Category: Explore

Weekend Hikes

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

It’s time for my weekly edition of “Weekend Hikes”.  Get your hiking boots this weekend is filled with some great FREE guided hikes!

For those looking to get more.familiar with hiking take part in the Introduction to Day-Hiking Skills at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. If you choose to go unguided – take advantage of the Wilderness Access Day at Limestone Canyon at Irvine Ranch Open Space. Looking for a hike the entire family can take part in? Try an family friendly hike to see the Redwood Grove Hike at Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

It’s going to a be gorgeous out this weekend. Get out there!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Introduction to Day-Hiking Skills at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers in a classroom and outdoor setting to learn about outdoor hiking skills. The class will be followed by an easy  2-mile hike on level terrain.  We will cover boots, day packs, poles, clothing and map reading.

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.

Online Registration

Date: 2/6/2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Long Distance Hike at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Explore the beauty and diversity of Willow Canyon, Bommer Ridge and Emerald Canyon in the backcountry of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This will be a strenuous, 7.2-mile hike (650-ft. elevation gain) over rocky, steep, and uneven terrain. We will hike through sycamore and oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, and along ridges with beautiful vistas. Participants should be fit and able to hike long distances.

  • For your safety and comfort bring 2-3 liters of water, a hat, a hearty snack and proper hiking shoes.
  • Ages 15 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just south of El Toro Road).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8325.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.

Online Registration

Date: 2/6/2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Wilderness Access Day: Limestone Canyon at Irvine Ranch Open Space

Designated trails in Limestone Canyon will be open for self-guided trail use for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians in OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Open Space. Trail routes vary in distance and level of difficulty with choices ranging from easy one-hour walks to strenuous 15-mile cardio treks. All participants are requested to check-in and complete their registration at the Augustine Staging Area prior to accessing the trail system, and are required to stay on designated trails at all times.

  • Pre-registration is required.
  • Driving directions will be provided after registration.
  • For more activities in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, click here.

Online Registration

Date: 2/6/2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
First Saturday of the Month Morning Hike To The Redwood Grove at Carbon Canyon Regional Park
Join OC Parks’ trained staff on the first Saturday of the month for an easy 1.1-mile early morning interpretive hike to the park’s Coastal Redwood grove. You will use your 5 senses to engage with nature as you stroll to the Redwoods. You will also have an opportunity to learn about our native plants along the trail. The hike begins at 8:30 a.m. from the park’s Nature Center.

Participants should remember water, sunscreen, hat and hiking shoes.

  • All ages (small children may have to be carried).
  • Meet at Nature Center located at east end of park.
  • Cost: FREE!

Registration: call (714) 973-3160 or emailcarboncanyon@ocparks.com

Parking: $5 per vehicle

RAIN WILL CANCEL HIKE!

Date: 2/6/2016
Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

 

Family Hike at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Come and enjoy an easy, 2.5-mile family hike over moderate but uneven terrain (45-ft. elevation gain). Starting at the James Dilley Preserve we will hike one of the most diverse areas of the park to Barbara’s Lake and back. Hike is led by Laguna Canyon Foundation naturalist volunteers.

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (I-5 or 405 south to 133 south to stoplight at 73 toll road; make a U-turn, go 1 block. Dilley is on the right).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.

Online Registration

Date: 2/6/2016
Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Guided Nature Hike at Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

  • Contact park office for hike updates.
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle (day use fee).
  • Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Date:  2/7/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

 

Sunday Family Fun Hike at Aliso & Wood Canyons Park
When was the last time you took the family out to hike for pure enjoyment? On this excursion, we’ll focus on fun facts, nature themed games, and wildlife habits while answering questions from your little ones.

  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Canyon View Staging Area (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Glenwood [turns into Pacific Park] and right on Canyon Vistas. Meet at the entrance to Canyon View Park).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun.
  • This is a 2-mile (150-ft. elevation gain) hike.
  • For ages 7 and up.
  • Parking: Free.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  2/7/2016
Time:  9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
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Lunar New Year Celebration

It’s almost time for the 3rd annual Great Park Neighborhoods Lunar New Year celebration. This years celebration promises even more fun than last year.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

We attended last years celebration and had a fantastic time. The park was beautifully decorated with lanterns, live music was playing, delicious tea and coffee were being served and there was plenty of activities for the kids.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

This year there be beautifully adorned cupcakes (almost to beautiful to eat), plenty of arts & crafts for the kids (and your inner child-like spirit), a parade of lanterns, live music, traditional Chinese Lion Head Dance, Pacific Rim beer & wine garden, a night market, and food truck court.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

There is something for everyone to enjoy at this celebration.

