Who knew that not only is there great kid friendly hiking within 30mins of central LA, but also that there's free entertainment and breathtaking views? Did I mention free??
So last month I went soo far over budget on entertainment that I'm in the hole for like two months :). My new ( uhmm read forced) focus is on free family fun. Today I stumbled upon Franklin Canyon a truly hidden gem.
We spent the first hour in their vistor center learning about the Native Americans who lived in the area, the water cycle, energy conservation and ways to cut down on wasting water. They have an excellent visual example of the water cycle. It is so simple yet informative even Shmitty the 3 year old was engaged and understood it.
After the center closed we hit the trail with our leaftlets about scat, animal prints and native plants. The boys happily IDed several droppings and searched excitedly for signs of rattle snakes, thankfully they had no luck.
We stopped by the lake for lunch and decided to try our hand at boat making the way it was done hundreds of years ago. While in the visitor center we saw models of reed boats that looked simple enough to recreate. Honestly, it was a fun venture. The boys hauled tall blades of grass up from the lake. We meaured and cut it. Shmitty searched for dried grass that was strong but flexible. It felt great to be working together on a project again.
We created three bundles then tied the bundles together. Shmeep suggested weaving them together to make it sturdier. Launching our craft was quite difficlut, but after two lost sticks and nearly laying on the reeds to give it a push, we did it!
We continued our trek and came across a cool pond full of turtles, a grove of redwoods and a "spooky" well. At this point we had already had a GREAT day and were on our way out when we say sings for a camp fire. Yes it got better.
Naturalist Judy was excellent. She explained all about reptiles and what to do if we came across them. She used puppets, pictures and lots of audience participation. We sang songs, did silly dances and of course enjoyed roasted marshmallows.
Did I mention it was all free, not even a parking fee :)
For more info on this park and other LA parks visit www.LAmountains.com