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November 7, 2017 > Autumn in the parks

Autumn in the parks

Submitted By Ayn Wieskamp

Medical research has been done and results are in: outdoor activity is vital for both physical and emotional well-being.

And thereÕs no place better for great outdoor exercise and adventure than your East Bay Regional Parks. Moreover, the fall season brings a wide variety of programs from which to choose.

One of these is a spectacular annual phenomenon of natureÑthe return of monarch butterflies to the eucalyptus groves at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

These beautiful insects gather at Ardenwood and only a couple of other Bay Area locations from November through January as part of their reproductive cycle. If you want to see the monarchs and learn more about them, join the Ardenwood naturalists for programs from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, or from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26.

The naturalists also offer a whole series of butterfly programs through December, some of them specially designed to appeal to kids.

Ardenwood plans a series of holiday-themed programs in December, including a Christmas-time evening open house on Friday, Dec. 8, at the historic Patterson home.

Ardenwood Historic Farm recreates life on a 19th century farming estate. The park is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84 (the Dumbarton Bridge approach). Parking is free. For more information and entry fees, call (510) 544-2797.

Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County has a full schedule of outdoor programs that take advantage of the parkÕs abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery.
One of them is ÒTake a Break in Nature,Ó led by naturalist Ashley Adams. Designed for kids ages 4 through 9, itÕs an exploration of SunolÕs natural world, from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Nov. 20, 21 or 22. The fee for each day is $6, or $8 for non-district residents. You can sign up for any or all of the three days.

Registration is required. To register, call (888) 327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 18810, 18812 or 18815.

Ashley also leads discovery sessions for preschool and home school kids ages 4 through 8. Two are scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Nov. 27 (18774) and Dec. 11 (18775). The children will learn about turkeys, trees and the winter environment, while making playful and scientific discoveries outdoors.

Those programs also cost $6 per session ($8 for non-district residents), and registration is required. To register, call (888) 327-2757 and select option 2. Sunol is located on Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680. ThereÕs a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call (510) 544-3249.

Coyote Hills Regional Park on the Bay shoreline preserves the site of an Ohlone Indian village that was inhabited for 2,000 years. Free tours of the site are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, and on Saturday, Dec. 23. There are also afternoon tours on Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

Coyote Hills naturalists also host family-friendly drop-in programs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, showcasing various natural history topics through hands-on exploration and craft making. Parent participation is required.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. The parking fee is $5.00. Call (510) 544-3220 for more information.

The Park District also has a new camping opportunity: convenience camping. Five cabins are available at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore, each containing bunk beds, a heater and basic electricity. For more information, contact the Park District reservations department at (888) 327-2757.

These are just a few of the activities planned this autumn and winter in the East Bay Regional Parks. You can find out more by visiting the District website,, or by picking up the DistrictÕs calendar of events, Regional in Nature, at park visitor centers.

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