"Babe," the comedy-drama about a pig that learns to herd sheep, will be the featured film Saturday at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

I've seen it; it's an ingratiating movie that the whole family will enjoy. And it's free of charge, courtesy of the East Bay Regional Park District.

The movie begins shortly after sunset at 8 p.m., but you should arrive early to get a good seat. Bring a flashlight, clothes to stay warm and a blanket or chair. Snacks and drinks will be available for sale. No pets or alcohol, please. In the unlikely event of rain, the show would be canceled.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd. just north of Highway 84. For more information, call 510-544-2554.

Castro Valley: There's a naturalist-led Saturday Stroll scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon this weekend at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley. It's a moderate, scenic 3 -miler. Meet at the parking area across the road from the park district's public safety department headquarters. To get there, drive up the hill from Lake Chabot Road on the entrance road just north of Seven Hills Road in Castro Valley. For information, call 510-544-3187.

Alameda: "Lost on a desert island" is the theme of Family Nature Fun Time from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. Then it's fish feeding time from 3 to 3:30 p.m. at the center's large aquarium. Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. For information, call 510-544-3187.


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Berkeley: At Tilden Nature Area next to Berkeley, creatures of the night have been caught on film by motion-activated trail cameras. The surprising results will be screened in a show from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday at Tilden's Environmental Education Center, hosted by naturalist Anthony Fisher. It's free of charge. The center is located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive.

And photography enthusiasts will enjoy a program also led by Anthony. Bring your camera and tripod and join him on an evening hike from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday to the top of Tilden's Vollmer Peak. Bring extra clothing; it could be foggy. Meet Anthony in the steam train overflow lot, which is at the intersection of Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Lomas Cantadas. For information on either Tilden program, call 510-544-2233.

Oakland: The East Bay's backyard volcano at Sibley Regional Preserve in Oakland will be the venue for the Wednesday Walkers next week. It's a moderate 3 -mile hike along Round Top Creek. No worries, the volcano hasn't been active for about 10 million years. Only geologic evidence of it remains.

Meet at Sibley's entrance, which is on Skyline Boulevard a short distance south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the Oakland Hills. For information, call 510-544-3282 or email cgarcia@ebparks.org.

Orinda: And there's a guided hike from the Trails Challenge list from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at Briones Regional Park near Orinda.

The leader is naturalist "Trail" Gail Broesder. Meet Gail at the Bear Creek staging area, which is on Bear Creek Road about 5 miles east of the intersection with San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda.

This one is a strenuous 12 miles. Bring plenty of water and snacks, wear sturdy hiking boots and dress for the weather. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Oakley: The bridges of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will be the topic of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. It's all about the ways we have constructed for getting around in the Delta's meandering waterways.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. While you're there, check out the great exhibits at the park's visitor center and the outdoor scale model of the Delta.

LABOR DAY: If you're thinking of camping out in the regional parks over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, you're too late. All available campsites have been booked for weeks.

But the good news is that there's plenty of day tripping available. All kinds of activities and special events are scheduled in the parks throughout the weekend. I'll give you a roundup in the next column.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at nedmackay@comcast.net.

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