Tag Archives: stough canyon nature center

Twelve Burbank Places to Take Your Kids on Spring Break

Spring Break is around the corner for Burbank Unified School District which means 9 full days of keeping those little ones busy.  If you’re looking for something local to do during March 16-24, here are 12 places to take your kids while staying in Burbank.

1.      Pickwick Ice 

Pickwick Ice Center (Photo By Ross A. Benson

Pickwick Ice is the perfect place for kids of all ages.  General admission is just $10 a person and children 3 and under are free. At the rink, you can rent a bobby which are those cute blue seals that kids can push or sit on to help them around the rink. For public session, hours check their website.

Pickwick Ice 1001 Riverside Dr. Burbank, CA 91506 818-845-5300

2. Pickwick Bowl

Bowlers of all ages will have a blast at Pickwick Bowl with their recently updated scoring system, L.C.D. monitors, and amazing graphics.  Bumpers and dragon ramps are available for your little bowlers and games start at just $5/person.

Pickwick Bowl 921 Riverside Dr. Burbank, CA 91506 818-845-5300

3. Racers Edge Karting

Have a need for speed? Riders above 50 inches can speed around in this indoor karting facility right in the heart of Burbank.  Zip and zoom around the fun and challenging track which is set for all skill levels, and walk away with your very own customized race results.

Racers Edge Karting  960 Chestnut St. Burbank, CA 91506 818-861-7223

4. Stough Canyon Nature Center

Enjoy a day outdoors hiking Stough Canyon and visiting Burbank’s very own nature center.  Tucked away in the Verdugo mountains you’ll find the Stough Canyon Nature Center filled with hands-on tools for learning about wildlife and life sciences. Explore rocks with a magnifying glass, peek into the habitat of some real-life reptiles, and study the species of animals found right here in our very own mountains.

Stough Canyon Nature Center 2300 Walnut Ave Burbank, CA 91501 818-238-5440

5. Gorilla Art

Create and craft your little hearts out at this drop-in art studio right here in Burbank. Filled with supplies and crafting material, Gorilla Art is a great place to spark your little one’s imagination and let them experiment with new textures and ideas. The possibilities are endless.

Gorilla Art  1719 W Verdugo Ave  Burbank, CA 91502 818-861-7525

6. Prestige Kids Spa

Gather the girls and head over to Prestige Kids Spa for a mini spa party! Parties of 4 kids from ages 3-10 can enjoy an hour and a half of pampering with a mini mani and pedi, face mask, bow updo, glitter makeup, gemstone bracelet, and a lemonade toast. For more kids, check out their other spa party packages.

Prestige Kids Spa  4100 W Magnolia Blvd Burbank, CA 91505  818-277-2605

7. AMC Theatre

Burbank is home to not one, not two, but three AMC theaters.  During Spring break is a great time to catch up on some new releases like Captain Marvel, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and The Lego Movie: The Second Part.  Fortunately, all three locations are home to a MacGuffins Bar so parents can enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, beer, and wine during the show.

AMC Burbank 16   125 E Palm Ave  (818) 953-2932

AMC Burbank Town Center 8 Burbank Town Center  201 E Magnolia Blvd #345  (818) 563-4901

AMC Burbank Town Center 6  Burbank Town Center 770 N 1st St  (818) 562-1401

8. WB Studio Tour

Experience where Hollywood is made during a 3-hour behind-the-scenes studio tour of WB studios.  Kids as young as 8 years old can enjoy the tour with their parents where you’ll visit backlots and soundstages, explore the DC Universe exhibit, enter the Batcave: Batmobile collection, and so much more. Tickets for SoCal residents start at $54. 

WB Studio Tour 3400 Warner Blvd.  Burbank, CA 91505 (818) 977-8687

9. Martial Arts History Museum

Dive into the educational, cultural, and artistic experience of martial arts in many different countries at the Martial Arts History Museum, located in the Magnolia Park district of Burbank.  Learn how martial arts played a role in history and traditions as well as in films and television and check out these amazing weapons and tools up close and in person.

Martial Arts History Museum  2319 W Magnolia Blvd  Burbank, CA 91506 (818) 478-1722

10. Verdigo Boulders

With over 15-foot high bouldering walls and 7000 square feet of climbing terrain, Verdigo Boulders is Burbank’s new climbing gym for both kids and adults alike. Stretch, maneuver, and problem solve multiple courses all while burning off that Spring Break energy. 

