February 10th, 2013
by Dawn Pedersen
My husband and I have been enjoying Ancil Hoffman Park, and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center within it, since we first started dating. It is with delight that we now bring our darling boy. Theo has a long resume of throwing rocks into water that is almost unquenchable. He also thrives in nature, as all children do.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center offers an up-close experience with a number of rescued wild animals. They also have an exhibit area which was recently revamped to showcase native wild birds. Our favorite part is the short hike down to the American River along a wide trail. We rarely lack of wild turkey sightings on this trail, and we frequently see mule deer as well. Many other wild birds abound. But Theo’s sights are always toward the river’s edge and those sweet, smooth rocks waiting to be thrown into the icy waters.
When entering Ancil Hoffman Park, be sure to pay the $5 cash for parking. There’s no lot attendant, but rather a self-serve envelope-and-receipt kiosk just past the closed toll booth (you’ll need a pen too.) If you do not display the dated receipt on your dash, you may be fined.
Photos of our Saturday visit below. Click on any image for a full-sized slideshow.
Theo stops at the little pond in front of Effie Yeaw to throw pollen fronds into the still water.
The entrance to the system of hiking trails behind Effie Yeaw. The trails aren’t long, but they are beautiful.
Theo and Daddy head into the nature center.
A sweet little kestrel sits behind glass in a large enclosure.
A diamondback rattlesnake—notice his rattle in the lower-right corner.
A saw-whet owl looks down into Theo’s eyes.
In the exhibit room, Theo makes bird calls on a customized piano.
Daddy tickles Theo with a giant blue feather.
Theo investigates bird nests inside a dresser drawer.
Theo and daddy have a masquerade.
Theo cavorts on an old log in the Nature Playscape, which is a recent addition. The hiking trails have a bunch of new informational placards, too.
At the beginning of the trail, a goldfinch sips at a water fountain.
Fairly soon after, we spot five wild turkeys who cross the trail and make their escape.
Theo spots the river and all those promising rocks. He’s already got a few pebbles in his hands, ready to go.
Yow! Nice throw!
On the hunt for more projectiles.
Theo says, “Yippee!” after throwing a rock.
A rock captured mid-air while Mommy looks on.
Just how big a rock can he throw?
Daddy lifts Theo over onto an outcropping so he can get a better angle for slapping a stick onto the water.
A tiny rapids lives nearby. That’s a little rocky island midstream in the background.
A beautiful mallard drake and his girlfriend get up close, possibly hoping we have food (we do not.)
Theo pulls saturated pollen fronds from the water, and slaps them back in.
Mommy carries a tired Theo back toward the car.
We happen across more turkeys, and two gentle mule deer.
Vlady captures this photo of a deer making his escape.
Theo and Daddy write his name in the sandy trail.
Back at the Nature Center, a gentleman introduces us to Sky, a rescued red-shouldered hawk who lives at the Center.
We take another trip back through the exhibit room, where Theo gets cozy in a giant nest. My little fledgling.
Theo so enjoyed this trip on Saturday, that this morning (Sunday) he told me he wanted to throw rocks in the river again. So we took him to William B. Pond Recreational Area, also on the American River.
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