  • When: Saturday, February 13, 2016 from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Where: Beacon Park, 501 Benchmark, Irvine, CA 92618
  • Cost: FREE
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7th Annual Monarch Butterfly Day

OC Parks
OC Parks

OC Parks invites children and families to learn all about Monarch Butterflies and their natural habitat withan up-close look at the magnificent creatures at the
7th annual Monarch Butterfly Day!

The free event lets children assist in planting plants to attract Monarch Butterflies. Participants can also go inside a netted butterfly enclosure.

Butterfly experts will be on-site to provide educational information and answer questions about the beautiful and unique specimens.

Additional activities include interpretive programs, children’s crafts, face painting and a balloon artist. This event is recommended for ages 4 to 12. Remember to bring
your cameras!

  • When: Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Mile Square Regional Park, 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708 (takes place in the Forest Shelter near parking lot C)
  • Cost: Event is FREE, parking is $5.00
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Family Fossil Days

Clark ParkDid you know that mammoths, ring-tailed cats, giant ground sloths and a unique type of ancient llama once lived in the area? Come explore Clark Regional Park’s rich fossil history! Family Fossil Days provide a hands-on experience for all ages with real fossils.

The three-hour program, led by park staff, will bring you face to face with a casting of a real Megalodon jaw and a 9 million year-old baleen whale fossil. Participants older than 6 years old will also be able to visit Clark Regional Park’s marine fossil site. Meet at the interpretive center, rain or shine. Pack a picnic lunch and stay for the day at the park following the program.

  • When: Saturday, February 6th, Saturday, May 7th, Saturday, September 10th, Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Clark Regional Park 8800 Rosecrans Ave. Buena Park, CA 90621
  • Event is FREE, parking is $5 per vehicle. 

For more information: Call (714) 973-3170 or email clarkpark@ocparks.com www.facebook.com/OrangeCountyParks twitter.com/OCParks Carbon Canyon Regional

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It’s Museum FREE for all Day!!!

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

Here’s a reminder that it’s the 11th annual Museum FREE-for all Day!!! Over twenty museums – presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science will open their doors and invite visitors to attend their museums free of charge.

Here’s a list of the 2016 Participating Museums

  • Autry Museum of the American West
  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • Armory Space for Photography
  • The Broad
  • California African American Museum
  • California Science Center – Offer valid for general admission only. Does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions or IMAX films. Timed reservations are required for space shuttle Endeavour.
  • Craft & Folk Art Museum – Offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All
  • Descanso Gardens
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA
  • The Getty
  • The Getty Villa – Timed tickets are required. Visit www.getty.edu.
  • Hammer Museum
  • Laguna Art Museum
  • The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum – Does not include Ice Age Encounters or 3D Theatre
  • LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – Offer valid for general admission only. Does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions
  • Japanese American National Museum
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Museum of Tolerance – Closed Saturdays, offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Skirball Cultural Center – Offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All. Noah’s Ark timed-entry, one-hour tickets are limited and distributed first-come, first-served
  • Sunnylands
  • Torrance Art Museum
  • USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • William S. Hart Museum
  • Zimmer Children’s Museum – Closed Saturdays, offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All

 

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Weekend Hikes

ProjectRefinedLfe.com
ProjectRefinedLfe.com

If we don’t have rain this weekend there’s some fun weekend hikes planned by our OC Parks. Remeber all these guided hikes are FREE. Parking fee vary between $3.00 and $5.00.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Explore the Bay Family Hike – Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
An easy hike for families of all ages to learn more about Upper Newport Bay and enjoy its trails. 

  • Hike will be on paved and dirt trails
  • Bring sun protection and water
  • Meet on the patio of the Muth Interpretive Center
  • No fee or pre-registration required
Date:  1/30/2016
Time:  10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

  • Contact park office for hike updates.
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle (day use fee).
  • Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Date:  1/31/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Car Wreck Fitness Hike – Aliso & Wood Canyons Park
Long distance, high elevation hike that takes us inside Dripping Cave, up steep Mathis Canyon Trail, then by the old car wreck! Experienced hikers only.

