- ADA Inclusion Center
- Adult Sports & Enrichment
- Community Gardening
- Cultural Arts Programs
- Discovery Centers
- Dog Play Areas
- Joaquin Miller Park
- Lake Merritt
- Oakland City Stables
- Recreation Centers & Facilities
- Rental Facilities
- Rotary Nature Center
- Sponsors & Partners
- Youth Sports
Our Upcoming Events
Rotary Nature Center
600 BELLEVUE AVENUE, OAKLAND, CA 94610
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday, Sunday 10 am - 4:30 pm
Supervising Naturalist: Stephanie Benavidez
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.
FOR WILDLIFE REHAB AND RESCUE GROUPS, PLEASE CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY: View Local Listing (PDF)
SEE BELOW FOR UPCOMING EVENTS AND INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM INFORMATION.
Check out our upcoming special events, classes and workshops
Great American Backyard Campout at Joaquin Miller Park - $10+
Join us for a fun-filled, family overnight in Joaquin Miller Park! We provide all food and activities!
OPEN HOUSE: Rotary Nature Center
July 26th (1pm-3pm) Drop by for information about the nature center, Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge, our upcoming programs, volunteer opportunities, and more! More details available soon.
OPEN HOUSE: Joaquin Miller Park Ranger Station
July 27th (2pm-4pm) 3590 Sanborn Dr., Oakland
Drop by for information about Joaquin Miller Park: history, volunteer opportunities, and more! More details available soon.
Summer Day Camps, June 16th - August 15th
Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt camps. See Summer Camp section for details.
Bird Walk with the Golden Gate Audubon Society, 4th Wednesday of every month
(9:30am) Meet at the Nature Center’s Geodesic Dome Cage
Summer Camps at Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt
We offer several outdoor summer camps for a variety of age groups. All of our Summer Day-Camps meet from 9AM-3PM, Monday through Friday; Extended Care covers the hours of 8AM-9AM and 3PM-6PM.
Touch the Earth - Ages: 6-12
Each week-long session focuses on one of four exciting themes under the magnificent redwood trees in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park. Experienced naturalists lead children in nature hikes, arts and crafts, environmental awareness, swimming, games, music and more. $250 per week.
Shake, Rattle & Roll - Ages: 11-15
This week-long, four-level camp teaches outdoor living skills of: fire making, cordage, shelter building, dealing with water, plants as food and medicine, tracking and tool making in Joaquin Miller Park. To be taken in order: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced & Bow Making. $250 per week.
Counselors in Training (CIT) - Ages: 12-15
Youth learn job skills and responsibilities as they assist staff with programs and may be assigned to any of our day camp programs. Usually assigned to Touch the Earth camp. $100 per week.
Young Naturalist at Lake Merritt - Ages: 5-10
Learn a variety of environmental skills and education: creek restoration, marine studies, native plants and assist staff at the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge. Meets at the Rotary Nature Center at Lake Merritt. $200 per week.
Extended Care in Joaquin Miller Park - 8AM-9AM, 3PM-6PM
Extended Care covers additional hours of care before and after camp at Joaquin Miller Park. $70 per week.
Download our Summer Camps flyer (PDF) for camp dates and session details.
To Register Online or view camp week details, please visit our Online Registration system. Select "Joaquin Miller Park" or "Rotary Nature Center" under the Location Search for the camp(s) you are interested in.
To Register in Person, please visit the Rotary Nature Center or any Oakland Parks and Recreation facility during their operating hours.
To Register by Phone, please call the Nature Center at (510) 238-3739.
Oakland Nature Club
Gain skills while exploring at the Rotary Nature Center, Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge and Joaquin Miller Park. Youth complete do-it-yourself challenges and activities while achieving skills and knowledge related to nature, exploration and the great outdoors.
Fee: Free or $5+
Youth 4-13+ years old
Check back for upcoming programs.
Continuing in a long tradition of education, the Rotary Nature Center offers a variety of outreach nature programs – all instructed by our dedicated naturalist staff. Our interpretive outreach programs can be held at the Rotary Nature Center or off-site at your location.
With the wide variety of programs that we offer there’s something for every occasion and interest group: field trip or presentation for your school or classroom, community group, youth group, adults, seniors or birthday parties!
Program Costs for One-Hour
At the Rotary Nature Center: $60
At Your Location: Add $10
Non-Oakland groups: Add $10
Please download our Interpretive Programs flyer (PDF) for details on our offered presentations.
Contact or visit our Center where trained staff can help you with additional information about our programs and Oakland’s remarkable natural history!