Sunday, May 17, 2009

Picnic in the Park

Gather with Friends at Debs Park

One of our favorite spots for a leisurely Saturday or Sunday afternoon is Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. It's one of LA County's best kept secrets. Okay, I'll tell you: Debs is located in the Monterrey Hills (Highland Park/Montecito Heights). We like to meet friends here for a stroll and picnic. We did so recently with our friends Dan and Leslie and their two-year-old son.

We strolled the boys up the closed road to the right of the parking lot.  It takes you uphill to good views of the city, nearby hillsides and the San Gabriel Mountains. Lesley spotted the Southwest Museum.  

The boys enjoyed watching older kids fishing in a pond. I pointed out some turtles lounging on a log. 

Then it was back to the picnic area for some food, (toy) truck driving, and a swing in the hammock.

The park has a couple of large grassy areas, picnic tables (many in the shade), barbeque pits, and is frequented by an ice cream truck. It's also a great place to spot birds such as western bluebird, western tanager, yellow rumped warbler, and red tailed hawk. (Ornithologist Dan Cooper has surveyed birds here.)

Our basic picnic supplies are
  • Picnic "basket": ours is a backpack already stuffed with reusable plates, forks, glasses, napkins, table cloth, bottle opener, etc. You can buy one or make one.
  • Picnic blanket: we like the kind that are backed with water-resistant material, fold up into a square with handle to sling over your shoulder. We currently keep a Woolrich travel blanket in my car--ready for a picnic or just a snack at the park.
  • Diaper bag with bib and toddler utensils
  • Bag with ball and other toys
  • Lightweight hammock
  • Stroller 
Debs Park is easily accessible from downtown Los Angeles, the eastern San Fernando and western San Gabriel Valleys, as well as the 110 and 5 freeways. More from me on Debs Park.

Do you have a favorite picnic spot? Please let us know.

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