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Ladybug Nature Walks (ages 2-6 with adult or class)

Young children on a ladybug walk explore an old log.
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. 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. Private walks for preschools and other programs available.
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Ladybug Nature Walks are a way for young children and their grownups to explore nature.

During a walk, children borrow a small backpack full of tools for exploring. A Nature Educator guides a small group of families through a series of activities. Children get the opportunity to learn about plants, animals, rocks, and soil in a social setting.  We provide supplies and structure, but each child is encouraged to be creative and innovative in their play and exploration.

Grownups enjoy exploring new parks and connecting with other families. Adults will also learn the basics of early childhood “Nature Play,” and learn simple ways to integrate it into a child’s everyday life.

Learn more about how nature benefits children.

Learn more about "Nature Play."

Sign up for a walk!


Park  -  click on park name to sign up

FriFebruary 210:00-11:00amPier Park (N)
FriFebruary 910:00-11:00amWestmoreland Park (SE)
FriFebruary 1610:00-11:00amLents Park (E)
Fri February 2310:00-11:00amLower Macleay Park (NW)
FriMarch 110:00-11:00amIrving Park (NE)
FriMarch 810:00-11:00amMarshall Park (SW)
ThursdayMarch 1410:00-11:00amTadpole Pond (SE)
FriMarch 2210:00-11:00amWhitaker Ponds (NE)
FriMarch 2910:00-11:00amLair Hill Park (SW)
FriApril 510:00-11:00amCathedral Park (N)
ThursdayApril 1110:00-11:00amLeach Botanical Garden (E)
FriApril 1910:00-11:00amLaurelhurst Park (SE)
ThursdayApril 2510:00-11:00amMaricara Natural Area (SW)
FriMay 310:00-11:00amFernhill Park Nature Patch (NE)
FriMay 1010:00-11:00amPowell Butte Nature Park (E)
FriMay 1710:00-11:00amTadpole Pond - Oaks Bottom (SE)
WednesdayMay 2210:00-11:00amBaltimore Woods (N)
ThursdayMay 3010:00-11:00amDuniway Park Lilac Garden (SW)

Private group programs

Want to plan a special walk for your preschool, daycare, or homeschool group?  If you have at least six children, please schedule a special walk for your group. 

We schedule programs Tuesday through Friday, between 9:00am and 3:00 pm. 

Fill out this form to request a private Ladybug Walk for your preschool, daycare, or group.  


Walks are $5/child.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) believes recreation is for everyone. We know that the price of programs and activities prevents some community members from being able to participate. Sign up for an Access Pass to receive an ongoing discount of up to 90%. No proof of income is required.

Access Pass Information

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What to expect 

When families arrive on site they will be assigned to walk in a group of 5-10 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. 

Here are ways we hope you can support us as we guide the group:

  • 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 your kid lead!  Pay attention to what interests your child. On a nature walk, curiosity and exploration are more important than facts. 

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Children playing in the mud.
Walks happen rain or shine! Dress for the weather and consider bringing an extra set of clothes.
Children walk along the trail with ladybug backpacks.
Children borrow a "Ladybug Backpack" full of tools for the walk. When the walk is over, the child turns the backpack in for a sticker.
Girl in nature
There are 7 simple tools for exploring in each "Ladybug Backpack." Please help us keep track of them!
Teacher and child looking at leaf.
We will look for interesting plants, bugs, and other animals on each walk!


Kelly Rosteck

Nature Education Programs Coordinator

Past Events