By Ned MacKay
Autumn is an active time in the East Bay Regional Parks. The cooler weather makes for pleasant hiking and riding, and the park district naturalists schedule lots of programs highlighting seasonal beauties.
For instance, visitors will enjoy a cornucopia of autumnal activities during the annual harvest festival at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11.
You can walk through a five-acre field looking for Indian corn and popcorn and take home a share of what you harvest (bring your own bag). Other attractions will include magic shows, cider pressing, old-time music and historic craft demonstrations.
Ardenwood’s train will be on track, the pumpkin patch will be open, and docents will lead tours of the park’s historic Patterson House.
Ardenwood recreates life on a 19th century farming estate. It’s located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84.
Fee for the harvest festival is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 and older, $6 for children ages 4 through 17, and free for kids aged 3 and under. Parking is free. For information, call 510-544-2797.
Family Fun Hour is a series of free programs from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, designed for children ages five and older with their parents participating. The programs feature stories and games for the entire family. Meet at the visitor center.
Bird migration will be the topic on Saturday, Oct. 10, and the nectar garden will be featured on Oct. 11.
Coyote Hills is at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle.
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At Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, jellyfish will be the stars of family nature fun hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11. After the program you can watch the staff feed the fish in Crab Cove’s aquarium from 3 to 3:30 p.m.
Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. For information call 510-544-3187.
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Turtles and snakes are on the agenda this weekend at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.
The turtle talk is from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 10, led by interpretive student aide Alec Bolivar, and you can meet the center’s eastern box turtle.
Naturalist Anthony Fisher will display some snakes and impart some snake lore from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11.
The center is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Bird watching is an enjoyable hobby, and park district naturalists lead lots of bird walks for all levels of expertise.
For instance, naturalist Anthony Fisher leads a free bird walk from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Monday in a regional park. On Oct. 12 there’s a walk at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond. Meet at the first parking lot on the right after the tunnel. Call 510-544-2233 for information.