Exploring Humboldt with Kids—The Redwood Parks
Kym Kemp / Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 4:40 p.m. / Family
Not even half way through summer and you’ve busted the bank trying to do things with kids? Everything seems to cost so much! The first time we went to the Avenue of the Giants to the Drive through Tree and a visit to the Chimney Tree. The next time we went to Confusion Hill. And neither of those was cheap. But now we have something that only costs you the price of gas it takes to get you there. As part of our summer series, Exploring Humboldt with Kids, we’ve got a suggestion for a seriously fun but free place to explore.
Go to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Much of this grand place (53,000 acres) is available for free. For those interested in a simple trip, start at Burlington Visitor Center just south of Weott. Most mornings (except Wednesdays) a ranger is available at 10 A.M. to take kids on a short nature hike. There is a small museum and gift shop to browse and at 11 A.M. the Junior Ranger program is available for free. The website said this was for kids staying in the campground but when I called about visiting the Center, we were encouraged to join right up. The site also says that the program is for kids from 7-12 but I saw several much younger enjoying themselves. Each kid gets an activity book and a pin. Poster, patches and other schwag are available for those who fill out their books or participate in Junior Ranger offerings.
We missed the walk but the crew of kids and adults who tagged along with them poked around in the treasures of the tiny museum/giftshop before gathering on the outside picnic tables with other children from the campground.
There we heard explanations of predator and prey behavior which were illustrated with hide and seek like games. The ranger held the attention of young and old.
The programs change every day and you can call (707)946-2263 for the schedule. This is a particularly good outing to involve grandparents in. The walk is short and flat, grandkids are adorably leaping down paths through incredibly beautiful trees, and there is plenty to engage both young and old alike. We brought two of the children’s grandmother. She came from Mexico and was enchanted by the enormous trees.
The visitor’s center at Burlington has several shady picnic areas with large spaces for playing frisbee and tag.
But beyond the program and the picnic, come here for the majestic stands of redwood trees and silent paths slipping into the dusk beneath them.
Come here for the wildflowers.
And the wildlife.
Come here for the opportunity to stand among beings so large that their roots make mountains.
Come here for the chance of stumbling on one of the super secret Albino redwood tree locations. There are rumored to be over ten of them in the area.
The adventure can take all day or as little as an hour. And it is all free.