Summer Fun in the Regional Parks

News from the East Bay Regional Park District

By Ned MacKay, EBRP

A free concert, sand castles, butterflies and trains — the month of June will bring all kinds of activities and festivities to the East Bay Regional Parks.

For example, there’s a full schedule in store at Crown Beach and Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda.

It starts with Concert at the Cove, a free musical performance from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 9, featuring The Urban Outlaws, playing modern country with a few classic tunes. You can bring a blanket or lawn chair and a picnic dinner, or purchase food and beverages at the park. Before the music, the visitor center will have nature-themed activities on its deck starting at 4:30 p.m.

Other free cove concerts in the series will be at the same time on July 14 and Aug. 11. Sponsors are the Park District and Alameda Rotary. The visitor center is at the end of McKay Avenue. But parking there is limited; there’s more parking on Webster Street or in the Crown Beach lot at the corner of Otis and Shore Line Drives.

Crown Beach’s other real crowd pleaser is the annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest, which will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.

Youngster, family and adult divisions can compete in either castle or sculpture category. Free registration is at 9 a.m., judging at noon, and awards at 1 p.m. This is a great event, whether you compete or just enjoy viewing other people’s creativity. Cosponsors are the Park District, Alameda Recreation & Parks Department, and the Bay View Women’s Club.

And “Nuts About Squirrels” is the theme of Crab Cove’s Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4.

For more information on all these programs, call 510-544-3187


Things with wings are the focus of the 18th annual Butterfly & Bird Festival, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.

Attractions will include educational speakers, photo presentations, up-close interaction with the flying creatures, information on how to create wildlife habitat in your backyard, garden tours, music, and other family friendly activities.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the festival is free of charge. Call 510-544-3214 for information.

Nearby at Ardenwood Historic Farm, Katie Train Activities Day will be from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. This is the Railroad Museum’s once-a-year celebration of Katie, its little green locomotive, with activities designed especially for children ages six and under.

The kids can ride Katie Train to Deer Park, where there will be kid-friendly fun including building a wooden train track, creating a wooden block town, playing engineer, blowing bubbles and enjoying story time.

Katie Train tickets cost $5 for ages 2 and older, there’s no charge for children under 2. The fee is in addition to Ardenwood’s regular admission, which on Saturday is $3 for adults and seniors, $2 for youngsters ages 4 through 17, and free for ages 3 and under. Parking is free.

Ardenwood is located on Ardenwood Boulevard just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. For information, call 510-544-2797.


A hike to the peak and a program about dragonflies are on the schedule for Sunday, June 4 at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.

The hike is from 8 to 11 a.m., led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. It’s a somewhat strenuous climb, with animal tracks, birds and native plants along the way. Views from the top are exceptional.

Anthony will reveal the amazing world of dragonflies in a program from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The insects have been around since dinosaur days.

Both programs meet at the Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.            The nighttime is the right time for a hike from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.


Naturalist Kevin Dixon will lead a walk to the park’s Prospect Tunnel and back, looking for owls, bats, coyotes, foxes and other night creatures. Bring a flashlight.

The hike is for ages six and older. Meet Kevin at the trailhead at the end of Frederickson Lane in Antioch. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.


The visitor center at Big Break Regional Shoreline hosts a free morning coffee session and discussion of Delta News from 8:30 to 9 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month. The next get-together is on June 7. Water tunnels, research projects, farming and fish stocks are all timely topics.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.