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

Information
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who assists in guiding them along as they explore.
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COVID-19 Update - Face Coverings

According to state and city guidance, face coverings are optional when participating in the this program. COVID-19 is still present in our communities, so children, adults, visitors, volunteers and staff at the Ladybug Walk should make the decision around face coverings that works for them. 


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 18 months-6 years. (Younger siblings under 18 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


Program changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ladybug Walks have guidelines that comply with COVID-19 protocols. If you are interested in participating, please read details carefully.

We will be offering two walks each day of programming in the spring (9:30am and 11am) and one walk each day in the summer (10:30am). Please make sure you are registering for the correct walk. There are 12 participant spots available for each walk (this number does not include the adults attending).

Walks last one hour unless otherwise noted. 

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

  • Registration is required. All children 18 months - 6 years must register. List information about the adult attending and any younger siblings coming along during registration. 
  • Face coverings are optional for all children, adults, visitors, volunteers, and staff. 
  • Please only attend if you are healthy! If you are sick with a new or worsening cough, fever, shortness of breath, or recent loss of taste or smell, please withdraw from the program to keep others safe. You will receive a full refund. Withdraw online or contact 503-823-1149.
  • Children and adults will be invited to sanitize hands before receiving the backpack. Tools are sanitized between walks and sharing is kept to a minimum. We will have hand sanitizer available for use. 

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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!

When registering your child, you will be prompted to give the name and phone number of the adult attending the walk. Only children ages 2-6 will be charged the fee. 

Spring and Summer Walks - May through August 2021

Site notes for each location are listed below. 

Marshall Park

Rolling hills and soft surface trails. Tryon Creek and some small tributaries flow through the park. 

Alberta Park

Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, and grassy areas. We plan to visit the Nature Patch!

Lincoln City Park

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas. 

Columbia Park Tennis Courts

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas. We plan to visit the Nature Patch!

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Significant hill from the parking lot to Tadpole pond. Mix of paved paths and soft surface trails. We will be visiting Tadpole pond - rain boots are recommended. Optional: bring light-colored plastic yogurt tubs or cups for dipping into the pond to find tadpoles!

Whitaker Ponds Natural Area

Flat with only soft surface trails. We will have water access at the pond and Columbia Slough access using the floating docks. Swimming is not allowed. Optional: bring light-colored plastic tubs, measuring cups, old ice cube trays, nets, or ladles for looking for water insect larvae. 

Wallace Park

Mostly flat with paved trails and grassy areas.

Woodstock Park

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas.

Gabriel Park Pollinator Meadow

Rolling hills with mostly soft surface trails in the pollinator meadow and natural area - some paved paths if we travel into Gabriel Park. We plan to visit the Nature Patch and see the pollinator meadow!

Irving Park Tennis Courts

Gentle hills and flat areas with paved paths and grassy areas. We plan to visit the nature patch!

Kenilworth Park

Mostly flat with paved paths and grassy areas. Some small hills in one section of the park. 

Cathedral Park

Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, grassy areas, and riverfront access. Area next to the river is all sand. There is water access but swimming is not allowed. Rain boots are recommended.

Powell Butte Nature Park

Significant hills with both paved paths and soft surface trails. One route to the top is stroller and wheel chair accessible but has a significant grade. 

April Hill City Park

Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, boardwalks, and grassy areas.

Cully Park

Flat with paved paths, and grassy areas. Some gentle hills circling through the Native Gathering Garden. 

Sellwood Riverfront Park

Soft surface trails, grassy areas, and sandy riverfront. Mainly flat, but some slopes and exposed roots on the way down to the river. Swimming is not allowed. Rain boots are recommended. 

Overlook Park

Mostly flat with paved paths and grassy areas. 

Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting SpotActivity Number
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WednesdayJuly 1410:30amMaricara Natural AreaMeet at the trailhead at the northeast entrance to the natural area along SW 25th Avenue (approximate address 10440 SW 25th Avenue). 1128183
WednesdayJuly 2110:30amPier ParkMeet at the cul-du-sac at the intersection of N Bruce Avenue and James Street. 1128184
WednesdayJuly 2810:30amGrant ParkMeet at the east side entrance of the park (at the intersection of NE 36th Avenue and Brazee Street). 1128185
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WednesdayAugust 410:30amCreston ParkMeet at the trees by the parking lot (at SE 43rd Avenue and Rhone Street.)  1136393
WednesdayAugust 1110:30amArgay Park

Meet near the tennis courts at NE 141st Avenue and Failing St.

1136394
WednesdayAugust 1810:30amHoyt Arboretum

Meet at Stevens Pavilion, across from the Visitor’s Center (4000 SW Fairview Blvd)

1136395
WednesdayAugust 2510:30amPeninsula Park

Meet near the covered bandstand by the Rose Garden at N Albina Avenue and Ainsworth Street.

1136396

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Pay What You Can pricing

As always, Ladybug Walk fees are based on "Pay What You Can" pricing. Walks are listed as $9 per child. When registering, use the available $3 discounts to reduce the cost to $6 or $3 per child (ages 2-6). Children 18-24 months can register but attend for free. 

When prompted during registration, please list the first name, last name, and phone number of the adult attending with the child(ren). 

List any younger siblings who will be coming along when prompted during registration.

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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

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.
Children look out at a park wearing their ladybug backpacks.
Children look out at a park wearing their ladybug backpacks.
Children on a nature walk make noise with spoons on a fence.
Children experiment with sound using spoons and a fence

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Contact

Chrissy Larson

Environmental Education Coordinator, Early Childhood/Youth

Location

Park Location or Entrance
SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Street
Portland, OR 97215
Park Location or Entrance
SW 45th Avenue and Vermont Street
Portland, OR 97219
Park Location or Entrance
N Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue
Portland, OR 97203
Park Location or Entrance
SE 7th Avenue and Miller Street
Portland, OR 97202
Park Location or Entrance
SE Spokane Street and Oaks Parkway
Portland, OR 97202
Park Location or Entrance
NE 141st Avenue and Failing Street
Portland, OR 97230
Park Location or Entrance
SE 92nd Avenue and Holgate Blvd
Portland, OR 97266

Pier Park

Park
Park Location or Entrance
N Lombard Street and Bruce Avenue
Portland, OR 97203
Park Location or Entrance
SE 44th Avenue and Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97206
Park Location or Entrance
NE 37th Avenue and Ainsworth Street
Portland, OR 97211

Past Events

Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who helps guide them as they explore.
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who helps guide them as they explore.
Location
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who helps guide them as they explore.
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who helps guide them as they explore.