ARDENWOOD HISTORIC FARM Ardenwood farm is a working farm that dates back to the time of the Patterson Ranch, a 19th-century estate with a mansion and Victorian Gardens. Today, the farm still practices farming techniques from the 1870s. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free with regular admission.
ONGOING PROGRAMS --
"Blacksmithing," Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Watch a blacksmith turn iron into useful tools.
"Horse-Drawn Train," Thursday, Friday and Sunday. A 20-minute ride departs from Ardenwood Station and Deer Park.
"Animal Feeding," Thursday-Sunday, 3-4 p.m. Help slop the hogs, check the henhouse for eggs and bring hay to the livestock.
"Victorian Flower Arranging," Thursday, 10:15-11:30 a.m. Watch as Ardenwood docents create floral works of art for display in the Patterson House.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Horse-Drawn Train Rides," Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 10:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Meet Jigs or Tucker the Belgian Draft horses that pull Ardenwood's train. Check the daily schedule and meet the train at Ardenwood Station or Deer Park.
"Country Kitchen Cookin'," Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy the flavor of the past with treats cooked on Ardenwood's wood burning stove. Sample food grown on the farm and discover the history of your favorite oldtime snacks.
"Animal Feeding," Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m. Feed the pigs, check for eggs and bring hay to the livestock.
"Toddler Time," Tuesdays, 11-11:30 a.m. Bring the tiny tots out for an exciting morning at the farm. Meet and learn all about a new animal friend through stories, chores and fun.
"Potato Harvesting," Learn the spectacular history of this New World native as you dig with your spade and help find the spuds.
"Satisfying Sugar Cookies," July 10, Noon-1 p.m. Help roll and press cookies.
"Chores in the Vegetable Garden," July 10 and July 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Plant seeds and turn compost in the vegetable garden.
"The Art of Victorian Gardening," July 11, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Explore the Heirloom Vegetable Garden.
"Have a Marvelous Moo-Tastic Day," July 17, 10:30 a.m. Listen to stories and color a cow picture.
"Afternoon Fun and Games," July 17 and Aug. 28, 2-3 p.m. Try old-fashioned games.
"Oreos Galore," July 17, 1-2 p.m. Learn about the famous cookie's past.
"Rope Makin' and Hay Hoistin," July 18, 10:30 a.m. Learn to make rope.
"The Little Red Hen," July 18, 11 a.m. Meet a Rhode Island Red and help read the story of the Little Red Hen.
"Fixin' Feed," July 18, Noon-1 p.m. Learn about the many types of corn.
$1-$5; free children under age 4. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. (510) 796-0199, (510) 796-0663, www.ebparks.org.<
BAY AREA RAIL TRAILS A network of trails converted from unused railway corridors and developed by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.
BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE RAILROAD BED TRAIL -- This easy one mile long rail trail on Mount Diablo leads to many historic sites within the preserve. Suitable for walking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Accessible year round but may be muddy during the rainy season. Enter from the Park Entrance Station parking lot on the East side of Somersville Road, Antioch.
IRON HORSE REGIONAL TRAIL -- The paved trail has grown into a 23 mile path between Concord and San Ramon with a link into Dublin. The trail runs from the north end of Monument Boulevard at Mohr Lane, east to Interstate 680, in Concord through Walnut Creek to just south of Village Green Park in San Ramon. It will eventually extend from Suisun Bay to Pleasanton and has been nominated as a Community Millennium Trail under the U.S. Millennium Trails program. A smooth shaded trail suitable for walkers, cyclists, skaters and strollers. It is also wheelchair accessible. Difficulty: easy to moderate in small chunks; hard if taken as a whole.
LAFAYETTE/MORAGA REGIONAL TRAIL -- A 7.65 mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail line. This 20-year old trail goes along Las Trampas Creek and parallels St. Mary's Road. Suitable for walkers, equestrians, and cyclists. Runs from Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette to Moraga. The trail can be used year round.
OHLONE GREENWAY -- A 3.75-mile paved trail converted from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway. Suitable for walkers, strollers and skaters. It is also wheelchair accessible. The trail runs under elevated BART tracks from Conlon and Key Streets in El Cerrito to Virginia and Acton Streets in Berkeley.
SHEPHERD CANYON TRAIL -- An easy 3-mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail Line. The tree-lined trail is gently sloping and generally follows Shepherd Canyon Road. Suitable for walkers and cyclists. It is also wheelchair accessible. Begins in Montclair Village behind McCaulou's Department Store on Medau Place and ends at Paso Robles Drive, Oakland. Useable year round.
Free. (415) 397-2220, www.traillink.com.<
BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL The Bay Area Ridge Trail, when completed, will be a 400-mile regional trail system that will form a loop around the entire San Francisco Bay region, linking 75 public parks and open spaces to thousands of people and hundreds of communities. Hikes on portions of the trail are available through the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Call for meeting sites.
ONGOING EVENTS --
ALAMEDA COUNTY -- "Lake Chabot Bike Rides." These rides are for strong beginners and intermediates to build skill, strength and endurance at a non hammerhead pace. No one will be dropped. Reservations required. Distance: 14 miles. Elevation gain: 1,000 feet. Difficulty: beginner to intermediate. Pace: moderate. Meeting place: Lake Chabot Road at the main entrance to the park. Thursday, 6:15 a.m. (510) 468-3582.
ALAMEDA-CONTRA COSTA COUNTY -- "Tilden and Wildcat Bike Rides." A vigorous ride through Tilden and Wildcat Canyon regional parks. Reservations required. Distance: 15 miles. Elevation gain: 2,000 feet. Difficulty: intermediate. Pace: fast. Meeting place: in front of the North Berkeley BART Station. Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. (510) 849-9650.
Free. (415) 561-2595, www.ridgetrail.org.<
BICYCLE TRAILS COUNCIL OF THE EAST BAY The Council sponsors trail work days, Youth Bike Adventure Rides, and Group Rides as well as Mountain Bike Basics classes which cover training and handling skills.
ONGOING EVENTS --
"Weekly Wednesday Ride at Lake Chabot," Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. A 13- to 20-mile ride exploring the trails around Lake Chabot, with 1,500 to 2,000 feet of climbing. Meet at 6:15 p.m. in the parking lot across from the public safety offices at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. Reservations requested. (510) 727-0613.
"Weekly Wednesday 'Outer' East Bay Ride," Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. Ride some of the outer East Bay parks each week, such as Wild Cat Canyon, Briones, Mount Diablo, Tilden and Joaquin Miller-Redwood. Meeting place and ride location vary. Reservations required. (510) 888-9757.
Free. (510) 466-5123, www.btceb.org.<
Intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley. www.ebparks.org.<
COYOTE HILLS REGIONAL PARK The park is located on the shoreline of Fremont Bay and features rich wetland areas as well as Ohlone Indian shellmound sites. Hiking in the park allows scenic views of San Francisco Bay and southern Alameda County. The 12-mile Alameda Creek Trail runs from the Bay east to the mouth of Niles Canyon and features an equestrian trail as well as a bicycle trail; hikers are welcome on both. The park conducts naturalist programs and has a visitor center with a nature store and Ohlone, natural history and wildlife exhibits.
SPECIAL EVENTS -- Free unless otherwise noted.
"Skulls of the Past," July 17 through , 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Construct a California Native-style tule mat from a marsh plant.
"Ohlone Village Site Hike," July 18, 10 a.m.-noon. Visit an Ohlone site and learn about their way of life.
Free unless otherwise noted; A parking fee may be charged. Registration required for events. April through October: daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; October through April, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless otherwise posted. 8000 Patterson Pass Road, Fremont. (510) 636-1684, (510) 795-9385, www.ebparks.org.<
CRAB COVE VISITOR CENTER At Crab Cove, you can see live underwater creatures and go into the San Francisco Bay from land. You can also travel back in time to Alameda's part. The goal is to increase understanding of the environmental importance of San Francisco Bay and the ocean ecosystem. Crab Cove's Indoor Aquarium and Exhibit Lab is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the East Bay.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Sea Squirts," 10-11:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Discover the wonders of nature with your little one. Registration is required. $6-$8.
"Catch of the Day," Sundays, 2-3 p.m. Drop by to find out more about the Bay and its wildlife through guided exploration and hands-on fun.
