As part of the celebrations surrounding its 80th anniversary, the East Bay Regional Park District will present two free live music concerts at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch.
Both will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The first, on July 18, will feature Patron, a Latin jazz group. The second, on Aug. 15, will showcase Foreverland, a Michael Jackson tribute band.
The concerts and parking are free. From 5 to 5:30 p.m. each time, there will be a family program with children's activities. The concerts start at 5:30 p.m. Visitors are welcome to bring picnic dinners and make an evening of it. Note that no alcoholic beverages are allowed at the park or event. Contra Loma Regional Park is located at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road in Antioch. For more information on the concerts, call 888-327-2757.
BLACK DIAMOND: There's a reptile rendezvous planned July 13 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. Naturalist Ashley Elliott will be at the parking lot at the upper end of Somersville Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a live snake. Under safe conditions, visitors will be able to see how to tell the difference between gopher snakes and rattlers, and learn how they survive the summer heat.
To survive the summer heat yourself, go underground at Black Diamond Mines. Regardless of the surface temperature, it's always in the mid-50s in the Greathouse Visitor Center and the Hazel-Atlas Underground Mining Museum.
Both are open on weekends. The visitor center is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and all ages are welcome. You can buy tickets there for mining museum tours. Tickets cost $5 per person; for safety reasons, tours are limited to ages 7 and older.
Because of ongoing construction on Somersville Road, you have to detour to the park via Contra Loma Boulevard. Drive south on Contra Loma Boulevard, turn right on James Donlon Boulevard, then turn left into the park on Somersville Road. For more information on Black Diamond Mines, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
DON'T FORGET WATER: And while we're on the subject of summer heat, be sure to take plenty of water when you're hiking in the regional parks and elsewhere. Once you are away from the picnic areas and trailheads, there aren't any drinking fountains in the outback. Wide-brimmed hats and plenty of suntan lotion are good ideas, too.
SUPERMOON: Or you can hike in the evening. Regional parks close at dusk, but naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a "Supermoon Photo Hike" from 7 to 10 p.m. July 12 at Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills.
A supermoon happens when a full moon coincides with the perigee -- the point at which the moon is closest to the Earth.
Meet Trent at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. It's at the north end of Central Park Drive. From there, the group will hike to the top of Wildcat Peak, a 3-mile round-trip. The program is free, open to ages 12 and up. Bring your own camera and tripod. Trent also will lead a field sketching session from 2 to 4 p.m. July 12 at Briones Regional Park near Orinda.
Bring a sketch pad with heavy paper and drawing instruments, and meet Trent at the Bear Creek Staging Area. It's on Bear Creek Road about 5 miles east of the intersection with San Pablo Dam Road. For information on either of Trent's programs, call 510-544-2233.
ALAMEDA: Crab Cove Visitor Center at Crown Beach in Alameda continues its free "Concert at the Cove series with a performance from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 11 by BeaufunK playing funky dance music. It's a blend of the funk styles of Oakland and New Orleans.
The concerts are co-sponsored by the Alameda Rotary Club, Regional Parks Foundation and the park district. There will be activities on the deck of the visitor center starting at 4:30 p.m. Visitors can bring their own blanket or lawn chair and picnic food. Food also will be on sale at the concert.
The center is at 1252 McKay Ave. There's parking on Webster Street or at the Crown Beach lot at Otis and West Line Drives. The second concert will be a Battle of the Bands at the same time on Aug. 8.
And Crab Cove hosts Family Nature Fun Time from 2 to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in July and August. "Things that Fly" are the focus on July 12 and 13. For information about Crab Cove, call 510-544-3187.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.