By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune
Spring is almost here (the first day is March 20), and it’s time for the sheep at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont to receive their annual buzz cut.
The farm will shear its sheep during a special event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 18. Visitors can watch the shearing process, then try wool carding, see fiber spun into yarn, and make a woolly lamb craft to take home.
Ardenwood will offer its other farm-life attractions as well, though the train will not be running. The farm re-creates life on a 19th century estate, centered on the historic Patterson House. The House will be open for shearing day, then close until reopening on April 1.
Fee for sheep shearing day is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors ages 62 and older, $4 for children ages 4-17, and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is free.
Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard just north of Highway 84. For information, call (510) 544-2797.
Nearby at Coyote Hills Regional Park, “Wonders of Wetlands” is the topic from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 18, with naturalist Kristina Parkison. The group will explore the wetlands habitat using dip nets, binoculars, and a scavenger hunt.
The program is for ages six and older. Meet at the park’s visitor center, which is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont.
Coyote Hills also has a great program for preschoolers ages three to five. It’s “Coyote Cubs,” from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Mondays, March 20 and again on April 24, with Sonja Gomez and Francis Mendoza. The little ones play games, explore the park, and make a craft related to the theme of the day. On March 20 the theme is “bouncing bunnies.” On April 24, it’s “eggs and nests.” Caregiver participation is required.
Coyote Hills has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. Call (510) 544-3220 for information on either program or the park in general.
Mission Peak overlooking Fremont is one of the Bay Area’s most scenic summits. Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will lead an ascent of the peak from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 19.
This is a strenuous trek, 10½ miles and 2,200 feet of elevation gain, reserved for ages 12 and older. The group will start at the Green Barn Visitor Center at Sunol Regional Wilderness. Sunol is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, five miles south of Interstate 680 and the town of Sunol.
The park has a $5 parking fee per vehicle, and there’s also a $2 wilderness permit fee. For information, call (510) 544-2233. It’s also a good idea to check the park district website, www.ebparks.org, for information on park closures due to storm damage.
“Rabbit Rendezvous” is the theme of a program from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the Little Farm in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.
Interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will host a meet-and-greet with the Little Farm rabbits, including some interesting facts about the furry hoppers.
The Little Farm is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, which you can reach via Canon Drive from Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. Call (510) 544-2233.
“Wetland Wonders” will be revealed during a program from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Feel the contours on cottonwood bark, listen for marsh wrens, and watch cattail seeds sail away in the wind, all with the guidance of a staff naturalist.
Big Break is at the Delta shoreline on Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
These programs and lots more are listed at the East Bay Regional Park District website, www.ebparks.org.