Monday, July 16, 2012

Caspers Wilderness Park–Campfire Program

It was a Saturday evening in early July, and Hubby says “Let’s do something summery tonight”. Hmm… what does that mean? I throw a couple of ideas out there, but nothing sticks. I hopped online and cruised around looking for a movie in the park (some of our local parks show a movie at dusk in the park on a big projector screen. Just bring your snacks, blankets, and bodies!). Finally, I checked out’s tried and true list of fun stuff to do. I saw “Caspers Campfire Program, 8pm” towards the bottom. Huh? What’s that?

First of all, I’ve been to Caspers Park before, and it’s gorgeous. We got there at around 7pm and just soaked in this view as the sun set.

After a Google search, I found this description on the website:
Campfire Program
8:00 pm to 9:00 pm
EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT! Come join the Park Ranger for an hour of fun and learning about Caspers Wilderness Park. Our Campfire program may include a slide presentation, wilderness safety, games and activities for children, animal adaptations, skins and skulls, a live animal demonstration and a chance to visit the Nature Center. Topics may vary weekly. Camping DSC00163not necessary, day use fee applies.
Event Fee: Free
Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle
Age: All ages
Caspers Wilderness Park
33401 Ortega Hwy.( P. O. Box 395)
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949)923-2210 or (949)923-2207

Hubby and Will are on this major camping/wilderness kick. May-jah. So much so that we bought a tent and sleeping bags because we are going camping. I thought this would be a fun introduction for Will. I love it when I’m right…

It costs $5 for parking, and that’s it. We had Ranger Mike that night to light the fire (it’s gas…), and then scoop out a little lizard that was hiding in the rocks that almost got charred. Ranger Mike to the rescue!

After listening to a little “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” that Ranger Mike played as he set up, and wandering around the grounds for a bit since we were a bit early, it was show time. We learned all about the different wildlife that live in this wilderness park, and how they adapted to the environment… Enter Will as a volunteer:

Will, how do you adapt to a rainforest environment?
He even got an OCParks wristband for being such a good volunteer! HA! This kid is too stinkin’ funny.

They have a ton of animals living in this park. Lizards, rabbits, deer, mountain lions, bobcats, raccoons, snakes, tons of birds and bugs, and owls, just to name a few. We learned all about each animal and even got to see some parts, like this owl wing:
DSC00178Owls are stealthy fliers because their feathers are super soft. It was pretty cool to fan this wing and hear nothing. Ranger Mike also passed around a talon and head from an owl. I’m not a toucher of dead animals unless I’m about 2 seconds away from cooking them, but apparently my son is…

We finished the night off with Ranger Mike telling us about his brush with death after being stalked in the dark, by an animal… Misery loves company, because Ranger Mike tried to sneak this on us:
DSC00193Do you see it?

Don’t worry, it’s just the head.

It was a really fun evening. Will conked out after about 2 minutes in the car on the ride home. We will definitely be back to go camping at this park very soon. $20 per night for your camping area is a heck of a deal, especially when it’s 20 minutes from our house. And even better that you can have your own campfire at your site! mmmm… smores here I come! Oh, and did I mention that not only will this be Will’s 1st time sleeping in a tent, but it will also be mine! I’ve only ever camped in a camper or a cabin… ever.

With my outdoorsy boys, I’ve got some learnin’ to do! Any advice for this newbie?!

Definitely check out the Campfire Program if you have a Saturday night to spare. I didn’t ask Ranger Mike if we could use the fire to make smores… I’ll definitely ask next time!


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