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Hagan Community Park, Rancho Cordova

Hagan Community Park - the miniature steam train and passengers

May 7th, 2012
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On the first weekend of each month from May through September, Hagan Community Park has a very special treat: a miniature steam train ride. This ride is a good ten minutes long, and goes through a beautiful section of the park. But there’s more to Hagan Park: ponds, playgrounds, pools, petting barn, river access, sports fields, dog park—just about anything you can imagine a park having.

Since yesterday was during one of these special train weekends, we took the drive to Rancho Cordova and had a blast. We used a free parking lot at the west end of the park. Little did we know that the really good stuff was a fair hike from where we started. If I had to do it again, I’d pay the $5 regional park entry fee and drive to the other end (walking sounds like a good idea until you have to carry around a 35-pound toddler.)

(Click on any image below for a full-size slideshow.)

At first, the park looked pretty typical: a small pond full of algae with nary a duck, baseball diamonds, a community center, grass and trees.

Hagan Community Park - Theo enjoys being near water

Hagan Community Park – Theo enjoys being near water

We eventually found a playground for small tots in a grove of trees.

Hagan Community Park - a shady playground for tots

Hagan Community Park – a shady playground for tots

Theo and Daddy enjoyed the slide and swings together. This was the first time Theo was really able to stay on a big boy swing like this.

Hagan Community Park - Daddy and Theo go swinging

Hagan Community Park – Daddy and Theo go swinging

Hagan Park has sprawling ponds and creeks. The water is warm now, so algae thrives. This seems to provide an ideal place in which tadpoles can grow up. The photo below gives a small idea of the hundreds of tadpoles who must live in these waters right now.

Hagan Community Park - tadpoles abound

Hagan Community Park – tadpoles abound

In front of the dog park is a playground for older kids. Theo loves the playgrounds built for kids ages 5 to 12.

Hagan Community Park - youth playground with many slides and swings

Hagan Community Park – youth playground with many slides and swings

We wished we had thought to bring the little kite which is still unopened in the car. Behind this girl, who was having a great time, you can see the fencing for the dog park.

Hagan Community Park - a young lady flies a kite in front of the dog park

Hagan Community Park – a young lady flies a kite in front of the dog park

Further east, we finally found the big pond. It is really lovely, and it was chock full of Canada Geese with goslings. They pretty much ignored the rock-hard moldy biscuits someone else offered, in favor of our soft whole wheat bread.

Hagan Community Park - Theo and Daddy feed geese and goslings

Hagan Community Park – Theo and Daddy feed geese and goslings

The Petting Barn is (sadly) not open until Memorial Day. However, the animals are there to see and chat with through the fence.

Hagan Community Park - the Petting Barn

Hagan Community Park – the Petting Barn

This turkey was all worked up. He gobbled and huffed at Theo vigorously as he turned in circles.

Hagan Community Park - a turkey challenges Theo to a duel

Hagan Community Park – a turkey challenges Theo to a duel

This donkey was vocal too. We were drawn over to him by his braying.

Hagan Community Park - a small boy surveys a sweet donkey

Hagan Community Park – a small boy surveys a sweet donkey

Here comes the train! The miniature steam train cruises on interwoven , looping train tracks. The total ride is over a mile long through trees and scale models of railroad-themed buildings and equipment.

Hagan Community Park - the miniature steam train and passengers

Hagan Community Park – the miniature steam train and passengers

Much of the ride was shady.

Hagan Community Park - riding the miniature steam train

Hagan Community Park – riding the miniature steam train

Here we are approaching a memorial and a realistic train signal post.

Hagan Community Park - riding the miniature steam train

Hagan Community Park – riding the miniature steam train

A wild pheasant watched us pass. We saw deer while on the ride, too.

Hagan Community Park - a pheasant alongside the train tracks

Hagan Community Park – a pheasant alongside the train tracks

Near the train tracks is a series of small interconnected ponds. Daddy fished a live crayfish out of one and set it down for Theo to watch for a short while. The crayfish was happy to return to his watery home.

Hagan Community Park - Theo is fascinated by a crayfish

Hagan Community Park – Theo is fascinated by a crayfish

Theo’s very favorite activity is throwing rocks into water. The American River is best place for this, as many boys can surely agree.

Hagan Community Park - Daddy and Theo descend to the river bank

Hagan Community Park – Daddy and Theo descend to the river bank

The American River was gorgeous, as usual.

Hagan Community Park - the American River

Hagan Community Park – the American River

A few ducks were around. After this mallard couple landed, two more drakes (males) sauntered over and challenged this male for the hand of his apparent girlfriend.

Hagan Community Park - mallard ducks land at the American River

Hagan Community Park – mallard ducks land at the American River

Hey, Canada Geese. It’s nice and all for you both to care for the baby. And it’s nice that you’d don’t just fly off and expect him to follow you. But do you think you could slow down a bit when your little one is straining like mad—and peeping like crazy—to keep up with you while paddling upstream?

Hagan Community Park - Canada Goose family at the American River

Hagan Community Park – Canada Goose family at the American River

This is the lovely waterfall at the apex of the interlocking ponds.

Hagan Community Park - waterfall and pond

Hagan Community Park – waterfall and pond

On our way back to the car, Vlady spotted this Great Blue Heron. The bird was in the same pond where we had seen the tadpoles. Swim fast, baby frogs!

Hagan Community Park - Great Blue Heron

Hagan Community Park – Great Blue Heron

Hagan Community Park

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