  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Ranger Headquarters, 28373 Alicia Pkwy (from southbound Aliso Creek Rd, turn right on Alicia Parkway, first right on Awma Road, then left into parking lot).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • For ages 15 and up who are capable of an 8-mile, 900-ft. elevation gain hike on very steep and rocky terrain. Be prepared for hot weather, with at least two liters of water, snack, hiking footwear, sunscreen, a hat/sunglasses, and necessary medications.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/31/2016
Time:  9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
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Free Family Nights at Kidspace

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

How does a FREE family night at Kidspace Museum sound? Every month Kidspace Museum offers FREE admission so that families can explore with a special evening of programming which includes performers that highlight cultures and traditions from around the world.

  • When: Family Night’s are held on the first Tuesday of every month from 4:00 to 8:00pm
  • Where: Kidspace Museum is located at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91103
  • Cost: FREE
Photo courtesy of Kidspacemuseum.org
Photo courtesy of Kidspacemuseum.org

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Explore the jungles of East Africa in this nature inspired Free Family Night! Learn about lovebirds, build a traditional East African instrument known as a “kalimba”, and create cowrie shell jewelry! Don’t miss a cultural performance at 6:00 pm!

 

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Hikes & Bikes

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From family-friendly hikes to bird watching to mountain biking, OC Parks has something for you this weekend! Join in on one or more of these FREE guided hikes or rides, just cover the parking fee. Get out there!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Let’s Go Hiking – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Do you want to take a hike with other nature enthusiasts? Enjoy a 3.8-mile, moderate (600-ft. elevation gain) hike through Laurel and Willow Canyons with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers. You will experience a variety of plant communities, from Coastal Sage Scrub to Oak Woodland and enjoy a view of the ocean at the top. Minimal interpretation, but questions welcome. The terrain can often be rocky and uneven. Participants should bring water, a hat, a snack, and wear proper hiking shoes.

  • Ages 15 and up.
  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of El Toro Road intersection).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/23/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Full Moon Night Hike – Carbon Canyon Regional Park
Come see Carbon Canyon Regional Park in a completely different setting – under a full moon! This is the last winter night hike of the season. Park Rangers will lead a hike to the Redwood Grove showcasing the natural wonders that can be enjoyed under a full moon.

The Full Moon Night Hike will feature many fun activities, including:

  • A visit to the Nature Center
  • Hot cocoa and cookies
  • A live animal presentation
  • A hike through the wilderness area

Parking and the event are FREE!

Space is limited. Please call to register:

(714) 973-3160 or e-mailcarboncanyon@ocparks.com

Date:  1/23/2016
Time:  5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Birding Walk – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Spot year-round and winter resident birds with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this 2-mile hike over uneven terrain (up to 400-ft. elevation gain) through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States.

  • For ages 12 and up (minors must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Wear hiking or walking shoes and bring your binoculars.
  • Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/24/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Guided Nature Hike –

Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park.  Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

Contact park office for hike updates.

Cost: $5.00 per vehicle (day use fee)

Date:  1/24/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Introduction to Mountain Biking – Aliso & Wood Canyons Park
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer Mountain Bike Trail Assistants on this beautiful 8-mile bike ride (400-ft. elevation gain) on uneven terrain. Learn mountain biking basics and trail etiquette while enjoying the canyon views.

  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Ranger Headquarters, 28373 Alicia Parkway (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Alicia Parkway, first right on Awma Road, left into parking lot).
  • Please come prepared with a bike suitable for off-pavement riding, sturdy shoes, helmet, gloves, water and snack.
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/24/2016
Time:  8:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Intermediate Mountain Biking – Aliso & Wood Canyons Park

Catch beautiful canyon views on this 10-mile ride over steep and uneven terrain (1,600-ft elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer mountain bike trail assistants. This is for INTERMEDIATE riders with mountain biking experience. Appropriate mountain biking equipment required.

