Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Now that I've been here for 7 years and still have yet to do many things in our backyard, I've started a bucket list for things I should do while living in the Bay Area.  One of those things I've wanted to do but never have gotten around to was walking the Stanford Dish.

Well, Big J wanted to go for a family hike, so I suggested this as a starter hike (we haven't been hiking as a family - plus, it's something I've wanted to do).

The day was gorgeous and so was the view (which the cellphone camera picture doesn't do it justice).

Here's the Dish:

Yes J stayed on Big J's shoulders most of the hike.

Anyways, we had more fun science lessons while hiking.  We were counting the animals we saw.

Squirrels: 20
Lizards: 10
Ladybugs: 3
Deer: 1

J has never been close to lizards before.  We were this close to most of them:

Taken with a crappy cellphone with no zoom

Since J was fascinated by the lizards, I figured it was time to dust off my Desert Discoveries "star student" skills from the 7th grade (over 15 yrs ago) and give him some science info to keep him engaged.  Like our 2-minute lady bug lesson, here's what our 2-minute lizard lesson sounded like:

  • Lizards are reptiles (compared to humans which are mammals or frogs which are amphibians).
  • Lizards are cold-blooded, which means they are the temperature of their surroundings.  These lizards were on the blacktop/pavement because they were trying to warm up.  The pavement in the sun is warmer than the bushes in the shade.  Comparison: humans are warm blooded, we stay ~98-99 degrees F.
  • These lizards camouflaged themselves to their surroundings.   We saw quite a few run into bushes and we had to look really hard to see them.  They looked a lot like the dried up sticks that surrounded them.
  • These lizards were chasing and eating ants.  Mmmmm, crunchy.
  • Lizards are quick when they run.  It helps them get away from anything that might be wanting to eat or step on them.
  • Lizards lay eggs.

I've started a 2-minute lesson tag for our unanticipated science lessons and quick general knowledge recaps.  I'm sure there will be plenty more as we discover the world through the eyes of a preschooler (man, time flies).

5/29/12 edit
**Let me clarify.  The Bay Area is not desert - we get ~15" of rain/year, which is more than the 10" or less to classify an area desert climate.  However, lizards inhabit both climates.  I know about them through science, but I think I learned more about them through Desert Discoveries, an elective I got placed into because my school was overcrowded and they were making up classes.


  1. I didn't know there were deer by The Dish!

    I think CA is called a semi-arid climate, which still makes it lizard-friendly? You definitely will not find a lizard where we live in Massachusetts - which is a shame, because I think they are fun to watch!

    1. Yes, it was a large deer. Someone going the other direction pointed it out to their kids or we would have missed it.

      The SF Bay Area is listed as a Mediterranean Climate on wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_Climate).