San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center


2710 Manchester Avenue
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

Phone: (760) 634-3026


Get park updates and check for closures on our  News Page

Directions: From I-5 take Manchester Avenue west. The entrance to the Nature Center is on the south side of the road.


About the Nature Center
The Nature Center is a perfect starting point for experiencing the beautifulSan Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Museum quality interactive exhibits interpret the history and development of the ecological reserve, as well as the plants and animals found here.  

Learn more about the hundreds of native species that live there, and demonstrate the natural processes critical to the health of this precious estuarine environment. Its location next to some of the seven miles of trails in the reserve makes it a convenient place to bring the family before venturing out into the lagoon.

The 5,525 square foot, two-story building presents a unique opportunity for the public to see a number of “green” building concepts in use. The Nature Center was designed and constructed with a focus on the environment through energy efficiency, water conservation, and natural resource preservation by incorporating many “green” technologies into the design. Construction, and operations of the building include a solar powered photovoltaic system mounted on the roof, an energy-efficient radiant heat system encapsulated in the floors, water conserving toilets, energy conserving appliances, a “green” roof, and the use of recycled water in toilets. In addition, construction materials used throughout the building contain a high content of recycled material.


Rental Options
The meeting room includes the use of 30 chairs and 12 tables.  If you rent the deck before 5pm, we partition off a portion for public use (2/3 private rental; 1/3 public use).  After 5pm through sunset (as late as 8pm), the deck becomes exclusively yours.  Use after 5pm requires at least 30 days advance notice. Please note that all reservations require a $150 cleaning deposit, and each booking has a $5 reservation fee. 

*Note: Due to sensitive and endangered animal species living in the habitat immediately adjacent to the Nature Center, amplified sound is restricted to the deck and meeting room spaces and must only be audible within close proximity of the building.

Time Block Meeting Room Only Meeting Room with Deck
9 am - 11 am $100 $400 (2/3 of deck)
12 pm - 2 pm $100 $400 (2/3 of deck)
3 pm - 5 pm $100 $400 (2/3 of deck)
5 pm - 6 pm  - $200 (all of deck)
6 pm - 7 pm  - $200 (all of deck)
7 pm - 8 pm  - $200 (all of deck)

To reserve space at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, please contact the Nature Center directly.  

Exhibits 4

Click on image to enlarge