Verdigo Boulders 266 E Magnolia Blvd Burbank, CA 91502 (818) 962-2377

11. Color Me Mine

Stamp, stencil, sponge, trace, or tape! No matter what technique you use, you’ll be walking out of Color Me Mine with a masterpiece.  This ceramic painting studio gives kids the chance to create anything from plates and mugs to piggy banks and keepsake boxes.

Color Me Mine 100 N San Fernando Blvd. Burbank, CA 91502 (818) 566-9990

12. Burbank Certified Farmers Market

Mayor Emily Gabal-Luddy buying some fresh berries. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

End the week of Spring break fun with Burbank’s very own farmers market, which is held every Saturday from 8:00am-12: 30 pm in the parking lot at Olive & Glenoaks. Enjoy food from local farms in Southern California from award-winning organic olive oil to hydroponic herbs.  Kids will love sampling some of the healthiest food in town.

Burbank Farmers Market 101 N Glenoaks Blvd. Burbank, CA 91501 (818) 847-4774

Stough Canyon Nature Center Recovers After La Tuna Fire


(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Stough Canyon hiking trails, located near the Nature Center, suffered major losses to its vegetation and its sense of peace after the devastating La Tuna fire. Many avid hikers have had many questions regarding Burbank’s beloved hiking trails.


Now that the trails are open, Burbank’s Parks and Recreation team is ready to bounce back to begin work on returning the Nature Center and the Stough Canyon Hiking Trails back to normal. According to Marisa Garcia, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, the destructive fire came within thirty feet of the Nature Center. Much of the vegetation around the hiking trail is now gone.

“I was profoundly sad to see that my beloved Stough Canyon was so severely impacted by the fire,” said Kathy Sturdevant, an avid hiker of the Stough Canyon trails and California plant enthusiast. She went on to say that she’s “grateful that the nature center and the educational garden that surrounds it were spared, however, the images of the barren, scorched hillsides remain in my mind.  I felt such solace and peace in those hills, retreating there weekly to unwind from work.”

The fire has also left some of the foundation in a questionable state. While the trails are open right now, citizens should expect closures in the near future. Garcia elaborated on the future of the trails by revealing a closure is imminent for the purpose of maintenance. Furthermore, any time there is rain, the trails will be closed.

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez

Garcia also stated that the Parks and Recreation department is building a committee of representatives from the department of Public Works and the Fire Department to discuss Stough Canyon recovery efforts, fire prevention, and preparation for rain. The City of Burbank does not have have a trails expert. Instead, to fill that void, the city is reaching out to other experts belonging to the Santa Monica Mountain Conservatory in the hopes of providing guidance on protocol on replanting procedures.

Garcia made note that anything replanted in the area will be native to our environment. Sturdevant, who has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in the subject, suggests “it will take some time for Stough to recover, but we need to be patient and let it recover on its own.  Our place is not to plant, but to allow it to regenerate itself, and perhaps help it along by removing the invasive species and as they come back as well and compete with the native plants.”

Greg Rubin, President and Founder of California’s Own Native Landscape Design, Inc., agrees with Sturdevant and suggests that it’s “better to devote the resources to controlling exotics and utilizing low impact erosion control. The worst scenario is to seed after fires – even if it is a “native” mix, inevitably the small percentage of exotic contaminants (like rye grass) will come to dominate these areas and actually contribute to worse erosion than if nothing had been done at all.”

Furthermore, Richard W. Hasley, Director of the California Chaparral Institute, states that “as long as fire is kept out of the area for at least 20-30 years, the system will recover ON ITS OWN without any need for human intervention. No plantings, no seeding, no tree planting, no mulching. Leave it alone. We’ve done enough damage through our clearance activities, development, and increased fire frequencies due to human-caused ignitions.”

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez


As for what the public can do to help, always wear appropriate attire when visiting the trails, pick up any trash you see, don’t hike when it’s raining, don’t cross closure signs, let the city know when something along the trail is unstable, and never hike in the dark.

Coping With Burbank’s Latest Heat Wave

The last week of August is proved to be a hot one, with temperatures reaching into the triple digits. Many of Burbank’s residents are feeling the heat throughout the day, as evidenced by an relatively empty town center in the afternoon.

Photo by Kelsie Hernandez

With the temperature hike, it’s important to know key information to ensure you and your pets stay healthy.

