Hopkins Wilderness Park is an 11-acre slice of nature smack dab in the middle of the otherwise urban setting of Redondo Beach. It’s easy enough to pass right by without a second glance. But wow! What you’d be missing!
Hopkins Wilderness Park was created in the late 70s as a center for camping, nature study and conservation. The park features four ecological habitats: forest, meadows, streams and ponds. Dirt trails meander through the park taking you seamlessly from one habitat to the next.
But to a 3.5-year-old, it’s just one big nature playground.
I let The Little Explorer take the lead during our visit, which was a rare playdate for just the two of us. He enjoyed following each of the “trails” to discover where it took us – and we didn’t miss a spot.
This nature park is a rare find in a place like Los Angeles. Your usual park amenities – like play structures and sandboxes – give way to more “wild” environments. Kids can practice balancing skills on logs carefully placed across streams, get up close and personal with any number of birds that call this place home, even go “hiking.”
Our visit was a quiet one on a weekday morning. We saw no campers and only a few other visitors. Given that there are several campsites throughout the park, I imagine you might not have such a serene experience on weekends and holidays.
Date of most recent visit: Mon., Jan. 9, 2012
Who: Mom & The Little Explorer
Weather: Sunny & clear, about 60 degrees when we arrived, 70 when we left 1.5 hours later
- Gathering tons of “perfect” sticks
- Talking to the ducks, turtles, butterflies & birds
- Balancing on logs – to cross streams or just for fun!
- Following trails (and so many to choose from!)
- Putting sticks in the water to see what happens next (hint: if you let go, the stick will “swim away”)
- Hopkins Wilderness Park is open daily 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (weather permitting); closed Wednesdays
- Park features include two ponds, two streams, a “forest,” a meadow & several trails throughout
- Entrance to Hopkins Wilderness Park is FREE
- Three sets of restrooms available within the park
- A Visitor Center at the entrance to the park is used for nature-related classes & meetings
- Limited free parking is available
- Dirt trails are flat & stroller-friendly
- We had the place pretty much to ourselves on a weekday morning; I expect it may be busier on weekends & holidays
- Bring an extra set of clothes – if all goes well, your explorer will be plenty dirty after your visit
- Overnight camping within Hopkins Wilderness Park is available by reservation only
Hopkins Wilderness Park is located at:
1102 Camino Real
Redondo Beach, CA 90277