  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Ranger Headquarters, 28373 Alicia Parkway (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Alicia Parkway, first right on Awma Road, left into parking lot).
  • Must have helmet, gloves, hydration; a snack is strongly suggested. Be prepared for varied weather in the canyons.
  • This bike ride is not for beginners.
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/24/2016
Time:  8:30 AM – 10:30 AM
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Whale Fiesta

Cabrillologo
Clear your calendar and join Cabrillo Marina Aquarium in celebrating the 46th annual Whale Fiesta! This fun-filled family event, co-sponsored by Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society, celebrates marine mammals and the migration of Pacific gray whales along Southern California’s coast.

More than 20 marine life organizations will exhibit and provide information about their efforts to raise awareness and provide protection for these animals. Throughout the day expert Cabrillo Whalewatch naturalists will give talks on various marine mammals.

cabrillo5
This year we are building a life-sized Pacific gray whale! Grab your shovels and come lend a hand. The highlight of the day is the Great Duct Tape Whale Contest, where model whales and other sea creatures are created by all ages. Other special activities throughout the day include face painting, music, marine mammal-related arts and crafts projects for all ages, a puppet show, a life-sized walk-through whale and a passport contest for fabulous prizes.

The celebration’s grand finale will be Whale Dynamics, where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.”

  • When: Sunday, January 31, 2016 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Where:  Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
  • Cost: Admission to the aquarium os Free however a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $1 for children and seniors helps maintain the aquarium and offer excellent programs.

The Aquarium’s Exploration Center, Aquatic Nursery and the Library will be open to visitors 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spend the whole day enjoying all the activities for free!

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Meet the Mummies!

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

This is the final weekend to meet the Mummies at the Natural History Museum’s “Mummies New Secrets from the Tomb” exhibit! My family and I were finally able to visit last weekend. One of my daughters asked to see Dinosaurs and the other wanted to see Mummies, the Natural History Museum had both!

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

During our visit, we were able to see 20 mummies, some of which have never been on public display before. The mummies come from ancient Egypt and Peru and bring to life many of the ancient burial details as well as how the societies lived and their beliefs. I was unable to take pictures of the displays are they are extremely sensitive.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

We were also able to view a few decorated coffins, mummification tools as well items that were placed inside the tomb alongside the Mummies. My girls had a great time at the interactive display tables. They were able to virtually “unwrap” layers of  the mummies, and move the mummies from top to bottom and side to side. They were also able to see some of the objects the mummies were laid to rest with.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

The museum will be staying open late on this Saturday night – until 9:00 pm on January 16th in order to accomidate visitors before the exhibit final day. It is highly recommended that you reserve your timed tickets in advance to guarantee admission. Timed tickets for this exhibition are required. If your a Member of the museum you do get free access to see the Mummies, but an advanced reservation is also required. The Museum will be open on Martin Luther King Day, which is the last day to see this exhibit.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007.

The cost of tickets to view the exhibit plus admission to the museum for the day is: $22.00 for adults, $19.00 for Seniors (ages 62+), $19.00 for Student Youths, $10.00 for children (ages 3-12) and Free for children 2 and under. Members are free. Parking is $15.00 during the weekend. By the way, a family membership for two adults and up to four children (age 17 and under) is only $99.00 and includes Unlimited free admission to the Natural History Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and the William S. Hart Museum.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

Your Natural History Museum membership includes FREE timed-tickets to Butterfly Pavilion, Spider Pavilion, Bug Fair, traveling exhibitions as well as Free tickets to First Fridays (RSVP’s are required).

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ProjectRefinedLife.com
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Weekend Hikes

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

Ready to hit the trail this weekend? I had to skip this segment a couple of weeks in row as our trails were closed due to rain. The trails are open and waiting to be discovered!

The weekend hikes are offered FREE and guided by one of the friendly nature loving OC Parks staff. This is great way to explore new trails or learn more about some of your favorite trails. Just cover the parking fee or use your parking pass (which can now be purchased or renewed online) to make your hike completely free.

There’s no rain in site this weekend so get out there and enjoy the trails!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Explore the Bay Family Hike – Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
An easy hike for families of all ages to learn more about Upper Newport Bay and enjoy its trails.

  • Hike will be on paved and dirt trails
  • Bring sun protection and water
  • Meet on the patio of the Muth Interpretive Center
  • No fee or pre-registration required
Date:  1/16/2016
Time:  10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Exploring Nature with a Camera –  Aliso & Wood Canyons Park
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist on this 5-mile hike (200-ft. elevation gain) to explore nature through the lens of a camera. Bring your digital camera and a tripod to capture interesting and unique lighting situations, compositions, textures and colors of the season. Share your ideas with other landscape photographers!

  • Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Canyon View Staging Area (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Glenwood [turns into Pacific Park] and right on Canyon Vistas. Meet at the entrance to Canyon View Park).
  • Please wear sturdy walking/hiking shoes as terrain can be uneven along the Wood Canyon and Coyote Run Trails.
  • Bring your digital camera and a tripod.
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 M-F & (949) 923-2200 Sat/Sun
  • For ages 12 and up.
  • Parking: Free
  • Please sign-up online using link below.


Online Registration

Date:  1/16/2016
Time:  3:00 PM – 5:30 PM

 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Guided Nature Hike –

Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park.  Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

Contact park office for hike updates.

Cost: $5.00 per vehicle (day use fee)

Date:  1/17/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
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Celebrate Underwater Parks Day

 Crystal Cove_tidepools

Underwater Parks Day is Saturday, January 16, 2016. Underwater Parks Day is a celebration of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s).

Join the Ocean Institute, Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and other partners, to celebrate recreation and conservation along Southern California’s coast.


Ocean_Institute Ocean Institute

Learn about and explore our local Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area and understand the importance of protected areas such as this. Guided tidepool hikes, sea urchin dissections and other activities will highlight this amazing environment and animals that live just feet from our door.

The day is a coordinated event by marine science centers throughout Southern California to educate the public about the statewide network of Marine Protected and Conservation Areas and explain the need for these “underwater parks.”

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Where: Ocean Institute – Ocean Education Center – 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. Dana Point, CA 92629
  • Cost: Admission is $10.00 for adults (13 yrs+), $7.50 for Children ages 3 -12 yrs and Seniors ages 65+, Children 2 and under are free.

 cabrillo6

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Join Cabrillo Marina Aquarium for a celebration of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)! These areas, like parks on land, protect underwater marine resources for future generations to enjoy.

To celebrate MPAs and ocean conservation, CMA is participating in Underwater Parks Day. There will be speakers, presentations, interactive activities and handouts for visitors so they can learn more about MPAs, how MPAs work, and where MPAs are located in Southern California.

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731 
  • Cost: FREE but donations are appreciated

 Aquarium of the Pacific1

Aquarium of the Pacific

Learn more about Southern California’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Guests will be able to learn about the commercial and recreational activities permitted. MPA stories will be told using film, lectures, and interactive exhibits. The event will also feature educational booths and activities in the Great Hall.

  • When: Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Where: Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
  • Cost: Included with your admission: Children (3-11) $17.95, Adults $29.95, Seniors $26.95, members are free.
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Living with Coyotes

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Come to  Environmental Nature Center as Wolf Haven presents “Living with Coyotes”. Unlike most wildlife, coyotes have adapted to living among humans. Skie Bender of Wolf Haven International will present a family friendly educational program about coyote behavior and biology.

coyote22

She’ll explain how coyotes can be beneficial, and how to protect your pets from predation by these intelligent creatures. Why are coyotes so important to an ecosystem? How can humans coexist with these amazing predators that share with us complex social behaviors and an adaptable lifestyle? The program will discuss the differences and similarities between coyotes and wolves. Skie will also give us an update on the Shasta Pack – California’s first established wolf pack in nearly 100-years!

 Wolf Haven International, a nonprofit sanctuary for captive-born wolves, Wolf Haven is located in the small farming community of Tenino, WA (about 1.5 hours south of Seattle). Pre-registration is required.

  • When: Thursday,January 21, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Where: Environmental Nature Center 1601 E. 16th Newport Beach, CA 92663
  • Cost: $6.00 per person, free for members

Images and information courtesy of enccenter.org

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Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Big Bear Alpine ZooWho’s heading up to Big Bear this weekend? Our local mountains have been blessed with plenty of fresh powder this week compliments of El Nino. During the Thanksgiving break my family and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Big Bear. One of the many things on our agenda was to visit Big Bear Alpine Zoo (formally Moonridge Zoo).

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Of all the times I’ve gone to and stayed in Big Bear, I had never visited this great little zoo. Big Bear Alpine Zoo is currently located right across from Bear Mountain ski resort but will relocated down the street in 2017. What makes this little zoo is so special is that it is actually not a zoo at all but a rehabilitation facility.

