This may sound odd, but I really like the Fresno weather. I don’t like the freezing cold, and I tolerate the heat. I don’t love the heat, but I’d much rather be hot than cold. As I was running errands today, I realized how nice it was outside, in fact I was kind of warm. (It was 66 degrees.) I then got to thinking about how nice it would be to take the kids to the park.
There are a lot of neighborhood parks around town, but we have a favorite that we like to frequent-Oso De Oro. In our family we call it The Bear Park, since there is a bear that greets everyone who enters. (Also, oso de oro is the spanish translation for golden bear, so, you know.) A little fun fact-that California Grizzly Bear that greets everyone was sculpted by our very own Margaret Hudson. If you are from the area, I’m sure you’ve heard of Margaret Hudson. If not, I’m guessing you’ve seen some of her work around town. (The Zoo, Fig Garden.) She opens her studio up for field trips, and is such an amazing woman and artist. Anyway, the bear at Oso De Oro is such a favorite for our family, that the kids take a picture riding it every single time we visit. Looking back over the years it’s so heart warming to see how much my children have grown. I remember looking at pictures from when I was little, and I would be playing at Playland at the Zoo, and having fond memories. I hope when my children get older, they can look at their pictures from The Bear Park, and recall just as fond of memories that I’ve had.
I first started going to Oso De Oro in high school, while they were still building it. (It was originally built for children who had physical disabilities, and could go on the play structures, even in their wheelchairs.) I remember I would leave school for our lunch break, and went to the park with a friend. Back then I was a new driver, so I didn’t really know where the park was. (It’s on Barstow and Forkner, in Northwest Fresno.) So, when I had a child some 7 years later, I had a hard time finding it. Thankfully, I stumbled upon the park one day and a family tradition was born! My daughter’s father and I use to take my daughter to the park all the time. We took picnic lunches, sat on the grass, and fed the ducks. My daughter would play on the swings, slides and in the summer, she would play in the water. (There is a water area that looks like a super small flowing river, which they turn on sometime in June. It was off for a couple years, but it’s been back on for a while now.) Shortly after my daughter was 2, her dad started taking her on his own. Going to The Bear Park was their special thing.
Now, 10 years later, it’s still a favorite, and now my 6 year old son enjoys the park just as much as my 12 year old. Over time things have changed at Oso De Oro. New structures have been put into place, old ones taken out, new sand added, slides removed and replaced, fences put up, and swings changed. But one thing has always remained the same-the bear. So, next time you’re looking for a new park to take your family, try Oso De Oro. Oh, and make sure to take a picture with the bear!!! 🙂