Check off two of your family’s 2018 goals—getting the kids outside and adding more reading to their line-up—by taking them to explore the StoryWalk in the Marin Headlands. Through the end of February, follow along with the story Where’s Rodney by Carmen Bogan and learn about the importance of parks while you explore this scenic walk. Scroll down to learn what you can expect when you hit the trail!

What’s a StoryWalk?

Located in the Marin Headlands just 20 minutes from San Francisco, families can follow along a short trail to read the story of Where’s Rodney. Pages from the children’s book are sprinkled along the one-third mile long trail. This provides a way for kids to explore the park and read at the same time. If you have ever hiked with less-than-enthusiastic kids, you will find that searching for the next page of the story will motivate even the youngest hikers along the way.

What’s the story?

Where’s Rodney tells the story of a young boy who just doesn’t want to sit still (sound familiar?). When he gets the opportunity to check out a nearby park, his whole world opens up. Recently awarded one of the Best Picture Books of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews, this book features stunning illustrations that reflect the winding trails, towering hilltops, epic vistas and quiet valleys of the Headlands.

The StoryWalk panels include pages from the book and also questions at the bottom that are meant to get readers thinking about how their hike is similar to Rodney’s experience. “How does this park look different than a city park?” and “What did you see on your way to the park today?” are just two of the questions that are posed. Kids will love looking for evidence of animals in the park (see if you can find any horseshoe prints!) as they walk to the next stop.

There are 15 panels in all and the path is flat and perfect for strollers. Turn around after you hit 15 to return to the parking lot or take one of the other trails to continue exploring the park. It takes about 30 minutes to follow the story through the park and return to your car.

How do I find the StoryWalk?

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and take exit 442 (Alexander Ave.) towards Sausalito. Turn left at Bunker Road and follow that road through the tunnel and keep going just past the Presidio Riding Club. The Gerbode Trail parking lot will be on your right. There is ample parking as well as a restroom available at the trailhead.

What’s the scoop?

This third StoryWalk (the prior two were displayed last summer in the Presidio and Lands End) was brought to the Marine Headlands by the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with Yosemite Conservancy. It will be on display through February 28, 2018. Just up the road from the StoryWalk is the Marine Mammal Center, a great option if you are looking to make a full day exploring nature.

Onlineparksconservancy.org

Have you checked out any of the StoryWalks? What did your kids think? 

—story and photos by Kate Loweth