Upcoming Public Events

  • October 6, 2018: Crane Day at Merced NWR

    Have you heard it? The annual spectacle that is the return of the sandhill cranes to the San Joaquin Valley is underway.  Cranes have begun arriving on the San Luis NWR Complex and it is time for our annual Crane Day!

    The best time to observe birds and other wildlife is in the morning when there is a flurry of activity as animals forage for food to break their night long fast. The second best time for wildlife observation is in the late afternoon and early evening. The light is more subtle and the wild things are trying to grab that last mouthful before settling in for the night.

    Therefore, on Saturday, October 6, we will offer two opportunities to join refuge staff for a guided tour to experience the bird that early wildlife conservationist Aldo Leopold called, “wildness incarnate.”

    The first tour, for the early birds, will be from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. The second will be from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Both tours will meet at the main entrance kiosk at the Merced NWR. The tours will begin with an introduction and a chance to learn more about the natural history of the sandhill crane. Participants will then be able to carpool around the auto tour route, led by a staff member, with opportunities to observe and learn to identify the sandhill cranes and other winter birds that are arriving in great numbers. Each tour will last approximately 2 hours.

    There is no need to sign up in advance for this event – just show up at the refuge entrance at 8:00 a.m. and/or 5:30 p.m. – and as always, it is free.

    The Merced NWR is located at 7430 W. Sandy Mush Rd, Merced, CA 95341. Driving directions can also be found on the refuge website.

    Call the Refuge Complex at 209/826-3508 for more information, driving directions, or to ask questions.

  • October 13, 2018: Elk Day at San Luis NWR

    Join us at the San Luis NWR on Saturday, October 13 to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with our 5th Annual Tule Elk Day--a celebration of this unique subspecies of North American elk found only in California. Participants will be able to observe and learn about the elk through a day of presentations, tours, exhibits and displays.

    This event will include the rare opportunity for visitors to see the tule elk herd from INSIDE their habitat. Refuge staff will take participants for a drive (using refuge vans) through the middle of the elk enclosure to learn about the rich natural history of the majestic elk. There will be two tours. Tours are free, but spots are limited due to capacity of vans and available on a sign-up, first-come first-served basis. Participants may begin signing up for the tours in advance by phone (209/826-3508). An individual calling in may reserve no more than four spots.

    Schedule of events for Saturday, October 13th:

    8:00 a.m. – Guided Elk Tour Inside the Elk Enclosure (free, but sign-up required)

    10:00 a.m. – Speaker Presentation: Wildlife Photography
    Photographer Rick Lewis will share his wildlife photography experiences while showcasing his amazing images taken at the San Luis NWR Complex and elsewhere.

    11:00 a.m. -- Guided Elk Tour Inside the Elk Enclosure (free, but sign-up required)

    1:00 p.m. – Speaker Presentation: Elk Management in California
    California Dept of Fish and Wildlife Environmental Scientist Cristen Langner will discuss elk management projects occurring in California.

    Call the Refuge Complex at 209/826-3508 for more information, driving directions, or to sign-up for one of the elk tours. This is a free event. The San Luis NWR is located at 7376 S. Wolfsen Road off Hwy 165 north of Los Banos. Driving directions can also be found here.

  • Photography Exhibit at the San Luis NWRC Visitor Center: Wildlife of the San Joaquin River NWR

    Photography Exhibit: Wildlife and Scenery from the San Joaquin River NWR by Rick Kimble on Display at the San Luis NWR Visitor Center

    7376 S. Wolfsen Road, Los Banos CA 93635  

    The San Luis NWR Complex is pleased to announce a special showing of wildlife photos by photographer Rick Kimble, an avid photographer and regular visitor to the Complex.

  • Contact Us

    Contact the Refuge Complex headquarters at 209/826-3508 with questions. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8am - 4:30pm.