Tilden Park’s Little Farm and Nature Area: Outdoor Family Fun in Berkeley
April 25, 2017 | Mary Corbin
If you have little ones with curious minds or you are seeking some new knowledge about our great nature areas in Berkeley, look no further than the Little Farm and Environmental Education Center of Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park Nature Area. Easily accessible by AC transit bus #67, you can also drive up the hill where the corners of Spruce, Grizzly Peak and Wildcat Canyon meet and take the sharp descent onto Cañon Rd. to the ample parking area.
The Tilden Nature Area is a 740-acre preserve with over 10 miles of hiking trails in and around Jewel Lake. Visiting the Environmental Education Center is just one great feature of the Nature Area. Before or after a hike, pop in to the Center to view their permanent exhibition or discover something new. Just recently, the Center highlighted the Golden Gate Audubon Society (GGAS) of Berkeley’s traveling exhibit to commemorate the organization’s 100th year. With knowledgeable and friendly staff, interesting interpretive programs, an ongoing exhibit that tells the story of the Wildcat Creek Watershed, and a few retail items including books, the Center is well worth a visit.
Naturalist-guided programs for school groups and other organized groups are available Tuesday through Friday by advance registration. Inside the EEC you can also find information on a variety of park activities for planning ahead. For details on what’s happening, check out their program guide web page. The Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 4:30 pm.
You might just follow your nose to get to the Little Farm, another fun feature of the area, located conveniently above the parking lot. Built in 1955, the Little Farm features a variety of farm animals including cows, sheep and goats, rabbits, chickens and pigs. The website informs us that
“Visitors are welcome to bring lettuce or celery (but nothing else) to feed the animals.” For more information about the Little Farm or guidance for planning your visit, click here for the brochure. The Little Farm is open daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm.
Whatever your choice – a big hike or a simple day with the young ones – a great way to end your outing is just a short walk from the EEC. From the Wildcat Creek trail head, take a peaceful and relaxing stroll along the 750-foot boardwalk and keep your eyes and ears open for a variety of birds nesting and playing nearby. A stop to rest at the inviting bench along the ever-changing ecosystem of Jewel Lake is tranquil and sublime, communing with ducks, shorebirds and turtles.
All in all, the Tilden Park Nature Area is a fantastic outing for families and friends looking to deepen their connection of the beauty and history of this exquisite natural habitat of Berkeley and our home.
*Photos courtesy of East Bay Regional Park District unless otherwise noted *