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Orange County Hidden Gem The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary


Do your kids love animals? Do they enjoy spending time in the great outdoors? Then they are going to love visiting the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. Last weekend, we visited the sanctuary for the first time with the kids, and it is now one of our favorite places to go visit.



Where is it located? It is located at 5 Riparian View in Irvine. The GPS will try to have you access of Michelson, but you can now only access the entrance off of Campus Drive in Irvine.




When you first arrive, you’ll find yourself driving down a small hidden road. At the end of the road are two large parking lots and some adorable buildings. After parking, enter the Audubon House where a volunteer will help show your family where to go. (They will even loan your children binoculars at no fee!)




Then it is time to explore! You will find some serious bird watchers with equipment that is more professional than the paparazzi. They will ask the kids to be quiet – so I recommend preparing the kids to use their whisper voices before arriving.




Your family can walk and explore all day. We wished that we had brought lunch so that we could have stayed longer. There are picnic tables for your family to have a picnic lunch in-between exploring the different things to see.




You’ll find multiple large ponds filled with exotic birds. Our children spent hours walking to the different ponds while watching the birds play, swim and fly around them.



Start of the nature trail


Picnic area

After your family is done bird watching, there is a beautiful nature trail for more exploring and an exotic butterfly garden. This wildlife sanctuary is one of the best hidden gems for families to explore in Orange County.


I hope that you enjoy visiting with your family and create unforgettable memories together.

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