Park It: See a Christmastime from yesteryear at Fremont’s Ardenwood

Victorian-era splendor will be on display in December at Fremont’s Ardenwood Historic Farm during the “Christmas at the Patterson House” program Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18.

From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day, costumed docents will lead tours of 14 rooms of the mansion decorated with Victorian-style holiday ornaments. The schedule calls for 20-minute Tot Tours for all ages at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., downstairs only and wheelchair-accessible. Full 45-minute tours for ages 6 and older will be at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

These are drop-in tours; no registration is necessary. Tickets will be sold at the door as space allows. Admission is $3 for adults and seniors, $2 for ages 6 through 17 and free for children 5 or younger. There are separate fees for admission to Ardenwood. For information, call 510-791-4196.

Programs at Ardenwood recreate life on a restored, turn-of-the-20th-century estate that’s also a working farm. The farm is at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84. For information, call 510-544-2797.

Pleasanton: Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton is the venue for the next meeting of the informal “Let’s Get Outside Club.” Naturalist Betty Villalta will lead a beginners-level hike there from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 4. The minimum age for the hike is 8, and parent participation is required.

This is a drop-in hike, so no registration is required. Parking fees apply. Meet at the park’s Lakeside Picnic Area. Bring water and a snack or lunch. The club offers an easy to moderate, naturalist-led hike on the first Sunday of every month. All are welcome. Shadow Cliffs is on Stanley Boulevard east of downtown Pleasanton. For information, call 510-544-3234.

Livermore: Look for resident and migrant water birds with naturalist Gisselle Hernandez during a drop-in program from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 4 at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore.

The program is for ages 8 and older, and adult participation is required. All levels of birding expertise are welcome. Bring binoculars and bird guides if you have them. Some binoculars will be available for loan. Meet Gisselle at the Del Valle marina. The park is on Del Valle Road off Mines Road, about 9 miles south of Livermore. There’s a parking fee of $6 per vehicle.

Antioch: The naturalists at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch lead a “Saturday Afternoon Stroll” almost every week. It’s a 2- to 3-mile hike to explore the park’s varied plant and animal life. There’s a stroll from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The minimum age for hikers is 4, and parent participation is required.

Or you can meet one of the park’s snakes-in-residence during a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 with naturalist Jessica Kauzer. The minimum age to participate is 2 years. Jessica will show the snake and talk about how snakes contribute to the local ecosystem.

Registration is not necessary for either program. Both meet at the uppermost parking lot on Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. The programs are free, but Black Diamond Mines has a parking fee of $5 when the kiosk is staffed. For information, call 510-544-2750.

Berkeley: Lambs are the stars of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Little Farm at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley with naturalist Jenna Collins. Visitors can meet the Little Farm flock, find out what sheep’s wool feels like, then make their own mini-sheep from wool to take home.

The program is wheelchair-accessible, drop-in and free of charge. Meet Jenna at the Environmental Education Center. It’s next-door to the Little Farm, at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Richmond, San Leandro: Tilden naturalist Anthony Fisher will lead one of his Monday birding walks from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 5 at Shimada Friendship Park in Richmond. This is an easy walk to see the birds and enjoy some ornithological lore. The park is at Peninsula Drive and Marina Bay Parkway. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Next in the Hikes for Tykes series is a walk from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Dec. 6 at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline in San Leandro to enjoy birds, butterflies and bay views.

These are drop-in programs — easy walks for parents with small children. For the Oyster Bay walk, meet the naturalist at the park’s Neptune Drive entrance. Call 510-544-3187 for information.

Online: These are just a few of the programs available in the East Bay Regional Park District. For full information, visit

Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at

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Author: Ned MacKay