Ladybug Nature Walks (ages 2-6 with adult)

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!

DayDateTimePark  -  click on park name to sign up
TuesdayJuly 210:00-11:00amLuuwit View Community Garden (E)
TuesdayJuly 910:00-11:00amColumbia Park (N)
FridayJuly 1210:00-11:00amAlberta Park (NE)
TuesdayJuly 1610:00-11:00amLents Park (E)
FridayJuly 1910:00-11:00amCreston Park (SE)
TuesdayJuly 2310:00-11:00amGabriel Park Pollinator Garden (SW)
FridayJuly 2610:00-11:00amPeninsula Park (N)
TuesdayJuly 3010:00-11:00amWilkes Creek Headwaters (E)
FridayAug 210:00-11:00amIrving Park (N)
TuesdayAug 610:00-11:00amKenton Park (N)
FridayAug 910:00-11:00amLincoln Park (E)
TuesdayAug 1310:00-11:00amDickinson Park (SW)
FridayAug 1610:00-11:00amEssex Park (E)
TuesdayAug 20 10:00-11:00amVentura Park (E)
FridayAug 2310:00-11:00amErrol Heights (SE)
TuesdayAug 2710:00-11:00amJohnson Creek Park (SE)
FridayAug 3010:00-11:00amApril Hill Park (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