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Reflections of El Dorado Nature Center – Families and Squirrels, Ducks and Turtles

Jan 14, 2011 by Sandy Schroeder

It was a little cool, and a bit overcast, as I stepped out of my car at the El Dorado Nature Center’s parking lot.

But my welcoming committee was ready–right there to greet me was a fat, and not-very-shy squirrel with an unblinking stare, and a very bushy tail, who was literally standing about a foot away from me. He subsequently cocked his head, and I could have sworn he was asking me directly:

“So what did you bring for me to eat?”

As I chuckled, he backed up a bit and then quickly made a dash under my car and peeked out. Visitors are definitely part of life for him. Visitors are also cautioned not to feed the squirrels—they bite!

Defying a cool, overcast afternoon, families and couples of all ages were wandering the Nature Center trails. It’s easy to see why.

The El Dorado Nature Center, is neatly tucked in-between the San Gabriel River and the 605 freeway, close to both Long Beach and Los Alamitos.

It’s a quick getaway from the city, and a great way to shed a little urban stress. There’s no jogging, picnicking, bikes or food allowed. Just bring your camera or binoculars and revel in its solace and silence.

And, indeed, many families were doing just that; with parents tightly gripping their kid’s little hands as the children edged toward the water to watch the ducks and the turtles. Overhead an occasional snowy white heron swooped through. Being a bit overcast, the whole scene was reflected beautifully in the water. Along the trails there are comfortable benches, great for just sitting and reflecting a bit too.

A Lesson in Turtles….

One father stood on the bridge with his little boy, and pointed down to a small platform floating on the top of the water, as he explained how the turtles can crawl up on it and escape their enemies.

Overall, there are a hundred acres in the Nature Center, with two miles of dirt trails and a quarter mile of paved trail that wind its two lakes and stream. The short trail is wheelchair accessible.

After you cross its bridge, you’re on an island, which includes a small gift shop/museum near the entrance.

A quick look at the Center’s site will provide you with plenty of of reasons to visit. Their calendar offers Audubon bird walks, lessons in bird watching, plant sales and artists’ craft fairs, special garden sessions that emphasize water conservation and Native Southern California plants, a preschool nature program, and several school and youth programs. There’s even a night time Valentine’s Walk on Sat., Feb. 12.

The Center is at 7550 East Spring Street, Long Beach, and the trails are open Tuesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free; parking is $5 during the week and $7, Saturday and Sunday.

Take some time out and visit the island. You’ll be back–and hopefully will Mr. Squirrel who initially greeted me!

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Orange County, Parks, Recreation, SoCal

2 Responses to “Reflections of El Dorado Nature Center – Families and Squirrels, Ducks and Turtles”

  1. Debi says:

    This place is on our must-see list, so I’m glad to hear how much you enjoyed it. We’ll have to check it out!
    Debi´s last blog ..My 2011 SoCal Winter Wear Must-HavesMy ComLuv Profile


  2. Sandy Schroeder says:

    Thanks Debi. It’s easy to reach and has a lot to offer.



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