Railtown 1897 to Give Dads the Star Treatment on Father’s Day With Train Rides Behind Sierra No. 3 and Complimentary Commemorative Chocolate Bars

California State Parks:

More about Railtown’s Father’s Day event

Originally posted on Railtown 1897 State Historic Park:

ImageJAMESTOWN, Calif. – Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) plans to treat dads and granddads extra special this Father’s Day — on Sunday, June 16 — by pulling out the famous “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3 for excursion train rides (regular ticket prices apply).

In addition, Railtown 1897 will give away complimentary commemorative Belgian chocolate bars to all fathers — and grandfathers, too — who take a train ride, while supplies last. Adding to the holiday festivities, train ride guests will be treated to live music performed by strolling cowboy Keith Keenom, the popular wooden Caboose No. 7 will be open for tours, and children will receive complimentary balloons on this special day. 

As usual, Railtown 1897’s excursion trains will depart on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and guests will ride in an open-sided mountain observation car. The six-mile, 45-minute roundtrip ride takes passengers through the rolling Gold…

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California State Parks: Father’s Day 2013

Tie? Coffee Mug? How about a trip to dad’s favorite park? Spend time with your father at one of several Father’s Day themed events statewide. (When was the last time you saw him wearing last year’s tie, anyway?)

Angel Island State Park: Father’s Day Hike Meet at the dock at Ayala Cove at 10:30am. Call (415) 435-5537 for more information.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park: The Men of Big Basin Celebrate Father’s Day by honoring some of the remarkable men who lived in, worked in and fought for Big Basin. Living history re-enactments bring you back in time where you’ll meet pioneer settlers, Big Basin founders and early park rangers. Stroll through the magnificent redwoods on this half-mile, 1.5-hour guided walk. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883. 

California State Railroad Museum: Diesels and Dads For Father’s Day, treat dad to a very special weekend excursion train ride on the Sacramento Southern Railroad that will feature two visually-exciting and gracefully-styled diesel locomotives as part of the popular weekend excursion train rides. Fathers and grandfathers will enjoy taking a memorable and relaxing weekend excursion train ride that is reminiscent of train travel from an earlier era. Those aboard are treated to a six-mile, 45-minute round-trip excursion along the levees of the Sacramento River. The train features a combination of vintage closed coaches with comfortable seats and open-air “gondolas” with bench style seating. Same-day general admission weekend excursion train ride tickets are available in-person on a first-come, first serve basis starting at 10:30 a.m. the day of the train ride at the Sacramento Southern Railroad ticket office. First-class El Dorado tickets are available to reserve in advance at www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org.

Columbia State Historic Park: Columbia Cruise Car Show and 47th Annual Father’s Day Fly-In Custom, Classic and Antique Columbia Cruise CAR SHOW! 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. on Father’s Day. Limited to 100 cars. Prizes for Best Truck, Car and People’s Choice. ADMISSION IS FREE, car entries are $20, includes a T-shirt. For information call 209-768-1786 or 209-352-7610. Join the Father’s Day fun, a fly-in at the airport and a car show in the park. 

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park For Father’s Day Treat dad to a day at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown and enjoy a relaxing steam-powered train ride behind the famous “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3! All fathers who take a train ride will receive complimentary commemorative Belgian chocolate bars (while supplies last). Along with live music provided by strolling cowboy Keith Keenom, the popular wooden Caboose No. 7 will be open for tours and children will receive complimentary balloons on this special day. Trains depart hourly from 11am to 3 pm. Cost: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under (includes Park admission) Advanced train ride tickets are encouraged and available online at www.railtown1897.org.

California State Parks: Mother’s Day Events 2013

Repeat after us: Brunch is boring! Show Mom you really care by taking her to your local state park and doing something out of the ordinary. Here are a sample of our Mother’s Day activities from around the state:

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides on Mother’s Day! Looking for a unique way to treat mom extra special this Mother’s Day? Plan a trip to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown for a relaxing steam-powered train ride behind the famous “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3 and she’ll receive a complimentary commemorative Belgian chocolate bar (while supplies last). And to add to the holiday festivities, children will receive complimentary balloons on this special day. With beautiful wildflowers still in bloom on Mother’s Day, Railtown 1897’s excursion train rides include a relaxing, six-mile, 45-minute journey that takes passengers through the rolling Gold Country foothills, passing through meadows and along grassy hillsides covered with ancient oak trees. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on-site on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn. In addition, the Railtown 1897 SHP Depot Store, Interpretive Center and grounds are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and guided Roundhouse tours are available, too. Advanced train ride tickets are encouraged and available online at www.railtown1897.org. Trains leave hourly between 11 and 3.

