San Diego County, California


The Elfin Forest Interpretive Center is chalk full of engaging activities free for visitors of all ages.

Nancy Samp Photos4Microscope

With our powerful video microscope, visitors can get up close and personal with the amazing world of benthic insect larvae collected from the Escondido Creek every morning.

Owl Pellets Station

Owl Pellet Station

When owls eat rodents, lizards, and small birds, they aren’t able to digest the bones, hair, and feathers of their prey.  As a result, they have to regurgitate pellets.  It sounds gross, but it’s entirely natural.  At our owl pellet station, visitors can play detective as they dissect sterilized pellets, remove bones, and use a chart to find out what part of the body the bone is from, and which type of animal it belonged to.  You can even reconstruct an entire skeleton from the pellet.

Paw Prints

Paw Prints

How can you tell the difference between a dog’s paw prints and a coyote’s?  Have you ever been walking on a trail and found a paw print that you thought belonged to a mountain lion but weren’t sure?  If you want to find out, take a look at our hands-on paw print sand box and become an animal tracking sleuth in no time.  We have paw print casts of dogs, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and more.  Just press them in the sand and see if you can identify them all.  Maybe that mountain lion print you saw was really just a chihuahua all along…

Aquaponics 2

Aquaponics Aquarium

Our aquaponics aquarium contain tropical fish, but this is no ordinary fish tank.  It’s actually a highly sustainable system, where fish waste is filtered into fertilizer for the edible plants growing on top of the aquarium.  See our lovely fish and munch on some romaine lettuce while you’re at it.

Bird BookBird Song Bird

Produced by Cornell University’s renowned Lab of Ornithology, this book contains audio recordings of 250 North American birdsongs.  From the soothing hoot of the great horned owl to the unforgettable song of the whippoorwill, you’ll be enchanted by the vocal diversity of our continent’s incredible bird species.


Nature Videos

We have dozens of nature videos that are viewable on our 70″ HDTV.


Insect Collection

Our insect collection includes hundreds of specimens of moths, butterflies, beetles, and more.