Colorful leaves, chilly nights, cozy sweaters, the last harvest of the year…are signs of a delightful autumn that is happening nowhere near the South Bay. We do have our own hallmarks of fall, though, even if they don’t show up in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Here are four local signs of autumn to share with kids.
Whale watching— Autumn is a great time for whale watching! It’s still too early for California Gray Whales to be migrating to their southern calving grounds, but Pacific Blue Whales often are feeding off our coast in the fall.
Santa Ana winds—These hot, dry winds that come to us from inland deserts are not typically a highly-anticipated event. A major advantage to the Santa Anas, however, is that they scatter particles into the atmosphere, making for some spectacular sunsets. During Santa Ana conditions, keep an eye out for unfamiliar birds or bugs that might have been blown off course into your neighborhood.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables—Farmers’ markets are a great family outing! Local apples, guavas, persimmons, kiwi, yams, and pumpkins are in season. Taste test a few varieties of old favorites or try something new for the first time. Older children may want to try preparing a recipe while the very young may be satisfied with exploring textures and flavors.
Acorns—Acorns were once a major source of food for the Tongva people, the first inhabitants of the South Bay. Coast Live Oaks, among others, tend to drop their acorns in the fall. Maybe plan a daytrip to Thousand Oaks and visit one of their many parks such as Oak Brook Neighborhood Park (2787 Erbes Road. Thousand Oaks, CA 91362). Bring a picnic and play on the playground and then look for acorns on the ground that kids can gather (Note: please do not eat the acorns, and keep in mind, if you intend to bring them indoors, that acorns can harbor bugs and their eggs. Search online for tips on cleaning acorns for crafts, instructions usually are to wash, dry and heat in oven at low temperature for several hours to get rid of pests and mold.)
Guest Writer-Elizabeth Wagner is a special needs educator with over 10 years of experience working iwth special needs children in the classroom and home setting.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in whale watching in the South Bay from land, the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes offers a great vantage point and the staff lends binoculars at no cost during business hours 10am to 5pm Monday through Sunday (you do need to leave a license or car keys.)