"Sea Siblings," Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Explore the natural world and take part in a theme related craft. Designed for the 3-5 year old learner. Registration is required. $4. (888) 327-2757.
"Seaside Sun Catchers," July 10, 1-2 p.m. Make a sun catcher and learn about sea life.
"Nature Games by the Bay," July 17, 11 a.m.-noon. Play nature themedgames.
"Beach Art by the Bay," July 18, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Transform found objects into art.
Free unless otherwise noted; parking fee may be charged. 1252 McKay Ave., Alameda. (510) 521-6887, www.ebparks.org.<
DUNSMUIR HOUSE AND GARDENS HISTORIC ESTATE Nestled in the Oakland hills, the 50-acre Dunsmuir House and Gardens estate includes the 37-room Neoclassical Revival Dunsmuir Mansion, built by coal and lumber baron Alexander Dunsmuir for his bride. Restored outbuildings set amid landscaped gardens surround the mansion.
ESTATE GROUNDS -- Self-Guided Grounds Tours are available yearround. The 50 acres of gardens and grounds at the mansion are open to the public for walking Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Booklets and maps of the grounds are available at the Dinkelspiel House. Free.
GUIDED TOURS -- Docent-led tours are available on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (except for July) and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. $5 adults, $4 seniors and juniors (11-16), children 11 and under free.
Dunsmuir House and Gardens, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. (510) 615-5555, www.dunsmuir.org.<
FIFTY-PLUS ADVENTURE WALKS AND RUNS The walks and runs are 3-mile round-trips, lasting about one hour on the trail. All levels of ability are welcome. The walks are brisk, however, and may include some uphill terrain. Events are held rain or shine and on all holidays except Christmas and the Fifty-Plus Annual Fitness Weekend. Call for dates, times and details.
Free. (650) 323-6160, www.50plus.org.<
FOREST HOME FARMS The 16-acre former farm of the Boone family is now a municipal historic park in San Ramon. It is located at the base of the East Bay Hills and is divided into two parts by Oak Creek. The Boone House is a 22-room Dutch colonial that has been remodeled several times since it was built in 1900. Also on the property are a barn built in the period from 1850 to 1860; the Victorian-style David Glass House, dating from the late 1860s to early 1870s; a storage structure for farm equipment and automobiles; and a walnut processing plant.
Free unless otherwise noted. Public tours available by appointment. 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. (925) 973-3281, www.ci.sanramon. ca.us/parks/boone.htm.<
GARIN AND DRY CREEK PIONEER REGIONAL PARKS Independent nature study is encouraged here, and guided interpretive programs are available through the Coyote Hills Regional Park Visitor Center in Fremont. The Garin Barn Visitor Center is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In late summer, the Garin Apple Festival celebrates Garin's apple orchards. The parks also allow picnicking, hiking, horseback riding and fishing.
Free; $5 parking fee per vehicle; $2 per dog. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 1320 Garin Ave., Hayward. (510) 562-PARK, (510) 795-9385, www.ebparks.org/parks/garin.htm.<
GREENBELT ALLIANCE OUTINGS A series of hikes, bike rides and events sponsored by Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area's non-profit land conservation and urban planning organization. Call for meeting places. Reservations required for all trips.
ALAMEDA COUNTY --
"Self-Guided Urban Outing: Berkeley," This interactive smart growth walking tour of central Berkeley examines some of the exciting projects that help alleviate the housing shortage in the city as well as amenities important to making a livable community. The walk, which includes the GAIA Cultural Center, Allston Oak Court, The Berkeley Bike Station, University Terrace and Strawberry Creek Park, takes between an hour-and-ahalf to two hours at a leisurely pace. Download the itinerary which gives specific directions by entering www.greeenbelt.org and clicking on "get involved'' and then "urban outings.'' Drop down and click on Berkeley. Free.
