Central Valley Visitor Information

San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

The Central Valley has a spectacular new resource for wildlife viewers. San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, a member of the California Watchable Wildlife network, opened a new Visitors Center in late 2011.

The state of the art building is a net-zero energy use building that produces all its power through solar panels. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is seeking LEED Platinum status for the center, which features an exhibit hall with interactive exhibits, and an environmental education room for visiting schools.

Interpretive panels tell the story of the Yokut Indians that once lived on the land where the refuge now sits. The Chester Marsh nature trail guides visitors to historic sites including remnants of an old river ferry from the late 1800s.

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 26,800 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, native grasslands and vernal pools. A thriving population of endemic Tule Elk may often be seen from the viewing area in the lobby of the Visitors Center and from the auto tour routes.

The refuge is also host to significant numbers of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants. The refuge is a major wintering ground and migratory stopover point for large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds and other waterbirds. A species list, wildlife viewing tips and hours of operation are available on the Watchable Wildlife website.

Other nearby Watchable Wildlife sites are Merced National Wildlife Refuge and Los Banos Wildlife Area.

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Top Attractions in the Central Valley Area

Bakersfield Music Theatre
Bidwell Park & Bidwell Mansion
Boomers, Modesto
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, Bakersfield
Buttonwillow Raceway Park
California Living Museum
California State Capitol & Museum
California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
Explorit Science Center
Fairytale Town
Feather River Fish Hatchery, Oroville
Folsom Premium Outlets
Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno
National Yo Yo Museum, Chico
Old Sacramento
Oroville Dam & Lake, Oroville
Sacramento Zoo
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
Sierra Nevada Brewing Tour
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

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