This guest post was provided by our contributor, Peggy.
Does your kid enjoy being outdoors and exploring nature as much as mine does? If you and your kids want to get outside for some exercise, fresh air, and maybe learn a new thing or two, I would definitely suggest checking out one of the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) year-round Hikes for Tykes Program, which occurs every other Tuesday morning.
My 3 year old son and I attended the MLK Shoreline (Arrowhead Marsh) hike recently — parking was easy, the park had restrooms and an awesome sand pit complete with a replica of a large whale, and the hike was about a mile loop (yay- all flat!). The naturalist who led the hike, Sara, gave the kids magnifying glasses to look at all things tiny and we caught glimpses of bunnies, birds, squirrels, and even a swimming seal! The kids had fun foraging for seashells and trying some pickle weed (salty!).
Midway through the hike, the naturalist had a story time, so everyone could take a breather and recharge. My son had a great time just running around with other kids, and I gained a newfound appreciation for a park I never knew existed as well as the plants and animals in the marsh.
Who: EBRPD program says for tykes with “Get some nature before naptime” tagline, but really is open to whoever wants to join. Older children attend more hikes during the summer months. Very little ones could attend, too, provided they’re being worn, as strollers aren’t recommended for most hikes. Hikes can range from 20-60 people depending on the program, weather, time of year, etc.
What: Every other Tuesday from 10:30 – 11:30 am, a naturalist leads a short hike, usually about a mile, and points out interesting flora and fauna on the way – educational! There’s a brief stop midway for a story and snacks.
Where: Various parks in the East Bay Regional Park system. The next hike on July 8, 2014 will be at Roberts Park. For a complete list of upcoming hikes through August, including detailed directions, see the EBRPD activity search (search “tykes” because the age filter does not work) or call the Crab Cove Visitor Center at (510) 544-3187.
How: Just show up – no need to register, no obligation. They usually stick around a bit after the start time to accommodate later comers (which is often with kids in tow!). You can leave at any time. If you want to sign up to receive their flyer of scheduled hikes, just provide your email address to the naturalist when you show up and they’ll add you.
- I think the hikes are best for kids 3 and up or ambling kids who can keep up fairly well with the group.
- If restrooms are important, just check the schedule in case the hike does not have restrooms at the site.
- Bring snacks, water, sunscreen, and hats!
[Photo credit: All photos by PEGGY, all rights reserved by 510families]
Thanks, Peggy, for being our scout on the hike!