Find Your Nearest Cooling Center

Cooling centers are available around Burbank for anyone stuck in the heat. The most popular place to escape the heat is the Burbank Town Center. While it is undergoing a makeover, there is an open and operating food court located at the bottom floor of the mall. If you’re looking for a longer term solution, AMC 8, also located in the mall, now serves as a dine-in theater.

You can also visit Burbank’s official cooling centers located at each of the city’s libraries:

Buena Vista Library
300 N. Buena Vista St 91505
(818) 238‐5620

Central Library
110 N. Glenoaks Blvd 91502
(818) 238‐5600

Northwest Branch Library
3323 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Keep in mind that these libraries MAY have extended hours. To find out more information regarding extended hours, please call your nearest library.

According to the Red Cross, here are some useful tips when going through a heat wave:

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

You can find more information about heat-related illnesses on their website.

Lastly, Burbank residents can expect temperatures to drop starting Sunday, September 3. Stay safe out there!

Reported Mountain Lion Was Probably A Bobcat Say Police

On Thursday afternoon, at approximately 12:15 p.m., Burbank police officers in vehicles and the airship responded to a site along a trail about two miles up in the Burbank Hills above the Stough Canyon Nature Center after a woman called police for help.

Mountain_lion“She stated she was being stalked by a mountain lion,” said Officer Joshua Kendrick, when reached for comment on Thursday.

The airship landed at the spot near the woman at the top of the Burbank Verdugo Mountains and one of the pilots escorted the woman down the mountain to safety. Officers searched the area but saw no sign of a mountain lion.

“After talking with her further, it sounded like the animal was a bobcat,” commented Kendrick on Friday, April 18.

The animal the woman described was much smaller than a mountain lion, about the size of a large house cat. Bobcats also have a short, bobbed tail, unlike the cougar’s long tail. On average, male cougars weigh about 140 pounds, while females are about 95 pounds.

The woman also then told police she only saw the small cat, that it was not stalking or tracking her, added Kendrick. There is no further information about the incident at this time.

Human Remains Found Near Stough Canyon Nature Center

A city worker found skeletal human remains Tuesday afternoon at approximately 1:20 p.m. in a stretch of rough terrain between the entrance gates to Stough Canyon and the Nature Center. The remains were found off the side of the road in the bushes somewhere along the quarter-mile road between the gates and the Nature Center itself, according to Sgt. Darin Ryburn of the Burbank Police Department.

Burbank Police and the L.A. County Coroner’s office responded to the area Tuesday afternoon, February 11. Although forensic work came to an end overnight, the area was blocked off. L.A. County cadaver dogs were taken to the area Wednesday morning, February 12, added Ryburn. No other evidence, including clothing, was found at the scene.

“We don’t know if the skeletal remains are male or female,” commented Ryburn. He added that it will take some time, possibly up to three or more weeks, for the L.A. County Coroner to positively identify the human remains.

Starlight Bowl Turns Scary This Weekend

Burbank’s Starlight Bowl will be the location for the annual Haunted Adventure that will offer a fun and slightly scary Halloween adventure for local residents.

Sponsored by the City of Burbank’s Stough Canyon Nature Center, the Haunted Adventure is in its 16th year.  Originally, it was put on the City’s Parks and Recreation Department at the Luau Grounds at the DeBell Golf Course.   When the Nature Center was built in 2001 the event was moved there.  It is now put on by docents and other volunteers from the Nature Center.

This year the Starlight Bowl will be transformed into an “old haunted theater,” with scary scenes around every corner.  As small groups of guests are ushered from Stough Park into the Starlight Bowl, they will encounter traditional scary scenes in the snack bar area, dressing rooms, storage rooms, and the stage.  A “ghostly audience” may even greet them as they make their way through the 15-minute guided tour.

Carol Mercado, Recreation Supervisor in charge of the Nature Center estimates that 70 volunteers have been working since August to put together the show.  High school students, and some adults, make up the ghostly and sometimes grisly cast of the Haunted Adventure.  They do it for fun, but the volunteers do get fed each night, thanks to Domino’s Pizza and the Handy Market.

Last year’s Haunted Adventure featured a scary tour of Burbank in honor of the City’s Centennial celebration.  Independent Studio Services has generously donated movie props each year.  Many of the props are saved and used over again each year.  The volunteers have cleverly altered them to fit this year’s theme.

The Haunted Adventure will be held two nights only, Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20.  Admission is $5 per person, and tickets go on sale at Stough Park at 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.  Ample free parking is available in the large lot across the street from the park on Lockheed View Drive.  The park can be reached by driving up Walnut Ave.

