Sundays are days reserved for going outside. If we can, I load up the car and take Avi out somewhere in nature. Sometimes we explore the banks of the Sacramento River since it is a few blocks from home and so easy to access. I have been wanting to take Avi to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center on the American River in Sacramento, California based on the fact that most of the local elementary schools plan outings to the site on a yearly basis. I figure it has to be good and easy enough for a two and a half-year-old, so why not?
We packed a good attitude (always a good attitude) some snacks, water, sunscreen and extra clothes (always extra clothes) and headed out. My goal with each outing is essentially the same; I want to teach Avi to love the outdoors. With this outing, however, I wanted to start talking to him about taking care, being safe, and caution (and respect) of all the animals outside. He loves our dog and thinks everything with four legs is ok to hug.
As you can see below he now understands that trail signs are way cool and we should always make choices base on which way they point. This trip, as with others, he was allowed a couple of choices as to which way to proceed. I let him choose since the trail was a loop and either way, we were home free.
We walked down to the American River. This is his first experience walking on river rock, dry and in shallow water. He asked if it was ok to step in the water. Having failed to change his shoes, I cautioned him to be careful not to step in a “deep” puddle and to hold my hand so he could balance better. He made it across his first “water crossing” without falling in and was applauded by an African American woman about my age. She commended me for getting him outside and away from devices (she mimicked texting) and asked Avi for a “high five.” He complied exclaiming, “Good job Avi!”
We spent two hours exploring, throwing rocks, dodging low flying turkeys, counting ducks, snacking on apples and in general being with each other. He watched others around us and asked if next time we could bring our “ropa de agua” or swimming clothes. I agreed that might be a great idea.
When we headed back, a different route, chosen by him, he, as usual, sang and danced as we walked. He climbed a fallen tree but not until the lizard sitting on it moved to a quieter location. This lasted for about ten minutes until he fell off and landed on his butt. He looked at me and I said, “Good job Avi!” He got up and on we went.
We encountered deer and turkeys during this outing. He witnessed 5 males annoyed with each other and the human traffic around them, and numerous females who were not too interested in us. Those turkeys are huge and make quite a sound when the rustle their feathers. I cautioned him that while turkeys are good things, they are to be respected.
All in all, this is a fabulous place to take children. Note that you have to enter the property at the corner of Tarshes Drive and California Avenue. This will allow you to drive right up to the property. You do have to pay for parking. Payment is enforced but you can get around it by buying a membership to the Center and using their lot. I loved it so much that is what I did. We will get a placard to place on our car’s dashboard when we visit in the future.
I hope you can get out there soon…it is truly a wonderful spot for all ages.
Don’t forget…. Pack out everything you pack in! Leave only footprints, take only pictures!