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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.

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Ladybug Nature Walks - Fall 2020

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 1-6. (Infants under 1 year are welcome if they are carried in a sling or ergo-style pack. Please keep older siblings at home.) 

While exploring with a nature educator, children borrow a small Ladybug backpack containing a few tools that are easy to clean:

  • Magnifying lens
  • Small platsic 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 only 24 spots available for each walk (this number includes children and adults).

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

  • All children and adults must pre-register. This is no longer a drop-in program. Only children ages 1-6 will be charged a fee. 
  • 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+). 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.
  • 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. 

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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 1-6).

Adults need to register themselves to attend, but will not be charged.

Infants under 1 year are free but should be worn on an adult body during the walk. 

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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 3-4 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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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!

Please register both the child(ren) and adult(s) attending. Everyone must be pre-registered to participate. Only children ages 1-6 will be charged the fee. 

Please make sure to register all children and adults who are attending!
Day of WeekDateTimeLocationMeeting SpotActivity Number

Tuesday

October 27

9:30-10:30am

Gabriel Park

Meet at the tennis courts near SW 45th Avenue and Nevada Street. 

1127477

Tuesday

October 27

11:00am-Noon

Gabriel Park

Meet at the tennis courts near SW 45th Avenue and Nevada Street.

1127478

Monday

November 2

9:30-10:30am

Argay Park

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

1127479

Monday

November 2

11:00am-Noon

Argay Park

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

1127480

Monday

November 9

9:30-10:30am

Creston Park

Meet near the parking lot at SE 43rd Avenue and Rhone Street. 

1127481

Monday

November 9

11:00am-Noon

Creston Park

Meet near the parking lot at SE 43rd Avenue and Rhone Street. 

1127482

Tuesday

November 17

9:30-10:30am

Cathedral Park

Meet near the bathrooms at the boat launch at N Baltimore Avenue and Bradford Street. 

1127483

Tuesday

November 17

11:00am-Noon

Cathedral Park

Meet near the bathrooms at the boat launch at N Baltimore Avenue and Bradford Street. 

1127484

Tuesday

November 24

9:30-10:30am

Lents Park

Meet near the community garden at SE 89th Avenue and Steele Street. 

1127485

Tuesday

November 24

11:00am-Noon

Lents Park

Meet near the community garden at SE 89th Avenue and Steele Street. 

1127486

Wednesday

December 2

11:00am-Noon (no 9:30 walk this week)

Fernhill Park

Meet near the playground at NE 37th Avenue and Ainsworth Street. 

1127487

Thursday

December 10

11:00am-Noon (no 9:30 walk this week)

Sellwood Park and Riverfront Park

Meet next to the tennis courts near SE Grand Avenue and Nehalem Street. 

1127488

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Pictures from previous walks

Children look out at a park wearing their ladybug backpacks.
Children look out at a park wearing their ladybug backpacks.
Child uses a paintbrush to put water on a wooden fence.
A child uses a paintbrush to put water on a wooden fence.
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

Upcoming Events

Ladybug Walk at Argay Park (9:30am)

Classes and Activities
9:30 am 9:30 am

Ladybug Walk at Argay Park (11:00 am)

Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm

Ladybug Walk at Creston Park (9:30am)

Classes and Activities
9:30 am 10:30 am

Ladybug Walk at Creston Park (11:00 am)

Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm

Past Events

Ladybug Walk at Gabriel Park (9:30am)

Classes and Activities
9:30 am 10:30 am

Ladybug Walk at Gabriel Park (11:00 am)

Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm

Ladybug Walk at Pier Park (9:30am)

Classes and Activities
9:30 am 10:30 am

Ladybug Walk at Pier Park (11am)

Classes and Activities
11:00 am 12:00 pm