Sunday, April 29, 2012

Park Day: F.E. Hopkins Wilderness Park, Redondo Beach

Jackson and fellow tots enjoy feeding the koi at the upper pond, right near the entrance.
When I saw him running down this little path these lyrics came to mind: "Little bunny foo-foo, hopping through the forest..."

Washing his pine cone in the drinking fountain, as you do.

The little babbling brook at this park is the best one I've encountered in L.A. Very fast-moving and naturalistic. We walked across a fallen-log bridge together.

Lower pond: Lots more ducks and turtles. More turbid water. Scary catfish things. At both ponds, they sell .25 handfuls of fish food out of repurposed gumball machines. Bring quarters.

F.E. Hopkins Wilderness Park sign: This little park is completely surrounded by apartment buildings and so forth, and the "wildnerness" consists mainly of unmown grass, but you can camp overnight with a permit. Gas barbecues, sinks and real bathrooms are available for campers.) If nothing else, it's a sweet little forested escape in the big city. They also seem to host (if not organize/manage) classes for little kids in a small classroom space toward the front. Very walkable with little dudes, and feeding the fish was a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Park Day: Franklin Canyon Park, Beverly Hills

I'm working on a story about nature centers for Red Tricycle, and I had to hit one more to hit my number, so yesterday we went to historic Franklin Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains above Beverly Hills. I've never been there before (although there was a long-ago school field trip to Tree People, which is located across the street). In short, it's a very nice space with some authentic California oak woodland, some latter-day planted redwood groves and a very nice nature center and helpful staff of (federal employees, I think) park rangers. The one downside is that too many of the trails are actually just the road and that's scary when navigating with a toddler, despite the signs every 10 feet advising of a 15 MPH speed limit. Just the same, there are some actual sylvan glades here, and we had a lovely time. I'd be there constantly if we lived in north Beverly Hills (or the Valley), and we'll definitely go back in the future.

Jackson was irate because I wouldn't let him take a "Drink! Drink! Drink water!" from this sundial. (We eventually found a real drinking fountain.)

Jackson checks out the Native American artifacts in the nature center. They also had a taxidermied mountain lion, a donkey skull and a pretty clever environmental-protection/water-conservation exhibit.

If you peer into this brush you will see an actual real live California quail. I have never seen a California quail in SoCal in all my days here, so I almost fainted when I saw this guy and his girlfriend (and two more later).

I just like this cockeyed shot of Jackson saying "CHEESE!"

Franklin Canyon Lake (the dam is below the road behind the trees on the right); IRL it's not quite as perfectly alpine as it appears in this shot, but it's pretty darn nice.

Simultaneously suspicious and cute. Note that I actually got a jacket on him because it was cold. :)

Turtles on a log.

Signs for Sooky Goldman Nature Center & William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom
Jackson says "Hug hug!" so I gotta go now. See you later, dear readers. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Wiggles

We went to the beach today and the family next to us seemed to be naturally musical. One of them had a guitar and several of them sang along to familiar tunes. We were all enchanted and at one point Jackson got up to dance. See above. Yes, it kind of looks like an epileptic fit, but it's really just the white-boy boogie. Later, he went up to the singers very confidently and said "Thank you, music! Thank!" They were enchanted and someone said something about dancing in Spanish and I told him to dance and he hopped up and down three times and they laughed approvingly. Thank you, family, for the afternoon of fantastic seaside music!

Lucky Baby

Kiddo was lucky enough to enjoy his second birthday party in the company of all four doting grandparents!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Two Years Old

The two-year well-baby visit at Kaiser went much better than the 18-month visit, thanks to a much nicer/better doctor and because he's a great, healthy kid!