Hiking with The Canyoneers & THE NAT!

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I love exploring nature with the kids. My dad took us on hikes a lot when we were kids and it was a great way to learn more about nature and the history of San Diego.

When THE NAT emailed me this morning to share their free, guided nature hikes, I knew I had to share it with my readers!

Canyoneers are citizen scientists and volunteers who have had comprehensive training by Museum scientists and local experts on the natural history of the region. Check out the full schedule of hikes between now and June 2020, and hit the trails with the Canyoneers! Look for the Canyoneer sign at the designated parking area. We are always hoping to see wildlife. Please leave dogs at home and come enjoy nature.

The Canyoneers offer free, guided hikes on trails throughout San Diego County from September through June. The new season kicks off this Saturday, September 8 with an easy, 1-mile hike on the Kumeyaay Lake Trail at Mission Trails Regional Park, perfect for children, seniors, and birdwatchers. 

In total, the Canyoneers are offering 80 hikes. Most are offered on weekends—with a few midday hikes being offered on select dates—and cover diverse terrain, ranging from the coast to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and from the Tijuana Estuary to Palomar Mountain.

  • New hikes in Cleveland National Forest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and several other locations including Gremlin Way Trailhead in Dictionary Hill Open Space Preserve. 
  • Once a month, the Canyoneers will lead a mid-week hike to locations that are often crowded on weekends due to limited access. Examples include Equestrian Trail in Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (November 13) and Luelf Pond Preserve in Ramona (May 12). 
  • The desert hikes that are scheduled on consecutive days allow for camping opportunities, reducing the amount of driving necessary to get to both hikes. The desert at night is a special treat. 
  • Some trails offer shorter hikes with little elevation change—good for younger hikers—and some very flat and paved hikes that are perfect for strollers and anyone with a disability. One example is the Batiquitos Lagoon Gabbiano Trailhead (September 14). 
  • If the weather cooperates, there’s a chance to see waterfalls on Cibbets Flat to Kitchen Creek Falls hike (February 9) and the Green Valley Falls Loop (June 28). Green Valley Falls is an amazing hike and has pools of water that are fun to play in!
  • Hikes in some of the most interesting geological areas in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, including Fish Creek/Split Mountain (January 4) and Canyon Sin Nombre (February 8)—perfect for slot canyon fans. 

And if you have kids, there is a special program for students and classes too!

“Kids are most inspired by nature when they get outside and experience it for themselves—seeing a Monarch butterfly or a coast live oak in person helps bring to life what they’re learning in the classroom,” said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum. 

The program is made possible with support from Subaru of America, who is generously supporting the Canyoneer hiking program for the fourth year in a row.

The Museum aims to serve approximately 550 students this year through the program. Space is limited on the hikes. For more information or to book a hike, visit sdnat.org/schoolnaturehikes or call 619.255.0349. 

If you are looking for books about hiking and exploring the many awesome trails and cool nature spots in San Diego County here are two books I completely recommend!

This is my personal favorite and has TON of kid and family-friendly hikes!

Summer Lunch Resources for Kids in San Diego!

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School is out (for most of us, the rest will be getting out next week), and that means there are some parents (and kids) who usually rely on free or subsidized school lunches may find themselves wondering what to do.

Thankfully, a lot of great organizations have stepped up and partnered with local area school, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer.  For those of us in East County, here is a list of locations!

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Those of us in the greater San Diego Area, there are a lot of great options all over town!

There is a kick off BBQ at Skyline Hills Park 6/21/17 10:30am-2:00pm! Parents eat free at this BBQ and there are all kinds of activities!

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 12.53.16 PMLindo Lake in Lakeside is hosting a summer BBQ that’s free for kids, and only $4.00 for parents on August 15th! The best part is that each family leaves with 6 lbs. of fresh produce thanks to Feeding America! If the two lists above aren’t in your area, you can also turn to the USDA Find Summer Meals map here.

