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“Rabbits, ducklings, herons, and bugs”

San Joaquin Wildlife Santuary
Ranked #3 of 50 things to do in Irvine
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 13 June 2014

This is really a reservoir. It occupies a prime piece of land and holds reserve water that the Irvine Water District does not have to tap. So, with a little magic, the water company turned it into a wildlife sanctuary, hiking trail, and park. It's minimal - a small visitors' center, restrooms, pamphlets, and lots of gravel paths. What you pass is a dozen ponds filled with fresh water, kept clean by nature and visited by small animals, insects, and birds. It is circled by highways, office buildings, and the university. It's a great place for some light exercise, meditation, and great bird watching. You can turn out from the paths to enjoy a few scenic overlooks and park benches. Few cities care enough to turn their watersheds into parklands, but Irvine does. It's an education, a nice walk, and an inspiration. I always leave with dozens of photos. I spend several peaceful afternoons in front of the screen, identifying the bugs and birds I have seen while walking the San Joaquin paths. When I get back to Irvine in my travels, I can't wait to return.

8  Thank traveler473
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"water birds"
in 4 reviews
"duck club"
in 4 reviews
"great birding"
in 3 reviews
"bird sanctuary"
in 3 reviews
"wide variety of birds"
in 3 reviews
"audubon society"
in 3 reviews
"butterfly garden"
in 3 reviews
"off campus"
in 2 reviews
"water treatment plant"
in 2 reviews
"watch the birds"
in 2 reviews
"book store"
in 2 reviews
"gift shop"
in 2 reviews
"orange county"
in 4 reviews
"parking lot"
in 2 reviews
"nature"
in 12 reviews
"birdwatching"
in 5 reviews
"benches"
in 6 reviews
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46 - 50 of 67 reviews

Reviewed 10 June 2014

If you come here, there isn't much to do besides the bird-watching trails, which gets old really fast and are pretty lame, so don't come here.

3  Thank Lord H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2014

I go quite often to what is called the "Marsh Campus" of the Irvine Ranch Water District. The trails start off from there, so you can walk through trees and some meadows to see the birds. In the campus itself, you can visit the headquarters of the Audubon Club, which has displays and some gifts. It's in a beautifully restored bungalow. For Irvine residents, the Duck Club is a community center that is also nicely restored, with a kitchen for meetings, and there are other buildings with classrooms. There are picnic tables as well. We have often taken our grandchildren here, both to see the birds, and to enjoy the displays in the Audubon Club.

3  Thank SharonToji
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

I used to love coming here to pick up some berries and for bird watching. For bird watchers, this place is still pretty good. Spectators can view a small variety of migrating birds during the nesting season: blue heron, snowy egrets and storks if they are lucky. However, due to construction, the place is not as inviting as it is used to be.

1  Thank eroc59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 March 2014

This is a nice place to walk around. It is not very special. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I'm used to a bit more nature. It is very dry here. Even though there are lakes, all the vegetation is dry. If you like birds this is the places to be. We encountered a couple different birds on our walk. Other than that, this is just a nice place to walk around.

1  Thank dmikusia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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