When it’s cold outside and the rains are hitting us it makes me long for the outdoors, smelling the fresh air and taking in all the beautiful colors nature provides. It makes it even worse since planning for camping trips in the summer is something you have to do this time of the year. I’m thankful that snow is something we drive to the mountains for and the winters here are typically mild so we can enjoy nature year round. In Los Angeles you can hop in your car for a short drive and find many places to enjoy nature for the day… I have to do this every so often or I will go a little bit crazy.
I love walking the trails at the El Dorado Park Nature Center in Long Beach, CA. There are 1 and 2 mile trails as well as a 1/4 mile wheelchair accessible trail. There are ponds, streams and native plants that make you feel like you drove hours to escape the city. We regularly spot turtles, lizards, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, hawks and snowy egrets. The whole family can enjoy their programs and they even have Spring and Summer camps. The education center and park staff provide a wealth of information about the native plants and wild life.
My favorite time to go the El Dorado Nature Center? After the rain… to see the mushrooms! Mushrooms need a lot of moisture to thrive. They grow quickly so they pop up after a heavy rainfall. The kids and I go “mushroom hunting” (we just look for them no harming of mushrooms involved) everywhere we walk after the rain and try to count as many as we can. The kids also believe that mushrooms are a sign that gnomes and fairies visited our garden and waking up to them popped up in our garden is very exciting. This becomes even more magical at the Nature Center or any favorite hiking spot.
Even if you don’t find mushrooms there is a lot of beauty to take in.
And Remember… Don’t Feed the Squirrels (this sign always cracks me up!)
There is no fee to enter the Nature Center but you do have to pay for parking since it’s nestled in El Dorado Regional Park. The large El Dorado Regional Park has a lot to offer for a day of family fun. There is an archery range, stocked fishing lakes, rentable paddle boats, train rides and lots of playgrounds. The paved walkway and bike trails are great and go around the entire park. It’s a great park for birthday parties too! They even have a field for remote controlled airplanes which the kids love watching. Oh and if you are looking for a new furbaby to add to your family the SPCLA is located on the grounds. You don’t have to pay the parking fee to go to the SPCLA.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post and was not asked to by the El Dorado Park Nature Center. I just love this spot and hope more people will enjoy it! All opinions are my own.
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.