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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. 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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COVID-19 Update - Face Coverings

Due to Oregon state mandates, face coverings are required indoors and outdoors for everyone ages five and up, and are highly recommended for children ages 2 to 5 who can appropriately wear one. 

Ladybug Nature Walks are small gatherings of children and adults where physical distance cannot be guaranteed and all participants are unvaccinated.

For more information, see Mask Recommendations and Requirements from Oregon Health Authority.


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 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


COVID-19: Requirements and recommendations to participate

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

  • Face Coverings: Due to state mandates, face coverings are required indoors and outdoors for everyone ages 5+, and are highly recommended for children ages 2-5 who can appropriately wear one. Ladybug Nature Walks are small gatherings of children and adults where physical distance cannot be guaranteed and all participants are unvaccinated. For more information, see the State of Oregon Indoor/Outdoor Mask Mandate
  • Contain the spread of COVID-19. If someone in the household of any participant (child or adult) has a positive or presumptive case of COVID-19, has a known exposure to COVID-19, or is awaiting results to a COVID test, please do not attend the walk.
  • 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.
    • Check for fever before you arrive for the walk. Please take the temperature of all participants before arriving at the walk, and stay home if you are ill. 
  • Physical distancing of six feet is recommended on the walk when possible. Please keep in mind that due to the nature of outdoor exploration and the ages of our participants, we cannot guarantee six feet of distance during this program.
  • Follow general sanitation guidelines. Please make sure to wash or sanitize hands when you 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! 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. 

Fall Walks - August through November 2021

Fall Walks

Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting SpotActivity Number
WednesdaySeptember 2210:30amFarragut ParkMeet at the trees near N Winchell Street and Kerby Avenue. 

1139901

ThursdaySeptember 2310:30amLaurelhurst ParkMeet at the brick bathroom building near SE Ankeny at Laurelhurst Place.

1141145

WednesdaySeptember 2910:30amWillamette ParkEnter the park on S Nebraska Street and turn right. Travel past the tennis courts and meet near the covered picnic pavilion. 

1139902

ThursdaySeptember 3010:30amCathedral ParkMeet under the trees near the parking lot at the entrance of the boat ramp (N Baltimore Avenue and Bradford Street.) 

1141146

WednesdayOctober 610:30amForest Park - Holman LanePark along NW Aspen, NW Franklin, or NW Savier, making sure you are in a legal, public spot. Walk uphill on NW Aspen, turn right at Holman Lane park entrance. Look for signs! 

1141113

ThursdayOctober 710:30amPowell Butte Nature Park Meet near the Visitor’s Center at Powell Butte (up the hill from SE 162nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard) 

1141147

WednesdayOctober 1310:30amWoodlawn ParkMeet at the Woodlawn Park amphitheater, at the northeast corner of NE Oneonta Street and Claremont Avenue. 

1141114

ThursdayOctober 1410:30amMarshall ParkMeet near the cul-du-sac close to the playground at the east entrance of Marshall Park (just off SW 12th Drive).  

1141148

WednesdayOctober 2010:30amLents ParkMeet near the community garden at SE Steele St and 89th Ave. 

1141115

ThursdayOctober 2110:30amIrving Park - Tennis CourtsMeet near the tennis courts at Irving Park, near the intersection of NE 7th Avenue and Fargo Street.  

1141149

WednesdayOctober 2710:30amWilkes Creek HeadwatersMeet at the entrance to the natural area just west of NE 154th Avenue and Fremont Street.   

1141116

ThursdayOctober 2810:30amKenilworth ParkMeet at the east side entrance to the park, just north of the intersection of SE Holgate Boulevard and 34th Avenue. (NOT by the main playground!)  

1141150

WednesdayNovember 310:30amOverlook ParkMeet near the Overlook Park sign at the intersection of N Overlook Boulevard and N Longview Avenue.  

1141117

WednesdayNovember 1010:30amGabriel Park - Tennis CourtsMeet near the tennis courts at Gabriel Park. Park in the parking lot near SW 45th Avenue and Nevada Street.  

1141118

WednesdayNovember 1710:30amRose City ParkMeet under the trees near the intersection of NE 62nd Avenue and Thompson Street.  

1141119

Tuesday (Note day-of-week change!)November 2310:30amMt Tabor ParkMeet at the picnic shelter across from the Visitor’s Center (turn right at the entrance at SE 69th Avenue and Yamhill).

1141120

Park topography and trail information

Alberta Park
Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, and grassy areas. We plan to visit the nature patch!

April Hill City Park
Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, boardwalks, and grassy areas. 

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. 

Columbia Park Tennis Courts
Flat with paved trails and grassy areas. We plan to visit the nature patch! 

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

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.  

Lincoln City Park
Flat with paved trails and grassy areas.  

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

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!

Overlook Park
Mostly flat with paved paths and grassy areas.  

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.  

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.  

Wallace Park
Mostly flat with paved trails and grassy areas. 

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. 

Woodstock Park
Flat with paved trails and grassy areas.

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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 need to register but attend for free. 

When prompted during registration, please list the first name, last name, and phone number of the adult(s) 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

Location