Just a reminder: Father's Day is this Sunday. And after presenting Dad with the card and the tie, consider taking him out to a regional park for a trip back in time.
There are at least two Father's Day adventures from which to choose, both hosted by naturalist Dino Labiste at Garin Regional Park in Hayward.
The first is from 10 a.m. to noon. It's a program about fire starting without matches or lighters. Dino will show how to do it the way the ancients did, with a bow drill to create friction; and with modern materials: a water bottle or aluminum can to focus the sun's rays.
Then from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., it's all about atlatls, which are prehistoric dart-throwing devices. Dino will demonstrate how to make a dart point out of stone. Visitors can try their hand at hitting a target with an atlatl-launched dart.
Both programs are free, designed for ages 8 and older; reservations are not required. Both meet at Garin's Red Barn Visitor Center. The park is located at the east end of Garin Avenue off Mission Boulevard in Hayward. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3220.
Tilden: A more strenuous way to observe Father's Day is also on Sunday at the Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley, where naturalist Anthony Fisher will lead a 3-mile hike to the top of Wildcat Peak. Along the way he'll talk about Tilden's natural and cultural history. Views from the top are spectacular.
The hike is free. Meet Trent at 11 a.m. at the Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. Bring lunch and water; the hike lasts until 2 p.m. For information, call 510-544-2233.
SIBLEY VOLCANIC: For a less strenuous Father's Day experience, try the Sunday Stroll from 10 a.m. to noon June 16 at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland.
It's a moderate, naturalist-led 2½-mile hike to see evidence of ancient volcanoes and explore present-day quarries and labyrinths.
The hike is free. Meet at the Sibley entrance on Skyline Boulevard just south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard.
BIG BREAK: You may have seen those high-powered motorboat races on the Delta. Well, not to be outdone, Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley will stage miniature tule boat races on Sunday.
Naturalist Kevin Damstra will help you to build a miniature boat out of tule reeds, similar in design, though not in size, to those used by native Californians for hundreds of years to traverse the Delta and San Francisco Bay.
Construction starts at 10 a.m., the races begin at noon. The program is free of charge. Big Break Shoreline is located on Big Break Road just north of Main Street in Oakley. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
And if you'd like to explore the Delta sloughs yourself aboard a larger watercraft, sign up for an intermediate kayaking trip at Big Break from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 30. It's led by Kevin and fellow naturalist Mike Moran and is reserved for ages 14 and older. Some kayaking experience is advisable.
Registration is required, and there is a fee of $45 per person ($51 for nondistrict residents). For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 2263.
BLACK DIAMOND: Park visitors, including myself, have seen a lot of snakes on the roads and trails this year. There's a chance to meet a couple of the reptiles under safe and controlled circumstances during a program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.
The host is naturalist Eddie Willis. Eddie and the snakes will be at Black Diamond's uppermost parking lot. It's at the end of Somersville Road, 5 miles south of Highway 4. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.