Tuesday, June 16, 2015

El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach CA

Sometimes you just need to get out in nature, even if it is man made.

Finding something to do that is inexpensive for a family of 5 in Los Angeles proved to be a little bit tricky. Luckily I did a search on Trip Advisor and when El Dorado Nature Center came up I thought I'd found a winner.

I called to find out their hours and loved that they opened early.

Admission to the Nature Center and hiking trail was free, there was just a parking fee of $7. You just can't beat free!

When we neared the center we saw these beautiful paintings to welcome visitors:

And since Amberly loves turtles she had to get in the picture.

I believe these paintings are for sale by the artist and I should have checked to find out the price as I just love this turtle painting as much as Amberly.

As with most free to the public spaces, there was a donation box inside and a small gift shop. Several things caught our eye - but these three t shirts I had to take a photo of:


I think a couple of these will be showing up in my creative inspiration posts!

There was plenty to look at and several hands on activities that engaged the kids for a good amount of time which I was surprised because the building is small, think cabin size.

Amberly showed me these rather large pine cones.

And though I am not fond of bug creatures, this table was pretty cool.

We were ready to take to the trails. I love that there were 3 different trail lengths, something for everyone. We went with the one mile length. 

As we got started our first discovery was a loveliness of ladybugs! I've never seen so many in nature. One even flew onto my had!

We found posts giving various wildlife to look for on the hike.  I believe we found all of the items with the exception of one. 

There were cool bridges to cross along our walk. Being city folks we don't get to experience bridges going over creeks and there's just something kinda cool about getting a photo of the kids on a walking bridge.... albeit they wanted nothing to do with a posed photo op. 

Perhaps my favorite photo of the day, no make that month.....

There are these cool log benches to rest on after you return from your hike.

Owen wanted to see what he could find in the distance.

And of course I had to get in at least one photo! Sometimes we are so busy taking the pictures we forget to actually be in them.... 

I'm so glad we found this gem! Spending quality time outdoors is good for creating memories. Not only do we learn along the way, but we bond over silly stories and what if scenarios. My husband took on the role of narrator as if we were in a Discovery Channel program and the kids laughed and laughed while I smiled as my happy cup was filled. 

Keep up with us as we continue to explore things from our Summer Bucket List!

Do you have a hidden gem in San Diego or Los Angeles area that we need to know about? Please let me know in the comments below and we'll see if we can add to our adventures!