The Jewel of Oakland
Established in 1870, Lake Merritt is the oldest wildlife refuge in the nation. The Rotary Nature Center & Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge is a place for the public to appreciate nature in the heart of Oakland.
2017 Summer Camp Registration is Open!
Our outdoor camps at Joaquin Miller Park and Lake Merritt get kids exploring all the amazing nature in Oakland. Campers can learn about everything from fire building and arrow making, to marine animals and bird life! Camps available for ages 5-15 yrs old.
Our summer camps will continue as planned despite the temporary closure of the Rotary Nature Center.
View Nesting Cormorants at Lake Merritt
The double-crested cormorants at Lake Merritt are nesting on the bird island again, and some chicks have already hatched!
This year, the cormorants have expanded their colony to one of the cottonwood trees behind the Rotary Nature Center, giving us an even closer look.
Come by to check out these amazing birds! Just be careful of guano when walking under the tree, and remember to be considerate of wildlife.
Visit the Rotary Nature Center
The interpretive museum at the Rotary Nature Center is free and open to the public 7 days a week, from 10 am to 4 pm. Come check out our exhibits and learn about the natural history and ecology of Lake Merritt.
Schedule a Program
We offer fun and educational programs taught by our naturalist staff at the Rotary Nature Center or offsite at your location. Our programs can be tailored for classrooms, community groups, adults, seniors, and more.
Come on a Guided Walk
Naturalists at the Rotary Nature Center free lead interpretive walks around Lake Merritt covering a variety of topics. Join us to learn about the migrating birds, marine invertebrates, local trees, and more.