El Dorado Park Nature Center in Long Beach, CA

Living in the suburbs usually means having to drive at least an hour to get to nature and a few weeks ago, I was telling my husband how important exposing the kids to nature is for developing a sense of curiosity and learning about the world. He, the outdoorsman that he is, agreed and expected more camping. Instead, I proposed El Dorado Park Nature Center. He was skeptical. How much nature could they actually preserve in the busy city of Long Beach?

Turns out a whole lot. The nature center is 105 acres of nature preserve. Paved paths and graded switchbacks in the form of short hiking trails cut through mini forests of trees, little meadows, meandering streams and a world of wildlife creatures. 

Here are the highlights:

Picturesque bridge over the manmade stream.

The Nature Center

With a Little Free Library (I am obsessed with these things), a gift shop, cold water, wildlife art that can be purchased, and lots of interactive educational displays about native flora and fauna. Also, check out the binoculars on the back porch that faces what seems to be a crane's nest.

Little Free Library on the Nature Center Porch.

Antlers and bones for the touching.
That is really a snake.


There are a number of trails, ranging from as short as half a mile to as long as 2.5 miles. The trails are well worn and stroller friendly. This easy hike is very kid friendly, as most kids around 3 years old or older can handle 2.5 miles. Bikes and dogs are not allowed on the trail, however, despite the fact that they are allowed in other areas of El Dorado Park.

Water under the bridge.

Wildlife and Native Plants

Throughout El Dorado Park Nature Center, there are signs that denote the native plants and animals to the region. Ponds filled with sunbathing turtles, bushes ripe with blackberries, streams swimming with little fish, friendly squirrels and an aforementioned crane are just a few of the surprises in every corner of this nature preserve.

I like turtles.

That is the fattest squirrel I have ever seen.

Two species of birds co-existing. 
See Our Visit on Youtube

Visitor Information

El Dorado Park Nature Center
7550 E Spring St
Long Beach, CA 90815
(562) 570-1745
Trail Hours:Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm
Nature Center Hours: Tue-Sun, 8:30am-4pm

Vehicle Entry Fees: (Cash Only)
$5 Monday-Thursday
$6 Friday
$7 Saturday & Sunday$8 on Holidays

Website: http://www.longbeach.gov/Park/Park-and-Facilities/Parks-Centers-Pier/El-Dorado-Nature-Center/

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