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

Young children on a ladybug walk explore an old log.
Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. 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 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

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!

2023 Spring and Summer Walks through July

Thursday  (due to federal holiday on 5/29)

June 1st10:00-11:00amWhitaker Ponds Natural AreaMeet near the gazebo at Whitaker Ponds. Address is 7040 NE 47th Avenue, one block north of Columbia Boulevard.1152181
MondayJune 5th10:00-11:00amCathedral ParkPark in the small parking lot near N Bradford Street and Baltimore Avenue. Meet under the trees adjacent to the parking lot.1152183
MondayJune 12th10:00-11:00amSellwood Riverfront ParkMeet near the bathrooms adjacent to the parking log on SE Oaks Park Way just north of SE Spokane Street.1152184
ThursdayJune 22nd10:00-11:00amA ParkMeet at the park entrance and blacktop path along SW Capitol Hill Road between SW 21st Avenue and Miles Street.1154548
MondayJune 26th10:00-11:00amArgay Park

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

ThursdayJune 29th10:00-11:00amBrentwood Park

Meet at the intersection of SE 62nd and Cooper St.

ThursdayJuly 6th10:00-11:00amPeninsula Park

Meet near the covered gazebo near the intersection of N Albina Avenue and Holman Street.

MondayJuly 10th10:00-11:00amVentura Park

Meet near the parking lot at SE 113th Ave, just north of SE Stark Street.

ThursdayJuly 13th10:00-11:00amSpring Garden ParkMeet at the entrance to the park along SW Dolph Court (between SW 30th and 35th Avenues)1154552
MondayJuly 17th10:00-11:00amLents ParkMeet near the community garden at SE Steele St and 89th Ave.1154553
ThursdayJuly 20th10:00-11:00amArbor Lodge ParkMeet at the intersection of N Burrage and N Dekum St.1154554
MondayJuly 24th10:00-11:00amLincoln City Park

Meet at the path at the NW corner of the park, just a block east of SE 131st Avenue and Mill Street (across from the track).

ThursdayJuly 27th10:00-11:00amWoodlawn ParkMeet near the splash pad just north of NE Claremont and NE Winona St.1154556
MondayJuly 31st10:00-11:00amWoodstock ParkMeet near the splash pad just north of NE Claremont and NE Winona St.1154557

"Access Pass" pricing

Ladybug Walk fees are charged using an "Access Pass" pricing model. Walks are listed as $5 per child. Children 15-24 months need to register but attend for free. With resources from the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), we can offer new payment options for City of Portland residents that allow you to choose payment levels based on your needs. Register for a free Access Pass to receive an ongoing discount of 25, 50, 75, or 90%. No proof of income is required. 

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 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. 

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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Kevin Pozzi

Interim Coordinator - Children and Family Programs

Past Events