Park It by Ned Mackay: Sunol Wildflower Festival

Wildflower walks, live entertainment and lots of nature-themed activities are all on the program for the Spring Wildflower Festival, set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 14 at Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.

Sunol is one of the best places in the East Bay Regional Parks to see spring wildflowers. And thanks to all the recent rains, this should be a great year for the blossoms. The event tends to be very popular, so it’s best to arrive early.

The park is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. Parking costs $5 per vehicle; entry to the festival is free. For information, visit or call 510-544-3249.

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Of course Sunol isn’t the only park with wildflower displays. At Black Diamond Mines in Antioch, naturalists Eddie Willis and Kevin Dixon are leading a series of hikes to see the spring blooms, all from 10 a.m. to noon.

Kevin is leading one on Saturday, April 13 to see flowers that grow under oaks and pines. On Sunday, April 14, Eddie will lead a hike to open hillside prairies.

Both hikes are two to three miles in length. Meet Kevin or Eddie in the uppermost parking lot on Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4.

Black Diamond Mines has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is staffed; the hikes are free of charge. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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There’s also a two-or-so-mile wildflower walk from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 14 at Briones Regional Park near Orinda, led by naturalist Trent Pearce. Meet Trent at the Bear Creek entrance to Briones. It’s on Bear Creek Road about five miles east of the junction with Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Road. For information, call 510-544-2233.

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The cycle of water, from rivers to oceans to sky and back, is the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 14 at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, with interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker.

Meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.

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Poetry lovers will enjoy a three-mile stroll from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 14, at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, with naturalist Morgan Guenther, in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Bring poems to share, or listen to poems by poets including Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry.

Meet Morgan at the Sibley entrance on Skyline Boulevard just south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Oakland. Call 510-544-3187.

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Splash Into Spring and Egg Scramble, a whole day of family-friendly activities, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda.

From 10 to 11:30 a.m., visit activity stations for crafts, games, the Bunny, and music. At 11:30 a.m., join the annual egg hunt on the visitor center lawn. From 1:30 to 2 p.m., learn about the Bay during a program at the Old Wharf Classroom. From 2 to 3 p.m. it’s Family Nature Fun hour, and from 3 to 3:30 p.m. watch the fish being fed in the center aquarium.

Sponsors are the Park District, Alameda Recreation & Parks, and Alameda Rotary Club. The rainout date is April 20.

Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. There’s a small parking lot at the center; additional parking is available in the Crown Beach lot at the intersection of Otis and Shore Line Drives. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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Spring always brings a super-bloom of events and activities to the regional parks. For complete information, visit the district website,

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