Events Listings

Outdoors-North Bay Through January 30

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 01:33:00 PM

ANGEL ISLAND STATE PARK ongoing. On the island there are guided history tours, TramTour and nature walks featuring the Quarantine Station, the ImTramTour are one-hour, audio-enhanced tours which cover the island's military history from the Civil War to the Cold War; its past use as an immigration station where 175,000 Chinese, other Asians and Europeans were detanted on the island. Call for ferry schedule.  

RESIDENTS APPRECIATION DAYS -- ongoing. Show your photo ID (with proof of residence) at the Cove Cafi and receive either half-off on the purchase of tickets for the Angel Island TramTour or half-off on mountain bike rentals.  

Appreciation Days by County:  

Monday: Marin County.  

Tuesday: San Francisco and San Mateo counties.  

Wednesday: Contra Costa and Alameda counties.  

Thursday: Napa and Sonoma counties.  

Friday: Santa Clara and Solano counties.  

Open-air Tour Trams travel around the island and offer breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline as well as information about the island's military history and cultural past.  

May-September: Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays, 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.  

October: Wednesday-Friday,10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Schedules may change so check in at the Cove Cafe on arrival on the island for the current days schedule. $9.50-$13.50; free children ages 5 and under. (415) 897-0715.  

"Segway Tours," ongoing. Daily, 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. The Segway is an electric, self-balancing, personal-transportation device designed to travel miles on a single electrical charge. The 2-hour, 5-mile historic and interpretive tour will circle the island's Perimeter Trail,0715. 

Prices vary depending on which ferry is used. Bicycle rentals: $10 per hour or $35 all day for basicSTATE PARK -- ongoing. The park is on the eastern edge of Santa Rosa and features 35 miles of trail, 5,000 acres of rolling hills and a great variety of spring and summer wildflowers. Lake Ilsanjo offers fishing, and occasionally there are guided tours about the history and ecology of the region. There is no camping in the park. m.-5 p.m. 6201 Channel Drive, Santa Rosa. (707) 539-3911,


BALE GRIST MILL STATE HISTORIC PARK ongoing. Learn about the history of the Old Bale Mill, built in 1846 and restored to operating condition complete with its 36-foot wooden waterwheel and big millstones. Also learn about the historic milling process. The water-powered wheel and grinding stones have been reconstructed and are operational. Tours of the mill are available and milling for the public takes place weekends and holidays. Walk the History Trail between the park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. 

Open Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Three miles north of Saint Helena on state Highways 29 and 128, Saint Helena. (707) 942-4575, (707) 963-2236,


BALLOONS ABOVE THE VALLEY ongoing. Take an hour-long, early morning, hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley. The flight includes a narration by the certified balloon pilot, a replica balloon pin, a certificate of ascension, and a Champagne Brunch in a serene Napa Valley wine country setting. Reservations required. Meet at the Napa General Store, 540 Main St., Napa. 

Chase and Brunch Option -- ongoing. Daily, one half hour before sunrise, weather permitting. This is a chance to participate in the festivities without the flight. Come watch the inflation of the balloon, have a picture taken in front of the balloon before lift-off, and then join the company's hospitality staff to meet the flight on landing and the Champagne Brunch celebration. Reservations required. $40 per person. 

$185-$230. Daily, one half hour before sunrise, weather permitting. Vineyard Gardens, 5091 Solano Ave., Napa. (800) 464-6824, (707) 252-2222,


BAY AREA RAIL TRAILS ongoing. A network of trails converted from unused railway corridors throughout the Bay Area by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.  

FAIRFIELD LINEAR PARK, Ongoing. This four-mile trail is primarily a commuter route that leads from downtown Fairfield to the Solano Community College. A portion of the trail runs through a nicely landscaped greenbelt featuring small playgrounds and benches. The trail surface is asphalt and concrete and may be used for walking, biking, and In-line skating. It is wheelchair accessible. Access is from the baseball diamond of the Community College across the bridge behind the backstop and home plate. Useable year round. LARKSPUR PATH, ongoing. This easy one-mile asphalt path from Corte Madera to Larkspur runs through a lovely slice of Marin County that illustrates why the area has become such a desirable place to live. The trail begins at the dirt parking area on Montecito Drive in Corte Madera. The trail, which is suitable for walking, horseback riding, biking, and In-line skating, is passable year around, but the dirt portions may be muddy during the rainy season. The trail is also wheelchair accessible.  

MILL VALLEY-TO-SAUSALITO PATH, ongoing. A paved, level 3-mile trail that traverses a tidal marsh and passes the San Francisco Bay Model. Suitable for walking, In-line skating, biking, horseback riding and bird watching. Runs from East Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley to Dunphy Park in Sausalito. The trail is open year-round.  

NORTHERN SONOMA BIKE PATH, ongoing. This easy, mile-long, paved trail runs from Maxwell Farms Regional Park to the Sebastiani Winery through the northern part of the town of Sonoma. Suitable for walking, In-line skating, biking, and horseback riding. It is also wheelchair accessible. Trail access is from Fourth Street East, north of East Spain Street. Free parking at the Sebastiani Winery. Open year-round.  

