danger
COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: Extreme Risk

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

Ladybug Nature Walks take place in Portland's parks and natural areas. They are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who want to explore in nature with a trained educator. Children attend with an adult who assists in guiding them along as they explore.

On this page

2021 update - Ladybug Nature Walks begin February 2! 

We are currently on our winter hiatus, but our walks will resume the first week of February 2021. The schedule is listed below. Please make sure to read all COVID-19 requirements if you plan to register for a walk this winter or spring!

Jump to Upcoming Walks - Dates, Times, Locations


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


Program changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ladybug Walks have some new guidelines to comply with COVID-19 protocols. If you are interested in participating, please read details carefully.

We will be offering two walks each day of programming (except during the last two weeks when the weather is much colder). Please make sure you are registering for the correct walk. 

  • Walk 1  -  9:30-10:30am
  • Walk 2  -  11am-Noon

There are 14 participant spots available for each walk (this number does not include the adults attending).

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

  • Registration is required. All children 18 months - 6 years must register. List information about the adult attending and any younger siblings coming along during registration. 
  • Group sizes are limited. 
    • Only children ages 0-6 can participate 
    • Only one adult per child can attend 
  • Physical distancing is required. Everyone must stay 6' feet apart from people not living in the same household. 
  • Face coverings are required for everyone age three and older (3+). Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. If your 3-6 year old is not yet able to wear a mask, start practicing now so they are ready. 
  • Signed liability waiver is required. A COVID-19 waiver must be completed for everyone during the registration process. (A waiver signed for a child also covers the parent who signs the waiver. Adults who are not the parent will need to sign the waiver once on site.)
  • You will be screened for symptoms when you arrive. Our staff will be screening everyone arriving for COVID-like symptoms on the day of the walk. If you are sick, please withdraw from the program to keep others safe. You will receive a full refund as long as you withdraw before the start time of your walk. Withdraw online or contact 503-823-1149 . 
  • No sharing of supplies or equipment. We will still be providing ladybug backpacks and sanitized tools for each child, but ask that children only touch their own equipment. All supplies are sanitized after each walk and all backpacks rest for 72 hours before being used again. 
  • Follow general sanitation guidelines. Please have all participants wash or sanitize hands when they arrive, after using the bathroom, and at the end of the walk. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Stay home if you are ill. 

back to top


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 can register but attend for free. 

When prompted during registration, please list the first name, last name, and phone number of the adult attending with the child(ren). 

List any younger siblings who will be coming along when prompted during registration.

back to top


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. 

back to top


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. 

New! Walks are scheduled on different days of the week. We are trying to expand our reach to new groups of people by moving away from the Friday morning time slot. 

New! Two walks are available each day of programing. The first walk begins at 9:30am, and the second walk begins at 11am. Each walk lasts one hour. 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. 

Winter and Spring Walks - February through Mid-June 2021

Site notes for each location are listed below. 

Site notes

Is the location flat or hilly? Are there paved paths to bring a stroller or soft surface, rooty trails? Below is a list of our upcoming locations and any notes about the site that might help you make decisions about how you prepare. 

February 2 - Kelley Point Park

Generally flat with a mix of paved paths and soft surface trails. Areas by the river are steep with exposed roots. Area next to the river is all sand. There is water access but swimming is not allowed. Rain boots are recommended.

February 10 - Laurelhurst Park

Generally flat with a few gentle hills. Paved paths and grassy areas. We will visit the  pond and see the ducks!

February 18 - Marshall Park

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

February 24 - Alberta Park

Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, and grassy areas. We plan to visit the Nature Patch!

March 2 - Lincoln City Park

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas. 

March 8 - Columbia Park Tennis Courts

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas. We plan to visit the Nature Patch!

March 16 - 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!

March 22 - 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. 

March 24 - Wallace Park

Mostly flat with paved trails and grassy areas.

March 25 - Woodstock Park

Flat with paved trails and grassy areas.

April 1 - 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!

April 7 - Irving Park Tennis Courts

Gentle hills and flat areas with paved paths and grassy areas. We plan to visit the nature patch!

April 13 - Kenilworth Park

Mostly flat with paved paths and grassy areas. Some small hills in one section of the park. 

April 19 - 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.

April 27 - 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. 

May 5 - April Hill City Park

Flat with paved paths, soft surface trails, boardwalks, and grassy areas.

May 13 - Cully Park

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

May 19 - 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. 

May 25 - Overlook Park

Mostly flat with paved paths and grassy areas. 

Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting SpotActivity Number
TuesdayFebruary 29:30amKelley Point ParkFollow N Kelley Point Park Drive to the end and meet at the trailhead in the farthest parking lot. 1127891
TuesdayFebruary 211amKelley Point ParkFollow N Kelley Point Park Drive to the end and meet at the trailhead in the farthest parking lot. 1127892
WednesdayFebruary 109:30amLaurelhurst ParkMeet at the bathroom building near SE Ankeny Street and Laurelhurst Place. 1127893
WednesdayFebruary 1011amLaurelhurst ParkMeet at the bathroom building near SE Ankeny Street and Laurelhurst Place. 1127894
ThursdayFebruary 189:30amMarshall ParkMeet at the east entrance to the park on SW 12th Drive, near the playground. (9200 SW 12th Drive) Pay attention to signs and park along the south side of the road. 1127895
Thursday February 1811amMarshall ParkMeet at the east entrance to the park on SW 12th Drive, near the playground. (9200 SW 12th Drive) Pay attention to signs and park along the south side of the road. 1127896
WednesdayFebruary 249:30amAlberta ParkMeet at the path next to the Fire Station along NE 19th Avenue (between NE Killingsworth and Jarrett Street)1127898
WednesdayFebruary 2411amAlberta ParkMeet at the path next to the Fire Station along NE 19th Avenue (between NE Killingsworth and Jarrett Street)1127899
Tuesday March 29:30amLincoln City ParkMeet at the path at the NW corner of the park, just a block east of SE 131st Avenue and Mill Street. (across from the David Douglas track)1127900
TuesdayMarch 211amLincoln City ParkMeet at the path at the NW corner of the park, just a block east of SE 131st Avenue and Mill Street. (across from the David Douglas track)1127901
MondayMarch 89:30amColumbia Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the north side of the park at the paved path (N Foss Avenue and Winchell Street, near the tennis courts)1127902
MondayMarch 811amColumbia Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the north side of the park at the paved path (N Foss Avenue and Winchell Street, near the tennis courts)1127903
TuesdayMarch 169:30am (Special 90-minute walk)Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Meet at the north parking lot, near SE Milwaukie and Mitchell Street - This is an extended walk that includes exploring at Tadpole Pond)

