It’s time to check out the upcoming Orange County Parks Fall programs and events. The OC park system offers a great selection of educational programs, docent led hikes and adventures, volunteer opportunities, and special weekend activities that the whole family can participate in. Check out our list of activities that are offered by OC Parks.
This FREE beginning archery class is held at the archery range at Mile Square Regional Park. Recommended for ages 12 and up, the class will introduce participants to the sport of archery, providing safety instructions and proper technique. All archery equipment will be provided. Online registration is required. The event is recurring and you may sign up for future dates.
Bird walks are a great way for bird enthusiasts, both new and old, to enjoy spotting native feathered friends in a park setting. The volunteer naturalist will take participants on a leisurely 2-mile walk around the parks in search of local birds. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes and to bring binoculars! The event is free but reservations are recommended for this recurring event. This recurring event takes place at various locations including Dilley Preserve, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, and San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
On the last Sunday of every month, Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve host Crafty Kids Sundays. This fun community event is recommended for ages 2 to 10, but all ages are welcome. The drop-in program runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and features a themed craft project for every child to complete in the Discovery Classroom. While you’re there, say hello to the reptiles in the room, read a story under the big, hollow tree, and, enjoy some of the other fun toys, puzzles, and activities that they have on display here.
Four times a year, Ralph B. Clark Regional Park hosts Family Fossil Day. Dtes for 2019 TBA. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. During this FREE three hour program at the interpretive center, participants will learn about animals that inhabited the Orange County area thousands of years ago like ring-tailed cats, giant ground sloths, mammoths, and ancient llamas. Visitors will experience some of the interpretive center’s fossils hands-on, like the jaws of a Megalodon, and a baleen whale fossil that dates back 9 million years! Guests that are over 6 years of age will be invited to visit the Clark Regional Park marine fossil site.
This unique educational opportunity allows volunteers to register and go behind the scenes at the Native Seed Farm to collect seeds from a variety of wildflowers like yellow pincushions and the California Wishbone Bush. Wildflower seeds will be used in the wild areas of OC Parks to regrow native animal habitat, providing food and shelter within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and acting as a buffer against the impacts of fires and floods. Volunteers are needed and can register online. Multiple dates and times are available.
The annual FREE kids fishing clinic at Irvine Regional Park is TBA, usually held the first weekend in December from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This exciting community event is perfect for families with kids ages 15 and under who are interested in learning how to fish. Already have fishing experience but want to join in the fun? You’re welcome to attend as well. Fishing instructors will be available to teach kids how to fish, offer tips and advice, assist with all your fishing needs, and answer any questions you may have. Registration is required for this event and is available on the OC Parks website. Some poles will be available on loan, but it is recommended that you bring your own pole and bait. The lake will be stocked with Rainbow Trout. There is a two fish limit and prizes will be awarded for tagged fish. The Kids Fishing Clinic is for kids only and adults may not fish until the event is over.
Registration is required for this public evening program. The event takes place at the Augustine Staging Area at the Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve on September 21st from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Participants will learn about the diverse insects in the area and help document the bugs and night creatures that they discover during the program. Bring your camera! This event is recommended for ages 6 and up.
The Ranger led hikes take place at various locations throughout the OC Parks properties and vary in length and difficulty. One event takes hikers into the Bell Canyon area of Casper’s Wilderness Park on a 1-mile nature hike that is appropriate for all ages. The Ranger Led first Saturday hikes often take participants on a 1.1-mile hike to the Redwood Grove at Carbon Canyon Regional Park. This easy to moderate hike is also good for families and people of all ages. The Geology Hike at the James Dilley Preserve in the Laguna Coast Wilderness area is more difficult with some steep and rocky terrain. Th 3-mile hike is for ages 15 and up and is led by a volunteer naturalist who talks about the current geologic processes and how they affect the natural landscape of the area. Other hikes include difficult hikes out to The Sinks, 5-mile discovery hikes in the Laguna Coast Wilderness, and 3.5 mile after work hikes.
On select Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays the Orange County Zoo offers science and art-focused preschool programs. The one-hour class includes hands on learning, a theme-related craft, and an up close meeting with zoo animals that will delight the little ones. The class is recommended for children ages 3 and 4 and parents must accompany their children for the entire class. Registration is required for this activity, and there are many recurring events on the calendar. There is a $5 fee for the class and a $3 fee for parking.
Heidi Deal is the owner of Sharp Content, an Orange County adventure enthusiast, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.