For those kids (and adults) who love animals, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek is a must-visit. The facility is beautiful, but what they do here is even more incredible. The wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center within the museum is the oldest in the United States. The veterinarians, staff, and volunteers treat more than 5,000 (sometimes up to 6,000) injured animals every year. The injured (or orphaned) animals are brought to the facility primarily by people in the community.
The goal of the facility is to heal, rehabilitate, and return the animals back to the wild. Some animals, however, are injured in a way that they cannot be returned (for example, the turkey vulture who was shot in the wing and had to have his wing amputated). Some of these animals have been kept by the museum and are on display for us to see and learn about. A highlight of the museum, in my opinion, is the raptor display. I don’t know of any other places that allow you to get up close to ten or so different kinds of raptors, including a golden eagle, a bald eagle, a turkey vulture, and several different kinds of owls, falcons, and hawks. Other animals on display included an opossum, a squirrel, and a fox.
During our visit yesterday, we had the opportunity to attend the 1:00 Raptor and the 2:00 Wildlife Behind the Scenes presentations. According to the website, the Behind the Scenes program is only offered on the weekends, so I was pleasantly surprised when the program was offered yesterday (a Wednesday).
The Raptors! presentation allows visitors to meet one of the resident raptors and a keeper. Yesterday, the raptor that came out for a visit was a golden eagle. This particular eagle was found with an inured wing at Topaz Lake, near Lake Tahoe. The keeper told us the story about the challenges of healing the bird (named Topaz), as she also came in with infections and other illnesses. Interesting stuff. Cool thing we learned? There are 44 mating pairs of golden eagles in the Mount Diablo area. The keeper told us that there is an Eagle Cam of a golden eagle (named Bella) that lives in Dublin, the city we live in. If interested in checking out the Dublin Eagle Cam, here’s the link.. http://dublinca.gov/index.aspx?NID=217 .
The Wildlife Behind the Scenes exhibit provides the opportunity to see a veterinarian at work. Visitors are allowed to sit in a little theater and watch, through a glass wall, the live presentation of actual hospital activities. On our visit yesterday, we witnessed the veterinarian replacing the splint on a baby goose who was brought into the museum with a broken leg. Very cool. It’s not often a child gets to see an animal doctor at work.
My son’s favorite exhibit at the museum is the Birds of Prey Exhibit, which includes two interactive flight simulators that give children (or an adult) the sense of what it feels like to be a bird soaring high in the sky above Mount Diablo State Park. The child lies on their stomach with their arms outstretched to the side as if they were wings. A large screen is in front of them. As they move their arms, the screen veers to the left or right, giving them the sense of flight. Great exhibit!
After a visit to the Lindsay, I always save time for a visit to the park that surrounds the museum for some outside playtime. Larkey Park has a couple of fun play structures and huge grass areas on which to run around. I recommend you bring a picnic and enjoy an hour or so at the park, too.
- Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay (anaturemom.com)
- Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Museum releases golden eagle at Las Trampas in San Ramon (mercurynews.com)