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

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!
    • If anyone has a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19 or is awaiting results to a COVID test, they should not attend.
    • If anyone is sick with COVID-like symptoms, including new or worsening cough, fever, shortness of breath, or recent loss of taste or smell, they should not attend.
    • Beginning March 12, 2022, quarantine due to exposure is no longer required. A five-day quarantine is still required for a person that has COVID-like symptoms (or tests positive). They may participate once symptoms are resolving and they have been fever-free for 24 hours. 
  • 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!

2022 Summer Walks -  June, July and August 

Summer Ladybug Nature Walks
Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting spotActivity Number
MondayJune 279:30amCreston ParkMeet at the picnic tables under the trees by the parking lot at SE 43rd Avenue and Rhone Street.1145489
ThursdayJune 309:30amFernhill ParkMeet near the tennis courts along NE 37th Avenue, about one block north of Ainsworth Street.1145491
MondayJuly 4Offn/a4th of July Holidayn/a
ThursdayJuly 79:30amMaricara Natural AreaMeet at the trailhead on NE entrance to park, just south of the intersection of SW Luradel Street and 25th Avenue. Closest address is 10440 SW 25th Avenue.1145492
MondayJuly 119:30amBloomington ParkMeet at the park entrance near SE 101st Avenue and Steele Street.1145505
ThursdayJuly 149:30amColumbia ParkMeet near the tennis courts at the park entrance near N Winchell Street and Foss Avenue.1145506
MondayJuly 189:30amForest Park –  NW 53rd Drive at Holman LaneMeet at the Upper Holman Trailhead along NW 53rd Drive. From Portland, travel west on NW Cornell Road past Portland Audubon to NW 53rd Drive.1145507
ThursdayJuly 219:30amDickinson Park and WoodsMeet under the trees closest to the playground along SW 55th Avenue, 1-2 blocks south of SW Alfred Street.1145508
MondayJuly 259:30amMidland ParkMeet at the entrance to the park that leads from the northwest corner of the Midland Library parking lot. Library address: 805 SE 122nd Avenue1145509
ThursdayJuly 289:30amWoodstock ParkMeet at the northwest corner of the park, near SE 47th Avenue and Steele Street.1145510
MondayAugust 19:30amPeninsula ParkMeet near the covered gazebo near the intersection of N Albina Avenue and Holman Street.1145511
ThursdayAugust 49:30amAlberta ParkMeet at the park entrance at the southeast corner of the park, near NE Killingsworth Street and 22nd Avenue.1145512
MondayAugust 89:30amHoyt ArboretumMeet at the covered pavilion across from the Visitor’s Center at 4000 SW Fairview Boulevard.1145513
ThursdayAugust 119:30amNorthgate ParkMeet under the trees adjacent to the parking lot along N Geneva Avenue, between N Newark Street and Fessenden Street.1145514
MondayAugust 159:30amKenilworth ParkMeet at the east side entrance to the park, just north of the intersection of SE Holgate Boulevard and 34th Avenue. Note this meeting spot is NOT by the main playground!1145515
ThursdayAugust 189:30amGabriel Park - Pollinator MeadowMeet near the community garden at the south end of the park (nearest address is 4115 SW Canby Street). From SW Canby street, travel about 200 feet west of SW 40th Court and turn right.1145549
MondayAugust 229:30amWilshire ParkMeet near the picnic tables at NE 35th Place and Skidmore Street.1145517
ThursdayAugust 259:30amKelley Point ParkMeet at the blacktop trail leading into the park from the farthest parking lot. Follow N Kelley Point Park Road to the end.1145555
MondayAugust 299:30amArgay ParkMeet near the tennis courts at NE 141st Avenue and NE Failing Street.1145556
ThursdaySeptember 19:30amA ParkMeet at the park entrance and blacktop path along SW Capitol Hill Road between SW 21st Avenue and Miles Street.1145516

Pay What You Can pricing

Ladybug Walk fees are charged using a "Pay What You Can" pricing model. 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 15-24 months need to register but attend for free. 

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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