Spring means nature is in full bloom, and spring break means you have the time to take advantage of that fact.  Nothing beats letting your little ones’ hands get dirty—on purpose—in the most delightful way while they learn a thing or two about the birds and the bees or flowers and trees. (Not that kind of birds and bees, not yet!) Here are some day-trips and local excursions that will have you singing about spring.

boy_eating-strawberryphoto credit: Jessica Lucia via Flickr

Strawberry Fields Forever
Take a guided Strawberry Tour around the Tanaka Farms on a tractor-pulled wagon where you’ll not only learn about the history of this organic family farm, but you’ll also get to taste the sweetest fruits and vegetables, freshly harvested and washed. It’s the sneakiest way you can get your picky eaters to eat sugar snap peas or whatever vegetable is in season. The last stop of the tour in the strawberry patch will allow your little farmers to pick their own pound of strawberries to take home. And yes, feel free to eat as you pick.

Good to know: Wear comfortable shoes you won’t mind getting dirty and bring sunscreen and hats. Book an earlier time in the day if you want to avoid the heat. Reservations are required on weekdays and check tour dates and times due to changes in weather conditions.

Strawberry Tours are available daily March 19-July 3 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and tickets: $18/person; free for kids under 2.

Tanaka Farms
5380 3/4 University Dr.
Irvine
Phone: 949-653-2100
Online: tanakafarms.com

child_hand_holding_caterpillar

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Adopt A Caterpillar
Witness your own very hungry caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a beautiful painted lady butterfly by adopting one from Kidspace Children’s Museum during their Caterpillar Adoption Days held from March 21-May 3. Purchase a caterpillar and a care guide for $4 or a cup of 5 caterpillars for $18, while supplies last. Relive those memories of reading that childhood classic and return with your butterfly to be released for a grand finale during the Grand Butterfly Release on May 2 & 3.

Good to know: Bring water shoes, a towel and a change of clothes to take part in the water features while you’re at the museum. Check their website for information on early or full closure dates, field trip levels and road closures or heavy traffic days before you make the trip.

Open weekdays from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is $11/person; free for kids under 1.

Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 North Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena
Phone: 626-449-9144
Online: kidspacemuseum.org

honey comb

photo credit: Various Brennemans via flickr

Get Your Buzz On
Let the bees work for you while you take a break at a honey tasting at Bennett’s Honey Farm in Fillmore, between Ventura and Santa Clarita. Check out the glass-enclosed honeycomb and see if you can find the Queen Bee. Your kids will love to play Pooh and dip their spoons into a dozen variety of honeys and actually taste wildflowers or eucalyptus coming through in the golden syrup. Let them be the busy bees that they are and see if they can guess all the different flavors.

Good to know: Definitely try the avocado and orange blossom varieties, which are customer favorites.

The farm is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Bennett’s Honey Farm
3176 Honey Ln.
Fillmore
805-521-1375
Online: bennetthoney.com

girl_sitting_koi_pond_descanso_gardens

photo credit: Nancy L. via yelp

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Officially leave winter behind and welcome springtime in the beautiful Descanso Gardens where your curious explorers can wander, enjoy the scenery and be free. Take them on a weekend garden walk to meet and greet the blossoming cherry trees (March) or the flowering lilac gardens (April). Check out the Cherry Blossom Festival (March 21-22) where your little sprouts can learn origami from an origami master or Tomatomania (March 28-29) and take home a few different tomato seedlings and heirloom varieties to grow on their own.

Good to know: There’s the Enchanted Railroad where little conductors (and adults) can take a ride on a 1/8 replica of a diesel train, which travels a section of the Gardens, but hours of operation are limited. For special event days, arrive early because the parking lot will get full rather quickly. Admission is free every third Tuesday of the month.

Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is $9/person; $4 for children from 5 to 12 years old; free for children under 5.

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge
Phone: 818-949-4200
Online: descansogardens.org

petting_the_goats_amys_farm

photo credit: Amy O. via yelp

Get Your Farm Fix
Visit Amy’s Farm in Ontario and you’ll get more than just a petting zoo. Your little farmers will get to feed the pigs with their farm-grown veggies and even get to try their hands at milking a cow. Lucky duckies might even get to pet newborn bunnies or goats. Experience this farm life with all five of your senses and you’ll find new meaning the next time your family sits down for a farm-to-table meal.

Good to know: This is a bona fide farm, so keep in mind that you will be walking in dirt and mud. Best to keep those strollers at home and carry an infant on a sling. Be prepared for your kids to do their business in an outhouse and bug repellents will come in handy here.

Open Mon.-Sat. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is $8/person; free for kids under 2.

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Amy’s Farm
7698 Eucalyptus Ave
Ontario
Phone: 909-393-2936
Online: amysfarm.com

You’ll be wishing Spring Break was longer after taking these field trips. Share your best action spots to bring the kids for a fun-filled Spring in the comments below.

— Judy Park