Map-reading clinic, movie night, and Easter on the Farm this weekend at East Bay Parks

Map-reading clinic, movie night, and Easter on the Farm this weekend at East Bay Parks

Be prepared for lots of color if you visit Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve for their map-reading clinic on April 8. Deep green hills and wildflowers around every turn of the trail. Photos taken April 4 (scroll down for more). (Photos by Pete Cruz)

SF EAST BAY AREA, CA (April 5, 2023) — If you missed the previous “Marvelous Maps” program, there’s another chance to attend the map-reading clinic from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, conducted by the park’s naturalist staff.

It’s always a good idea to take along a map when you visit a Regional Park or any other public open space. During this program, you’ll learn how to tell from the park map how long and steep a trail is, where drinking water and restrooms are located, and other useful information.

The program is free of charge and registration is not required. Black Diamond Mines has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is attended.

Meet the naturalist in the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4 and a mile past the park’s entrance kiosk. For information, call 510-544-2750.

Movie Night

The hit film “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is the featured attraction during Family Movie Night from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley. This is a great way to spend an evening outdoors with your kids.

Registration is not required, and the program is free of charge. Arrive early to get a good seat on the lawn next to the Lake Chabot Marina. Bring a flashlight, wear warm clothes, and have a blanket or chairs for sitting.  No pets, please; rain cancels the show.

Lake Chabot’s entrance is on Lake Chabot Road a short distance north of Castro Valley.

Big Break

Observing seasonal changes in the Delta environment will be the goal of a walk with naturalist Aki McKinzie from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The program repeats at the same time on Sunday, April 9, with naturalist Miriam Klingler.

The program is free, and registration is not needed. Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Meet at the park’s visitor center. For information, call 510-544-3050.

Creepy crawlies

Naturalist Anthony Fisher will lead a casual stroll through the Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, in search of insects and other curiosities of nature. Some organisms will be put under a microscope before being returned to the wild.

The program is drop-in and free of charge. Meet Anthony at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Easter at Ardenwood Farm

Ardenwood Historic Farm as a variety of animals to see including peacocks, bunnies, chicken and sheep. (Pete Cruz photo)

Ardenwood has a variety of activities planned during “Easter Sunday at the Farm,” from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 9 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

Pet a bunny, visit the hens in their coop, and make your own pair of rabbit ears. Wear the ears as you hop through the sack course, then join the search for the giant egg.

You’ll find Ardenwood at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. The park’s admission fees apply. No parking fee required. For information, call 510-544-2797.

Not Easter eggs

Lots of different animals lay eggs. Find out more during Family Nature Fun Hour, a naturalist-led program from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 in the Doug Siden Visitor Center at Crab Cove in Alameda.

You don’t need to register for this free program. It repeats at the same time on Sunday, April 9. Locate the Visitor Center at 1252 McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

Nature’s colors

Some animals use color to thrive in the springtime. So nature’s colors are the focus of a program from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 9 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, with naturalist Maeron Yeshiwas.

Participants can create their own colorful, nature-inspired painting. All ages welcome but parents must participate.

This free program requires no registration. Meet at the park’s visitor center.

You’ll find Coyote Hills at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. Parking costs $5 per vehicle. For information, call 510-544 3220.

Recent storms have left some East Bay Park trails damaged. This photo shows major erosion from the rain on Black Diamond Trail near Clayton. (Tamara Steiner photo)

These are just a few of the programs planned in coming days in the East Bay Regional Parks. For full information, visit And before you visit a Regional Park, check “alerts and closures” at the top of the home page in case storm damage or other factors have resulted in limited access, park closure or program changes.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at

Read more “Park It” columns by Ned MacKay, click here.