Natural Areas Currently Open:
The Environmental Nature Center is closed to the public to keep our staff, volunteers and program participants safe. Please do not visit unless you are registered for a scheduled program. We’ve compiled a list of places that are currently open for you to explore, below! You can learn more about our scheduled programs HERE, and sign up to receive email notification when more programs are scheduled, HERE.
We’ve also published this article with tips for how parents can utilize outdoor venues that are open (gardens, trails, etc) to help educate, enlighten and entertain kids.
With 7-day access trails on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, nature lovers can experience the first signs of spring from the heart of Irvine to the coast of Newport Beach. The City of Irvine is home to a variety of trails in Bommer Canyon and Quail Hill that are open for passive self-guided access daily from dawn to dusk. Quail Hill is ideal for a quick escape into nature and is a delight in the springtime due to the abundance of birds and other wildlife foraging for food and shelter. Meanwhile, Bommer Canyon offers a wider range of hiking opportunities perfect for hikers of all skill levels.
- Crystal Cove State Park: Open 6am – sunset; Monday – Sunday
- El Dorado Nature Center: Open for hiking, fishing and archery from 8am – 5pm; Tuesday-Sunday
- Oak Canyon Nature Center: Trails open to public
- Peters Canyon Regional Park: Open from 7am – sunset
- Laguna Coast Wilderness Park: Trails open from 8am – 5pm; Monday-Sunday
- Sherman Gardens: Open 9am-4pm; Monday – Sunday; Purchase ticket online
- Civic Center Park: Park is open from 6am – dusk
- Irvine Regional Park: Trails and Irvine Railroad park open from 6am – 9pm; 7 days a week
- Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve: 9am – 3pm; 7 days a week
- For an even more extensive list of OC Parks, click HERE.
During this public health crisis, spending time in outdoor spaces has become even more important for many Americans. Yet these unusual circumstances mean that all of us, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to families heading out to their local park for the first time, could use a little guidance about how to stay safe. The Recreate Responsibly guidelines offer a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself healthy and to maintain access to our parks, trails, and beaches. Lead by example and #RecreateResponsibly – your actions have more impact on others than you might think.
Environmental Nature Center You Tube Channel & Live Online Events!
ENC on YouTube: We will continue posting “Learn from Home” videos on our YouTube channel for as long as we are able so you and your family can keep learning about nature and science.
Live Stream Events: Check our Events Calendar for upcoming live online events, too!
Distance Learning: With children home from school, the Environmental Nature Center has shifted to provide learning opportunities from afar.The ENC’s Distance Learning programs bring the field trip to YOU. Take a virtual hike with an ENC Naturalist as they present your program LIVE with easily accessible technology. Your students will have the ability to ask and answer questions about what they observe in real time. Donate a program to your child’s class! More info HERE.
Nature Based Lesson Plans: Based on our recent survey, many of you want us to provide “nature based lesson plans.” We’ve started a page HERE and we’ll be posting lesson plans regularly. Requests? email Lead Naturalist Raquel.
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt: The ENC challenges you to walk through your neighborhood with your family and see what you can observe! Participants can play by following this link to download the Scavr app. Or simply download the Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the fresh air!
ENC Bingo: These will be fun to use when you can visit again, but in the meantime, you might be able to find quite a few of these things in your own neighborhood if you are observant! Bingo 1, Bingo 2, Bingo 3 – You can also use them without leaving home, by calling out items on the cards, like “rabbit”, “lichen”, etc.
Virtual Lessons & Activities (Wildlife/Nature):
The Environmental Nature Center provides a tremendous service for our community, free, public access to Nature, environmental education, and a sanctuary for our community to escape from life’s pressures. The ENC depends on income from programs to fund our operations and pay staff. The recent school shut downs and program cancellations will result in considerable loss of income for the Center. Please consider donating.