On a random weekend that I had off with no real plans, Perla and I woke up to such a rare and empty slate of a weekend that we didn’t know what to do.

For an adult, having that much time on your hands when you wake up on Saturday morning is like being a kid with endless candy.

I did the best thing any reasonable partner should do. I looked deep into my creative thinking and into my library of places that I know exist and want to introduce to her. I looked deep, deep into my pockets to find my iPhone and searched nearby attractions. I used Yelp and Trip Advisor. It’s one of the best things you can do.

In all honesty, we did wake up with some plans, and the plan was that we knew we were going to do something fun and local in Long Beach, CA. So if you wake up with that sort of day, here’s what to expect from this random little park in the northeast corner of the city.

Your first impression of the park might be this:

El Dorado Nature Center
Google’s way of using others’ recommendations to usher in what they recommend to you.

So already, by looking at the search result and reviews, the park makes a good impression.

In the end, it came down to two places we could visit that day to start our weekend. The runner-up was a Japanese garden near Cal State University, Long Beach.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden Yelp Page Screenshot

Anytime you got a Koi pond, girls automatically love it.

So already it was high on the list, and I know that Perla likes some cultural aspects of Asia, like Japanese gardens. But it’ll have to wait its time.

In the end, we decided on El Dorado Nature Center.


El Dorado Nature Center
7550 E. Spring St.Long Beach CA 90815
Closed Mondays, July 4,Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Trails: Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm | Museum: Tue-Sun, 8:30am-4pm
Vehicle Entry Fees (Cash Only): $5 – $8 depending on day or holiday.
(562) 570-1745 | Website


You have to pay to get in, which makes it a “special” park, but it’s not a lot, under $10 per car, and you can park in a safe parking lot. The price also pays for staff services, trail maps, entrance to a small museum with some activities and wildlife informational displays, and of course the upkeep.

In total we spent about 2-3 hours there and had enjoyed the time. It’s great for kids and families, for couples and even for those wanting a workout. Along sections of the 2+ mile trail, there are open sections, meadows, narrow paths, and good scenes. We caught more than a few joggers running the trails.

Overall, the plant life is not mind-blowing, but there is a good variety for southern California. You also get to spot local and small wildlife, like turtles, squirrels, falcons, butterflies, small fish, lizards and more.

For less than 10 bucks, a quick walk into a different type of park is worth the price and time.

However, it is not an every-weekend type of an outing. I might take visitors to host, but may only go there personally once in a while. However, when I do visit again, I’ll expect to have a nice time walking around an urban park with literally the humming of the freeway traffic surrounding you in a nice park getaway.

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