Last year, I received the following request from a mom: “I have a toddler who is obsessed with bats and tarantulas. Do you know of any places we can view either or both? I’ve been searching online for some info but haven’t come across much so far. We’re willing to travel a bit for a good bat viewing.” I updated the post for 2012 and thought of this family as bats swooped down on us at dusk in Yellowstone this summer. Hope this spell of cool air sticks!
Where to find bats and tarantulas in Orange County?
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary is having their annual October Bat Night on Oct 20, 2012.
I’ve seen “real-life” tarantulas on a guided hike in Bommer Canyon, plus a baby one on the playground at Settler’s Park in Irvine. They come out around sunset.
If you want to see them in a terrarium, we have tons of nature centers and many seem to have a resident tarantula (you could call ahead to see what animals they have on display). I wrote this list of nature centers in one of my e-newsletters this summer. The blue writing actually links to a blog post about the center – or to the center website.
Also, Joel Robinson of Naturalist-For-You leads “tarantula treks” up in Black Star Canyon – probably not appropriate for a toddler.
The OC Zoo has a whole month of “Bats, Cats, and Spiders” scheduled on Fridays for kids ages 3-4. The zoo is one of my favorite OC spots and it’s inside Irvine Regional Park which runs the Irvine Park Railroad and Pumpkin Patch.
There are Tideland Tykes and Bayside Buddies programs at the Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach. On Thursday, October 11th they have a “Bay Bats” class. Look on the irlandmarks.org website for their activity listings and instructions on how to register.
Finally, here are a couple more family-friendly Autumn events to share:
- Saturday, October 13th: Amazing Raptors – Hawks, Owls, and Falcons at Nix Nature Center in Laguna Beach
- Sunday, October 14th: Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach
- Saturday, October 20th: Autumn Harvest Festival at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest
- Saturday, October 20th: Great Park Pumpkin Harvest at the OC Great Park in Irvine
- Saturday, October 27th: Halloween Zoo-tacular at the OC Zoo in Irvine Regional Park