The River Parkway Trust offers weekend program offerings for pre-K through high-school aged youth as well as family-friendly events throughout the year.  Click the name of the program below or scroll down to find out more.

If you have questions about our Weekend Programs or need additional information, please contact Community Programs Director Molly Schnur-Salimbene at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (559) 248-8480 ext. 104.

Family Scavenger Hunts

River Buddies Weekend Explorers (pre-K and K)

Teen Environmental Leadership Program (HS)

Weekend Youth Naturalist Program (1st-3rd grades)

Family Scavenger Hunts

If your little ones enjoy being outdoors, solving clues, and searching for hidden items, then this is perfect for you. Compete in a scavenger hunt race where you will look for six different tokens hidden at Sycamore Island (located near Children’s Hospital in Madera).  All clues are family friendly, so everyone will be part of the action!  Each $20 registration is for one family group of up to five participants and includes the $9 Sycamore Island day pass; the first group to finish each hunt will win a 2-hour canoe rental (all equipment included, a $30 value). 

Advanced registration is required. Registration for each program date ends at 12:00 pm of the Thursday prior to the event.  Full refunds for cancellations made at least 72 hours in advance; no refunds for late cancellations or no-shows.

Please note: we will change the scavenger hunt clues/locations every few months.

Monday, January 18th @ 12:30 pm 

Saturday, January 30th @ 9:30 am 

River Buddies Weekend Explorers

You and your weekend explorer will embark on an adventure following one of our educational themes (Bug Buddies, Bird Buddies, Nature Neighbors, or Pond Pals.)  

During the two-hour long session, your Weekend Explorer will go on a one hour nature walk, do a craft activity, sing fun songs, listen to a story, and end with a stimulating hands-on activity, all related to the day's educational theme! Your child will leave the River Center with a curious mind wanting to know more about our local environment and its native species.

River Buddies Weekend Explorers is open to children between the ages of 3 1/2 and 6 years old. The fee for each program session is $12.00 per child and online registration & payment in advance is required.  

Each program date runs from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., with most dates taking place on Saturday mornings. Trips are run by trained staff and volunteer docents. Parents are required to remain on the River Center property for the duration of the trip and assist with social distancing among youth participants.

Registration for each program date ends at 12:00 pm of the Thursday prior to the event.  Full refunds for cancellations made at least 72 hours in advance; no refunds for late cancellations or no-shows.

 Saturday, January 30th - "Fur, Feathers, and Scales" - 9:00 am

Teen Environmental Leadership Program

Each Teen Environmental Leadership Program date includes teambuilding games, nature exploration or environmental education activities, and kayaking. These adventures require attendees to be in high school to participate and will last approximately 3 hours. Please note that there is a $35.00 fee per participant and advanced registration with online payment is required for participation. Please bring a water bottle, snack, and mask to have on hand. Hand sanitizer will be provided. Dress appropriately for a morning outdoors and wear shoes that can get wet/muddy.

Registration for each program date ends at 12:00 pm of the Thursday prior to the event.  Full refunds for cancellations made at least 72 hours in advance; no refunds for late cancellations or no-shows.

Saturday, January 23rd - 9:30 am - Sycamore Island

Weekend Youth Naturalist
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The Weekend Youth Naturalist Program aims to equip the next generation with skills to be natural explorers and stewards of the Earth through fun, exploratory learning activities.  Each 2.5 hour trip includes a nature hike, scientific exploration activity, game, and sensory or experiential activity at a property along the San Joaquin River Parkway. 

This adventure requires your child to be between the ages of 6 and 9 to participate.  Please note that there is a $15.00 fee per child and advanced registration with online payment is required for participation (please only select the number of CHILD participants when registering).  Parents are required to stay on site for the duration of the trip, and are encouraged to assist with social distancing and participate in activities with their Youth Naturalists.  

Advanced registration is required. Registration for each program date ends at 12:00 pm of the Thursday prior to the event.  Full refunds for cancellations made at least 72 hours in advance; no refunds for late cancellations or no-shows.