Welcome to the frequently asked questions page. If you do not see your question below, submit a comment or email Kim Cobb at KCobb@riversideca.gov.
List of questions (answers below):
- What is the Ameal Moore Nature Center and what do you do there?
- Who runs the Ameal Moore Nature Center?
- Do you maintain the park?
- Are there park rangers?
- I see people damaging the park (ripping out plants, breaking trees, killing animals, digging new trails, graffiti etc.). What do I do?
- Where are you located?
- When are you open?
- Are you free?
- When are your events and what are Second Saturdays?
- Can I volunteer or make a donation?
- Is there parking?
- Is there additional parking at other park entrances?
- What is there to do at the park?
- Is it family friendly?
- The cyclists/joggers/hikers are in my way. Will there be plans for restricted trails?
- Can I bring my dog to the park? Are clean up bags provided?
- I am concerned about the snakes- will I be safe in the park?
- I am concerned about coyotes- do you have any resources with information?
- Are there water fountains/restrooms?
- Is there food at the park?
- There are too many trails in the park, will you shut them down?
- What is Citizen Science?
- I want to participate in the Riverside Citizen Science Project. What can I do?
- What is Riverside Nature Spotter?
- Is there a website where we can look at the plant and animal pictures that you’ve already identified in the Sycamore Canyon or Riverside area?
- Can I take things (plant clippings, insects, frogs, feathers, fur, or other plant or animal matter) from the park? Can I release former pets (reptiles, fish, birds, etc.) back into the park when I can no longer give them a home?
- Can I collect from the park for research purposes?
- Can I operate remote controlled toys in the park?
- Can I schedule to bring a group to the center?
1. What is the Ameal Moore Nature Center and what do you do there?
The Ameal Moore Nature Center is a public resource for visitors. We provide information, educational resources, and public programs that are free, fun, and educational. You can read more about us here.
2. Who runs the Ameal Moore Nature Center?
The nature center is a joint effort with an MOU between the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the City of Riverside’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Community Services, the University of California Riverside, US Forest Service, The Riverside Corona Research Conservation District, and Smithsonian. The center is staffed by Recreation Leaders and Instructors from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.
3. Do you maintain the park?
The park is under the care of the City of Riverside’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. The nature center staff do not handle the maintenance, upkeep, and general issues of the park itself but are there to answer your questions about the park, its wildlife, and use. Center staff can pass along any concerns you have about issues in the park to Parks and Recreation.
4. Are there park rangers?
The park does not have rangers. The Riverside Police Department is in charge of any enforcement needed. If you would like to report anything to do with a crime you can do so to the City of Riverside’s call center by dialing 311 for landlines, or (951)826-5311. If you see a violation pertaining to the wildlife and would like to report it anonymously, please visit our CalTIP info page here.
5. I see people damaging the park (ripping out plants, breaking trees, killing animals, digging new trails, graffiti etc.). What do I do?
Wildlife in the park is protected (see our Municipal Code page for more information). Many nocturnal animals take refuge in the park as further development occurs. The park exists to preserve these animals and the native plants of the area. If you see someone destroying the park or hurting the wildlife in it, please contact Riverside Parks and Recreation. Please be prepared to describe the location of the problem, the time, and the day.
6. Where are you located?
We are located at the edge of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park along Central Ave. The center sits at the main trail head of the park with a small parking lot. The address is 400 Central Ave, Riverside CA 92507.
7. When are you open?
Little Seedlings Preschool October schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am to 12pm
Ameal Moore Nature Center October scheduling: Thursday-Friday from 1pm to 5pm, Saturday-Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Closures will be listed online and on/in the building.
The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park itself is open from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset daily.
8. Are you free?
Yes, entry to the Ameal Moore Nature Center is a completely free. The center is a resource for all visitors to use and enjoy. Some special events hosted at the center may include registration or a small fee (these events will be clearly marked and visitors will be given an opportunity to register online). They Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park and parking lot is also free.
9. When are your events and what are Second Saturdays?
Any events will be listed in the calendar with descriptions on the events page. It is possible that some special events may require registration (for head counts and or a fee). You can see a list of the programs offered here.
