Having not grown up in the Walnut Creek area, I hadn’t heard of the Lindsay Wildlife Experience until I was an adult. I first came across it while planning trips for the kids in my after-school and summer camp programs with the city of Emeryville. It seemed like a great alternative to the large and crowded zoos in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Even though I planned several trips for my programs, I never visited until invited by a friend and fellow mom a few months ago. We had a great time, the quality of the hands-on space impressed me. Somehow, children from toddlers to teens were all intrigued and interacting with the exhibits. The staff and volunteers were also not only super informative but also very engaging. They were truly interested in giving the children the best experience they could. Check out all the details below!
Address: 1931 First Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
The Lindsay Wildlife Experience is located inside Larkey Park, but it has its own parking lot off of First Avenue. The parking lot is not huge. I imagine on busy summer days it can fill up easily. There is also ample street parking and the church across the street even opens up their lot for spillover. The museum resides in a nice area of Walnut Creek, so the parking lot feels very safe.That being said, Larkey park sits next door so I wouldn’t leave any valuables in plain sight in your car.
As soon as you walk in, a row of predatory birds greets you. A Red Tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and many others. There is also a large viewing window into a space that has a rotating bevy of animals, including eagles on Friday-Sunday! Outside, there is the Raptor Redwood Grove and inside there is another raptor experience where your kids can feel like they are a flying hawk though virtual reality. The Burrow is a play space for children to crawl through and pretend to be a ground squirrel. What’s Wild and What’s Not is where you can see and pet small animals like rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs. Hive Alive is a real working beehive exhibit where you can hunt for the queen bee, and Creek Wall is where you can look at turtles, snakes, and otters. There’s plenty to keep the family busy all day!
It’s not just the exhibits either. Every day, The Lindsay Wildlife Experience offers activities almost every hour. There is so much to do! These activities include feeding the animals, petting some of the more cuddly critters like guinea pigs and rabbits, playing with the porcupine, information sessions, and even photography lessons. There are always docents wandering around to answer questions and give interesting facts about the animals. Once a month they offer a program called Mini Mondays for ages 2-5 with special activities including crafts and demonstrations. They even have refreshments for your little ones. Lindsay Wildlife Experience also offers Three-Week long classes for pre-school aged children, as well as workshops and camps for older kids. There are even Wild@Night events just for adults that offer activities and exhibits alongside beer and wine.
This museum is made for families. The bathrooms are clean, have changing tables, and even separate trash cans for dirty diapers. The main exhibit floor is very open and young children can roam around freely without parents having to hover over them because there is plenty of visibility and not a lot of trouble they can get in. The exhibits are all engaging for young children but also interesting for older children and adults. There is a community room that has space for breastfeeding in privacy, as well as fun toys if your little one just wants a nice indoor spot to play in. They can pretend to be veterinarians with toy stethoscopes and x-ray machines. There’s also a large gift shop so be prepared for your kids to beg for toys on your way in and out, but at least members get 10% off!
This museum is very affordable. Adults are $10 and children 2-17 are only $8 (under 2 are free)! You can purchase an annual membership for the museum as well. An individual membership is $45, so you don’t have to go too many times to make it worthwhile. A family membership cost $80 and covers two named adults and all children under 18 that live with you. Membership provides you discounts at a bunch of other places as well including the Oakland Zoo, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and Happy Hollow in San Jose. For the price, Lindsay Wildlife Experience is a great place to go on a rainy day, or if you need to kill a few hours with your little one.
Overall, I would highly recommend this museum for anyone interested in wildlife and animals. The Lindsay Wildlife Experience is also a working animal hospital who help rehabilitate 5,500 animals every year. It is a great cause to support, and you might just learn something while you are there. Comment below if you have been to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience or have another spot that I should review next! Also, be sure to use the share links on the left to share this review with all your friends!
Thank you for such a wonderful review of the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, Allison. It’s such a joyful experience to bring families closer to wildlife and create indelible memories. We hope that you and your family will visit again soon – our programs and events are ever-changing and there’s always something new to discover! -Cheryl McCormick, Executive Director, Lindsay Wildlife Experience
We truly appreciate your review. The entire Lindsay team works hard every day to create a wonderful experience for all of our guests. I was happy that you noticed the programs happening at all hours, because recently we have emphasized those and we change the offerings every four months. We hope to see you again soon!
Director of Education
Wow what a wonderful write up. The entire staff here at LWE strives to provide the best experience for our guest while fulfilling our mission.