Free unless otherwise noted. (415) 255-3233, www.greenbelt.org.<
HAYWARD REGIONAL SHORELINE With 1,682 acres of salt, fresh and brackish water marshes, seasonal wetlands and the approximately three-mile San Lorenzo Trail, the Hayward Shoreline restoration project is one of the largest of its kind on the West Coast, comprising 400 acres of marshland. Part of the East Bay Regional Park District.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 3010 W. Winton Ave., Hayward. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org/parks/hayward.htm.<
HAYWARD SHORELINE INTERPRETIVE CENTER Perched on stilts above a salt marsh, the Center offers an introduction to the San Francisco Bay-Estuary. It features exhibits, programs and activities designed to inspire a sense of appreciation, respect and stewardship for the Bay, its inhabitants and the services they provide. The Habitat Room offers a preview of what may be seen outside. The 80-gallon Bay Tank contains some of the fish that live in the Bay's open waters, and the Channel Tank represents habitats formed by the maze of sloughs and creeks that snake through the marsh. The main room of the Center features rotating exhibits about area history, plants and wildlife. Part of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.
ONGOING EXHIBIT --
"Exploring Nature," An exhibit of Shawn Gould's illustrations featuring images of the natural world.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Nature Detectives," 11 a.m.-noon. An introduction and exploration of the world of Black-Crowned Night-Herons. Ages 3-5 and their caregivers. Registration required.
"Weekend Weed Warriors," 1-4 p.m. Help the shoreline to eliminate the non-native plants that threaten its diversity. Ages 12 and older. Registration required.
"Waterfowl of the Freshwater Marsh," 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Join an expert birder to go "behind the gates'' to areas of the marsh that are not open to the public.
"West Winton Bird Walk," July 10, 8-10 a.m. Watch for Willet and Curlews.
"Lil' Snake Charmers," July 11, Noon-1 p.m. Learn about the gopher snake.
Free. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward. (510) 670-7270, www.hard.dst.ca.us/hayshore.html.<
JOHN MUIR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE The site preserves the 1882 Muir House, a 17-room Victorian mansion where naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The house is situated on a hill overlooking the City of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. Take a self-guided tour of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home. Also part of the site is the historic Martinez Adobe and Mount Wanda.
ONGOING EVENT --
Public Tours of the John Muir House, Begin with an eight-minute park film and then take the tour. The film runs every 15 minutes throughout the day. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
MOUNT WANDA -- The mountain consists of 325 acres of grass and oak woodland historically owned by the Muir family. It offers a nature trail and several fire trails for hiking. Open daily, sunrise to sunset.
JOHN MUIR HOUSE, Tours of this well-known Scottish naturalist's home are available. The house, built in 1882, is a 14-room Victorian home situated on a hill overlooking the city of Martinez and surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and orchards. It was here that Muir wrote about preserving America's wilderness and helped create the national parks idea for the United States. The park also includes the historic Vicente Martinez Adobe, built in 1849. An eight-minute film about Muir and the site is shown every 15 minutes throughout the day at the Visitor Center. Self guided tours of the Muir home, the surrounding orchards, and the Martinez Adobe: Wednesday-Sunday, 1 a.m.-5 p.m. Public tours or the first floor of the Muir home: Wednesday-Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations not required except for large groups.
$3 general; free children ages 16 and under. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez. (925) 228-8860, www.nps.gov/jomu.<
KENNEDY GROVE REGIONAL RECREATION AREA The 95-acre park contains picnic areas, horseshoe pits and volleyball courts among its grove of aromatic eucalyptus trees.
$5 parking; $2 per dog except guide/service dogs Through September: daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante. (510) 223-7840, www.ebparks.org.<
LAKE CHABOT REGIONAL PARK The 315-acre lake offers year-round recreation. Services include canoe and boat rental, horseshoe pits, hiking, bicycling, picnicking and seasonal tours aboard the Chabot Queen. For boat rentals, call (510) 247-2526.
Free unless noted otherwise; $5 parking; $2 per dog except guide/service dogs. Daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 17930 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
LINDSAY WILDLIFE MUSEUM This is the oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center in America, taking in 6,000 injured and orphaned animals yearly and returning 40 percent of them to the wild. The museum offers a wide range of educational programs using non-releasable wild animals to teach children and adults respect for the balance of nature. The museum includes a state-of-the art wildlife hospital which features a permanent exhibit, titled "Living with Nature,'' which houses 75 non-releasable wild animals in learning environments; a 5,000-square-foot Wildlife Hospital complete with treatment rooms, intensive care, quarantine and laboratory facilities; a 1-acre Nature Garden featuring the region's native landscaping and wildlife; and an "Especially For Children'' exhibit.
