Rotary Nature Center
The Rotary Nature Center is a citywide interpretive unit within OPR that maintains and protects Lake Merritt - the first wildlife refuge in North America - Joaquin Miller Park and other open spaces. We handle natural science presentations, environmental education, summer camps for youth, and urban wildlife issues.
Constructed in 1953, our interpretive museum houses educational displays, interpretive exhibits and a working observation beehive and our outdoor destinations include freshwater viewing ponds, five habitat islands, a geodesic dome for injured birds and the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge. We also care for a variety of live presentation animals that we use in our educational interpretive programs.
Areca H'lael Smit
The Rotary Nature Center is an awesome place to take little kids. It's small and a little rough around the edges, but kids could care less. There's a live snake and tarantula. They also have bees and others stuffed creatures. They also have different nature programs, some restricted to those 18+, and volunteer opportunities. The best place to watch the birds in the nature preserve is right next door. The center sells bird food for a dollar.
Bathroom was kinda gross/scary, but other than that, this is an awesome little nature center. Best of all, it's free!!
Nice, yet old and underfunded center to learn about all the fabulous birds that reside at the lake.