Take a walk on the wild side and check out the Alexander Lindsay Wildlife Museum! Located in north Walnut Creek, it’s so much closer than any zoo, and full of interactive games where kids can really learn about local wildlife. The wildlife center is home to squirrels, turkey vultures, hawks, rabbits, grey foxes, snakes, and other animals who are recovering from injury or have made a permanent home at the museum to become, as the museum as charmingly dubbed them, ‘ambassadors’ for their species.
When I visited with my preschooler and twins in stroller (the elevator is located through the downstairs doors underneath the front stairs) we started off by visiting a small theater where the audience can watch one of the staff veterinarians attend to a furry or feathered patient and talk about the health of the animal. If a demonstration isn’t being held (which it wasn’t during our visit) then the kids can take a peek through a microscope at blood cells.
From there, my oldest wandered (okay, bounded) over to where half a dozen raptors sat in a glass-fronted room, observing and being observed. She was fascinated by the owl who turned its head all the way around to look into her eyes—hoot!
The museum has an indoor bee hive encased in a double layer of plexiglass, that allows for the comb to be removed and cleaned without letting any bees wander. The hive is connected to a tube in the wall that leads outside, so the colony is free to pollinate the surrounding flora. All this was explained to us by a teenage volunteer or intern. The museum has an extensive program for volunteers of all ages, for the young naturalist in your clan.
The Lindsay Museum is not just an interactive museum for kids (and a fabulous gift shop that helps you get your holiday shopping done all while helping to feed the animals) but an active wildlife veterinary hospital. For decades, the Lindsay Museum has been the place to bring injured birds (like the ones that slam themselves into windows or get in a nasty tangle with the family cat or dog) and other wildlife. Here’s what to do when you find a wild critter in need of medical attention.
We’ve gone to the Lindsay Museum the past two Sunday mornings and brought lunch to eat at Larkey Park next door. Since a 5 year-old attention span doesn’t last very long, we stay for only about an hour. We have a membership (a mere $65 which more than pays for itself if you go as a family of 4 at least 3 times within the year. PS.—it makes a great gift from the grandparents!) which also gets us free membership to a bundle of other local science centers, museums and zoos.
Trying to support local? Then go visit the Lindsay Museum!
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 First Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
September 22–June 10:
Wednesday–Friday 12 PM–5 PM Saturday–Sunday 10 AM–5 PM
June 13–Labor Day:
Wednesday–Sunday 10 AM–5 PM