Angel Island State Park: Mother’s Day Holiday Hike This hike begins at the dock at Ayala Cove at 10:30.  Call (415) 435-5537 for more information on all park activities and events.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Women of Big Basin Celebrate Mother’s Day in the park by honoring the spirited women who lived in, worked in and fought for the Basin throughout its history. .  Living history reenactments bring you back in time where you will meet pioneer homemaker Alice Maddock; Josephine McCrackin, the “Savior of the Redwoods” and Harriet “Petey” Weaver, the first female Ranger. Stroll through the magnificent redwoods on this half-mile, one-hour guided walk. Meet at Park Headquarters. This walk is wheelchair and stroller accessible. The park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.

Crystal Cove State Park: Take Your Mother on a Hike  “Take Your Mother on a Hike” and learn about our local nature.  Join a park naturalist on a family nature walk at Crystal Cove State Park to learn about the plants and animals living in the park on Sunday, May 12 at 9 am. Meet at the Moro Amphitheatre (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park). $15 day use fee.

California Parks Department: Best Virtual Field Trip Ever! A BGL Review

California State Parks:

Wonderful post from Banyan Global Learning about our PORTS program!

Originally posted on Banyan Global Learning:

California Parks Department’s PORTS delivered the best virtual field trip we’ve ever taken here at Banyan Global Learning.  PORTS is made up of awesome rangers in awesome ranger hats who provide free virtual fields trips utilizing green screen studios and a roving EduGator.  What’s not to love?

A PORTS EduGator enables Park Rangers to do virtual field trips from any parks location.  Photo courtesy of the California Parks Department.

A PORTS EduGator enables Park Rangers to do virtual field trips from any parks location. Photo courtesy of the California Parks Department.

The following review is from Teacher Seth:

Our 4G Field Trips are revolutionizing the way we do distance learning.  As we plan these trips int he future, we look to emulate the rangers at PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students). Our virtual field trip to Anza Borrego Desert State Park was perfectly paced and had an engaging balance of teacher-student interaction, historical realia and digital media. And this is just one of their many programs – they…

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California State Parks: Our Favorite Spring Hikes, 2013

Spring has sprung! If you’ve been waiting for the sunshine to hit the trails, you’ve got no excuses left!

Southern California

Mount San Jacinto State Park (Riverside County) and Wilderness has many access points along State Highway 243 south of Banning; Idyllwild, 26 miles south of Banning on Highway 243 or 17 miles east of Hemet on Highway 74; also west of Palm Springs, via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.  Hikers can enjoy the park with over 70 miles of hiking trails. The Desert View trial in Long Valley (1.5 mile loop) provides vistas into Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley 8,500 feet below.  There is also an easy ¾ mile loop around a lush, flower-filled meadow.  From Long Valley, there are several trails into the wilderness.  The San Jacinto Peak trail climbs 2400’ in 6 miles to the highest point in California State Parks.  On a clear day you can see the ocean from the universal access Panorama Point Trail (1 mile loop). The park and wilderness are open all year providing winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities.  BE PREPARED.  Bring the 10 essentials and check in at the Long Valley or Idyllwild Ranger stations.  For more information call the park at (951) 659-2607.

Links to other Southern California Hikes

Central California

Asilomar Natural Dune Preserve Boardwalk (Monterey County), across from Asilomar State Beach is a 1/4 mile boardwalk meandering through the 25-acres of restored sand dune ecosystem.  More than 450,000 plants, representing 25 species have been grown and planted in the dunes and coastal bluffs.  A self-guided Living Dunes tour brochure on various aspects of the dunes is available at the park and on the Asilomar state park website The park phone number is (831) 646-6442.

Links to other Central California Hikes

Northern California

Richardson Grove State Park (Humboldt County) offers spectacular hikes in old growth redwood and fir forests. The park’s best example is the Durphy Creek Trail loop. The hike is about four miles long and takes hikers along Durphy Creek into beautiful redwood and fir forests, ending with views of the Eel River Canyon. For more information call the park at (707) 247-3318.

California State Parks: Favorite Hikes, Winter 2013

Cold winter mornings have you lingering in bed? Never fear! Once you finally crawl out from under the covers, we’ve got some suggestions for hikes that will keep you raring to go all winter long!

Southern California

Malibu Creek State Park (four miles south of Highway 101 on Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road) offers a getaway from the city for people to explore rugged terrain, spectacular gorges, and serene rolling hills of oak woodlands. Visitors can enjoy a short and easy loop trail at the Ann Skagar All-Access Trail, or take a stroll down the Back Country Trails on the High Road to the visitor center (one mile round trip) open most weekends. For a longer hike, continue past Century Lake and see where the popular TV series M*A*S*H was filmed (1.3 miles from the Visitor Center.) Over 30 miles of trails allow a glimpse into the park’s history. Malibu Creek State Park once housed Crag’s Country Club in the 1920’s and later served as a backdrop for many films including How Green Was My Valley and Planet of the Apes. For more information, call the park (818) 880-0367.

Links to other Southern California Hikes

Central California

Caswell Memorial State Park (six miles west of Ripon on Austin Road) offers visitors a leisurely ramble along the Stanislaus River. Various trail loops allow walks from .5 to 2.5 miles over relatively level terrain. The stately Valley Oaks that tower over the trails once sheltered the native Yokut people, and welcomed the first European explorers with a familiar sight similar to the mighty white oaks of their homelands. A vehicle entrance fee is required. Call (209) 599-3810 for more information.

Links to other Central California Hikes

Northern California

Tomales Bay State Park (Marin County) has a splendid trail from
Heart’s Desire Beach to Indian Beach that can be done in a one mile loop. For
more information, call the park at (415) 669-1140.

Links to other Northern California Hikes

First Day Hikes 2013 with California State Parks

America's State Parks First Say Hikes

Start 2013 right: in the fresh air. No matter what your New Year’s resolution, there’s a good chance a hike along the beach or through a mountain trail on January first will rev up your resolve. So join us–California State Parks–as we join America’s State Parks’ campaign to start the year right.

Nationwide hikes can be found here and our events calendar is up to date, but we’ve got so many options for New Year’s Day we wanted to list them all in one place. See you on the trails!

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Time of the Event: 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Where to Meet: Marshal South Homesite Trailhead/Parking Area in Blair Valley
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Minimum Age for Kids:  8 (must be able to hike 2 miles up and down steep slopes)
Restrictions: N/A
Length of the Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, hat, snack, sturdy footwear
Cancellation Information: Cancelled if raining; call ABDSP Visitor Center 760-767-4205
Additional Information: Learn about the Marshall South family and their experiment in primitive living on a remote mountain top. Join Volunteer Naturalists Mike and Jan Bigelow on this 2 mile round-trip, steep but scenic walk up Ghost Mountain. Bring water, hat, and sturdy footwear. Meet at the Marshal South Homesite Trailhead in Blair Valley. To get to Blair Valley, take Highway S-2 south from Highway 78, and turn in on the dirt road near mile marker 23. Rain cancels.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Time of the Event: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where to Meet: North end of DiGiorgio Road, Borrego Springs
Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous
Minimum Age for Kids: 8
Restrictions: N/A
Length of the Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, hat, snacks, sturdy footwear. Camera optional
Cancellation Information: Cancelled if raining; call ABDSP Visitor Center 760-767-4205
Additional Information: Join Volunteer Naturalists Ron & Peg Poitras to experience and discover the prehistory, history, and present-day journey of those who have used this trail for food, water, work, and fun. This is a 3-hour excursion into the pass. Meet at the north end of DiGiorgio Road (where the pavement ends). This is a strenuous but relatively short hike. Bring water, snacks and wear hiking boots and a hat.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Time of the Event: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where to Meet: Buttes Pass Road at Highway 78, 1.5 miles east of Borrego Springs Road
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Minimum Age for Kids:  8 (must be able to hike 3 miles over rough terrain)
RestrictionsN/A
Length of the Trail: 3 miles
Things to BringBring water, hat, snacks, sturdy footwear
Cancellation Information: Cancelled in the event of heavy rain; call ABDSP Visitor Center 760-767-4205
Additional Information: Join Volunteer Naturalists Mary Ekelund and Paul Larson for a moderate 3-mile (round trip) hike to the top of one of our smaller peaks, but with great views! There will be some walking on narrow ridges and scrambling on rocks toward the summit. Meet just off Highway #78 at the intersection with Buttes Pass Road, 1.5 miles east of Borrego Springs Road. Heavy rain cancels.

