Who said you had to head to the trails to find nature? Our family nature club enjoyed a beautiful walk through Los Angeles’ Venice Canals this weekend, taking in quiet a bit of urban nature along the way.
Although the Venice Canals once consisted of several miles of canals and waterfront homes, today you can walk the entire route in about an hour – even with kids in tow. This is truly an adventure unique to Los Angeles.
The kids were excited from the get go, what with all the ducks, rowboats, canoes and bridges. They loved running to the edge of the canal and staring in the water to see what they could find.
Once the ducks were spotted, they were all entranced. We hung out for a bit on one bridge to see what we could spot.
We strolled along until we reached the very small, yet inviting, Linnie Canal Park, where we let the little ones out of their strollers to run around and get closer to yet more ducks. There’s a small pond here that serves as a rest spot for migrating and native wild birds.
The kids were having a great time and not eager to head back, but the lure of taking an urban nature scavenger hunt was enough to get them going again.
As the kids hunted for the items on their lists, the parents took closer notice of the idyllic waterfront homes with their picture-perfect, indoor-outdoor living spaces and backyards on the water.
And more than one of them thanked me for suggesting the stroll – and the chance to slow down a bit and take notice of the little things, like flowers growing through the cracks in the pavement or a spider waiting in the middle of its web.
I encourage you to take the time to enjoy this stroll – stopping along the way at whatever strikes your fancy. Get lost, connect with nature and forget about the rest of the world for a little while. Your kids will thank you for it.
Tips for Visiting With Kids
- Keep “runners” under close watch. Good to know before you go: there’s nothing to keep an eager toddler (a.k.a. the little explorer) from running right into the water.
- Stop and play a while at Linnie Canal Park. This is the perfect spot to let younger kids run around; the older kids took to the swings, hide-and-seek and imaginary play.
- Don’t feed the ducks. More than one of the moms in our group brought bread to feed the ducks (and the kids loved them for it). I later discovered that this is not allowed. Good to know for our next visit!
- Try a walk during the holidays. I’ve been told the lights display is pretty amazing, making this a nice stroll to take in the early evenings come December.
- The Venice Canals are just a few blocks from Venice Beach, bordered on the north by S. Venice Blvd., on the east by Ocean Blvd., on the south by W. Washington Blvd. & on the west by Pacific Ave.
- We opted to enter the Canals along W. Washington Blvd. (two blocks east of Pacific Ave.), but you could also enter from the north on S. Venice Blvd. at Dell Ave.
- Parking in the area can be tough to find (or pricey), especially on weekends; I found free parking just a few blocks east of the Washington entrance on Dell Ave.
- No bathroom facilities available along the Canals
- Route is stroller-friendly, though probably not wide enough to accommodate a double-wide stroller
- Sidewalks are narrow in some spots & some bridges are fairly steep
- No fencing between sidewalk and canals
- A tiny park, Linnie Canal Park (at the corner of Linnie Canal and Dell) features swings, a play structure and sandbox, plus an enclosed pond that serves as a bird sanctuary
- Feeding the ducks is not allowed