Second Saturdays are regularly scheduled programming that run every second Saturday of the month. These free family friendly events will be full of information, fun activities, and crafts.
10. Can I volunteer?
If you are interested in volunteering for the nature center, please follow the directions on the City’s volunteer opportunities page to submit your information to the City for contacting. Make sure you specify you are interested in volunteering with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services when prompted. After you have submitted a volunteer application, please contact Kim Cobb at KCobb@riversideca.gov to alert her of your application’s submission so that she can have your name pulled from the City’s volunteer applicant pool.
If you are a professional in the field of science (biology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, entomology, or a related science field), survival skill training, hiking tours, or the arts and are interested in volunteering at educational programs such as donating your time, expertise, and services to lead a class or help with an event, please email Kim Cobb at KCobb@riversideca.gov for more information. Please be sure to include your name, contact information, areas of expertise, and months of availability.
If you are interested in volunteering to help maintain the park, you will be referred to the Department of Parks and Recreation. If you are interested in volunteering for the City of Riverside, please go to their website for more information on available departments and instructions.
If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please visit the Riverside Community Services Foundation website.
11. Is there parking?
Yes, there is a small dirt lot next to the center at 400 Central Ave. for visitors to park free of charge. The lot has the same hours as the park. It opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.
12. Is there additional parking at other park entrances?
The Department of Parks and Recreation is currently looking for opportunities to build more parking at other entrances. Currently the only parking lot is located next to the nature center at 400 Central Ave. However, the park’s other entrances offer limited street parking. Both Barton Road on the south side of the park (north of Alessandro), and Sycamore Highlands Park on the northeast side of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park (visitors will need to walk through Sycamore Highlands Park to get to the trail head into Sycamore Canyon) offer limited street parking.
13. What is there to do at the park?
Visitors have access to hiking trails and frequently hike, walk, or bike. Please remember to be courteous and share the paths with other visitors and the wildlife.
14. Is it family friendly?
Yes, the nature center is a family friendly environment and offers activities for children.
15. The hikers/joggers/cyclists are in my way. Will there be plans for restricted trails?
The park’s trails are all shared. This means that those on foot and those on bicycle all use the same trails. We ask that all visitors acknowledge this and respect the rights of their fellow visitors to be on the same paths as they are. The park does not have any current plans to restrict access to visitors depending on their activities in the park. We ask that you be mindful of each other as well as the critters that make the park their home. We would also like to remind all visitors to be courteous and sound their presence to other visitors and to allow each other to pass on the paths.
16. Can I bring my dog to the park? Are clean up bags provided?
Yes, dogs are allowed at the park, but must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after by the owner (as stated by the Municipal Code section 9.08.020). We ask that you be courteous to other park visitors. We remind pet owners to please be aware that the park does have snakes (venomous and nonvenomous), and various other wildlife that is all protected within the park. To ensure the safety of pets and the wildlife, we ask that everyone watch their pets accordingly and not to allow pets to chase or harm the wildlife.
No, clean up bags are not provided and it falls to the owner of the pet to clean up after it (Municipal Code section 9.08.050)
17. I am concerned about the snakes- will I be safe in the park?
As it is a wilderness park, the park does have many animals that visitors may want to avoid. The park has many snakes, including Red diamond rattlesnakes but all the snakes want to be left alone as much as you do. For more information and tips, please see this brief post on snake safety.
18. I’m concerned about coyotes- do you have resources with information?
The coyotes in Riverside are an animal that many residents have questions about. The nature center has compiled a brief post with information for residents concerned about the coyotes.
19. Are there water fountains/restrooms?
There is a water fountain located outside of the nature center and restrooms located inside the nature center for visitor use. The water fountain is people and pet friendly with a pet accessible water basin. There are currently no other restrooms other than the ones located inside the center. The restrooms are only available on days when the nature center is open (Thursday-Friday 1pm-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm) so please plan your visit accordingly if you think you may need the facilities while visiting. There are currently no plans to provide additional restrooms.
20. Is there food at the park?
There are no park vendors at the park so you will need to bring food and water and or be prepared to go outside the park for meals. Water fountains are located outside of the nature center. Please be aware that there are no picnic tables located in the park.
