By EDWARD MACKAY
East Bay Regional Parks
The pipes are calling and Scots will gather on Saturday, April 6 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont for the annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’s a full day of celebrating things Scottish, including bagpipe music, Scottish dancing, homemade crafts, historic re-enactments, and Highland-style athletic competitions. Of course non-Scots are welcome, too.
Local Scottish clans and societies will share their rich culture and colorful heritage. Children may find a fairy or dragon in the Children’s Glen. Traditional food and drink will be available for purchase.
The event is sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District and the East Bay Scottish Association. Fee for the event is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 and older, $6 for children ages 4 through 17, and free for kids three and under. Parking is free.
Tickets are sold in advance at 888-327-2757, option 2, or can be purchased at the park entrance. Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. For information, call 510-544-2797.
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Flowers and bats are both on the agenda at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.
The park’s interpretive staff leads a series of Sunday walks in search of wildflowers, all from 9 to 11:30 a.m. starting at the park’s visitor center. There’s one on April 7, another on April 28. The length and route vary, based on what’s blooming.
And naturalist Constance Taylor will lead a night hike from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. The group will watch bats in flight and learn what glows in the dark. Bring a flashlight, wear layers, and meet at the visitor center.
Sunol Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, about five miles south of I-680. For information, call 510-544-3249.
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At Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, naturalist Trent Pearce will lead an amphibian roundup from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 7 and again on April 14. It’s a search for newts, frogs, and other small, slimy creatures that are fond of water.
Trent ventures out again from 2 to 5 p.m. on April 7 for a two-mile walk in search of wildflowers.
For either program, meet Trent at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
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Carnivorous canines are the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The group will explore the park to discover the differences and similarities between wild canines and your family pet.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
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If you’re looking for wildflowers on your own, I can suggest several options at various regional parks. Likely spots include the Prairie Falcon Trail at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo; the Chaparral Loop Trail at Black Diamond Mines in Antioch; Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve on Skyline Boulevard in Oakland; Vargas Plateau Regional Park in Fremont; Pleasanton Ridge in Pleasanton; and the Camp Ohlone Road and Canyon View Trail at Sunol.
Wildflower displays are hard to predict; many factors contribute. But this looks to be a fine year for the blooms.
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There’s always something fun and educational going on in the regional parks. Visit the website, www.ebparks.org, for a complete schedule.