Exploring The El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach

Baby enjoying the el dorado nature center trees

Holy s*@#! There’s an actual nature trail in Long Beach?! It only took us 35 years to realize that there’s a trail in Long Beach and that it’s actually really beautiful.

Dad holding Quinn next to a creek in the El Dorado Nature Center.

The El Dorado Nature Center is a hidden gem, and we’re so glad we finally explored it with our little Quinn.

We’re always searching for outdoor areas that are safe and easy (for now) where we can take our newborn for a walk. And so El Dorado Nature was one of them!

Table of Contents

What We Enjoyed About The El Dorado Nature Center

Once we parked our cars and passed through the entrance, we were immediately surrounded by tall trees and the sound of birds chirping. The 105 acres of the Long Beach nature center grounds were so peaceful and relaxing! We loved how there were little bridges crossing over the creekbeds and ponds. The landscape was just gorgeous. We even spotted some turtles sunning themselves on a log.

Turtles sunbathing while on a log in Long Beach

Trees

I (dad) was raised in Long Beach my whole life, and there aren’t that many trees in this city to begin with. The fact that there were so many trees at the El Dorado Park Nature Center was a pleasant surprise. It felt like I was in a different city or even a different state.

Quinn next to a bunch of dead trees at El Dorado Nature Center
Quinn slowly waking up from her nap

More Trees

Yup. More trees at the nature center grounds. I think by a quarter-mile, we were getting over it with all the trees.

Baby Quinn spitting out bubbles. Either she loves being next to the trees, or she’s getting over it like dad!

Creeks

There’s just a different vibe when it comes to creeks. It’s so peaceful and calming. What’s great about this nature center is that there were different bridges that we were able to cross over. This allowed us to see a different perspective of the creeks below. More importantly, we took better pictures for the gram.

Peaceful and Calming = Sleep for Quinn!

Benches/Seats

Thank goodness there were benches! We were able to take a few breaks in between all the walking and exploring. We even found a few seats that were along the trail, which was great for when we just wanted to sit and take in all the nature around us.

It was also great to take a quick stop and eat the kettle popcorn that we brought to the park.

We later learned that we weren’t allowed to bring our own food to the nature center. Oops!

Pictures for the Gram

One of the best things about going on a nature trail with your family is the number of photo opportunities you’ll come across. If you’re local and are pissed off like me by the insane gas prices, then the El Dorado Park Nature Center is the best alternative.

Baby up in the air enjoying nature

Otherwise, if you live in a busy city in Southern California, you’ll have to explore a bit further to go on a hike.

What I (Dad) didn’t like About The Nature Center

Too many people at the Trail

We’re still hesitant about being around too many people, especially during covid-19. Sure, the number of cases has decreased, but we’re still cautious. Even outside of covid-19, we like to be alone with nature. There’s just something about being around too many people that take away the overall nature experience.

There were times we would wait a little longer to explore because there were people in front of us, and we didn’t want to be right behind them. We even walked off the trail a bit so people could pass us.

If you love being around people, this is your place. There were plenty of families and groups of friends enjoying the nature center. But if you’re looking for a more intimate experience, then I would recommend going on a weekday or early in the morning. You might have a better chance of having alone time during those times. However, California is just an overly crowded place. It seems like any day is always busy for any popular attractions.

It’s an Easy Hike (But Great for Kids!)

This is an extremely easy hike, especially for those that hike a lot. According to alltrails.com, the entire trail is considered to be in the gentle grade category.

Nevertheless, it’s a great starting place to introduce your babies and or kids to a nature trail like this. I think it’s great that there are places like this in Long Beach since we don’t have much nature here.

I think it’s important to choose an appropriate trail for you and your baby, especially when they’re newborns. Although the El Dorado Nature Hike was easy, it was also perfect for our entire family. We didn’t feel depleted at the end of the hike, and we came well-prepared for ourselves and our baby.

I do wish there were a bit more inclines to get our heart rates up, but it was also just great to see people getting their exercise no matter what. Clubrunner.ca revealed that 44% of the visitors that go to the Nature Center are in it for exercise.

I guess we were the 56% that were in it for the gram!

Picnic Area

According to their rules, you’re not allowed to have a picnic at the El Dorado Long Beach Nature Center. They want to preserve nature as much as possible, which I understand. However, if you want to have a picnic, there are plenty of other parks in Long Beach that would allow it. Or, you can eat in the parking lot before going inside. Or, you can break the rules like us and munch on kettle popcorn.

Stroller or Carrier

We saw parents use both strollers and carriers at the mile trail. It really depends on your preference. For us, we brought our Nuna stroller. There were times when it was a bit challenging to push a stroller because the roads were a bit narrow. And so we felt we were in people’s way.

Going through bumpy roads with the stroller helped us. Why? Because our baby loves the feeling of getting rocked, which helped her stay asleep.

I think when our baby Quinn is older, and when we come back here, we’ll bring a carrier. It will allow her to explore more while she’s in the carrier than in the stroller.

General Information

How long is the El Dorado park Trail?

There are different routes for the trail. You can take a short quarter-mile route, or you can do a 2.3-mile loop.

With a baby, it took us an hour and a half to get through everything. And that’s due to various reasons, such as ensuring the baby is okay. But more importantly, we took the best pictures as much as possible. I’m no photographer, so that may have been the reason why our trail took a little longer than usual.

Rules

There were a couple of rules in the trail. Some we’ve already mentioned such as not bringing your own food, and you can’t bring your dogs.

El Dorado Nature Center Rules

I think the reason why this place was well maintained is because of all the rules. But on top of having the rules, visitors actually listened to them (minus us).

Vehicle Entrance Fee

We went on a Sunday, and it cost $8 for parking. The parking is located off of Spring Street between Studebaker. If you’re coming from the West side, you’ll want to go a little past, Studebaker. However, if you go over the bridge, then you’ve gone too far. If you’re coming from the East side, and you past Studebaker, then you’ve gone too far.

There were no additional costs for entering the El Dorado Nature Center. Not that we know of, that is. At this rate, I can’t complain about the pricing. Put into perspective, Downtown Disney’s parking is $20! I remember going there just to stroll around for an hour while eating some Wetzel Pretzels. Basically, I paid a total of $44 for the pretzels plus parking.

For $8, we were able to enjoy the beautiful nature in the LBC!

There is no age limit. Our baby was probably the youngest person there that day, and people adored her. And then, we saw an elderly gentleman with trekking poles who talked to us for a brief moment. He told us that he has 9 great-grandchildren! So there you have it, there are no age limitations. And as I mentioned earlier, this is a pretty easy hike with plenty of benches to rest, so anyone can do it.

Bathroom Situation

There’s a bathroom in the parking lot, and that’s your best bet. Make sure you go, because once you’re inside, it’s nothing but the trail!

Nature Center Museum

There is a nature center museum right when you walk in. It’s pretty small, but it’s a great place to start the hike and see what animals call this place home.

Overall Thoughts

The El Dorado Nature Center is a great place to take your family and friends. It’s easy, it’s scenic, and it’s very well-maintained.

Keep in mind that you can’t bring food inside, but there are plenty of other places to picnic in Long Beach. If you want to come here for the gram, then make sure you bring your best camera because this place is pretty photogenic.

Mission Accomplished.

I'm a professional marketer from Los Angeles, California. More importantly, I'm a brand new father who can't wait to take my beloved partner and daughter on all sorts of hiking trails. My mantra is that work will always be there, but watching your little one grow happens once in a lifetime.

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