One of the more enjoyable, kid-friendly activities at this time of year is the Halloween Train at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.
The horse-drawn train trundles through Ardenwood's eucalyptus groves with a cargo of park visitors and goblins. Only mildly scary, it's designed for families with children ages 12 and under.
Trains will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 18 and 25, and Saturdays, Oct. 19 and 26, then from 7 to 9 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 20 and 27.
Tickets are available at the gate after 5 p.m. on operating nights only. Advance tickets can be purchased at The Book End, 5678 Thornton Ave. in Newark.
The cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children 3-12. For information and for reservations for groups of 10 or more, call 866-417-7277.
Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 in Fremont.
Women on Common Ground is a series of naturalist-led hikes for women who enjoy the outdoors but have concerns for personal safety.
Naturalist Katie Colbert will lead one of the hikes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon.
This one may be a bit strenuous. It's a nine-miler, including the Corduroy Hills Trail, which is steep. The payoff is fall colors, native plants and panoramic views.
It's free, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 3719.
For general information on the Wednesday Walkers, call 510-544-3243 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of fall colors, since we're not in Vermont, I can't promise you a polychromatic riot. But although the effect is more subtle, there are some likely trails for autumn displays. Big leaf maple, cottonwood and poison oak are the most colorful. The maple and cottonwood turn gold, and the poison oak turns russet (it can still make you itch, though).
Try the Old Stage Road Trail at Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area in Walnut Creek, or the Stream Trail at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.
Another pretty walk, though it doesn't necessarily show off fall colors, is the Bear Creek Trail at Briones Regional Park near Orinda.
The trail starts near the Newt Hollow group picnic site, leads through bay-oak woodlands, and ends at the Homestead Valley group campsite.
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch will host an open house at its restored 1930s-era silica sand mine from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
Visitors can take a free, self-guided tour of nearly 1,000 feet of cool underground workings.
To visit the mine you must be 7 or older, but there's a special area just inside the entrance with activities for younger kids, including a chance to meet a tarantula and other creepy critters. Free popping corn will be given to visitors of all ages while supplies last.
Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, four miles south of Highway 4 in Antioch. Parking costs $5 per vehicle.
Birds will be the focus of a walk from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 21, at Crockett Hills Regional Park in Crockett, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher.
Even if the birds aren't out, it's a great hike for the panoramic views of the Carquinez Strait area.
The hike is free. Meet Anthony at the Crockett Ranch staging area on Crockett Boulevard just up the hill from Pomona Street.
Call 510-544-2233 for information.
Back in the 19th century, there was a sanitarium called Grande Vista in then-remote Wildcat Canyon.
Naturalist James Wilson will lead a free, four-mile hike to the site from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
Meet James at the Alvarado staging area on Park Avenue off McBryde Avenue in Richmond. For information, call 510-544-2233.
The Wednesday Walkers, a friendly and informal hiking group, will explore the explosive past of Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond during an easy, four-mile stroll from 9:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 23. The leader is Dave Zuckermann, supervising naturalist at Tilden Nature Area.
Meet at the park entrance on Giant Highway, reached via Atlas Road or Richmond Parkway. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Weekend naturalist programs will continue as scheduled during sewer repair and upgrading at the Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley.
During the project, Tilden's Environmental Education Center is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Access is on foot from trails off the Tilden Loop Road from Lone Oak picnic area. Look for signs indicating the way.
The Little Farm is closed for the duration. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.