Kids and Nature

Get outside with the kids: Bay Nature’s top family picks

July 3, 2013

There’s a growing movement to get kids outdoors, for all the obvious reasons. Fortunately with summer upon us, there’s plenty of activities to get children out of the house to teach them (or perhaps remind them) of the simple pleasures of sleeping under the stars or catching a fish. Here are Bay Nature’s top picks for kids of all ages (and parents too!) to lace up their boots and get outside.

The Oceanic Society’s Farallon Islands Whale Watch: Every weekend this summer, the Oceanic Society, a nonprofit organization committed to educating the public about marine life, will be guiding eight hour expeditions to the Farallon Islands to look for whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals, and more! Trips are open to children 10 and over, and children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cardinal meadowhawk dragonfly at Spring Lake Regional Park. Photo: David Hoffman.
Cardinal meadowhawk dragonfly at Spring Lake Regional Park. Photo: David Hoffman.

Family Hikes at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa: On the third Saturday of each month, naturalists will guide free hikes for the whole family to share their knowledge of the local flora and fauna.

Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws: In several locations throughout the Bay Area this summer, wildlife biologist and nature educator John Muir Laws will be holding a number of free workshops based on his curriculum “Opening the World through Nature Journaling,” which is geared for children 8 and up, but works just as well for teens and adults.

Almaden Quicksilver Park. Photo: Sabertail/Flickr.
Almaden Quicksilver Park. Photo: Sabertail/Flickr.

Discover Santa Clara County Regional Parks: The regional parks of Santa Clara County are hosting activities for nature enthusiasts of all ages this summer, from story time with a ranger to full moon paddle tours. Check out their website and their brochure “Play Here!” for a complete calendar of events.

Lafayette Reservoir. Photo: Photo: M H Ryle.
Lafayette Reservoir. Photo: Photo: M H Ryle.

 “Roughing It” Day Camp: Designed specifically for 1st to 6th graders, this camp in Lafayette has provided children with opportunities to hike, fish, boat, make crafts, and more for forty years. The camp runs throughout the summer for one to eight week sessions, fitting into any schedule! Transportation to the camp from various locations in the Bay Area is also available.

Trackers Bay Overnight and Day Camps: At these camps, kids of all ages have the opportunity to learn a variety of outdoor skills in uniquely-themed weeks, ranging from “Forest Ninja” to “Comic book Superheroes and Villains.”

Muir’s March: Trek Through Yosemite Following the Footsteps of John Muir: Follow the footsteps of John Muir in this series of backpacking trips and hikes. As part of a fundraiser to help restore Hetch Hetchy Valley, professional guides will lead hikers through the backcountry of one of America’s most famous national parks. There are a number of different treks, including three and four day trips perfect for novice backpackers and parent/child duos as well as a one day stroll with special family pricing!


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