21. There are too many trails in the park, will you shut them down?
The City of Riverside is currently working on a trail system plan that may eliminate trails that are not sustainable and that conflict with the habitat.
22. What is Citizen Science?
The mission of Riverside Citizen Science is to engage our community in observing and documenting Riverside’s natural environment. This program fosters appreciation and stewardship by staging and supporting nature-centered activities. The goal is for science, through community participation and collaboration, to become a permanent part of our city’s culture and identity.
The Riverside Citizen Science project is a collaborative effort by the Riverside Metropolitan Museum; the Smithsonian Institution: The Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History; The University of California, Riverside; The Riverside Corona Resource Conservation District; The City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department; and The US Forest Service Department of Agriculture.
23. I want to participate in the Riverside Citizen Science project. What can I do?
Thank you for your interest in our Citizen Science project! Your help is greatly appreciated. There are a few ways to get involved. You can go to the Citizen Science page on the City of Riverside’s website here for updates, contact info, and information or on the Facebook page here. You can also download our free smart phone app Riverside Nature Spotter (here for Apple or here for Android). By using the app and submitting your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org you can help us gain a better understanding of the wildlife in the park. You can also participate in our iNaturalist project found here if you do not have a smart phone.
24. What is Riverside Nature Spotter?
Riverside Nature Spotter is a free smartphone app available for Apple and Android. Developed by the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, the app instigates interaction between citizens and scientists. Citizens who download the app can capture wildlife that they see in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park and Riverside area on camera and then share their images with museum curators via automated email. Employees will identify the plant or animal life in the images to get a better picture of what lives in the park and will reply back via email identifying the wildlife. The information you share is uploaded to iNaturalist and then shared with local groups and national networks and used for scientific advancement! You can read more here from our website.
25. Is there a website where we can look at the plant and animal pictures that you’ve already identified in the Sycamore Canyon or Riverside area?
The Riverside Metropolitan Museum and its partners are using iNaturalist.org to plot and track the various sightings of animals and plants. You can upload your images directly onto the site if you wish instead of using the Riverside Nature Spotter app which will send your images to a museum curator who will upload them for you. Our specific project, Riverside Citizen Science is where you can see the various plant and animal life that has already been tracked. However, part of our goal is to track migration and population as well as the species. So if you happen to post the same animal or plant that’s perfectly OK! Thank you for helping us in our goal of knowing more about the changes in our local wild spaces! There are field guides available to you through the iNaturalist Citizen Science page (also available here on our website) as well to help you in the identification of species you see specifically in the park.
26. Can I take things (plant clippings, insects, frogs, feathers, fur, or other plant or animal matter) from the park? Can I release former pets (reptiles, fish, birds, etc.) back into the park when I can no longer give them a home?
No, it is illegal to remove anything (plant or animal matter) from the park. The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is home to nearly 100 species of plant and animal that are classified as rare, sensitive, threatened, or endangered. Because of this, all life within the park is protected. For more information and the Municipal Codes that protect the plant and animal life in the park, visit our page on the Municipal Code.
Please do not release anything into the park! Many animals purchased in local pet shops are invasive. Invasive species can take over a landscape, out competing the native plants and animals and completely disrupting food chains and ecosystems. The nature center appreciates the thought of trying to give your pets a new and natural home, but please consider finding your pets another owner, as you may actually be doing a lot of damage if you release them.
27. Can I collect from the park for research purposes?
Special permits for collecting for academic purposes are granted by Parks and Recreation. To inquire about obtaining a permit, contact them at Parks@riversideca.gov
28. Can I operate remote controlled toys in the park?
No, operation of remote controlled toys within the park is prohibited by Municipal Code 9.08.090. For more information on the Municipal Code, visit the city’s page here.
29. Can I schedule to bring a group to the center?
Yes! Larger groups and special interest groups (scouts, clubs, etc.) are encouraged to schedule and reserve time at the center. This ensures that someone will be available to provide educational programming for your group and makes sure that there is enough room in the center. If more than one group visits the center on the same day, scheduled groups will take first priority. For more information on bookings, please see our tours page.