Park It by Ned MacKay: Lots to do in regional parks

As the summer season reaches its peak, there’s lots to see and do in all of the East Bay Regional Parks.

For instance, original work by local artists will be showcased in an exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays July 13, 14, 20 and 21 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The paintings reflect the variety and beauty of the area’s landscapes.

And from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, there’s a hunt for beetles during a nature walk at Big Break, revealing how the insects benefit the environment.

Big Break also plans two “Second Sunday Campfires,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Sundays, July 14 and Aug. 11. These are family friendly evenings exploring the park through activities and a campfire with s’mores. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the program starts.

The campfire theme on July 14 is “What’s in the Water.” On Aug. 11 it’s “Stories of the Night Sky,” with optional stargazing from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

* * *

For a more strenuous adventure, join naturalist Kevin Dixon on a “Night Challenge” hike from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.

This is an 8½-mile hike over steep, uneven terrain with at least 1,500 feet of elevation gain, for ages 12 and older. Registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 25763.

* * *

It’s time to meet the reptiles from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 13 and again July 27 at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.

Naturalist Trent Pearce will help visitors get up close and personal with live snakes and turtles.

And naturalist Jenna Collins will lead a felting program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. Visitors can learn how to turn sheep’s wool into cloth, then make their own felted creation.

Jenna also will host an ice cream making session from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on July 14 and again July 28. Turn a crank to make ice cream the old-fashioned way.

All three programs meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

* * *

Wednesday Walks are naturalist-led explorations of various regional parks, and everyone is welcome. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and dress for the weather.

There’s a Wednesday Walk starting at 9:30 a.m. on July 17 at Garin Regional Park in Hayward, led by Christina Garcia. It’s a moderately strenuous four-miler up a secluded canyon and along shady Dry Creek.

Garin Regional Park is at the end of Garin Avenue off Mission Boulevard. Meet Christina at the park’s Garin Barn Interpretive Center. Call 510-544-3282.

* * *

“Canine Capers” walks are a monthly series of naturalist-led strolls with a friend, furry or otherwise. There’s one from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 13 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, led by naturalist Kristina Parkison.

The walk is for ages eight and up (human). Registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 25713.

* * *

Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore offers campfire programs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. every Friday through Aug. 30, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. every Saturday through Aug. 17, and 8 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 24 and 31.

The Friday campfires’ theme is “Days of the Pioneers.” Drop by anytime for hands-on activities and stories. Saturdays’ theme is “Night with a Naturalist.”

The park is at the end of Del Valle Road off Mines Road about 10 miles south of Livermore. For information on the campfires, call Sunol Regional Wilderness at 510-544-3249.

* * *

This isn’t even half of the programs available in the regional parks. For full information, check out the website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *