Nature Programs

* The Paleontology of Palos Verdes and San Pedro (call for address, [213] 763-3534). Sat., 9:30 a.m.-noon. Screen for marine fossils and learn about the paleontology and geology of the San Pedro area in this program sponsored by the L.A. County Natural History Museum. Picnic to follow. Children ages 5 and older, accompanied by adult. Fee: $14 members; $18 nonmembers. Reservations required. Also through the museum: "Tracking the Monarch Butterfly," Dec. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Field trip to Monarch wintering roost in Santa Barbara. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adult. Fee: $14 members; $18 nonmembers. Reservations required. Participants

provide transportation to events. Call for directions.

* Chronicles of the Canyon (Franklin Canyon Ranch Site, south part of park in parking lot by Doheny House, 1936 Lake St., [310] 858-3090). Learn about the history of Franklin Canyon from the story of Native Americans, Spanish and early settlers to early modern water distribution and filmmaking. Dec. 7, 10 a.m. Free. Call for directions. On Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m., take a Full Moon Hike. Explore the canyon by moonlight, look and listen for nocturnal wildlife and enjoy a spectacular view of the city. Free. Also meets at Franklin Canyon Ranch Site.

* Family Fossil Days (Clark Park, 8800 Rosecrans Ave., Buena Park, [714] 670-8045). Includes presentation by park paleontologist on ancient fossil history of the area and a trip to the marine fossil site north of the park for a hands-on search for fossils. For ages 6 and older; no reservations taken. Offered four times a year. Next date is Dec. 6, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free.

* Madrona Marsh Second Sunday Science Series (Palos Verdes Estates, call for directions, [310] 618-2720). Discover marine life in tide pools during one of the lowest tides of the year. Dec. 14, 2-4 p.m. $5 per person or $10 per family. Also through the Madrona Marsh: Winter Science Camp. Third graders and up can learn about marine life at this day camp which meets Mondays, Dec. 22 and 29, 1-4 p.m. at the Interpretive Center, 3201 Plaza Del Amo Blvd., Torrance. Dec. 22: Marine Habitat at the Preserve. Dec. 29: Tide pools at the Beach. $7.50 per person or $15 per family.

* Happy Camp Canyon Turkey Trot (14101 Broadway, Moorpark, [310] 589-3200, ext. 302).

Burn off Thanksgiving turkey by hiking to the Spring, the Cathedral Grove and back (about three miles). Nov. 30, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Call (805) 529-4828 for information.

* "Medicines, the Inside Story" exhibit (California Museum of Science and Industry, 700 State Drive, Exposition Park, [213] 744-7400). Are roots, seeds and leaves really the sources of today's medicines? Hands-on exhibits, multimedia stations and video programs examine what medicines are, how they are discovered and how they have changed over time. Free hands-on science activities, including a demonstration of blood pressure checks and an electrocardiogram machine, are held in the exhibit every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Admission is free. The exhibit runs through Jan. 4.

* UCLA Ocean Discovery Center fish feedings and films (Santa Monica Pier, where Colorado Avenue meets the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica, [310] 393-6149). The center includes four main display tanks and a touch tank for kids. Fish feedings are Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. The film "Magnificent Fish: The Forgotten Giants" is shown every Saturday and Sunday at noon and 1, 2 and 4 p.m. and on weekdays at 4 p.m. Discovery Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission: $5 for adults; $3 for senior citizens, $1 for students and free for children under 4 years old.

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