Ladybug Nature Walks | Public Walks (ages 0-6 with adult)

Information
A group of children get ready to start a Ladybug nature walk at a park in east Portland.
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers explore nature with an adult and join a group led by a nature educator. Children borrow a small backpack of tools for the walk.
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General Information - Ladybug Nature Walks 

Ladybug Nature Walks are a way for children ages 0-6 (and an adult) to explore a local Portland park. Nature educators guide families to notice plants and animals. Walks are child-directed and open-ended. Nature educators walk with the children in small groups. Children learn through questions, observation, and play. Groups move slowly through the park, stopping often. In this way, children have time to notice the plants and animals around them. If we have extra time we might also read a story, sing a song, or use puppets for imaginative play.

Walks last one hour. Content is geared for children ages 15 months-6 years. (Younger siblings under 15 months are welcome. Please give us their names and ages when prompted during registration.) 

While exploring with a nature educator, children borrow a small Ladybug backpack containing a few tools that are easy to clean:

  • Magnifying lens
  • Small plastic tub with a lid
  • Metal Spoon
  • Laminated color wheel for matching
  • Plastic Bug box
  • Plastic paintbrush
  • Small toy insect for imaginative play

For more information, email enviroed@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-1149. 

We offer weekly walks for the general public, but we ask that preschool groups, classrooms, and organizations with more than five children schedule a customized group Ladybug WalkFind information about customized group Ladybug Walks here


COVID-19: Requirements to participate

All children and adults will need to be able to follow these guidelines to participate in a program:

  • Beginning Saturday, March 12, 2022, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will no longer require staff and visitors to use face coverings in all PP&R buildings and facilities. Staff and visitors who still wish to wear face coverings may do so at their own choosing. 
  • Please only attend if everyone attending is healthy!
  • Follow general sanitation guidelines. All participants should wash or sanitize hands when they arrive, after using the bathroom, and after sneezing or coughing.

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Upcoming Walks: Times, dates, and locations

Walks take place rain or shine. We are outside 100% of the time. Please dress both children and adults in warm layers and rain coats and rain boots during the cold and wet months. We suggest hats and mittens and a full change of clothes just in case your little one is a puddle stomper. 

Please arrive five minutes early to get screened, checked in, and connected to your nature educator. Locations vary each week. We try to schedule walks in Northwest, Southwest, North, Northeast, and Southeast Portland each month. Do you have a suggestion for a Portland park that would be a good location for your family? Let us know! 

Register for a walk by clicking on the links below!

2023 Winter Walks -  February and March

Winter Ladybug Nature Walks
Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting spotActivity Number / Registration Link

Monday

February 6th10:00-11:00amKelley Point ParkMeet at the blacktop trail leading into the park from the farthest parking lot. Follow N Kelley Point Park Road to the end.1150324
MondayFebruary 13th10:00-11:00amWestmoreland ParkMeet at the entrance near SE 22nd Avenue and Knapp Street.1150325
Thursday (due to federal holiday on 2/20February 23rd10:00-11:00amLents ParkMeet near the community garden at SE 89th Avenue and Steele Street.1150326
MondayFebruary 27th10:00-11:00amForest Park -- 53rd Ave EntranceMeet at the Birch Trailhead along NW 53rd Drive. Address approximately 1765 NW 53rd Drive1150327
MondayMarch 6th10:00-11:00amIrving ParkMeet by the tennis courts near NE 7th Avenue and Fargo Street.1150328
MondayMarch 13th10:00-11:00amMarshall Park

Meet near the cul-du-sac close to the playground at the east entrance of Marshall Park (just off SW 12th Drive).

1150329
MondayMarch 20th

10:00-11:30am

*special longer Walk to explore amphibian habitat!*

Oaks Bottom Wildlife RefugeMeet at the north parking lot, near SE Milwaukie Avenue and Mitchell Street.1150330
Spring Walks Coming Soon!

Access Pass pricing

Ladybug Walk fees are charged using a "Access Pass pricing model. Walks are listed as $5 per child. Children 15-24 months need to register but attend for free. With resources from the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), we can offer new payment options for City of Portland residents that allow you to choose payment levels based on your needs. Register for a free Access Pass to receive an ongoing discount of 25, 50, 75, or 90%. No proof of income is required. 

When prompted during registration, please list the following information: 

  • First and last name and phone number of the adult attending with the child(ren)
  • First and last name and phone number of any additional adults attending
  • First name of any siblings joining the walk who are younger than 15 months old 

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Adults coming on the walk - we need your help!

When families arrive on site they will be assigned to walk in a small group of 3-5 children (and the adults attending with those children). Each group is led by one of our preschool nature educators. This will be your traveling group for the entire program. 

As educators, we are good at what we do, but we are used to doing it right alongside the children. If you are registering your child for an upcoming walk, we plan to use you to help us bridge that six foot gap:

  • Plan to be engaged the whole time. (Put aside your phone and mental to-do list. Explore along with your child.)
  • Dress for the weather! Plan for rain. Add a layer. Arrive with footwear that can walk through wet grass or along a muddy trail. 
  • Get curious along with your child. Slow down, get down on the ground, and look around. 
  • Slow your pace. What a gift to have this time to explore together. Take advantage of it. 
  • Let go of having answers. Instead of trying to fill your child's head with facts or things that you think are interesting, follow their lead. Young children are more interested in the process of exploring than caring about names and nature facts. 

We will be there alongside to guide, encourage, and get excited, but you will need to be our extended hands. 

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Meet the Educators


Pictures from previous walks

A family helps make nature soup on a nature walk.
A family helps make nature soup on a nature walk.
Two families connect during a preschool nature walk.
Two families connect during a Ladybug Nature Walk.
An educator works with a family on a walk at an urban park.
An educator works with a family on a walk at an urban park.
A child finds a small bug to put into a bug box.
A child finds a small bug to put into a bug box.
A child and parent use a magnifier to look at a bug on a nature walk.
A child and parent use a magnifier to look at a bug.

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Contact

Kevin Pozzi

Interim Coordinator - Children and Family Programs

Past Events

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