As a new parent…Yes, it’s true. My wife and I met on the trail and our son, Hayden, is three months old…I’m discovering alternative activities designed for children.
For about ten minutes, I imagined that I’d strap the little guy on my back and go for one of my usual hikes. Except for the fact that his head lolls around and that it’s tough to feed and change him on the trail (oh yeah, and he’s heavy), it was a nice fantasy.
Instead, there are a host of organized trail activities readily available and designed for young children. For example, the Sooky Goldman Nature Center offers a “Babes in the Woods” program for children up to three, and their moms and dads. This unique program features a supervised walk with opportunities to touch, feel and smell the proverbial flowers. Kids may not care about the lecture, but there is good stuff for adults to learn as well. The reoccurring program is free and presented by the good folks at the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom. Call (310) 858-7272×131 for more information.
The same organization also offers “Nature’s Pre-School”, for 4-5 year olds with parents, employing cutting-edge, hands-on teaching methods.
Or you can load up the little ones and head to Malibu Creek State Park for the “Fun With Nature” on Saturday, June 4, 1-3 p.m. The Malibu Creek Docents, (818) 889-6238, mount this big event featuring exhibits, crafts and games at the park’s visitor center.
Another creative event is the Youth Naturalists Program: All About Birds. Presented by the Mountain Restoration Trust at the Headwaters Corner (near Topanga and Mulholland), you’ll discover “What makes a bird a bird?” using both microscopes and binoculars on an exploratory hike and crafts projects. There is a small fee for this 3-hour event but a bargain nevertheless. Call (818) 591-1701 x 181 for details.
One last event to highlight is the “Junior Rangers” for kids 7 – 12. The California State Park organizes this on-going nature and cultural program in June at Sycamore Canyon in Point Magu State Park as well as Leo Carrillo Sate Park. It’s only a one hour adventure per session, but a great introduction for city kids about our natural resources.. Call (805) 488-1827 for info.
If you can leave the little ones at home and want to get a good sampling of our local trails – join us on any Monday or Wednesday evening for a two hour trek along one of 21 great trails. You won’t learn about birds or flowers but you will have a chance to appreciate a wide diversity of hiking experiences – from fire roads to climbing scenic razor ridges.
Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.