**If interested, bring any or all of the following to explore in the pond: small net, light-colored tub, light-colored measuring cup, ladle, old ice cube tray, a plastic container (pie plate sized or shoe box sized). 

1127904
MondayMarch 229:30am (Special 90-minute walk)Whitaker Ponds Natural Area

Meet at the covered gazebo at Whitaker Ponds (7040 NE 47th Avenue).

**If interested, bring any or all of the following to explore in the pond: small net, light-colored tub, light-colored measuring cup, ladle, old ice cube tray, a plastic container (pie plate sized or shoe box sized). 

1127905
WednesdayMarch 2411am (no 9:30 walk)Wallace ParkMeet at the south side of the park near the baseball diamond (NW Pettygrove Street and 26th Avenue)1127906
ThursdayMarch 2511am (no 9:30 walk)Woodstock ParkMeet under the trees at the NW corner of the park (SE Steele Street and 47th Avenue)1127907
ThursdayApril 19:30amGabriel Park - Pollinator MeadowMeet near the Gabriel Park community garden (4115 S Canby St). Overflow parking at the west end of S Canby Street, just west of SW 40th Court.1127908
Thursday April 111amGabriel Park - Pollinator MeadowMeet near the Gabriel Park community garden (4115 S Canby St). Overflow parking at the west end of S Canby Street, just west of SW 40th Court.1127909
WednesdayApril 79:30amIrving Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the trees near the tennis courts at NE Fargo Street and 7th Avenue. 1127910
WednesdayApril 711amIrving Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the trees near the tennis courts at NE Fargo Street and 7th Avenue. 1127911
TuesdayApril 139:30amKenilworth Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the trees near the tennis courts along SE 32nd Avenue (just north of SE Holgate Boulevard)1127912
TuesdayApril 1311amKenilworth Park - Tennis CourtsMeet at the trees near the tennis courts along SE 32nd Avenue (just north of SE Holgate Boulevard)1127913
Monday April 199:30amCathedral ParkMeet at the bathrooms in the boat launch parking lot (N Bradford Street and Baltimore Avenue)1127914
Monday April 1911amCathedral ParkMeet at the bathrooms in the boat launch parking lot (N Bradford Street and Baltimore Avenue)1127915
Tuesday April 279:30am (Special 90-minute walk)Powell ButteMeet at the Visitor's Center (up the hill from SE Powell Boulevard and 162nd Avenue) - This is an extended walk that includes walking to the viewpoint at an elevation around 600 ft. 0000000
Wednesday May 59:30amApril Hill ParkMeet at the soccer field at the west entrance of the park (near SW 59th Avenue and S Miles Street)0000000
Wednesday May 511amApril Hill ParkMeet at the soccer field at the west entrance of the park (near SW 59th Avenue and S Miles Street)0000000
ThursdayMay 139:30amCully Park

Meet at the grassy area next to the bathrooms. Park in the lot at the end of NE 72nd Avenue (about 3 blocks north of NE Killingsworth Street) -

**Participants are invited to join The Native Gathering Garden Coordinator after the walk to help tend the garden at 10:45am. If interested, bring food, water, and any gloves, trowels, hand rakes, and uprooting tools you might have!

0000000
ThursdayMay 1311amCully Park

Meet at the grassy area next to the bathrooms. Park in the lot at the end of NE 72nd Avenue (about 3 blocks north of NE Killingsworth Street)

**Participants are invited to join The Native Gathering Garden Coordinator after the walk to help tend the garden at 12:15am. If interested, bring food, water, and any gloves, trowels, hand rakes, and uprooting tools you might have!

0000000
WednesdayMay 199:30amSellwood Riverfront ParkMeet near the bathrooms adjacent to the parking log along SE Oaks Park Way (about a block north of SE Spokane Street)0000000
WednesdayMay 1911amSellwood Riverfront ParkMeet near the bathrooms adjacent to the parking log along SE Oaks Park Way (about a block north of SE Spokane Street)0000000
TuesdayMay 259:30amOverlook ParkMeet at the trees near the cul-du-sac on N Fremont Street, just west of N Interstate Avenue. 0000000
TuesdayMay 2511amOverlook ParkMeet at the trees near the cul-du-sac on N Fremont Street, just west of N Interstate Avenue. 0000000

back to top


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

back to top

Contact

Chrissy Larson

Environmental Education Coordinator, Early Childhood/Youth

Past Events

Ladybug Walk at Sellwood Park and Riverfront (11:00 am)

Cancelled Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm

Ladybug Walk at Fernhill Park (11:00 am)

Cancelled Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm

Ladybug Walk at Lents Park (9:30am)

Classes and Activities
9:30 am 10:30 am

Ladybug Walk at Lents Park (11:00 am)

Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm