Filoli With Kids, in Living Color

It’s embarrassing to admit that this amazing estate with eye popping gardens is five minutes from our house door-to-door, but we only visited for the first time this past weekend. In the past, the time wasn’t right or I thought the kids were too young, but the excuses ran out when we became members this year. A friend made an off hand comment about how a Filoli membership makes a great Christmas gift, and with nothing better to ask for, a family membership was put on my holiday list.

The grounds are amazing, full of Spring color and scents, with some of the colors vibrant enough to seem unbelievable or in one case, nearly blinding with vibrancy.

The kids loved it, showing much more interest than I expected from them. They couldn’t believe the colors either, and they excitedly ran around pointing and smelling the different flowers, all while day dreaming about how it would be to live there. It was fairly crowded on Saturday, with many tourists snapping away with their cameras. Many times we either walked into some one’s shot or they into ours. A group of young German kids were dressed up in suits and fancy dresses, with their mom taking photos of them in front of different plants. My son asked if there was going to be a wedding, and when we said no, he answered, “Then why are they so dressed up?” Even kids take notice when someone their size is wearing a suit. Next time we’ll return on a weekday to have more space, but the upside of a crowd is that any noise from the kids went unnoticed.

I didn’t watch Dynasty growing up (I was more of a Dallas/Falcon Crest girl), but it’s the house and grounds featured in the show opening. Maybe next time we’ll recreate some of Dynasty’s famous scenes, like this group.

Actually, next time we’ll probably join a hike. The grounds that you can travel alone aren’t as vast as anticipated, but guided hikes included with the cost of admission cover the estate’s trails. The hikes require a reservation and are for ages five and up.

It would be the perfect place to spend a quiet weekday or to take out of town visitors. Our plan is to mark all of the seasons with a visit to note the changes. Both kids have asked to go back, confirming that the membership makes a great gift.

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