San Diego NWR Complex
Pacific Southwest Region
Palmer's Frankenia (L. Cox/USFWS)
Sweetwater Marsh
A unit of the San Diego Bay NWR

Like its wetland neighbors to the south, Sweetwater Marsh supports many of the same animals and plants as the Tijuana Slough and South Bay Refuges. Palmer's Frankenia, a rare salt marsh plant, can also be found on this refuge.

Surrounded by numerous gardens, the Chula Vista Nature Center soars like an ark above the 316 acre Sweetwater Marsh. The Nature Center provides visitors with interpretive and interactive exhibits explaining the marsh habitat, self-guided environmental education programs, guided nature and bird walks, a shark and ray exhibit, and the opportunity to view native birds in outdoor aviaries that support burrowing owls, shorebirds, egrets and herons. Aviary dwellers are all birds that cannot be released back into their native habitats.

“Sweetwater Safari,” a self-guided field experience for elementary students is only one of the many programs provided each day at the Chula Vista Nature Center. The Nature Center is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization, and runs in partnership with the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The Nature Center is located at the foot of E Street and Interstate 5 in Chula Vista. Please call the Chula Vista Nature Center and Sweetwater Marsh for times of operation, admission to the Center and Refuge, reservations, scheduled activities and reservations for large groups: (619) 409-5900.

The Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego Bay NWR is also the location of the San Diego NWR Complex Headquarters:

1080 Gunpowder Point Drive
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Sweetwater NWR staff can be contacted at 619-476-9150


Click on a photo below to view a large image
Teacher Training
Teacher Training for Sweetwater Safari
Least terns
Least Terns
Photo by Phil Roullard
San Diego Sunflower
San Diego Sunflower

Where wildlife comes naturally!

Last updated: July 19, 2011