Those attending must be at least 6 years old.  Because of the scary nature of the event, no child under 6 will be allowed.  Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  The first hour on Friday evening will feature the “less-scary” version of the show for children and those who have nightmares.  However, there are no refunds for scared visitors.  Costumes worn by visitors and props are prohibited, in order to keep visitors from being confused with actors.   Flashlights are also prohibited on the tour.   Walking up hill, and walking up and down stairs is involved on the tour.

Refreshments will be sold in Stough Park, as well as face painting, children’s activities, and souvenirs will be offered. There is a fee for refreshments and souvenirs.   For more information about the Haunted Adventure, call 818-238-5440.


Helicopter Rescue For Bicyclist Injured in Fall By Nature Centure

Burbank Fire units stand by at Stough Canyon Nature Center during a rescue operation (Photo By Trent Welker)

Burbank Paramedics were called at 2:08 pm on Sunday for a report of a bicycle rider who had fallen on the trail above Stough Canyon Nature Center in Burbank.

Upon arriving at the Nature Center, they took their Patrol Unit up the fire road about a mile and found a 44 year-old man who had fallen and was unable to move his legs.  Feeling that bringing the victim back down in their patrol vehicle may hurt the victim more, they called for a helicopter to airlift the victim.

Air 5 from L. A. City Fire was called in the air lift a man who had fallen from his bicycle on a mountain trail (Photo By Trent Welker)

Burbank called L. A. Fire, with whom they have a reciprocal agreement , and asked for one of their helicopters to assist in the rescue.  The victim was then air lifted to County USC Medical Center where his injuries and condition have still not been released.

The entire rescue took about one hour.

Take A Hike, Burbank!

A cool, brisk Saturday morning did not deter dozens of hikers from hitting the trails for the 11th Annual Verdugo Hills Community Hike.  Sponsored by Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department, with volunteers joining from Boy Scout Troop 210, the community hike attracted families and supporters from  Burbank and surrounding cities.

The hike was more than simply trekking along a few well-marked trails in the Verdugo Mountains.  With enthusiastic guides and volunteer docents on hand, hikers were also able to learn about the geology, history, wildlife, and flora of the hills, bringing a greater awareness and appreciation of the natural resources surrounding Burbank.

Participants had the choice of two trails, one originating at the Stough Canyon Nature Center, and a second, longer trail starting at Wildwood Canyon.  Both courses were challenging and picturesque, offering first time visitors a bit of exercise and glimpse into Burbank’s urban wilderness.

Special Assistant Recreation Leader Dana Bleitz-Sanburg was one of the experts on hand to lead groups of climbers on an “Edu-Hike” up the hill.  During the ascent, Bleitz-Sanburg provided lectures on both natural habitats of the hills, as well as Native American history.

Stough Canyon Nature Center Volunteer Docents joined the event to assist hikers who strayed off course, as well as deliver mini-lectures on ecology and natural science.  They offered additional information on efforts to maintain trails within the extensive Verdugo Mountainway Trail system stretching from Sunland to La Crescenta.

According to Nancy Durkee, Scout Master of Burbank’s Troop 210, the scouts founded the Community Hike idea, partnering with the Nature Center, with the intent of attracting residents into the hills for both exercise – and offer an opportunity to explore nature areas around Stough and Wildwood Canyon parks.   Troop 210 members offered food to hikers mid-point in the trail at Ridge Trail Summit, encouraging all to have a good time.

With views of the Verdugo Mountains,  San Fernando Valley, and San Gabriel Mountains, the trail provided trekkers both non-stop photo opportunities to capture the scenic beauty of the park, and an incentive to make the climb more often.

The Stough Canyon Nature Center is a gateway to the Verdugo Mountains, Verdugo Mountainway, and Rim of the Valley trails.  It provides the public  information and educational opportunities to learn more about area wildlife, geology, and flora through various activities, exhibits, and specialized nature hikes.

The Nature Center is located 2300 E. Walnut Ave., above the DeBell Golf Course.  Further information about their activities, educational workshops, learning opportunities, and events can be found  on the Nature Center’s web page , or by calling (818) 238-5440.  Stough Canyon Nature Center events are also listed on the BurbankNBeyond.com Events Calendar.

Photo Gallery By Deborah Dodge

Nature Hike in Burbank 1

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Everyone loved the breakfast that was provided by the Boy Scouts (Photo By Deborah Dodge)