WILDLIFE HOSPITAL -- September-March: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hospital is open daily including holidays to receive injured and orphaned animals. There is no charge for treatment of native wild animals and there are no public viewing areas in the hospital.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
$5-$7; free children under age 2. Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. (925) 935-1978, www.wildlife-museum.org.<
LIVERMORE AREA RECREATION AND PARK DISTRICT
4444 East Ave., Livermore. (925) 373-5700, www.larpd.dst.ca.us/.<
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SHORELINE This 1,200-acre park situated near Oakland International Airport offers picnic areas with barbecues and a boat launch ramp. Swimming is not allowed. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Grove, a group of trees surrounding a grassy glade, is at the intersection of Doolittle Drive and Swan Way. The area also includes the 50-acre Arrowhead Marsh (part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network) and a Roger Berry sculpture titled "Duplex Cone,'' which traces the summer and winter solstice paths of the sun through the sky.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise posted Doolittle Drive and Swan Way, Oakland. (510) 562-PARK, Picnic reservations: (510) 636-1684, www.ebayparks.org.<
MILLER-KNOX REGIONAL SHORELINE A 295-acre shoreline picnic area with a secluded cove and swimming beach, and a hilltop offering panoramic views of the north Bay Area.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise posted. 900 Dornan Dr., Richmond. (510) 562-PARK, Picnic Reservations: (510) 636-1684, www.ebparks.org.<
MOUNT DIABLO STATE PARK The 3,849-foot summit of Mount Diablo offers great views of the Bay Area and an extensive trail system. Visitors to the park can hike, bike, ride on horseback and camp. Notable park attractions include: The Fire Interpretive Trail, Rock City, Boy Scout Rocks and Sentinel Rock, Fossil Ridge, Deer Flat, Mitchell Canyon Staging Area, Diablo Valley Overlook, the Summit Visitor Center (open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), the Art Gallery, the Observation Deck and the Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center.
Free. $6 per vehicle park-entrance fee; $5 for seniors. Daily, 8 a.m. to sunset. Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard, from the Diablo Road exit off Interstate Highway 680, Danville. (925) 837-2525, www.mdia.org or www.parks.ca.gov.<
PLEASANTON RIDGE REGIONAL PARK This 3,163-acre parkland is on the oak-covered ridge overlooking Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley from the west. A multi-purpose trail system accommodates hikers, equestrians and bicyclists.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Foothill Road, Pleasanton. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
POINT PINOLE REGIONAL SHORELINE The 2,315-acre parkland bordering Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo offers views of Mount Tamalpais, the Marin shoreline and San Pablo Bay. There are trails through meadows and woods, and along the bluffs and beaches of San Pablo Bay. Visitors can hike, ride bikes or take the park's shuttle bus to reach the 1,250-foot fishing pier at Point Pinole.
$5 per vehicle; $4 per trailered vehicle; $2 per dog (guide/service dogs free). Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless otherwise posted. Giant Highway, Richmond. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
QUARRY LAKES REGIONAL RECREATION AREA The park includes three lakes sculpted from former quarry ponds. The largest, Horseshoe Lake, offers boating and fishing, with a swim beach that will open in the spring. Rainbow Lake is for fishing only, and the third lake, Lago Los Osos, is set aside for wildlife habitat. In addition, there are hiking and bicycling trails that connect to the Alameda Creek Regional Trail. The park includes three lakes sculpted from former quarry ponds. The largest, Horseshoe Lake, offers boating and fishing, with a swim beach that will open in the spring. Rainbow Lake is for fishing only, and the third lake, Lago Los Osos, is set aside for wildlife habitat. In addition there are hiking and bicycling trails that connect to the Alameda Creek Regional Trail.
$5 parking; $2 per dog except guide/service dogs; boat launch fees; Park District fishing access permit fee of $3. Through Labor Day: daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sept. 6 through Sept. 30, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 2100 Isherwood Way,, between Paseo Padre Parkway and Osprey Drive,, Fremont. (510) 795-4883, Picnic reservations:: (510) 562-2267, www.ebparks.org.<
ROBERT SIBLEY VOLCANIC REGIONAL PRESERVE East Bay residents have several volcanoes in their backyard. This park contains Round Top, one of the highest peaks in the Oakland Hills.
Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 6800 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN One of America's finest private gardens, the Ruth Bancroft Garden displays 2,000 specimens from around the world that thrive in an arid climate. Included are African and Mexican succulents, New World cacti, Australian and Chilean trees, and shrubs from California.
DOCENT TOUR SCHEDULE -- Saturdays, 10 a.m. Docent-led tours last approximately an hour and a half. Plant sales follow the tour. By reservation only. $7; free children under age 12.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS -- Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-noon; Friday, 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. Self-guided tours last two hours. No reservations required for weekday tours; reservations required for Friday and Saturday tours. Plant sales follow the tours. $7; free children under age 12.
Gardens open only for tours and special events listed on the garden's telephone information line. 1500 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. (925) 210-9663, www.ruthbancroftgarden.org.<
SHADOW CLIFFS REGIONAL RECREATION AREA The 296-acre park includes an 80-acre lake and a four-flume waterslide, with picnic grounds and a swimming beach. Water slide fees and hours: (925) 829-6230.
$6 per vehicle; $2 per dog except guide and service dogs. May 1 through Labor Day: daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; shortened hours for fall and winter. Stanley Boulevard, one mile from downtown, Pleasanton. (510) 562-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
SULPHUR CREEK NATURE CENTER A wildlife rehabilitation and education facility where injured and orphaned local wild creatures are rehabilitated and released when possible. There is also a lending library of animals such as guinea pigs, rats, mice and more. The lending fee is $8 per week.
ONGOING EVENTS --
"Toddler Time," Learn about animals by listening to stories and exploring. Themes vary by month. Call for schedule. $7 per family.
"Day on the Green Animal Presentations," Meet an assortment of wild and domestic animals. Wildlife volunteers will present a different animal each day from possums to snakes, tortoises to hawks. Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
CHILDREN'S EVENTS --
Free. Park: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Discovery Center: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Animal Lending Library: Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: daily, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1801 D St., Hayward. (510) 881-6747, www.haywardrec.org/sulphur_creek.html.<
SUNOL REGIONAL WILDERNESS This park is full of scenic and natural wonders. You can hike the Ohlone Wilderness trail or Little Yosemite. There are bedrock mortars that were used by Native Americans, who were Sunol's first inhabitants.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Sunol Sunday Hike," Sundays, 1:30-3 p.m. A natural history walk in Sunol Regional Wilderness.
"Sunol Sunday Hike," Sundays, 1:30-3 p.m. A natural history walk in the wilderness.
"Early Hike to Magpie Swale," July 11, 7-10 a.m. Discover where the magpies dwell.
"Stream Creatures," July 11, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Explore Alameda Creek for the mysterious creatures beneath the surface.
"Valley Nature Ride," July 18, 10 a.m. Learn about this preserve on a horseback ride. $25-$29.
Free unless otherwise noted; $5 parking; $2 dog fee. Geary Road off Calaveras Road, six miles south of Interstate Highway 680, Sunol. (510) 652-PARK, www.ebparks.org.<
TILDEN REGIONAL PARK This park is large and contains hiking trails, a golf course, a miniature scaled train to ride, The Brazilian Building and picnic areas.
SPECIAL EVENTS --
"Sushio Workshop for the More Adventurous," July 10, 11:30-2:30 p.m. Make and taste seven of the more exotic varieties of sushi. $30-$40.
"Get Your Fish Face On," July 10, 2-3 p.m. Explore a day in the life of a fish.
"A Butterfly Bonanza," July 11, 2-3 p.m. Capture and release buckeye butterflies, ringlets, swallowtails and more.
"Toddler Nature Walk," July 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. A nature adventure for young children and their grown-up friends.
"Personal Acts, Global Impacts," July 18, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Learna bout ecological footprints.
"Flutter by Butterflies," July 18, 2:30-4 p.m. Tour the butterfly garden.
Free unless otherwise noted. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Entrances off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Berkeley. (510) 525-2233, www.ebparks.org.<