Picture by Rennett Stowe_Flickr

Explore Antelope Valley's Poppy Bloom with Your Kids: A Guide to Fun Activities

Are you looking for a fun and educational activity to enjoy with your children this spring? Look no further than Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve's vibrant poppy bloom! This natural wonderland is bursting with colorful wildflowers and breathtaking views, making it the perfect destination for a family adventure. In this guide, we'll explore all the best ways to explore the poppy bloom with your kids, from hiking trails to interactive exhibits. Whether you're a local or a first-time visitor, there's something for everyone to enjoy in Antelope Valley. So pack your sunscreen, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the wonders of this stunning landscape. Let's go!

What you'll see

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve harbors the most consistent blooms of California's bright orange state flower, the California poppy, in the state. These bright orange poppies, which bloom from mid-February to mid-May, open during the day and close at night. The Reserve has a Live Cam so you can check to see if flowers are in bloom. 

California Popplies are everywhere
Poppy Explosion​​

In a good bloom season, the rolling hills are covered in oranges and yellows but the quantity of blooms varies each year and depends on factors such as rain, sun, heat, clouds, and winds.  

Rolling Hills of Orange Poppies
Rolling Hills of Orange Poppies​​

Walking paths are nice and wide to accommodate large crowds that are drawn to the reliable blooms and occasional super blooms. It's a nice easy walk for people of all ages and can be experienced in just an hour or even less if you're limited on time. 

Yellows and Oranges everywhere
Yellows and Oranges everywhere​​

You don’t have to go inside the reserve to see millions of poppies. The entire area is covered in flowers if you just want to drive through or pull over for a quick picture. The Reserve is nice because you can walk the trails safely without damaging the natural environment.  

The official California state flower
The official California state flower​​

Pro Planning Tips

  • Season: Mid Feb.- May 
  • Difficulty: Easy, walking trails with small rolling hills 
  • Time needed: Half Day
  • No dogs are allowed outside of your car and must not be left alone in your car.
  • Don’t pick the poppies or other flowers!  It's illegal to pick them on state land.
  • Go early in the morning to see the most flowers in full bloom and to beat the wind (which picks up as the day goes on).
  • There is no shade, so bring lots of water and sunscreen.
  • Parking fills up fast; go early in the day.

Protected Plants

It is illegal to pick a poppy on state land and city property (such as schools, parks, and medians). California poppies also wilt quickly after they are picked, so they do not make for good decorations in vases. Most importantly, the poppies in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve need to stay in the reserve because each year, new plants grow from the seeds produced from the past year's flowers.

Super Powers of the Poppy

The California poppy can be found in California, Mexico, and across the western United States. Its seeds are used by people across the world as a medicine for anxiety, pain, toothaches, and headaches. Poppy seeds have other uses as well. They are added to foods such as cakes, porridge and pastries. They can also be used to make soap, paint, and varnish.

Visiting the reserve, you have the opportunity to see the California poppy at its finest. Benches are placed along the eight miles of trails so you can relax, meditate, or just observe the peace and tranquility of the reserve.

Dig Deeper with a Learning Adventure

If you love exploring the California Desert with you kids, the California Desert Activity Book is a great resource for your family. It includes our Top 10 desert destinations (Including Antelope Valley) with activities for each location and fun earth science lessons. It's like a Junior Ranger program for each location. Here are some of the things included:

  • 10 Adventures in the Ca Desert
  • 10 Earth Science Lessons
  • 10 Hands-On Science Activities
  • 10 Coloring Pages
  • 1 Sticker Map
  • Reward Tickets
  • 10 Scavenger Hunts
  • Journal Pages

Pollination Learning Activities

The book includes 10 earth science lessons and fun activities. For the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve adventure, you'll learn about pollination through a fun activity called "Cheeto Pollination". It's simple and fun, and will have your kids licking their fingers for more. All of the lessons are simple and fun and help you get even more out of your adventures.

Cheetos Pollination activity

Scavenger Hunts

The book also contains a scavenger hunt pages for each adventure that you can cut out and fold up into a booklet. Here are some of the things you'll be looking for and learning about on your trip.

California Poppy

The California Poppy is the state flower of California.  The bright orange flower petals will open during the day then close up at night and when it's cold or windy. It is a drought tolerant plant that blooms from Feb- Sept.

California Poppy
Kevin Gill__flickr​​

California Goldfields

The California Goldfields are a part of the daisy family and grow only a few inches tall. It will spread in carpets of small bright yellow flowers giving it its name!  

Picture of California Goldfield plant in the desert with yellow flowers

Grape Soda Lupine

The Grape Soda Lupine gets its name from its sweet smell that is similar to grape soda! Its bright purple flowers each have a yellow spot on them and grow spaced apart along long stems. Its leaves look gray but are really green and covered in silvery hairs.

PIcture of grape soda with purple flower


The Bumblebee is a large bee that is covered with many hairs that pollen can stick to. When it collects pollen it can carry up to %75 of its body weight in pollen. Only the queen and worker bees can sting, but they are not aggressive. In the winter bumblebees hibernate in the ground.  

picture of a bumblebee

Silver Puff

Like a dandelion, the Silver Puff’s seeds form a silvery puff that can be carried by the wind. Its flowers are yellow, and it has green, leaf-like phyllaries that extend beyond the blossoms, giving it a star shape.  

Picture of Silver Puff
Andrey Zharkikh​​_flickr
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