 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Time of the Event: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where to MeetEntrance to Plum Canyon, on Highway 78 west of Highway S-3
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Minimum Age for Kids: 12
RestrictionsN/A
Length of the Trail4 miles
Things to BringBring water, hat, snacks, sturdy boots
Cancellation InformationHeavy rain will cancel; call ABDSP Visitor Center 760-767-4205
Additional InformationJoin Volunteer Naturalist Ann Keenan on a moderate 4-mile hike up Plum Canyon. We will enjoy a variety of plants, rocks and bends as we hike to a spectacular overlook on the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Wear boots and a hat, carry water, and bring a snack. Meet at Plum Canyon off Highway 78, west of S-3. From there we will carpool to the trailhead. Limited to 12 participants. Sign up at the Visitor Center in advance, 760-767-4205.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Time of the Event: 1:00 pm
Where to Meet: Meet at Park Headquarters
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: N/A
Restrictions: Please leave pets at home.
Length of the Trail: 0.5 miles
Things to Bring: N/A
Cancellation Information: Rain cancels.
Additional Information: How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? Join us for this fun and informative guided half-mile easy stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90-minute walk on the redwood loop trail. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters. Rain cancels. Please leave pets at home.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Time of the Event: 11:00am
Where to Meet: front of the Nature Store (edge of parking lot) at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum Age for Kids: Suitable for adults, and young adults who are diligent hikers.
Restrictions: Please leave pets at home.
Length of the Trail: 5 miles
Things to Bring: Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and snacks.
Cancellation Information: Heavy rain cancels.
Additional Information: On this 4 hour / 5 mile moderate pace hike we’ll visit some of the park’s “back-country”. Initially traversing old growth Redwood and Douglas-fir forest, we’ll enjoy a little-visited part of the San Lorenzo River canyon along the River Trail and descend to take our break on river side sand bars. Maximum elevation change is about 500 ft. Suitable for adults, and young adults who are diligent hikers. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and snacks. Meet at 11:00 AM in front of the Nature Store (edge of parking lot) at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Please leave pets at home. Enter the park from Hwy 9 just south of downtown Felton, CA. Heavy rain cancels.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Time of the Event12:00 noon
Where to Meet: in front of the Mountain Parks Nature Store (edge of parking lot)
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum Age for Kids: This moderate hike is suitable for adults, and youth who are diligent hikers.
Restrictions: Please leave pets at home.
Length of the Trail: 5 miles
Things to Bring: Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring walking shoes, water, sun protection and snacks.
Cancellation Information: Heavy rain cancels.
Additional Information: On this 3.5 hour / 4-5 mile moderate hike we’ll explore four amazingly different habitats – riverside (riparian) broadleaf forest, old growth redwood forest, upland pine-oak woodland and the rare and endangered Santa Cruz sandhills. Because these diverse habitats are very close together with abrupt transition zones we can experience a wide variety of plants and animals in a very short distance. From the park’s Observation Deck we’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay. Maximum elevation gain is about 500 ft. This moderate hike is suitable for adults, and youth who are diligent hikers. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring walking shoes, water, sun protection and snacks. Please leave pets at home. Meet at 12:00 PM noon in front of the Mountain Parks Nature Store (edge of parking lot) at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Heavy rain cancels. (hike travels along several trails).

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Time of the Event: 1:00 PM
Where to Meet: in front of the Mountain Parks Nature Store (edge of parking lot).
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: Children from age 6-up are encouraged to attend accompanied by a parent.
Restrictions: Please leave pets at home.
Length of the Trail: 1.5 miles
Things to Bring: Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring walking shoes and water;
Cancellation Information: Heavy rain cancels.
Additional Information: On this 2 hour leisurely walk we’ll uncover the tracks and other “signs” that animals leave. We’ll reconstruct the hidden lives of deer, hawks, ducks, bobcat, lizards and more – to see how they survive in our rivers, forests and grasslands. Children from age 6-up are encouraged to attend accompanied by a parent. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring walking shoes and water; length is approximately 1.5 miles along several park trails. Meet at 1:00 PM in front of the Mountain Parks Nature Store (edge of parking lot). Heavy rain cancels. Please leave pets at home.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area
Time of the Event: 10:00 a.m.
Where to Meet: Campfire Center
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Minimum Age for Kids: 10+
Restrictions: N/A
Length of the Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, appropriate footwear, and your camera
Cancellation Information: Rain will cancel the event
Additional Information: N/A