OLD RAILROAD GRADE, ongoing. A steep, partly paved, 9-mile trail converted from a rail line that was once referred to as "the crookedest railroad in the world.'' Suitable for hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. Vegetation ranges from dense redwood forests in steep canyons to scrub chaparral in drier locations. Runs from Blithedale Park in Mill Valley almost to the peak of Mount Tamalpais. Open year-round but can be closed on short notice due to extreme fire weather.  

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE BIKEWAY, ongoing. A 6-mile trail (3.4 miles paved and the rest gravel) converted from the North Pacific Coast Railroad line between Larkspur and Cazadero. The bikeway parallels Lagunitas Creek. Suitable for hikers, runners, bikers and equestrians. Runs from Platform Bridge Road and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, east past Samuel P. Taylor State Park to Shafter Bridge.  

TIBURON LINEAR PARK, ongoing. An easy paved, 3-mile shoreline rail-trail. Runs from the junction of Trestle Glen Road and Tiburon Boulevard to Mar West Street in Belvedere. Suitable for skaters, strollers and cyclists. The path runs on the old rail spur to the Port of Tiburon. The trail is open year-round. There is a large parking area at Blackies Pasture.  

WEST COUNTY OR JOE RODOTA TRAIL, ongoing. A paved, 6-mile trail that crosses creeks and traverses Sonoma County farmlands. Runs near the intersection of state Highway 12 and Merced Avenue in Santa Rosa to Sebastopol. Open year-round. 

Free. (415) 397-2220,


BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL ongoing. 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. 

Free. (415) 561-2595,


BLUE WATERS KAYAKING ongoing. Beginner and advanced sea kayaking classes and tours are offered in the Point Reyes National Park area and beyond. Point Reyes tours include Drake's Estero, a stunning place to paddle on the California coast offering viewing of wildlife such as harbor seals, bat rays, leopard sharks and many bird species. Another tour is of Tomales Bay, appropriate for the whole family and first-time paddlers. The Day on the Bay tour goes to secluded beaches, and the Tule Elk-Hog Island tour is a shorter tour that takes paddlers to Nick's Cove. Also offered is the Estero Americano Tour, which explores farmland in West Marin. A detailed schedule of tours, classes and other events is available online or by phone. 

12938 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, or 19225 Shoreline Highway, Marshall. Reservations: (415) 669-2600, Marshall Site: (415) 663-1754, Inverness Site: (415) 669-2600,


BOLINAS LAGOON PRESERVE ongoing. The 1,000-acre preserve hosts one of the largest Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Snowy Egret nesting sites on the West Coast and averages about 100 active nest sites yearly in a grove of redwoods and on the property. Blue Lagoon Preserve features bird and wildlife viewing platforms, eight miles of hiking trails, picnic locations, an environmental education-focused bookstore and an education hall. 

$15 suggested donation. March 17-July 15: Weekends and holidays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekdays, by appointment. 4900 Highway One, 30 miles north of Stinson Beach. (415) 868-9244,< 


BOTHE-NAPA VALLEY STATE PARK ongoing. The park is located in the heart of the Napa Valley wine country. It offers a variety of activities including camping, picnicking, swimming and hiking. The park has 50 campsites in Richey Creek Canyon. The Native American Plant Garden, a demonstration garden of some of the plant communities that were important to the first people of this area, is next to the visitor center. A guide to the plants and their uses is available. Walk the History Trail between the park and Bale Grist Mill State Park.  

Campgrounds, ongoing. Camping Facilities: Open year-round. Reservations required. $25 per night for single vehicle; extra charge for more than one vehicle. (800) 444-PARK.  

Swimming Pool. Open until Labor Day. Tickets to the swimming pool must be purchased at the entrance station. Lifeguards do not sell tickets. 

Day use entrance fee per vehicle: $8. 8 a.m. to sunset. 3801 St. Helena Highway North, Calistoga. (707) 942-4575,


DI ROSA PRESERVE The preserve contains one of the largest regional art collections in the country as well as a bounty of flora and fauna. Explore the Meadow Trail and outdoor sculpture gardens, the art galleries and the wildlife preserve. Reservations are required for tours of the preserve. 

TOURS --  

"Introductory Tour," ongoing. April 1-October 31: Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. and 12noon. November 1-March 31, Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tour provides an overview of the main gallery, di Rosa residence, courtyard, and north lawn. $7-$10. 

"Art & Meadow Tour," ongoing. April-September only: Saturdays, 10 a.m. On this extended tour, visitors will visit the former di Rosa Residence packed with art, the garden areas and the Sculpture Meadow where some two dozen works may be seen up close. Tour takes about 2.5 hours. $15. 

