A Masterpiece of Nature: The California Redwood

The California Redwood, 1200-1800 years old, growing taller than 300 feet, is a true masterpiece of nature. *** The tallest tree in the world, at 379 feet, is a California Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens). *** Photo taken July 30th, 2013 San Mateo Memorial Park Where the tallest tree is 225 feet, and 1600 years old. *** WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:  Masterpiece Continue reading A Masterpiece of Nature: The California Redwood

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 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

Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center, located in Santa Cruz on the bluffs above the Monterey Bay, is a true gem.  Don’t expect the grandeur of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but be prepared for a smaller, quieter, more intimate experience here.  The location is phenomenal.  On a clear day, the views can’t be beat. Inside the center, children will actually have time to experience the touch … Continue reading Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz

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