Family Days in Redlands a hit for nature lovers

Jared Laing, 13, of Redlands, gets his picture taken in the jaw of a “Great White” sharkat the A.K. Smiley Public Library. Photos by James Carbone


Jacob DeWeerd, 7, of Redlands, learns the correct way to wear a backpack on Saturday. 

REDLANDS >> Seven-year-old Barack Xaiver Douglas looked wide-eyed at a replica of a 20-foot whale shark on display at the A.K. Smiley Public Library Saturday.

“Here, let me take a picture,” said his mom Von Douglas as she positioned her smartphone to captured the image while his sister, Zakiya-Mari Douglas, 11, looked on.

The photo opportunity was one of many free activities families could explore at the library’s 11th annual Family Day celebration.

Hundreds took advantage of the event’s offerings, which has became a staple at the venue since its inception more than a decade ago.


The Douglas Family of East Highlands Ranch learned of the event while Von Douglas was volunteering at the library.

She brought her children to Saturday’s event to allow them the opportunity to explore science and The Great Outdoors — the theme of this year’s Family Days celebration.

“We love it!” said Douglas, who said her daughter wants to be a doctor and her son wants to be an astronaut. Because of these career goals, the family attends every scientific-oriented event that they can.

Organizers hoped to draw 1,000 people to this year’s event with the first 200 families to check in getting a book written by author Mike Graf.


Saturday’s event was themed around Graf’s stories highlighting the outdoors and the benefits of exploring the country’s national parks.

“I go to events all over the country, but I have never been to one that is themed after my books,” the author said after his slide-show presentation in the library’s Assembly Room. “This is all very exciting.”

Graf spent time happily answering questions that were directed his way.

“I like talking about the books and the wilderness... and I hope they get inspired to visit their local national parks,” he said.


Graf is the author of more than 70 children’s books, including a national park adventure series set in Zion, Bryce Canyon and Wind Cave, among others.