"Discovery Tour," ongoing. April 1-October 31: Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. and 12noon.; November 1-March 31: Wednesday-Friday, 1 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12noon. On this tour, visitors can e. In addition, visitors may walk through the garden areas, the glass chapel and the central courtyard, viewing some 150 pieces of outdoor sculpture. The collection may not be appropriate for all age groups. Children must be under adult supervision. Still photography of outdoor works of art, for personal purposes only, is welcome. Weekday Tour takes two hours; Saturday tour takes two and a half hours. Reservations required. $15. 

5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa. (707) 226-5991,


DORAN REGIONAL PARK ongoing. The park includes a boat launch, fish-cleaning station, boat rinsing station and picnic areas. The campgrounds are open year-round and offer camping facilities in beautiful surroundings. 

$6 parking. Sunrise-sunset. 201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay. (707) 875-3540,< 


GARDEN VALLEY RANCH ongoing. This Victorian ranch is home to 8,000 rose bushes, a nursery, fragrance garden and All-American Rose Selection test garden. The garden is in full bloom from May through November and the fragrance gar scheduled by reservation with two weeks notice. These tours require a 20-person minimum and include a comprehensive brochure on the gardens. Pets are not allowed. 

Rose Pruning Classes, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. Call or visit the website for reservations. $25. 

Self-guided tours: $5; children must be accompanied by an adult; Docent tours: $10. Wednesday-Sunday; October-April, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; May-September, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 498 Pepper Road, Petaluma. (707) 795-0919,



Point Bonita Lighthouse, Saturday through Monday, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Watch the sunlight dancing through the fog from this historic lighthouse. The half-mile trail to the lighthouse is steep in parts, and often very windy. Children must be accompanied by adults. Access is from the Point Bonita Lighthouse parking lot on Field Road. (415) 331-1540.  

Marin Headlands Visitor Center, daily, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stop by to learn more about the Headlands and what can be done and seen there. In the historic Fort Barry Chapel, at the corner of Bunker and Field Roads. (415) 331-1540.  

Muir Woods, daily, 8 a.m. to sunset. Visit a grove of majestic redwoods, the tallest tree species in the world. $3 general; free children under age 17. (415) 388-2595.  

Muir Woods Visitor Center, daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the informative displays and ask questions before or after walking through the ancient redwoods. (415) 388-7368.Free unless noted otherwise. Marin County.< 


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 hikes. 

MARIN COUNTY -- ongoing. Free unless otherwise noted.  

"Self-Guided Urban Outing: San Rafael," ongoing. Since the founding of Mission San Rafael Arcangel as a northern outpost of the California Mission system in 1817, San Rafael has occupied a central role in Marin County. Following the path of many American cities, San Rafael's downtown began to decline during the early 1960s, but has over the last decade worked with citizens and business groups to implement a downtown revitalization plan. See the results on this 90-minute walking tour focused on mixed-use projects. Included are the C. Paul Bettini Transit Center, the Clocktower, the Rafael Town Center, Boyd Court, the Restored Pacific Telephone Building, Centertown and Lone Palm Court. Download the itinerary which gives specific directions by entering and clicking on "get involved,'' "outings programs,'' and then "urban outings.'' Drop down to San Rafael. Free. 

"Muir Beach Birdwalk," ongoing. First Sunday of each month, 9-11 a.m. An easy 1-mile walk on level terrain. Meet at the Picnic Area. Free. 

"Tam's Fantastic Falls," Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. View breathtaking waterfalls surrounded by verdant foliage on this greatal house where Luther Burbank lived from 1884 to 1906. The Carriage House was originally used to store carriages and horse tack. The building now houses a museum relating to Burbank's life and work as well as a gift shop. Built in 1889 by Burbank, the Greenhouse houses a replica of Burbank's office and many of the tools he used.  

BURBANK GARDENS -- The Gardens are open year-round, daily, 8 a.m. to dusk (approximately 5 p.m. during the winter). Visitors can take a self-guided tour featuring the flowers, vegetables and trees planted in the garden, which Burbank used as an outdoor laboratory. Raised beds showcase Burbank developed plants including Shasta daisies, lilies, poppies and potatoes. The rose garden has the theme "California-Developed Roses.'' In addition there is a Bird-Attracting Garden and an area specially developed to demonstrate plant materials that attract birds.  

EVENTS ongoing. Gardens open daily, 8 a.m.- dusk.  

HOME, CARRIAGE HOUSE MUSEUM AND GIFT SHOP -- ongoing. The Home, Carriage House Museum and Gift Shop is open April-October. Docent led, drop in tours of the Burbank home, Greenhouse and a portion of the gardens are offered every half hour, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $3-$4.  

LUTHER BURBANK AUDIO GARDEN TOURS -- ongoing. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tues. -Sun. Enjoy a leisurely tour of the gardens using the new MP3 audio player system. There are 28 stops to hear the history of and view Mr. Burbank's plants, including the Spineless Cactus, Paradox walnut tree, Plumcot and others. $3 per person.  

Free. Santa Rosa and Sonoma Avenues, Santa Rosa. (707) 524-5445,


MARIN AUDUBON SOCIETY TIBURON AUDUBON CENTER AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY -- The center includes the Lyford House, an elegant yellow Victorian house on a cliff, overlooking San Francisco Bay and Tiburon, Sausalito, Angel Island and the San Francisco skyline. The house has been recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Monday through Friday except holidays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon. (415) 388-2821.  

AUDUBON CANYON RANCH -- Wildlife sanctuaries and centers for nature education. Egret-viewing season is May through mid-July. (415) 868-9244 or 

MARIN AUDUBON FIELD TRIPS -- Bring lunch, a field guide and binoculars. Call or refer to Web site for directions. (415) 789-0703. 

Las Gallinas Storage Ponds Thursday Morning Walks, ongoing. Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.-noon Lowell Sykes and Jim White alternate leading these regular leisurely walks through the storage ponds. Meet at the pond's parking lot: From Hwy 101 in northern San Rafael, take the Smith Road exit, go east to the McInnis Park entrance, turn left immediately after crossing the railroad tracks and go to the end of the road. Cancelled when there's heavy rain.  


(415) 789-0703. 

Free. Marin County.


MARIN COUNTY OPEN SPACE DISTRICT The MCOSD, the local government agency responsible for preserving public open space in Marin County, offers interpretive hikes with ranger staff and naturalist outings, open to the public. Dress for the outdoors and for changes in weather. Bring food and water as desired, and a flashlight for nighttime events.Free. (415) 507-2816,


ve research and education programs are also performed yearround. Winter is usually the quietest time at the center, often with only one or two animals on site. Spring is pupping season and one of the busiest times of year for the center. Between February and June there are orphaned or abandoned northern elephant seal and Pacifind holidays, volunteer docents are on hand to answer visitor questions. 

"Docent-led Tours," ongoing. 1 and 3 p.m. Thu. and Sat. $5-$7. 

"Audio Tours," ongoing. Audio tours are now available to help visitors learn more about the newly remodeled center. $5-$10. 

Free. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Marin Headlands, 200 Bunker Rd., Sausalito. (415) 289-7325,


MUIR BEACH OVERLOOK OWL TRAIL ongoing. This little dirt trail is unique in that it offers sweeping coastal views, a trip through Slide Ranch with its farm animals, and a descent to a hidden beach with a reef and tide pools. The trail begins at the northern end of the Muir Beach Overlook parking lot with a gentle downgrade toward the ocean through low-lying brush. Dogs and horses are not allowed on the trail.  

Directions: Exit U.S. Highway 101 at Stinson Beach/state Highway 1. Go half a mile to T-intersection with state Highway 1/Shoreline Highway. Turn left and drive past turnoffs to Muir Woods and Frank Valley Road. Go to Muir Beach Overlook Road and turn left to park. Driving Distance: about 8 miles. 

Overlook and Trail: free; $3 entrance fee to Muir Woods; $15 annual pass. Daily, 8 a.m.-sunset. Marin County Muir Woods Visitor Center: (415) 388-7368, Slide Ranch: (415) 381-6155, or


MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT The forest along Redwood Creek, named for conservationist John Muir, contains one of the Bay Area's last uncut stands of old-growth redwood trees. The area features a variety of plant and animal life, including the coast redwood, the banana slug and Coho salmon. There are 1.5 miles of flat paved trails to hike in the park, as well as dozens of miles of trails and fire roads through forests and meadows and along creeks and ridge lines. Near the park's main entrance are the Muir Woods Visitor Center and a cafiand gift shop.$3 general; free for children ages 16 and under. Daily, 8 a.m. to sunset. From U.S. Highway 101, take the state Highway 1 exit near Mill Valley, and follow signs for Muir Woods. (415) 388-2595,< 


NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN The Wine Train travels 36 miles past 26 wineries through the heart of California's famed wine country. Passengers dine in white-linen style aboard authentically refurbished 1915-era Pullman cars pulled by 1950svintage diesel locomotives. All trains require reservations.  


Daily Luncheon and Dinner Excursions, ongoing. A three-hour train trip with fine dining. There are three different styles of restaurants to choose from with prices varying according to the restaurant. Included in the ticket prices is a wine-tasting seminar prior to departure, train trip and lunch or dinner. Check-in is one-hour before the scheduled departure time, with boarding 20 to 30 minutes before departure. Advance reservations required for all trips. Luncheon Excursions: check in at 10:30 a.m. for 11 a.m. boarding; Dinner Excursions: check in at 5:30 p.m. for 6 p.m. boarding; Brunch Excursions: check in at 8:55 a.m. for 9 a.m. boarding; departures vary depending on special scheduled events and brunches. $80 to $150 per person.  

Domaine Chandon Winery Tour, Lunch and Train Fare, ongoing. Call for times. The tour includes a gourmet three-course luncheon on the train, disembarking at the Domaine Chandon Winery for a tasting and an exclusive tour through the winery, followed by dessert and coffee after re-boarding the train for the southbound journey. $130 per person.  

Grgich Hills Winery Tour, Lunch and Train Fare, ongoing. Call for times. The tour includes a gourmet three-course luncheon on the train, disembark at the Grgich Hills Cellars Winery for a tasting of four premium varietals and an exclusive tour through the winery, followed by dessert and coffee after re-boarding the train for the southbound journey. $110 per person."Moonlight Escape," ongoing. Enjoy a nighttime train ride bathed in the moonlight while savoring a gourmet dinner in the Vista Dome car, with its almost 180 degree view.  

Check with Wine Train for departure times. $154; Reservations Required. 

"Vintners Lunch," ongoing. Join Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald, Wine Director Ryan Graham and a special guest Vintner for a four course gourmet lunch. Each month the menu is specially developed to complement the day's wine choices. $154. 

"Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre," ongoing. Enjoy an evening of role playing as a famous detective or gum shoe, where you can dress the part, and mix and mingle with other participants, and see if you can solve the case.  

Check with the Wine Train to confirm varying departure times. $135; Reservations Required. 

Downtown Napa Station, 1275 McKinstry St., Napa. (707) 253-2111, (800) 427-4124,


OLOMPALI STATE PARK ongoing. The park is a unique setting where many cultures that shaped California's history have passed through, from the coastal Miwok Indians to "Summer of Love'' hippies. Visitors today can enjoy 700 scenic acres. 

Free admission; $5 parking fee. The park entrance is 2.5 miles north of Novato in Marin County, but accessible only in the south-bound direction, Marin County. (415) 892-3383,


PETALUMA ADOBE STATE HISTORIC PARK ongoing. The park consists of General Mariano Vallejo's adobe ranch home, the largest private hacienda in California from 1834 to 1846, and some of the ranch's lands, which reached a total of 175,000 acres by 1846. The park is open year-round. 

$2 general; free youth under age 17. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 3325 Adobe Road, Petaluma. (707) 762-4871,


POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE Seasonal events at this park include bird migration, harbor seal popping, hiking and blooming wildflowers.  


"Earthquake Trail," ongoing. A short loop trail from the Bear Valley Visitor Center follows along the San Andreas Fault where the earth's crust separated and moved 16 feet in 1906. The trail features up-to-date exhibits of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and presents theories about geologic processes. The new educational panels have been installed as part of the National Seashore's upcoming celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake. The paved trail is wheelchair accessible. Daily, sunrise to sunset.  

"Kula Lolo," ongoing. This Coast Milo Cultural Exhibit is a replica of a typical Native American village of this area and provides a glimpse of life in California before European contact. This easy half-mile walk from the Bear Valley Visitor Center has exhibits along the trail that provide insight into the in Bear Valley for Morgan horses, the first American breed of horse, used by National Park Service rangers for backcountry patrol. Self-guided exhibits, corrals and demonstrations are part of the ranch. Daily, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  

''Pierce Ranch," ongoing. Established in 1858, this renovated ranch is one of the oldest and most successful dairy ranches of its time on the Point Reyes Peninsula. A short self-guided trail directs visitors through the complex. Daily, sunrise to sunset.  


"Bear Visitor Center," ongoing. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the park's primary visitor center and is located in the heart of the Lemma Valley. Stop here for an orientation to the park's roads, trails and activities. Exhibits provide an introduction to the plants, animals and people of the area. A new exhibit highlights the marine sanctuary wildlife found off the Point Reyes National Seashore, including blue whales, elephant seals, octopi and white sharks.  

Film Screenings in the Auditorium shown on request:  

"Enchanted Shore: Inspiring Images of the Seashore." A 20-minute slide presentation.  

"Life at the Water's Edge: Snowy Plovers and Least Terns." A 20-minute video.  

"A Barren Rock: Point Reyes Lighthouse History." An 11-minute video.  

"Point Reyes: The Point of Kings: Orientation and Introduction." A 15-minute video.  

"Something Special: Point Reyes Orientation and Introduction." A 22-minute video.  

"Spark of Life: Fire at Point Reyes." A 12-minute video of the 1995 Vision Fire.  

"Lighthouse Visitor Center," ongoing. Lighthouse Visitor Center: Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Lighthouse stairs and exhibits: Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting. Located on the Point Reyes Headland, the Lighthouse Visitor Center has exhibits on whales, wildflowers, birds and maritime history. To reach the visitor center, one must go up a moderately steep quarter-of-a-mile hill. A deck behind the center overlooks the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse. Exhibits about the lighthouse are at the base of the 308 stairs leading to it. Dress warmly as the weather is unpredictable. Free.  

"Ken Patrick Visitor Center," ongoing. Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; when the shuttles are running, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located 30 minutes from Bear Valley on Drakes Beach, this visitor center has exhibits on 16th-century maritime exploration, marine fossils and marine environments. A 150-gallon saltwater aquarium highlights aquatic life from Drakes Bay. "Kula Lolo Workday," ongoing. Help maintain a re-created village that offers a glimpse of life in pre-European California. Wear work clothes and boots. Bring gloves, a bag lunch and drinking water. Rain cancels the workday. Second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. (415) 464-5140. 

FIELD SEMINARS -- ongoing. A series of seminars about Point Reyes offered through the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Reservations required for all seminars.  

"Landscape Painting at the Seashore," Jan. 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. James Freed will provide instruction in technique, composition, color, and tactics for successful outdoor painting. $115-$135. 


"On Shaky Ground," ongoing. Saturday, anger at the start of Earthquake Trail for this easy half-mile walk. Lasts one hour. A year-round program. Free. 

"Kule Loklo Walk," ongoing. Sunday, 2 p.m. A leisurely half-mile walk introduces the Coast Miwok Culture. Lasts one hour. Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. A year-round program. Free. 

"Coastal Restoration Program," ongoing. First Saturday of the month. A monthly program for volunteers to help protect and restore endangered plant and wildlife habitat at Abbott's Lagoon and/or the lighthouse area. Work to eradicate invasive plant species like European Beachgrass and ice plant encroaching on the rare native habitat. Learn about invasive weed ecology and the flora and fauna of Point Reyes. Bring lunch, water and snacks. Wear sturdy shoes and work gloves. (415) 464-5231. 

"Experience Elephant Seals," ongoing. January-March: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. View an elephant seal colony through binoculars and scopes as docents talk about the amazing adaptations and life cycles of northern elephant seals. Special slide program may be shown at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Lifeboat Station depending on staff availability. 

Free unless otherwise noted. Point Reyes National Seashore, Take Bear Valley Road off state Highway 1 to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to South Beach turn-off. The road is closed here from mid-December through mid-April and a shuttle takes visitors from here, Point Reyes. (415) 464-5137, (415) 663-1092, or


RAGLE RANCH REGIONAL PARK ongoing. This 157-acre park, home to the annual Gravenstein Apple fair, hosts sports fields for soccer, softball and volleyball, as well as individual and group picnic areas, walking trails, tennis courts and a children's playground. The park also includes a nature trail leading to Atascadero Creek, and a peace garden with a spectacular sculpture created by Masayuki Nagase. 

$4 parking. Sunrise-sunset. 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol. (707) 823-7262,< 


RIVER'S EDGE KAYAK AND CANOE TRIPS Formerly known as W.C. "Bob'' Trowbridge, the company now has a new owner and a new name. Take an easy canoe or kayak trip down the beautiful Russian River. Canoeing and kayaking on the river require little experience or instruction but do not assume you will not fall in. Basic swimming skills required. Bring sunglasses, eyeglass strap, sunscreen lotion, fast-drying clothing, tennis shoes or river sandals, beverages, a change of clothing, a rope to secure supplies, a hat, a litter bag, lunch and snacks, and beach towels. Do not bring pets or dogs, Styrofoam coolers, glass containers or bottles, firearms, jewelry or valuables. Children under age 6 and visibly pregnant women not allowed. Shuttle transportation is included in rental price. Call to be sure trips are taking place. 

RIVER'S EDGE TRIPS, ongoing. Call for schedule information. Four trips of varying length are offered during the spring, summer and fall. In addition, hourly and day-long rentals are available. All trips down the river offer beautiful places to swim, fish, and picnic as well as an abundance of river wildlife. One canoe carries the equivalent of three average adults.  

Trip #3: Rio -- ongoing. Check-in noon-2:30 p.m. This half-day canoe trip runs between Rio Lindo and River's Edge Beach in Healdsburg. It is a 5-mile trip with 2 to 3 hours casual paddle time, a good choice for families with young children. The trip is scenic with less current but plenty of wildlife and places to swim and play. Difficulty: Class 1 plus current. Reservations recommended. Check-in at River's Edge Headquarters in Healdsburg. $55-$65 per canoe. 

Trip #4: Camp -- ongoing. Check-in 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. This two-day canoe trip runs between Asti and Healdsburg, a distance of 22 to 27 miles with a 4 to 6 casual paddle time each day. Put in at Asti and paddle to the Alexander Valley Campground for the night and then to either Rio Lindo or Healdsburg the next day. Overnight camping is included in price. Difficulty: Class 1 plus current. Reservations required. Check-in at Alexander Valley Campground. $70-$85 per canoe, per day. 

Trip #2: Alex -- ongoing. Check-in 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. This full day canoe trip offers an 11 to 15 mile run down the river with a 4 to 6 hour casual paddle time. This popular trip shows the river changing character and becoming more wooded with fewer vineyards as is snakes around the base of the mountains. There is choice of getting out at the Rio Lindo takeout or continuing to the beach at Healdsburg if reaching Rio Lindo before 2:30 p.m. Difficulty: Class 1 plus current. Reservations recommended. Check-in at River's Edge Headquarters in Healdsburg. $70-$85 per canoe. 

Trip #1: Asti -- ongoing. Check-in 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. This full day canoe trip offers an 11-mile run down the river with a 4 to 5 hour casual paddle time. This part of the river meanders through lush vineyards and woods and is available only in the early part of the season. Difficulty: Class 1 plus current. Reservations required. Check-in at the Alexander Valley Campground. $70-$85 per canoe. 

13840 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg. (800) 345-0869, (707) 433-7247,



Sea Trek offers the opportunity for everyone to get out on San Francisco Bay. Most trips listed here do not require previous experience with kayaks; paddling instructions and safety orientation are given on the beach before launching. The kayaks used are fiberglass doubles outfitted with spray skirts, lightweight paddles, lifejackets and dry bags for personal items. Reservations required for most trips. Call for a brochure listing trips. 

"Coastal Paddle," ongoing. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tours vary by month; call for current schedules. There are caves along the Northern California coast that are only accessible by sea kayak. The kayaks will launch from blue cove of Muir Beach and paddle along the rugged Marin County coast, close to shore and out of shipping lanes, exploring sea caves and sea stacks as they ride the flood tide around Point Bonita and under the Golden Gate Bridge. The fee includes transportation from Sea Kayak in Sausalito to Muir Beach. Participants must have taken an introductory class in sea kayaking. All participants w Kirby Cove. $130 per person, includes transportation and lunch.  

"Scenic Sausalito," ongoing. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat. - Sun. Sausalito's Richardson Bay is a perfect introduction to sea kayaking. This five-mile waterfront wilderness offers protected shallow waters, an ideal sea kayaking environment. Harbor seals, pelicans, cormorants, herons and other wildlife make this their home and often swim alongside the kayaks. $65 per person.  

"Starlight Paddle,", ongoing. Saturdays. Tours vary by month; call for current schedules. A short introduction prepares you for a leisurely paddle into the sunset along Sausalito's waterfront. Float past harbor seals and enjoy the city's eclectic and colorful houseboats with the silhouette of Mt. Tamalpais in the distance. $65.  

Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center, Schoonmaker Point Marina, Sausalito. (415) 488-1000,


SLIDE RANCH ongoing. At this ranch on the coast, you can milk the goats, feed the chickens, hike the trails and eat lunch in the garden. Projects include making bread and cheese, spinning wool, papermaking, and making solar ovens, candles and worm boxes. 

$15 general; free children ages 2 and under; $60 family of four or more, unless otherwise noted. 2025 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach. (415) 381-6155, www.sliderano, the last and most northerly mission to be erected in California and the only one established by the Mexican government; the Plaza, the largest of its kind in California and the site of fiestas, parades and historical events; Sonoma Barracks, buildings facing the plaza erected in the late 1830s to house Mexican army troops under the command of General Mariano Vallejo; and "Lachryma Montis,'' home of General Mariano Vallejo, last Mexican commandante in Northern California. Guided tours available every Friday-Sunday that the park is open:  

Mission San Francisco Solano: noon.  

Downtown Historic Walking Tour: 1 p.m. Meets at the Mission and visits the Sonoma Barracks, the Blue Wing Inn and the Casa Grande site.  

General Vallejo's House: 2 p.m.  

The Toscano Hotel: Saturday-Monday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. 

$2 general; free youth under age 17. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Spain Street and First Street West, Sonoma. (707) 938-1519,


SONOMA TRAINTOWN RAILROAD ongoing. Open all year. Ride on a scale model railroad. The engines are patterned after ones used by the New York Central Railroad during the 1930s. The 20-minute ride goes through 10 acres of landscaped grounds with a stop at Lakeville, a reproduction of an old mining town complete with a Wells Fargo office and other buildings of historic interest. There is also a petting zoo with miniature horses, sheep and birds. Trains leave l Ferris Wheel, Chatenooga Choo-Choo Chairs, the Sonoma Traintown Airlines, and the Dragon Train. 

Train: $4.25 per person. Merry-Go-Round, Ferris Wheel, Chatenooga Choo-Choo Chairs, Sonoma Traintown Airlines and Draunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. One mile south of Sonoma Plaza, on Broadway, Sonoma. (707) 938-3912,


SPRING LAKE REGIONAL PARK ongoing. A 320-acre park featuring camping, fishing, picnic areas, and trails for walking, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. There is also a swimming lagoon and a lake.  

ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOVERY CENTER -- The center offers multi-sensory, hands-on activities for all ages, with rotating exhibits that focus on different aspects of the natural resources of Sonoma County. Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (707) 539-2865. 

$4 to $5 per vehicle. May 1 through Sept. 30: daily, sunrise to sunset. Oct. 1 through April 30: weekends and holiday, sunrise to sunset. 391 Violetti Drive, Santa Rosa. (707) 539-8092, (707) 565-2041, www.sonomacounty. org/parks/pk_slake.htm.< 


TOLAY LAKE REGIONAL PARK Formerly the Cardoza Pumpkin Farm. Now part of the Sonoma County Regional Parks system.Ena0030baem-d e bc-LOG-OEB 01-16 4607Jan 16, 2011 - BCN30:LEISURE LOG OUTDOORS-EAST BAY THROUGH JANUARY 30 


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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.  