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You enter the zoo through the office and gift shop. You’ll also find some neat reptiles here. Before you step out into the Zoo be sure to purchase the $2.00 booklet at the office that tells you all about the animals at the Zoo.

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The Zoo (which as it turns out the zoo was never intended for the public but rather a rehab center) is quant and feels exactly what a Zoo in the mountains should feel like.

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The zoo offers injured, orphaned and imprinted animals a safe place to be while they heal or are capable of surviving successfully on their own. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that up to 90% of all the animals they treat are successfully released back into their natural environment. Those that remain at the zoo are either too injured or have been imprinted by humans and cannot be released back to the wild to care for themselves.

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This Zoo is a great place to visit during your stay in Big Bear Lake and the money paid for your admission to the Zoo goes to a great cause. If you have a pass to the Santa Ana Zoo, you can get in for FREE, so make sure to take your pass with you (but donations are gladly accepted).

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  • The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is located at: 43285 Goldmine Drive in Big Bear Lake, California. 
  • Admission: $12.00 for adults (ages 11-up), $9.00 for Children (ages 3-10), FREE for Children under age 3, $9.00 for Seniors (age 60+)  $9.00 – FREE for members of the Santa Ana Zoo. 
  • Hours of Operation: Winter hours begin the Friday before Memorial Day, open daily from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (NOTE:  On snowy days, please call before hand as they may be closed or they may open later for snow removal. 909-584-1299). Summer hours begin after Labor Day Weekend and is open daily from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. 
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Museums Free-for-All Day

Image from socalmuseums.org
Image and Information courtesy of socalmuseums.org

In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, SoCal Museums announces the 11th Annual Museums Free-for-All Day.

On Saturday January 30, 2016c. Over twenty museums—presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science—will open their doors and invite visitors to attend their museums free of charge.

We are thrilled that museums in Southern California are able to offer the Museums Free-for-All Day for the 11th year in a row,” comments Alex Capriotti, SoCal Museums President and The Broad’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “We hope that visitors take advantage of this day by going to a museum they have always wanted to see or by revisiting an old favorite.

The event also hopes to raise awareness of free visitor days available year-round at museums across Southern California.

MuseumsfreeinfoThe calendar above of free days can be found on the SoCal Museums’s website at http://www.socalmuseums.org/free.

Museums Free-for-All has partnered with Metro, encouraging visitors to Go Metro to explore the participating museums, many of which are a short walk away from Metro bus or rail. Visit metro.net/discounts to learn about discounts at participating museum destinations.

This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply. For more information, visit SoCalMuseums.org. Consult individual museum websites for hours, directions, and other visitor information. Note that four institutions are offering free admission on Sunday, January 31 instead as part of Museums Free-for-All.

2016 Participating Museums

  • Autry Museum of the American West
  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • Armory Space for Photography
  • The Broad
  • California African American Museum
  • California Science Center – Offer valid for general admission only. Does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions or IMAX films. Timed reservations are required for space shuttle Endeavour.
  • Craft & Folk Art Museum – Offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All
  • Descanso Gardens
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA
  • The Getty
  • The Getty Villa – Timed tickets are required. Visit www.getty.edu.
  • Hammer Museum
  • Laguna Art Museum
  • The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum – Does not include Ice Age Encounters or 3D Theatre
  • LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – Offer valid for general admission only. Does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions
  • Japanese American National Museum
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Museum of Tolerance – Closed Saturdays, offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Skirball Cultural Center – Offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All. Noah’s Ark timed-entry, one-hour tickets are limited and distributed first-come, first-served
  • Sunnylands
  • Torrance Art Museum
  • USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • William S. Hart Museum
  • Zimmer Children’s Museum – Closed Saturdays, offering free admission on Sunday, January 31, 2016 as part of Museums Free-for-All
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National Parks Free Days 2016

Three kids kids exploring stream

A new year brings hope for change and new found interests. National Parks makes it easy to explore and get out in nature with Fee-free days to make national parks accessible to more people.

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016 and they want everyone to join the party! On 16 days in  2016, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.

 Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2016:

  • January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24: National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

National parks are America’s Best Idea, and there are 409 available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 127 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all of the time. Plan your visit and enjoy our country’s history and nature.The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Fee-free days make parks accessible to more people. However, national parks are always economical, with entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, please visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.

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