July 8, 2008

Sunol Regional Wilderness Makes for a Wild Kids’ Getaway

By Kari Hulac, The Oakland Tribune, Calif.

Jul. 8--WHY IT'S COOL: At Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, you can see turtles sunning on a rock in a creek, turkey buzzards soaring in the air and spot some real live coyote scat (yep, we're talking p-o-o-p) alongside the trail. The park's summer schedule is packed with youth programs ranging from science workshops to guided wilderness hikes and horseback rides. Kids can study birds, Indians, frogs, rocks or creek critters.

WHAT PARENTS LIKE: It's one of seven East Bay Regional Parks with visitor centers, meaning it's staffed by real live naturalists. East Bay Regional Parks are home to more critters than you might imagine and are a great place to introduce children to our area's Native American history.

WHAT KIDS LIKE: Getting dirty on the trail, touching animal pelts and skulls in the visitor center, spotting tadpoles in the creek, and having butterflies land on their heads.

TIPS: Keep an eye out for poison oak (just stay on the trails) and wear a hat to help protect against ticks. This part of the East Bay gets hot in the afternoon, so morning visits will be most comfy, or check out the summer series of evening campfire sessions on Friday and Saturday nights.

AFTERWARD: The little town of Sunol is a great place to spend an afternoon. There are a couple of restaurants and a train station that kids will enjoy. You can also head north on I-680 to Pleasanton's quaint Main Street for shopping and dining, or a few minutes south to Fremont's

historic Niles District for some antique store window browsing.

-- Kari Hulac, staff writer, [email protected]

THE BASICS: -- Where: Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, 1895 Geary Road. Take the Calaveras Road exit off I-680. -- Hours: Visitors Center, where kids can see some live snakes, is open weekends 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Park generally open daily from 7 a.m.-dusk (some evening programs available); always call 510-544-2222 to check for fire season closures in any East Bay Regional Park property. -- Admission: $5 fee for parking, $2 to bring a dog. -- Contact: Call 925-862-2601 or visit www.ebparks.org for a monthly schedule of classes and activities.


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