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

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

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

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

Rock City: Mount Diablo State Park

Love this place!! Great for both kids and adults… huge sandstone rock formations to climb, small caves to explore, gorgeous views, fun hiking trails… what’s not to like?? You’ll find Rock City in Mount Diablo State Park, on South Gate Road, near the Live Oak Campground.  For more information about Mount Diablo, visit the website… Mount Diablo State Park. Photos from our visit, June 21st … Continue reading Rock City: Mount Diablo State Park

Play! Blake Garden

Blake Garden in Kensington may be the best botanic garden in the Bay Area for nature play.  A favorite feature for my son is the Create-with-Nature Zone, which is stocked with sticks, rocks, flowers, and other nature items for kids to play and build with.  The second best feature here is the bamboo tunnel sculpture.  Next, fun at any garden or nature area… running around … Continue reading Play! Blake Garden

Ladybug Clusters: Redwood Regional Park

Photos taken January 27th, 2013 Redwood Regional Park, Oakland Interested in going?  The ladybugs cluster at Redwood Regional Park between November and February.  You’ll find them at the intersection of the Stream and Prince Trails.  Look on, around, and behind the bench, as well as across the trail, near (and on) the sign.  You can begin the hike at either the Skyline Gate Staging Area … Continue reading Ladybug Clusters: Redwood Regional Park

Citizen Science: FrogWatch 2013

As I sit here at my computer with the backdoor open to allow some fresh air into our home, I’m listening to the lovely sound of frogsong.  The chorus is coming from the creek on the other side of our backyard fence.  Up until today, we’ve only been hearing one frog at a time.  Suddenly, this afternoon,I can’t distinguish how many I hear.  Has the … Continue reading Citizen Science: FrogWatch 2013

The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

One of the great things about playing in nature is that bouts of exertion and excitement are often interspersed with quiet, contemplative time.  I don’t have to recommend these quiet moments… my five-year-old sits down and calms himself entirely on his own whenever he’s inspired by the beauty around him. I often wonder what he’s thinking, but I wouldn’t dare interrupt the magic of the … Continue reading The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

More Fun with Animal Tracks

This past weekend, we attended a fun nature class at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This free class for children aged 5+ and their family, called Family Nature Hour, is held on Saturday afternoons throughout the year.  Each week a different concept from the natural world is covered.  The one we attended on Saturday was about animal tracks. We were fortunate to have the … Continue reading More Fun with Animal Tracks

Explore the Tide Pools, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

When the tide is low, head out to the rocky, north end of Natural Bridges State Beach to explore the tide pools.  Look for sea stars, hermit crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins, and more.  So fun! For more information about Natural Bridges State Beach, visit the California State Parks website… http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=541 If you’re here between mid-October and mid-February, be sure to visit the Monarch Preserve, … Continue reading Explore the Tide Pools, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Within Natural Bridges State Beach, in Santa Cruz, you’ll find the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, a grove of eucalyptus trees where thousands of Monarch Butterflies spend the winter each year.  The butterflies may be viewed by taking a short 0.75 mile Monarch Trail loop through the Preserve, or by simply taking the short, wheel-chair accessible Monarch Boardwalk to the viewing platform.  The monarchs are here … Continue reading Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Crissy Field, San Francisco

On Monday morning, my husband and I went for a run out at Crissy Field in San Francisco (while our so rode his bike).  This is my absolute favorite spot to run in the Bay Area.  Luckily, it’s also an awesome trail for kids to ride bikes!  I took a couple photos from the East Beach parking lot before heading out on our run… The … Continue reading Crissy Field, San Francisco

Silent Saturday: LaRiviere Marsh Trail, Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Photos from a hike I took this morning with my son at Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark, California .  We walked the the short 0.7 mile walk around the LaRiviere Marsh Trail, beginning at the Visitor Center. Continue reading Silent Saturday: LaRiviere Marsh Trail, Don Edwards S.F. Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Silent Saturday: Trail Through Time, Rock City, Mount Diablo

Photos from a hike in Mount Diablo State Park earlier this week with my Nature Time playgroup. We hiked a section of the Trail Through Time, from the Rock City parking lot to (and up) Sentinel Rock, allowing the kids to climb and play on and in the limestone rock structures and caves as much as they wanted.  Kid-heaven!! For more information about Mount Diablo … Continue reading Silent Saturday: Trail Through Time, Rock City, Mount Diablo

Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk

Saturday is the first day of Autumn.  While it doesn’t quite feel like fall yet here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know the seasons will begin to change soon.  This is a great time to head outdoors with your child to look for the first signs of fall.  This walk can be taken just about anywhere… around your neighborhood, through your local park, … Continue reading Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk

Article: 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids

My article about getting outside for a hiking adventure with the kids has been featured on The Roundup at Circle of Moms! To read the article and pick up some tips about how to have a fun family hike, click on over to Circle of Moms here… 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids. Happy hiking! Continue reading Article: 6 Tips for Outdoor Adventures with Kids

Create-With-Nature Pathway

While visiting Redwood Regional Park in Oakland yesterday morning, I made a fun discovery. We were meeting friends for some nature playtime, and they were running a half hour late.  While waiting, my son was having fun riding his bike up and down the paved path while I was strolling along behind him, enjoying this lovely park. That’s when I noticed this sign at the … Continue reading Create-With-Nature Pathway

Camping in the Redwoods, Butano State Park

Butano State Park… I love this place! It’s a short drive from our home in the San Francisco East Bay, as it takes us little over an hour to reach Pescadero. The campground is small, quiet, tucked away in a canyon filled with redwoods. Camping here is an annual tradition for us, and is usually something we like to do early in the summer. It’s … Continue reading Camping in the Redwoods, Butano State Park

Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

On our way back to the car from the San Francisco Botanical Garden (see post from yesterday), we took a little detour to visit Stow Lake.  We first discovered the lake on a visit to Golden Gate Park a few weeks ago.  Now, how did we “discover” a lake that’s been there since 1893?  Let alone Golden Gate Park’s largest body of water?  We simply … Continue reading Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco