a place because they ask that you don't bring food or drink in, but you could definitely bring a book and a bottle of water and just soak up some quiet time.

After Shin Zen Garden, we drove around Woodward Park (it's massive) and ended up going shopping at Kohl's. Then, we headed back to Hanford so that we could drop off our moms gifts.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, Bryan bought me a Fitbit Flex for Mother's Day which I am obsessed with and then he got me the Veronica Mars movie!

I had a great time with my little family and I think they enjoyed themselves too. I definitely wouldn't mind going back!

PS. Here is a map of the garden. It does a better job explain the layout than I ever could. This image is from the website.

PSS. I was not paid, perked or compensated in any way shape or form for this post. I just went there and wrote about it because I wanted to.


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