Park It by Ned MacKay: Summer stargazing

Summer is a perfect time for stargazing, with milder evening temperatures while constellations, planets, galaxies and nebulae parade across the evening sky.

There’s a great opportunity for summer astronomy in a program from 8:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Arroyo Road Staging Area of Del Valle Regional Park. The Tri-Valley Stargazers club will be there with telescopes to enhance the viewing.

The program is free of charge. Bring flashlights and dress in layers. The Arroyo Staging Area is at the end of Arroyo Road, which is the extension of South L Street in downtown Livermore. For information, call 510-544-3249.

* * *

If you’re more of a morning person, consider joining a naturalist from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 for an easy, 2.8-mile walk at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton.

This is one of the hikes on the 2019 Trails Challenge list, and it’s not too late to take up the challenge. The walk will highlight the cultural and natural history of the area.

Shadow Cliffs is on Stanley Boulevard just east of downtown Pleasanton. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information on the free walk, call 510-544-3249.

* * *

The Ohlone people and their culture are the focus of a program from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.

Interpretive staff will talk about the Ohlones’ intimate relationship with nature, family and their ancestors. The program is for ages eight and older. Meet at the visitor center (not at the reconstructed village site).

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the program is free. Call 510-544-3220.

* * *

It’s Family Nature Fun Time from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. There are family-friendly activities for all ages, and a new adventure each week. After that, the fish in the center’s large aquarium get fed from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

* * *

Tule reeds were used by the Ohlone for a variety of purposes, including boat construction.

You can make your own miniature tule boat during a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will lead the session, which includes a walk to a local pond to see if the boats will float.

The center is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

* * *

How about helping with a bat census? There are bat colonies in the former mining tunnels at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. You can stay after normal park hours to help the interpretive staff monitor the colonies as they emerge into the night sky.

The program requires walking uphill on terrain transitioning from asphalt to steep uneven sandstone, so it’s for ages seven and older.

Three sessions are scheduled, all from 7 to 9:45 p.m., on Aug. 3, 24 and 31. There’s no fee, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For Aug. 3, refer to program 25787. For Aug. 24 it’s 25793, and for Aug. 31 the number is 25795.

Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is attended.

* * *

Water as a liquid, solid and gas is the topic of a get-your-hands-wet program from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

And American white pelicans are the subject of another program, from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4.

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

* * *

All summer long, your go-to locations for lots of fun are the East Bay Regional Parks. For full information visit the website,

Leave a Reply

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