 MacKerricher State Park
Time of the Event: 1:00 pm
Where to Meet: Start of board walk at Laguna Point parking lot.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: 12
Restrictions: None
Length of the Trail: 1 miles
Things to Bring: Binoculars if you have them.
Cancellation Information: 707-937-5804
Additional Information: Slow, easy hike with lots of stops. Learn about the natural and cultural history of MacKerricher State Park. Wear layered clothing. It can be windy and cool in the winter. Rain will cancel this program. Boardwalk is ADA compliant.

Mendocino Headlands State Park
Time of the Event: N/A
Where to Meet: Ford House
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: 3
Restrictions: Not an ADA trail, no strollers
Length of the Trail: 1 miles
Things to Bring: N/A
Cancellation Information: Rain will cancel the event.
Additional Information: Along the cliff trail

Natural Bridges State Beach
Time of the Event: 2:00 p.m.
Where to MeetNatural Bridges State Beach Visitor Center
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for KidsAll ages
Restrictions: No dogs
Length of the Trail0.75 miles
Things to Bring: dress in layers for changeable weather
Cancellation Information(831)426-0505
Additional InformationTake a gentle walk with a park docent to discover the qualities of the gently sloped, tree-filled arroyo that provides sanctuary to park visitors, ample wildlife and an overwintering population of monarch butterflies that cluster in the trees at Natural Bridges State Beach. The monarch butterfly boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Russian Gulch State Park
Time of the Event: 12:00 noon
Where to Meet: Meet the docent in front of the recreation hall
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Minimum Age for Kids: 11 years and older
RestrictionsN/A
Length of the Trail: 5.5 miles
Things to BringBring water and snacks with you.
Cancellation Information: N/A
Additional Information: Meet the docent in front of the recreation hall at the park at 12:00 noon. The park entrance road is located on the west side of Hwy 1, three miles north of Mendocino, California. This will be a moderate 5.5 mile out and back hike (2.75 miles each way) to the beautiful waterfall at Russian Gulch State Park. You will learn about the park’s natural history from Dave Jensen, renowned birder and naturalist. This hike is suggested for children 11 years and older, and adults. Bring water and snacks with you.

Salt Point State Park
Time of the Event: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
Where to Meet: Gerstle Cove Day Use Parking Lot (paved lot)
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Minimum Age for Kids: 10 years and up
RestrictionsNone
Length of the Trail3 miles
Things to Bring: Layered clothing, sturdy footwear, hat for sun protection, water, snacks or picnic lunch, sunscreen, camera, binoculars.
Cancellation Information: inclement weather may cancel or change planned route. Check www.fortross.org the evening before the hike or call (707) 847-3437.
Additional Information: Beautiful coastal vistas, natural and cultural history, and wildlife viewing will be highlighted in this gently paced hike being offered jointly by California State Parks and Fort Ross Conservancy staff and volunteers. For questions, contact (707) 847-3437 or visit www.fortross.org.

Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
Time of the Event: 10:00 a.m.
Where to Meet: park entrance station
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: Young children are welcome on this hike.
Restrictions: Young children should be closely supervised by parent or guardian.
Length of the Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Bring water, rain gear, coffee, tea or hot cocoa to help stay warm.
Cancellation Information: N/A
Additional Information: Meet the docent at 10:00 a.m. at the park entrance station, 1.5 miles north of Leggett, California, west of Hwy 101. This will be an easy 2 mile long hike on the Taber Trail. This trail is wheelchair accessible. Walk through a grove of old-growth redwood trees. Wear layered clothing. Young children are welcome on this hike. Please leave dogs at home.  Young children should be closely supervised by parent or guardian. Bring water, rain gear, coffee, tea or hot cocoa to help stay warm.

