Toddlers' Guide to Lindsay Wildlife Experience - 510 Families
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Toddlers’ Guide to Lindsay Wildlife Experience

I am very happy to present this cheat sheet for Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Experience for preschoolers, as part of our continuing series: The three-year olds’ guides to everything fun in the Bay Area!

Good news: pretty much everything at Walnut Creek’s animal rescue and museum is great for a three-year old! Even the gift shop… sigh.

children looking at big brown bear statue
The Lindsay Wildlife Experience allows your little ones to get up close with alive and not-so-alive creatures | Photo: Julie Herson

My three-year old, Elaina, and I checked out the Lindsay Wildlife Experience with high expectations of seeing lots of animals. And happily that’s exactly what she was able to do.  The museum is small, so it’s not overwhelming like larger, more crowded museums. Mostly everything is kid-sized and approachable for little kids. And the friendly folks who work and volunteer at the museum are great with little kids and are happy to answer barrages of questions delivered rapidly by excited preschoolers. Just be aware that there is a lot of taxidermy throughout, including some rather large bears. Super cool to some, kinda scary to others.

child looking at screen in museum
This interactive flying raptor exhibit is pretty fun for a three-year-old | Photo: Julie Herson

What To Expect

The biggest draw to this small museum is the opportunity to see the live animals right up close. The porcupine and owls were big hits for Elaina, but the snakes, insects, lizards and bunnies were also pretty exciting. As a big fan of the show Wild Kratts, this type of museum is right up her alley.

Covid-19 Note: You may remember the pre-pandemic petting and touching animal opportunities offered at Lindsay, but alas those are on hold for meantime.

child looking at animal exhibit
The kid-friendly stools and low observation windows are perfect for curious little three-year-olds

Because this museum is small, you can feel comfortable that a visit of 90 minutes or two hours with a curious preschooler will be rewarded by many interesting things to see, do, and touch. The best part is the hourly event schedule, with each hour bringing a fun chance to see, interact with, and learn about one of the animal ambassadors at the museum. When we were there we saw a snake and turkey vulture up close outside in the Raptor Redwood Grove. Check their daily schedule here and here to plan your visit around which events will excite your little one the most.

woman holding snake
Seeing this gopher snake up close was a real highlight for my three-year old| Photo: Julie Herson

Elaina sincerely enjoyed:

  • The Raptor exhibit with the interactive flying screen and microscope
  • Seeing the porcupine eating lunch and roaming around their home (they’re usually nocturnal, so it was rare to see her so active during the day).
  • Browsing and begging for nearly every item in the gift shop (which is situated in the front right when you walk in. Eeek!)
  • Seeing the snake and vulture outside
  • Running around
  • Touching every part of each exhibit
  • Trying to find the insects in their cages (they often hide)
  • Eating lunch and playing at Larkey Park just down the pathway from the museum
children looking at birds in cages
Don’t miss the outside aviary where you’ll find the cutest little owl | Photo: Julie Herson

The Bottom Line

The Lindsay Wildlife Experience is a super fun option for you and your three-year-old if you’re looking to get up close and personal with animals. The museum is relatively small and welcoming to little kids, with plenty of interactive exhibits and live events to keep short attention spans engaged. Just be prepared for the museum store as soon as you arrive (it’s RIGHT IN FRONT). Consider bringing lunch, a scooter and sand toys to enjoy at Larkey Park after you’ve had your fill of creatures, making it a full-day field trip.

More details to plan a visit

  • RATES: Your 3-year old costs $10, the same as other children age 2-17; $12 Adults; $10 Seniors 65+; Free for Members. Discounts or free admission to certain other children’s museum or science museum members. Check the lists or ask at the desk.
  • HOURS: Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 5pm
  • INSTA>
  • GETTING THERE: Located at 1931 First Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94597 and it took about 25 minutes each way from Berkeley with free parking. Or 1/2 mile from Walnut Creek BART.
  • **Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for guests age 12 and over is required for entry into Exhibit Hall and the wildlife rehabilitation hospital.

All opinions are mine and Elaina’s.

[All photos by Julie Herson for 510families, all rights reserved]

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7 thoughts on “Toddlers’ Guide to Lindsay Wildlife Experience”

  1. Pingback: Three-year olds’ guides to the Bay Area — 510 Families

  2. Agree it’s worth an outing from the 510 for this age group. Also try to time it with one of their lowkey special events – my kids STILL talk about the time (last year) when they happened to be there for the vulture’s birthday party!

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  4. Pingback: 31 things to do in January with Oakland and Berkeley kids - 510 Families

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