The Best Ways to Enjoy the Kern County Fall with Kids
By Jodi Hunter
Children love kicking through colorful and crunchy leaves almost as much as they love rolling in the dirt. Then there’s the added bonus of finding special treasures to fill their empty pockets. The Golden Empire is bursting with picnic areas, baseball fields, campgrounds, public gardens, and playgrounds – all offering a color, fresh air, and a taste of fall.
Getting outdoors is a great way to teach kids about nature. With the fall harvest underway, you’ll find farmers’ markets, hiking trails, U-Pick-It orchards, and nature preserves to explore … spend a few hours or the whole day.
Parks and Rec
With so many parks and recreation areas in Kern County, you’re bound to find a cozy spot for picnicking and playing. Take your children sailing, fishing, or for a walk at Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational area. Stroll through paths and gardens, take your pooch to the Kern River Valley Dog Park for a game of catch and fetch. (Make sure you check both the dog and kids for ticks afterward. We’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to dangerous insects!) Talk to your children about trees, birds, water, clouds, rain, and sunshine — help them see beauty in natural scenery.
The Sunflower Festival is a fall weekend event at Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield. The farm offers fruit picking sessions for families, depending on harvest time and weather.
The California Area Living Museum (CALM) presents and teaches children about native plants and animals. The CALM Zoo, next to the museum, cares for injured and orphaned animals.
Flight Adventure Park is an indoor facility that will get your kids off the couch and onto a gym floor. Trampolines, dodgeball, Air Slam basketball, and climbing walls are a few ways to engage kids in physical activities. Attractions vary in price, but the pictures you’ll take are priceless.
Rollerama West has special skating deals throughout each month. Roller skating is for all ages and abilities … and the video you take may be hysterical.
Small children may not be happy with a lot of walking, but older kids are more adventurous when it comes to exploring geological landscapes. Still, if you can push a stroller or drag a wagon, the young ’uns will enjoy the ride. Check out these places.
Red Rock Canyon State Park spans about 9 square miles of cliffs, rock formations, buttes, and mudstone strata on both sides of California Highway 14 through the Mojave Desert. Joshua trees and cacti add to the incredible scenery.
Lake Ming is located just west of the Greenhorn Mountains … great for fishing, picnicking, and boating.
Wind Wolves Preserve has its share of landforms and habitats to lure California’s unique wildlife. Located at the edge of the Western Mojave Desert, San Joaquin Valley, and the Sierra Nevada, the preserve is 30-square-miles of grasslands and saltbush. San Joaquin kit foxes and blunt-nosed leopard lizards are a few of the endangered animals living in the preserve, as well as one of the largest groupings of Bakersfield cacti. Admission is free.
Kern Canyon in Bakersfield is a draw for those who like hiking, fishing, and camping. Inside the canyon is Kern River Parkway, a natural preserve running from the river to Interstate 5.
Load up the car for a drive through the country. Autumn’s cool weather brings farm animals out of the barn. The Kern County Fair takes place during the last week of September, but there are family events at the fairgrounds all season.
Time and money … we never seem to have enough. But having simple moments with your children is what matters most, not how much you spend or where you go. The best way to enjoy fall with your kids is to enjoy being together.
Jodi Hunter is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys traveling and fishing around the country with her family. Her Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with pictures of landmarks, waterfalls, wildflowers., and oh yeah, big fish.