Van Damme State Park Spring Ranch Whale Watching Hike
Time of the Event: 10:00 a.m.
Where to Meet: Parking area across from Gordon Lane
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: 10 years old.
Restrictions: No dogs allowed.
Length of the Trail: 1 miles
Things to Bring: Water, layered clothing. Optional: binoculars, camera, sack lunch or snack if hiker chooses to linger.
Cancellation Information: 707-937-5804
Additional Information: Hike to the bluffs overlooking the ocean to watch for migrating gray whales. The whales are heading south to the warm lagoons of Baja California. Trail down to the bluffs descends gradually except for one small portion that has a steeper incline. Hike will be led by park naturalist. Learn about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Westport-Union Landing State Beach
Time of the Event: 10:00 AM to noon
Where to Meet: Park Headquarters just south of Howard Creek Bridge on State Route 1, about 3 miles north of the village of Westport.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Minimum Age for Kids: None
Restrictions: None
Length of the Trail: 2 miles
Things to Bring: Good walking shoes, warm clothing, binoculars, camera, etc.
Cancellation Information: The hike will be cancelled in the event of rain. For information you may contact Thad at (707) 964-7272 on the morning the hike is scheduled.
Additional Information: This walk is sponsored by the Westport Village Society, a local nonprofit land trust. Due to a moderately high tide, this walk will proceed south along the headlands from Howard Creek to Dehaven Creek and back for a total distance of 2.0 miles. The natural and cultural history of the local area will be discussed at several points along the route by local experts. This route affords highly scenic views and the opportunity to see many birds, animals, and native plants. With luck, hikers may see some migrating gray whales.

Wilder Ranch State Park
Time of the Event: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Where to Meet: Meet in the Wilder Ranch State Park Parking Lot
Degree of Difficulty: Strenuous
Minimum Age for Kids: may be ok for older kids, if they are strong, regular hikers.
Restrictions: no dogs
Length of the Trail: 6 miles
Things to Bring: sturdy hiking shoes, water, snacks/lunch, and dress in layers for changeable weather
Cancellation Information: (831)426-0505
Additional Information: This challenging guided three-hour hike will explore the natural and cultural history of the upper hills of Wilder Ranch State Park.

Holiday Fun with California State Parks

The weather outside may get frightful, but our parks are still delightful! California State Parks up and down the state are celebrating the holidays with family-friendly events guaranteed to grow the heart of any Grinch grumbling at the end of your holiday table.  Find one near you:

California State Capitol Museum

Throughout the month of December the California State Capitol Museum hosts holiday music from a diverse array of performers including the Camellia City Flute Choir and the Golden State Accordion Club. View the full schedule on the Capitol Museum’s Event Calendar.

If you’re on the Capitol Grounds on Wednesday, December 5, be sure to head to the West Steps of the Capitol by 4:30 for the 81st annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree.  It’s an event sure to bring out the holiday spirit in anyone.

Columbia State Historic Park

Miner’s Christmas, December 8 and 9, 15 and 16: Sit around a campfire drinking hot cider or coffee and join in conversations with miners as they roast chestnuts. Children can make some favorite crafts of the 1850s and keep an eye out for Father Christmas! For more information call 209-588-9128.

Christmas Equestrian Parade, December 9: Sponsored by the Mid-Valley Unit of the Back Country Horsemen.  Call 209-599-2620 for more information.

Las Posadas Nativity Procession, December 9: Since 1983 the people of Columbia have put on their own version of Las Posadas each December-with a distinctive 1850s flavor. Characters in this re-enactment include Mary and Joseph and their donkey, the three Wise Men, tax collector and innkeeper, and miners and musicians and other costumed townspeople. Columbia’s Main Street is decorated for the Christmas season, and luminaria light the way for the procession, while on-lookers hold candles and join in singing Christmas carols.  For more information, call 209-536-1672.

Merry Merchants, December 14: The Columbia Chamber of Commerce invites you to enjoy an evening of old-fashioned Christmas charm in Columbia! Shop in the tradition of times gone by without the hustle and hassle of malls or traffic jams.  Listen to Christmas carols and songs performed by local children, delight in traditional tastes-roasted chestnuts, hot gingerbread, and more. Enjoy a free carriage ride on decorated Main Street. Call 209-536-1672 or visit http://columbiacalifornia.com.

Crystal Cove State Park

Winter Solstice Hike, December 21: Join Crystal Cove State Park docents for a Winter Solstice hike on Friday, December 21 at 6:30pm.  Enjoy the rising moon over Moro ridge on this moderate 2 hour hike.  Meet at the Moro Amphitheater (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park.)  Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, and dress in layers.  Flashlights should have red lenses.  $15 day-use fee. Call (949) 494-3539 for more information.

