Hikes for Tykes: Exploring the Regional Parks - 510 Families
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Hikes for Tykes: Exploring the Regional Parks

Take your toddler on a child-sized adventure through various East Bay Regional Parks with the Hikes for Tykes program. These guided hikes are great for small people and their caregivers 2-3 times per month.

hike for tyke program at lake temescal with toddler
Toddler-friendly nature walks and exploration | Photo: Maureen Burke

Hikes for Tykes takes place the first and third Tuesday of the month (and sometimes fifth, depending on the calendar). Children and their caregivers can take in the fresh air on a short hike. A nature-themed storytime happens at the half-way point to keep kids engaged and recharged.

hikes for tykes group
About a dozen children and caregivers joined the hike | Photo: Maureen

East Bay Regional Park District naturalists lead the group through nature walks in various parks—from wetlands to forests and everything in between. Each child is given a magnifying glass to use on their exploration. Because this event is centered around little kids, the hikes are usually about 1 mile long. The pace is slow, but creates many opportunities to observe and enjoy the outdoors. The naturalists have a wealth of information to share about birds, plants, and other elements of the parks.

My daughter and I joined a walk at Lake Temescal in Oakland. We slowly walked around the lake, observing the water fowl and native plants. We stopped to view swallow nests, spiderwebs, ducklings, and fish. The kids had fun calling out plants, animals, and colors along our walk.

hikes for tykes story time
Midway through the hike is a break for snack and story | Photo: Maureen Burke

About midway through the hike, the naturalist had a storytime, so everyone could take a break to rest. The picture books focused on nature and some of the animals we spotted along our walk. Children can munch on a snack from home during the break.

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The whole vibe is very easy going. There’s structure to the event, but participants won’t feel any pressure to keep up with the group. Parents were welcome to linger in an area to give their child more time to explore, run around, or throw rocks into the water. The naturalists are happy to field questions from toddlers and adults alike. It’s a truly pleasant way to enjoy the morning, get some exercise before naptime, and explore a nature-space in the East Bay.

hikes for tykes EBRPD
Children are given a magnifying glass for observing | Photo: Maureen Burke

Who: An EBRPD naturalist leads a short hike, usually about a mile, and points out interesting flora and fauna on the way. There’s a brief stop midway for a story and snacks. The pace is slow, but the vibe is fun and educational.

When: First and Third Tuesdays of the month (sometimes fifth Tuesdays, too) from 10:30 – 11:45 am. Rain and poor air quality cancels the event.

Where: Various parks in the East Bay Regional Park system. Look below for upcoming events. For a complete list of upcoming hikes, including detailed directions, see the EBRPD activity search (search “tykes”) or call 510.544.3187 for details.

How: Just show up – no need to register, no obligation. This program is free to join; parking fees may apply.

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Other Tips:

  • The hikes are open to all children, but are probably best for kids 3 and up who can walk at least a half mile without a break. The hikes aren’t stroller friendly so consider bringing a child carrier if hiking with a little one.
  • Most East Bay Regional Parks have a restroom on site. But If restrooms are important, just check the destination’s web page in case so confirm.
  • Bring snacks, water, sunscreen, and hats!

 Upcoming Hikes for Tykes nature walks

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Time Event
10:30 am - 11:45 am Hikes for Tykes: Sibley
Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve (Skyline Staging Area), Oakland

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