I love nature centers and interpretive centers. Sometimes they are dusty and date back to the 70’s, but that makes me love them all the more. The little interpretive center at Clark Regional Park is no exception with its Los Coyotes Paleontology Museum inside. Our North County Parks Reporter, Lisa, recommended it to me back in November 2009:
Interpretive center has an awesome fossil collection – think La Brea Tar Pits but on a smaller scale – and it’s FREE (y’know after you pay for parking or use your OC Parks pass). They also have quarterly tours where they walk you out to an actual fossil excavation site – also for free – but there’s an age limit – not for babies and toddlers.
The outside of the interpretive center itself is gorgeous, and there’s a huge outcropping of reddish rock across the street from the park that is very visible and just adds to the beauty. The interpretive center is closed when they don’t have someone available to staff it – call ahead to make sure it’s open (714) 973-3170.
On our last visit, we finally caught it on a day it was open. We like to park in Lot 4 to play at the playground there and wind our way around the lake to the Interpretive Center.
This station (below) is especially kid-friendly with panels to open and fossils to touch.
Clark Regional Park is what I consider a “destination playground” — in fact, there are 3 playgrounds worth visiting. It’s a peaceful spot. The Interpretive Center is a bonus, especially if you’re teaching a fossil lesson to your kids. It adds so much to the regional park experience.
Wildlife Spotting: We saw an osprey over the playground and a turtle in the lake. A duck adopted us and followed us around the play area. I definitely recommend the hike up Camel Hill. There’s lots to see if you keep your eyes open.