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

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

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

Llamas: Redwood Regional Park

Ever wanted to learn how to groom, feed, lead, and interact with llamas??  You can take a class through East Bay Regional Parks and take a walk through the redwoods. During our bike ride earlier this week (Kid Bike Ride:  Redwood Regional Park), the kids stopped to watch this, a line of people walking with llamas.  The children were enchanted. Interested in taking a hike … Continue reading Llamas: Redwood Regional Park

Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

Apparently, back in the 1950’s, engineers were considering building two dams in the San Francisco Bay to create fresh water reservoirs, right in the bay.  Luckily, the US Army Corps of Engineers decided it would be a good idea to study the potential impacts that such a huge undertaking might have, both environmentally and economically, on the surrounding communities.  So, in 1957, they built the … Continue reading Sausalito: San Francisco Bay-Delta Model

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

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

Butterfly Walk, Botanical Garden at UC Berkeley

I couldn’t resist this!  Butterfly walks are offered by Sally Levinson, aka Caterpillar Lady,  the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Botanical Garden at UC Berkeley, March through October.  The website said children were welcome, so we decided to check it out this month with friends from my Nature Time! playgroup. This was a fun walk.  We started with a visit with a walk … Continue reading Butterfly Walk, Botanical Garden at UC Berkeley

Too hot? Too rainy? Head to the Rock Gym!

Looking for nature-oriented indoor fun to do on a too-hot or a rainy day?  Try the local rock climbing gym!  We started taking our son when he was four.    It’s a great way to burn some energy, strengthen that upper body, and let the kids go crazy climbing in a safe environment.  My son loves the bouldering walls! At Valley Rock Climbing Gym, Livermore Continue reading Too hot? Too rainy? Head to the Rock Gym!

The Randall Museum, San Francisco

The Randall Museum in San Francisco was created to be a place where children can handle, see, and learn about animals and other living things through hands-on experiences, as well as be exposed to different kinds of arts and crafts.  The museum has no entry fee, though memberships are offered to provide a discount on the many classes offered. Creative Play This is a fun … Continue reading The Randall Museum, San Francisco

Exploring the Ringtail Cat Trail, Las Trampas, Alamo

Another great Outdoor Discoveries outing!  Today, the naturalist took the kids up the Ringtail Cat Trail into Las Trampas Regional Park for a “beanstalk lunch hike” to learn about vines.  This is another of my favorite trails in the area, especially on a hot summer day, as the trail winds above a creek through a beautiful shade-covered canyon.  Here are a few of the cool … Continue reading Exploring the Ringtail Cat Trail, Las Trampas, Alamo

Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Nectar Garden Fun Day As many of you already know, we’re in the process of creating a butterfly garden in our backyard.  So I couldn’t resist attending the Nectar Garden Fun Day with my son yesterday morning at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This is one of my favorite parks in the East Bay, with a boardwalk through the marsh, hills to climb, hiking … Continue reading Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Since the week my son turned three, we’ve been attending the East Bay Regional Parks Outdoor Discoveries program, a naturalist-led class designed specifically for three-five year-old children.  Each outing includes a hike and plenty of time for observation, exploration, and play.  To make the classes even more fun, I always invite friends from my Nature Time! playgroup to join us. Our class this morning was … Continue reading Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

This afternoon we attended a family nature walk, a free naturalist-led event held in the Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills. I couldn’t resist the event description… “Natural beauty, strange creatures and curious plants reveal themselves to those who seek such wonders.” We walked for two hours, slowly ambling along, observing the little things along the way. Here’s a small list of what we … Continue reading Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

Nature Classes and Programs

A few times each month, I schedule some outdoor time through naturalist-led classes and programs.  My son loves these classes, and, the best part, they take the pressure off of me for a couple hours.  To be honest, I can’t answer all of the questions my son asks me while we’re out wandering in nature.  I’m pretty good identifying the signs of land-based animals, but, … Continue reading Nature Classes and Programs