 

All of these programs are free and there is no proof of need and you do not have to sign up in advance. Just show up and hte kids get a tasty meal!

 

What I love about this program is that there are tons of rec centers hosting these lunches and they are usually adjacent to a playground, which means after a long morning of playing, the kids don’t have long to wait to get a yummy lunch!

Looking for a few ideas of summer fun with a nearby lunch?

If you know of more summer lunch programs for kids in San Diego County, I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment!

 

 

Fun Free Easter Events in San Diego!

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Looking for some fun this week to celebrate Easter? I’ve been combing the internet looking for some fun to share!

Here are just a few of my favorite free or cheap San Diego Area events! Most are Easter specific, but there are a few that are just good spring fun!

Meet the Easter Bunny, and hunt for Eggs at Lake Murray Playground this Friday, the 14th! I am sponsoring this event. We’ll have lots of fun for all kids!

Spring Eggstravaganza in Santee. This is a very busy and very popular east county event! It features continuous egg hunts for ages 8 & under, pony rides, crafts, inflatables, petting zoo, carnival rides and games, and more. April 15, 9 am-3 pm. Ride/activity tickets $1 each (cash only). You can park outside the lakes and walk in, otherwise entrance to the park is $6/car. Santee Lakes, Lake 5, 9310 Fanita Pkwy *Get there early to avoid the rush. We used to go when Lil’ Man was smaller to this event, but there are just too many people for us.

If you are going to be in Mission Valley, check out the free monthly craft at the Lakeshore Learning store! For ages 3 and up 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15 at 7510 Hazard Center Drive (San Diego)

Grossmont Center, La Mesa is hosting an egg hunt for all ages, costumed characters, face painting and a train display. Free event. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 15.

A lot of the Rec Centers around San Diego are hosting events on Saturday. Here are just a few!

FREE Spring Egg Hunt at Adams Recreation Center. Egg scrambles, face painting, crafts, music and more. April 15, 10 am-12:30 pm. Bring a basket. 3491 Adams Ave., San Diego. http://www.sandiego.gov; 619-235-1149.

FREE Egg Hunt at Morley Field Sports Complex. Also, games, arts and crafts, egg toss, sack races and cake walks. April 15, 9:30 am-noon; egg hunt at 11 am. 2221 Morley Field Dr., San Diego. 619-525-8262.

FREE Eggs & Goodies at Pacific Beach Recreation Center. Egg hunts plus a 40-foot obstacle course, a bounce house, arts and crafts, and face painting. April 15, 1 pm. Returned eggs will qualify participants for special goodie bags. 1405 Diamond St. For details, call 858-581-9927.

FREE Torrey Hills Egg Hunt. Also, crafts, music, jumps and face painting. April 15, 9-11 am. Torrey Hills Community Park, 4262 Calle Mejillones, San Diego. 858-552-1687.

Louis A. Stelzer County Park, Lakeside 10 – 11 a.m. event April 15 at 11470 Wildcat Canyon Road, 619-561-0580. There may be a $3 parking/park entrance fee per vehicle.

 

Free lunches for ALL KIDS in San Diego County!

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That looks like a pretty good lunch, right? It was free! And what you don’t see is two little boxes of raisins that Lil’ Man basically chugged (they really are nature’s candy!). Pizza, nectarine, applesauce, Apple juice, and a bag of carrots.

There were other side choices as well, including a mixed green salad, brocolli, mandarin oranges, celery, and ranch for dipping and fresh salsa too.

Here’s the deal.. It’s not a deal. The USDA sponsors the Summer Food Service Program, open to all kids aged 2-18 years. No proof of need is required, and you don’t need to sign up in advance. Just find a location near you (here– this is for San Diego County only, for all other areas, click here), show up, the kids pick their lunches, and enjoy!

Most locations offer lunch Monday-Friday at a specific time, and some locations even offer breakfast too!

This is a great way to stretch your budget over the summer (and get the kids out of the house!). Locations differ, but include schools, rec centers, and parks.