Bay Area Hiking with Kids: Coastal Redwood Ecology

We finally have had a short break in the rain, but another storm is heading our way on Thursday.  My family and I have been taking advantage of these breaks by going on hikes around the Bay Area.  It has been amazing and lush with all the rain.

A couple weeks ago we did a Mt. Diablo Waterfall hike with some of our friends.  I had no idea there were even waterfalls on Mt. Diablo.  They were no Vernal Falls, but they were pretty spectacular and a great 6 mile hike that everyone enjoyed included all 4 kids – ages 5,7,9,11.

Last weekend we went on a newt hike in Briones Park.  We went last year with a naturalist for Sean’s 5th b-day.  Last year there was so much rain and lots of crying (it was cold, wet, and miserable).  This year we were better prepared and we weren’t disappointed.  The newts are out at this time of year for mating season.  The females journey to the ponds where the males are waiting.

Yesterday we went to Redwood Park in Oakland to do a ladybug hike.  Thousands of ladybugs congregate there for the winter time.  It is really awesome as you can see from the picture.  Unfortunately this year, there were downed trees in the way and they closed the trail, but we had fun anyway and found other wildlife – newts, millipedes, etc.file5Redwood Forest Nature Cards.jpg

Being out hiking with my kids reminds me of when I worked as a naturalist at an outdoor ecology school in Maine.  I feel so lucky to give my own kids experiences outside in nature and I totally geek out a little bit about all the science around us.   To get them more involved in nature, I created a set of question cards for our hike.  It is a set of 16 cards for all ages to learn more about the redwood forest ecosystem.   Great thing is, you can have it too.  Yes, a freebie for you.  Now get outside and enjoy the coastal redwoods.

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