"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. "Horse-Drawn Train Rides," ongoing. 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'," ongoing. Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy the flavor of the past with treats cooked on Ardenwood's wo "Animal Feeding,'' ongoing. Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m. Feed the pigs, check for eggs and bring hay to the livestock. 

"Toddler Time," ongoing. 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," ongoing. Learn the spectacular history of this New World native as you dig with your spade and help find the spuds. 

$1-$5; free children under age 4. Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont.ils converted from unused railway corridors and developed by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.  

BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE RAILROAD BED TRAIL -- ongoing. 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 -- ongoing. 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 -- ongoing. 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 -- ongoing. 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 -- ongoing. An easy 3-mile paved trail converted from the Sacramento Northern Rail Line. The tree-lined trail is gently sessible. 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,


BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL ongoing. 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. 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,


BICYCLE TRAILS COUNCIL OF THE EAST BAY ongoing. 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. "Weekly Wednesday Ride at Lake Chabot," ongoing. 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," ongoing. 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< 


BOTANIC GARDEN Intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley.


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."Sea Siblings," ongoing. 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. 

"Catch of the Day," ongoing. 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 Squirts," ongoing. 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. 

Free unless otherwise noted; parking fee may be charged. 1252 McKay Ave., Alameda. (510) 521-6887,


DUNSMUIR HOUSE AND GARDENS HISTORIC ESTATE ongoing. 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 -- ongoing. Self-Guided Grounds Tours are availabriday, 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,


FIFTY-PLUS ADVENTURE WALKS AND RUNS ongoing. 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,


FOREST HOME FARMS ongoing. 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,< 


GARIN AND DRY CREEK PIONEER REGIONAL PARKS ongoing. 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,< 


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.  


"Self-Guided Urban Outing: Berkeley," ongoing. 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 and clicking on "get involved'' and then "urban outings.'' Drop down and click on Berkeley. Free. 

Free unless otherwise noted. (415) 255-3233,


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 ShoreliPart of the East Bay Regional Park District.Free. Daily, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 3010 W. Winton Ave., Hayward. (510) 562-PARK,< 


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. "Exploring Nature," ongoing. An exhibit of Shawn Gould's illustrations featuring images of the natural world."Waterfowl of the Freshwater Marsh," ongoing. 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. 

"Nature Detectives," ongoing. 11 a.m.-noon. Aistration required. 

"Weekend Weed Warriors," ongoing. 1-4 p.m. Help the shoreline to eliminate the non-native plants that threaten its diversity. Ages 12 and older. Registration required. 

Free. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward. (510) 670-7270,< 


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. Public Tours of the John Muir House, ongoing. Begin with an eigh25 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, ongoing. 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 thatates. 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,< 


KENNEDY GROVE REGIONAL RECREATION AREA ongoing. 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,


LAKE CHABOT REGIONAL PARK ongoing. 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,


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 here are no public viewing areas in the hospital.SPECIAL EVENTS -- ongoing.  

$5-$7; free children under age 2. June 16-Sept. 15: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sun.; Sept. 16-June 15: noon.-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. (925) 935-1978,< 



4444 East Ave., Livermore. (925) 373-5700,< 


MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SHORELINE ongoing. 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 oaces 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,


MILLER-KNOX REGIONAL SHORELINE ongoing. 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,


MOUNT DIABLO STATE PARK ongoing. The 3,849-foot summit of 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, or


PLEASANTON RIDGE REGIONAL PARK o5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Foothill Road, Pleasanton. (510) 562-PARK,


POINT PINOLE REGIONAL SHORELINE ongoing. 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,


PREWETT FAMILY WATERPARK ongoing. There are pools and water slides for all ages, from the Tad Pool for toddlers to Boulder cove for older swimmers. In addition to fun pools and slides there are fitness pools for lessons and exercise, lawns for relaxing, locker rooms, community room and kitchen. Lap lanes are open year round. Food and beverages are not permitted in the park. Picnic tables are available outside the park. 

$4-$11. Sunday through Friday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Aug.23-27, 30-31. 4701 Lone Tree Way, Antioch. (925) 776-3070,< 


QUARRY LAKES REGIONAL RECREATION AREA ongoing. 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 as 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,


REI CONCORD A series of lectures on hikes and outdoor equipment. 

"Climbing the Indoor Wall," ongoing. Saturdays, noon-4 p.m.; Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. $5.  

"Fents are free and begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. (925) 825-9400.< 


REI FREMONT A series of lectures on hikes and outdoor equipment. 

"Climb the Indoor Pinnacle," ongoing. 1-6 p.m. Saturdays. $5.  

Events are free and begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 43962 Fremont Blvd., Fremont. (510) 651-0305.< 


ROBERT SIBLEY VOLCANIC REGIONAL PRESERVE ongoing. 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,


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 -- ongoing. 10 a.m. Saturdays. 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 -- ongoing. 9:30 a.m.-noon Mon. - Thurs.; 9:30 a.m. Fri.; 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sat.; 5 p.m. Sunday. 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;