EXPLORE: Scavenger Hunt on the UC campus

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BerkeleyBearsKids love a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt, though as any parent who’s put one together knows, they are a ton of work. But if you bring the clan to the U.C. Berkeley campus, they’ve done the work for you, and you can set the kiddies loose on their own adventure. It’s filled with historic buildings, wooden bridges, trickling streams, and colorful characters – things you couldn’t set up in your own backyard. And the university’s Visitor Services has a map listing all 27 bear images on campus. Most of them are statues, scattered from one end of the campus to the other, and even into the surrounding area.

Called “A Walking Tour of the Berkeley Bears,” the map was originally developed in 2002 as a way for prospective students and their families to get to know the campus via the school mascot – Oski the Grizzly Bear. Oski’s image is represented in various guises, from the Macchi Bears by O’Briend Hall to the bas relief sculpture of young bears in Sather Tower to the majestic Golden Bear hovering over Lower Sproul Plaza.

Parents can combine the hunt for bears with some history on the grizzly bear, which became extinct in California soon after the Gold Rush. Nature lovers can follow Strawberry Creek, and perhaps trek up to the Botanical Gardens after checking off a dozen bear images. The map is out of circulation, but you can request a copy at the UC Berkeley Visitor Services at 101 University Hall. Call 510-642-5215 for more information and request one in advance. They have some extras on file for those in the know, and you can always request a photocopy of an archived map if they’re out.

—Renee M. Rutledge