If you’re looking for some fresh air and exercise during the holiday season, the East Bay Regional Park District has plenty of family-friendly activities.
Many parks have scheduled programs that are free and do not require pre-registration. For example, the Sunol Regional Wilderness hosts a naturalist-led “Sunol Stroll” on Christmas Eve Saturday from 11am to noon. It’s an easy 1-mile round trip walk to see how the park changes during the winter. We welcome all ages.
Dress for the weather and bring water. Parents must accompany children. Sunol Regional Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about 5 miles south of Interstate 680 and the town of Sunol. Parking is $5 per vehicle. For more information, call 510-544-3243.
Fremont: Livestock abound at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. You can help wake your child up on Saturday from 10:30 am to 11:00 am. Wake up your sheep or goats and prepare their morning snacks.
Then, from 11:30am to 12:30pm, you can try classic games such as stilt walking, sack racing, and Game of Graces. Ardenwood is a farm centered around the historic Patterson House. Programs there provide a window into life in his thriving 19th-century mansion.
The farm is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Hwy 84. There is an entrance fee. Parking is free. For more information, call 510-544-2797.
Livermore: Nature-themed crafts are the focus of the program on Saturdays from 11am to 12:30pm at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore. Discover your artistic abilities by joining a naturalist at the visitor center.
Del Valle is at the end of Del Valle Road, off Mines Road, about 9 miles south of town. Parking is $6 per vehicle. For more information, call 510-544-3146.
Antioch: The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioquia also hosts nature-inspired crafts on Saturdays from 9:30am to 11:30am. Minimum age is 2 years for her and a parent must accompany the child.
Meet the naturalist at the top parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3.5 miles south of Hwy 4. Black Diamond Mines charges a $5 parking fee per kiosk. For more information, call 510-544-2750.
Oakley: Later in the calendar, there will be a birding program on December 29th from 9:00 am to 11:30 am to document the species and numbers of birds of prey in East Contra Costa County. This is a community scientific research project. No experience is necessary as naturalist Misty Marsh teaches participants how to identify birds.
Parent participation is required. Meet Misty at the Cypress Boulevard Staging Area on Oakley’s Marsh Creek Regional Trail. Call 510-544-3050 for information and directions.
Alameda: There will also be a Bayside Beach Cleanup at Encinal Beach in Alameda on December 29th from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM. You can volunteer to clean up the beach while catching a glimpse of the bay’s wildlife. Bring your own gloves and buckets or rent these items from the park district. Students earn time for community service.
Participants must wear sturdy shoes and long sleeves. Individuals between the ages of 13 and her 17 years old must bring a liability form signed by a parent or guardian. For forms, email her Susan Ramos at email@example.com. Call 510-544-3187 for information and directions.
online: All park district visitor centers will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, but parks will remain open. For a complete list of district activities, visit ebparks.org/things-to-do online.
Ned MacKay writes about the sites and activities of the East Bay Regional Park District. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.