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August 8, 2017 > Park It

Park It

By Ned MacKay

Perseid meteor shower
Every year at this time the night sky puts on its own fireworks display: the Perseid meteor shower. ItÕs so named because the shooting stars seem to emanate from the constellation Perseus. The meteors are debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which swings by Earth every 133 years. DonÕt look for the comet itself, though; its next flyby is far in the future.

This year the shower is expected to peak around midnight on August 12 and 13. However, because there will be a three-quarter-full moon on those nights, the shower isnÕt expected to be as visible, maybe 40 to 50 mph (meteors per hour). I have to be honest: the Perseid shower doesnÕt always live up to its billing, and unless you are well away from city lightsÑnot easy in the Bay AreaÑit can be hard to see the shooting stars.

You have a choice of two naturalist-led programs in the East Bay Regional Park District to view the Perseid shower:

One is from 8 to 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 12 at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore, with naturalist Constance Taylor. Bring the family and meet at the intersection of Del Valle and Mendenhall Roads, at the top of the hill before the park entrance kiosk. For information, call (510) 544-3249.

The other program is also on August 12, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley with naturalist Cat Taylor. Bring a blanket or reclining chair to sit back and view the stellar show.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off OakleyÕs Main Street. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 3050.


Another nighttime program at Big Break will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15, and it sounds like fun. ItÕs the sixth annual international ÒChalk the Walks,Ó during which visitors can express themselves artistically through chalk drawings on the park patio. Chalk will be provided.

Big Break is also hosting an exhibit of nature photography in the East Bay Regional Parks. You can see it between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, August 18 through 20.


If youÕve ever wondered how wild animals (let alone the rest of us) survive summer heat in East Contra Costa, join naturalist Kevin Dixon for a nature walk from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, August 12 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.

Meet Kevin at the parkÕs uppermost parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, three-and-a-half miles south of Highway 4. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 2750.

There are dragons in the air at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Fortunately, they are not ÒGame of ThronesÓ sized.

Naturalist Anthony Fisher will reveal the truth about the dragons and damsels through a slideshow and nature walk. The program is from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 13.

Meet at TildenÕs Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call (510) 544-2233.


Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda ends this yearÕs free Concert at the Cove series with a performance by The Up and Down, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 11. The group won a Best Band award in 2015.

Sponsors are Alameda Rotary, Regional Parks Foundation, and the East Bay Regional Park District. The Visitor Center will have activities on its deck starting at 4:30 p.m., and will be open after the concert until 8 p.m. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and a picnic dinner, or purchase local food and beverages on site.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off AlamedaÕs Central Avenue. Park on Webster Street or at the Crown Beach lot at Otis and Shore Line Drive. For information, call (510) 544-3187.


ThereÕs all kinds of information about other park district facilities and programs online at

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