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Public Events

  • Come View the Sandhill Cranes!

    Have you heard it?  The indescribable yet unmistakable sound of the sandhill cranes once again fills the skies of the San Joaquin Valley.  The first of the sandhill cranes arrived at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge on September 14th, and their numbers have been growing ever since.  The incredible sights and sounds of the bird Aldo Leopold described as "wildness incarnate" have returned to the Valley every fall for millennia and now is your chance to see, hear, and learn about this amazing species.  Join staff and other visitors for two upcoming crane events.  Come and watch the cranes as they "dance" and learn about the conservation work performed by refuge staff on behalf of this and scores of other wildlife species.

    Both events will meet at the Merced NWR main entrance kiosk:  7430 W. Sandy Mush Road, Merced, CA   Driving Directions.

  • Crane Fly-In at the Merced NWR: Nov 19th

    Perhaps the most impressive time to view the cranes is late afternoon/early evening as the sun sets and the birds return by the thousands to their evening roosts in the refuge wetlands.  Join a refuge staff member on November 19th at 4:00 p.m. at the entrance kiosk for a "crane talk" after which visitors will carpool – if needed – and be led to an area on the refuge from which to best view the cranes as they return for the night.  If you have never witnessed this spectacle, you are missing something!  If you have, the sights and sounds never cease to amaze.  It is not necessary to sign up pre-register for this event -- simply show up at 4pm on November 19th.  Driving Directions.

  • Crane Day at the Merced NWR: Dec 3rd

    There will be two bus tours around the refuge for Crane Day on December 3rd, at 10:00 a.m. and at 12:00 noon.  Each tour will last approximately 1.5 hours and will be limited to 42 visitors per tour.  It is recommended that those wishing to participate call to sign-up and reserve a spot.  There is no fee to participate.  Any unfilled spots will be available on Crane Day on a first-come-first-served basis.  Call 209/826-3508 to reserve your spot, obtain information about the event, or get driving directions to the Merced NWR.  Visitors will assemble and board the tour bus near the Merced NWR front entrance kiosk.  Driving Directions.

  • 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. Rick, an avid photographer and regular visitor to the Complex, is a Scientific Coordinator at the National Laboratory in Livermore. According to Rick, he “recharges his batteries by capturing images of nature.” This is the second photo display at the visitor center from Rick – this display features a variety of wildlife images and other scenes taken at the San Joaquin River NWR.

  • Contact Us

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

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2016
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