Swarm: Ladybug Clusters

It’s that time of year, when the ladybugs return to Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, California.  I haven’t hiked out to see them yet this season, but I’ve heard from others that the clusters are back (I’ll head out next week to see for myself and take more photos).  Until then, here are a two photos I took a couple years ago (previously published)… Interested … Continue reading Swarm: Ladybug Clusters

Las Trampas: Bollinger Creek Loop Trail

Looking for a great trail to hike with young kids in San Ramon?  At under two miles, with a variety of scenery, this is one of my favorites spots in the region for a quick escape into nature! Photos taken February 19th, 2014 *** Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, San Ramon, California I’ve written about this one before… Hike: Bollinger Creerk Trail, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Continue reading Las Trampas: Bollinger Creek Loop Trail

Chaparral Loop Trail: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

The Chaparral Loop Trail at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch is a great trail to hike with kids.  First, the trail starts at the Greathouse Visitor Center, which, alone would be a great destination for a family with kids.  The visitor center is located within the mountain!  After exploring the visitor center for a bit, head out onto the trail.  The trail is … Continue reading Chaparral Loop Trail: Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Thank you to guest writer, Ernie Allison, for sharing this article! *** Even though summer isn’t the peak season to witness a heavy migration, the bay area is still full of spots for birders to see some beautiful wild bird species. Whether you’re a local looking to quench your bird watching craving before the migration season, or a visitor looking to see what kind of … Continue reading 5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

San Francisco: The Exploratorium

“The Exploratorium is a twenty-first-century learning laboratory, an eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker. For more than forty years, we’ve built creative, thought-provoking exhibits, tools, programs, and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and lead to profound learning.” – From the Exploratorium website (www.exploratorium.edu) The Exploratorium is the ultimate playground for the mind, a must-visit for anyone who’s into building and creating with … Continue reading San Francisco: The Exploratorium

Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Saturday evening, we went on a fun “spooky night hike” at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  My son was looking forward to this event more than to trick-or-treating on Halloween night! Before sundown, we met with our hike leader (a naturalist / pirate), who gave the kids some safety tips before heading out.  Then he led the families up into the hills. Along the … Continue reading Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Mono Lake: Panum Crater

Due to the government shutdown during our visit to Yosemite National Park last week, we decided to head over to Mono Lake and hike the rim of a volcano instead!  Panum Crater, located just off Highway 120 near the South Tufa Area of the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, is part of a chain of volcanic cones called the Mono-Inyo Craters.   These are considered to … Continue reading Mono Lake: Panum Crater

Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite (Pumpkins)

Perry Family Pumpkin Patch, Fremont, California…. an infinite sea of pumpkins! Photo taken October 12th, 2013 *** WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:  Infinite *** More fun at the Perry Family Pumpkin Patch… climbing the hay pyramid! And more pumpkins… Interested in going?  Check out the J.E. Perry Farms website for details:  perryfarmsorganic.com/ Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite (Pumpkins)

DVD Review: Tell It on the Mountain, Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail

I have to admit, I don’t watch TV.  And I haven’t seen many movies in the past several years.  I do, on occasion, watch PBS specials and documentaries.  I was thrilled, however, when I was offered the opportunity to review the documentary, Tell It on the Mountain:  Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail. I received the DVD in the mail several weeks ago, but only … Continue reading DVD Review: Tell It on the Mountain, Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail

Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

“The most important thing we can teach our children is to observe well.” -Ernst Mayer, Evolutionary Biologist Learning about animal tracks and signs, and journaling their observations. *** An awesome, free, naturalist-led class! Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley *** Interested in learning more about nature journaling?  I highly recommend the book, Keeping a Nature Journal:  Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You, … Continue reading Silent Saturday: Nature Journaling

Outback Express Adventure Train: Oakland Zoo

For those of you with little ones in the train stage, this is a fun one!  The Outback Express Adventure Train at the Oakland Zoo takes passengers on a tour of wild Australia, where you may see emus and wallaroos.  Enjoy! Interested in going?  You’ll find the train station within the rides area, out front of the Oakland Zoo.  You do not need to enter … Continue reading Outback Express Adventure Train: Oakland Zoo

Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum

The amazing California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento is a must-see for anyone with an interest in trains or American history.  About the museum, from the California State Parks website… The California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) in Old Sacramento is the world-class tribute to the role of the “iron horse” in connecting California to the rest of the nation. Our museum features 21 lavishly restored locomotives … Continue reading Sacramento: California State Railroad Museum

Hike/Run/Bike: Bear Valley Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Earlier this week, we headed to Point Reyes National Seashore for an adventure on the Bear Valley Trail.  The trail from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Arch Rock is just under nine miles.  Lush and green year-round, with the reward of gorgeous Pacific Ocean views at the end of the trail, this is one of my favorite trails in the entire San Francisco Bay … Continue reading Hike/Run/Bike: Bear Valley Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Climb on a Giant Tree! San Mateo Memorial Park

How often do kids get to climb on a really, really large tree? You’ll find the “largest tree” on the Sequoia Trail (at less than a mile long, the trail is perfect for young kids).  The trailhead is in the Tan Oak Picnic Area.  See trail description and hiking map here.. Sequoia Trail.  Note that the “largest tree” is the largest in the park, not … Continue reading Climb on a Giant Tree! San Mateo Memorial Park

Sticky post

San Francisco East Bay: 10 Great Paved Trails for Stroller Walks, Runs and Kid Bike Rides

The San Francisco East Bay has an abundance of paved trails, all excellent for stroller walks, runs and bike rides with the kids.  Here are ten of my favorites! Nimitz Way, Inspiration Point, Tilden Regional Park:  This was a favorite of ours during our stroller-walking days.  The trail over rolling hills begins at the Inspiration Point parking lot, on Wildcat Canyon Road (between Orinda and … Continue reading San Francisco East Bay: 10 Great Paved Trails for Stroller Walks, Runs and Kid Bike Rides

Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

In the coming months, I’m going to be trying out trail runs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of these trails will be great for both hikers and trail runners. My personal form of trail running is a combination of both (I prefer to hike the hills and run the flats, rollers and downhill sections). However, I’ve become bored with covering the same terrain … Continue reading Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

Animal Fun! Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward

I’ve been wanting to write about the Sulphur Creek Nature Center for a long time now.  When my son was two and three, we visited the center regularly for their awesome toddler wildlife classes (for 1-3 year-olds).  I found it was the best place in the San Francisco East Bay to give my son hands-on wildlife experiences.  In each class, the children are introduced to … Continue reading Animal Fun! Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Hayward

Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

I’m frequently asked what my favorite campground is near the Bay Area.  My answer is always, “the one at Butano State Park, just outside of Pescadero, in the Santa Cruz Mountains”  We’ve been camping at Ben Ries Campground in the park every summer for several years now, and it’s become a family tradition.  The small campground, tucked away in the redwoods, is extremely popular with … Continue reading Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

Organic Olallieberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Pescadero

In addition to offering an organic strawberry u-pick, Swanton Berry Farms also grows fields of olallieberries and blackberries.  During our visit to the Pescadero area last week, we incorporated a bit of organic olallieberry picking. Curious what an olallieberry is?  It’s kind of like a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, but not quite (it’s truly a cross between a loganberry and a youngberry).  … Continue reading Organic Olallieberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Pescadero

Organic Strawberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport

Gotta love freshly picked organic strawberries!!  And it’s all the more fun when we pick the berries ourselves.  Strawberry picking at Swanton Berry Farm has become a beloved June tradition for us. Interested in going?  The actual picking season (and location) varies slightly each year, so check the Swanton Berry Farm website for current details… U-Pick.  This year (2013), the strawberry u-pick is located at … Continue reading Organic Strawberry U-Pick: Swanton Berry Farm, Davenport

Goats! Harley Farms, Pescadero

I have a weakness for goat cheese, so as soon as I heard about Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero (and their award-winning goat cheese), I added the farm to our “must-visit” list.  After our visit this past week, I’m glad we did… and we’ll definitely be going back! During this trip, we simply walked around the grounds and shopped for cheese in the excellent … Continue reading Goats! Harley Farms, Pescadero