Admire Spring Wildflowers, by Train

Fingers crossed that the Sierra foothills will be all a-flower.

THERE'S NO SURER SIGN OF SPRING... than a wee bud popping through some fresh soil. It's so iconic and so symbolic that it out-strips everything else associated with the season, including bird nests, soft rainstorms, and fuzzy little newborn animals. (Okay, flowers and fuzzy newborn animals are probably neck-in-neck in the spring symbolism rankings.) But where to take in wildflowers, and when? And, perhaps most importantly, how can one enjoy a wide swath of color and variety without randomly hopping all over a large area, sometimes fruitlessly? We don't like fruitless things in the spring, and we don't like people making extra wildflower-searching efforts when the Wildflower Trains can do all the work. Yep, those are indeed a thing, at least over two Saturday afternoons in April: Saturday, April 12 and Saturday, April 19.

ALL ABOARD FOR NATURE: Nope, the train isn't decked out in chains of daisies, although we'd love to see that and recommend they try it one year. Rather, Sierra No. 3 -- that's the Movie Star Locomotive -- will head out from Railtown 1897 State Historic Park into the Sierra foothills in search of pretty little petals. Well, the petals'll have to be close to the tracks, since, spoiler alert, the train can't roam from its set path. But interpretative park rangers shall be on the rides, calling out interesting clumps of gorgeous bloomage and talking all things wildflower (keep an eye out for meadowfoam and goldfields, two local blooms). Sound like a perfectly pleasant way to spend a springtime Saturday? Best get on those tickets, nature lovers. They're $15 each, for adults. Oh yeah -- and you'll get some wildflower seeds to take home. That's a good goodie, and one that pays down the road in beauty.

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