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

Una Noche de Las Posadas, December 14: Las Posadas (The Inns) is the time-honored reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem as it was once celebrated in Early California and is still observed throughout Mexico and South America. Join in this rich cultural tradition, experiencing first-hand the way in which Santa Barbara’s earliest Spanish and Mexican residents celebrated Christmas with song and food. Starts: 7PM, El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park Ends:  Casa de la Guerra Historic House Museum. For more information (805) 965-0093 or www.sbthp.org.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Holiday Gift and Craft Faire—The Mountain Parks Foundation 20th Annual Holiday Fundraiser, December 8 and 9: Nature’s Beauty and the joy of the season meet as you shop for nature-themed gifts at the 20th annual Holiday Gift and Craft Faire at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Enjoy crafters and artisans, unique gifts, raffle prizes, hot beverages, baked goods and holiday cheer! Proceeds benefit environmental and cultural education in our local state parks. More information is available at (831) 335-3174 and online at www.mountainparks.org.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area

Lights on the Lake Holiday Boat Parade, December 8: 14th Annual “Lights on the Lake” holiday boat parade from 5 to 9 p.m. at the launch ramp 6. There will be several best-decorated boat competitions, DJ, food beverages, Kid’s activities and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

Judges will award one annual Lake Perris day use / boat launch pass to the winner of each category of vessel. There is free admission for all contestants and anyone donating an unwrapped toy valued at $10 or a $10 donation toward the purchase of children’s wagons which will benefit Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Boaters will meet in Lot 6 and will need to be in the water before 4:30 p.m. Pre-Registration is recommended. Call 951-940-5600 for more information or email us at LPSRA@parks.ca.gov.

Monterey State Historic Park

Christmas in the Adobes 2012, December 7 and 8: Stroll thought the streets of Historic Downtown Monterey and visit 19th C. adobes for fandango dance lessons at Custom House, or bagpipes and cookies at Robert Louis Stevenson House. Refreshments, games history and fun await the entire family during Monterey’s signature holiday event. Ticket Prices – $20 Adult 18 and over; $2 Youth ages 6-17; Children 5-and-under free. Proceeds benefit Monterey State Historic Park children’s educational programs. Events run 5 to 9pm each night. For more information call the Monterey State Historic Park office at (831) 649-7118.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Holiday in the Park, December 15: Live action performances, caroling around the fire, music, dancing, and more. All of the State Park stores and restaurants are represented by Old town Park Merchants Association, will be open and richly decorated. Enjoy special holiday treats, activities, and extended shopping hours.

Las Posadas, December 16: This centuries-old tradition is being celebrated in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for the 62nd Consecutive year. Please join the Park Merchants Association as they reenact the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph through the town of Bethlehem. The event begins at 2pm with carolers and children’s choirs in the state park, with the live theatrical procession starting promptly at 4pm. A piñata party for all the children follows at 5pm. Make this a new holiday tradition for your family. It is sure to be a night you will remember.

Bonfire Nights, December 15, 16, and December 26 through 30: Winter evenings are a reason to celebrate in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.Join Carolers and other performers from dusk to 9pm. Free s’mores round the bonfire are the highlight of the evening.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Santa by Daylight Train Rides, December 15 and 16: Get into the holiday spirit with a special “Santa By Daylight” train ride at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown! Guests will enjoy a historic train ride with Santa on board as well as entertainment by Railtown 1897’s “Roving Fiddler” Dave Rainwater. Don’t miss your chance to relax and enjoy a special holiday journey for all ages. Plus, while visiting Railtown 1897 SHP, don’t forget to stop by the Museum Store for popular holiday gift items such as Thomas the Tank Engine trains, toys, books and more! For tickets or more information about “Santa by Daylight” train rides, call 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org today!

Lake Perris State Recreation Area Boat Parade

Lake Perris State Recreation Area Boat Parade

Wilder Ranch State Park

Holidays on the Ranch!, December 15: Wilder Ranch State Park creates the perfect atmosphere for friends, family and visitors to come together to celebrate the warmth of the holiday season with crafts, games, music and merriment from the early 20th century on Saturday, December 15, from 11:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.  We’ll busy your hands with holiday wreath-making, invite you to join in an old-fashioned sing-along around the player piano, and provide you with materials to make Victorian and Mexican holiday crafts. Come play games like dreidel, take a draft-horse carriage ride, decorate the tree or create ornaments to bring home to your own tree while spending the day on the grounds of the cultural preserve at beautiful, historic, Wilder Ranch State Park.

Halloween 2012 Events in California State Parks

Looking for a spooky time? We’ve got Halloween events in Sacramento, Columbia, and San Diego that fit the bill. Keep the spirits happy and pencil Parks into your Halloween plans!

Sacramento:
Governor’s Mansion After Dark. If you’re looking for fun, family-friendly alternatives to trick-or-treating this Halloween, consider visiting the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park (SHP). Special “Mansion After Dark” activities — coordinated by the Governor’s Mansion docents — will take place upstairs in the historic Mansion that offer a spooky good time with scary music to set the mood, dim lighting, fortune tellers, darkened rooms and even “coffin corners.” Proceeds go to the California State Historic Governor’s Mansion Foundation in support of the Governor’s Mansion SHP. For more information about this family-friendly Halloween event or other activities happening at the Governor’s Mansion SHP, call 916-323-5916. October 26 & 27, 6 to 9 p.m. $6 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under.

The Haunted Fort Looking for something ghoulishly unique to do this Halloween? For a spirited good time, check out the third annual “The Haunted Fort” at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP). Continuing a popular annual tradition, the historic site will offer a special Halloween program based in fact but with a decidedly creepy twist. Amid the glow of campfire, daring visitors will go on guided tours through the darkened rooms and hear unusual and intriguing tales of how some of California’s early pioneers perished throughout history. Some even believe many of the rooms at the Fort are still haunted by the spirits of past inhabitants. For advance tickets or more information about “The Haunted Fort” or other events and activities at Sutter’s Fort SHP, call 916-323-7626. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento. October 26 – 27, 6:30 pm – 9 pm. $8 per adult, $6 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 years and under.

Columbia State Historic Park
Fifth Annual Illumination of the Jack-O’-Lanterns Carve your pumpkins, turning them into classic peg-toothed grinners, artfully chiseled ghouls, leering witches, or any family-friendly design of your choosing.  Bring your carved gourds to the Columbia Museum on Main Street for judging, and enjoy the live musical entertainment.  Prizes will be awarded for the most original, most gruesome, most entertaining, etc.  At dusk the jack-o’-lanterns will be illuminated.  This free event is sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and fun for all ages.  Call 209-536-1672 or visit columbiacalifornia.com.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Dead Men DO Tell Tales Or, Not Your Grandma’s Paranormal Encounter.”

Would you like to meet “real” ghosts and learn their stories?  Come to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to hear and see, funny, and upbeat stories of people who once lived in early San Diego during the 1800s. Meet the spirits as they answer the comical Dr. Lucretia Bluestocking, Ph.D. (Doctor of Phantom History). Do they have a different take on the stories of their lives? You will discover that our ghosts tend to a sarcastic view of San Diego’s history. This is an approximately 40 minute performance.

Tickets are $5.00 each for adults and $1.00 for children 6 to 12. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the Seeley Stable on the day of the performance. Performances are limited to 35 people.

Performances will be offered on the afternoons of October  26, 27 at 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM, 2012. It is strongly recommended that you be at the Seeley Stable approximately 15 minutes before the start of the show. Late arrivals will not be seated. Not recommended for children under age 6. Holders of children’s tickets must be accompanied by an adult.

Trick or Treat in Old Town San Diego Enjoy free goodies, special holiday treats, holiday activities  and extended shopping hours at all the stores in the park. Wednesday, October 31.

28th Annual Millerton Lake Eagle Tours

Millerton Lake State Recreation Area is the place to be on weekends between now and March. California State Parks is proud to present the 28th Annual Eagle Tours at Millerton Lake. Come see the wintering bald eagles and golden eagles in the San Joaquin River channel at the terminus of their southern migration.

The tour begins at 8AM with a slideshow in the Historic Fresno County Courthouse. Then, join a ranger and a biologist onboard the To’qhill (Chukchansi for Eagle) and view the birds in their winter habitat. Many other wildlife and vistas are available for your viewing pleasure. The tour is ADA Accessible. Binoculars, lifejackets and hot chocolate provided.

Reservations are required, and there is a fee of twenty dollars per person due at time of reservation. Group rates and scheduling available upon request. Please call Millerton Lake State Recreation Area at (559) 822-2332 and book your tour today. Space is filling up fast.

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