Each year, millions of birds leave their nesting grounds in Canada, Alaska and other northern places and fly into California's Central Valley for winter habitat. Many of these birds are looking for a wetland in which to settle, and choose the thousands of acres of nature preserves surrounding Lodi, giving individuals a unique opportunity to view some amazing and rare birds.
The Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes are of special interest. Because of their size and large numbers, these birds can be quite spectacular to see. The Greater Sandhill Cranes are a state-listed threatened species, and about 7,000 winter in the Central Valley after breeding in northeast California and central Oregon. Lesser Sandhill Cranes, which are not considered endangered, number about 25,000 in the Valley. The best time to see the cranes is September through February.
Other birds that are likely to be seen include the Pacific Pied-billed Grebe, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Least Sandpiper, Western Flycatcher, and many species of hawks, quail, pheasant, egrets, teals, ducks, geese, woodpeckers and even owls for the late evening birder.
Lodi offers many ways to enjoy the outdoors; kayak on the Mokelumne River, swim at the beach at Lodi Lake, visit Micke Grove Park and Zoo, enjoy a round of golf or even experience the thrill of parachuting out of a plane over a beautiful vineyard.
Micke Grove Park
11793 N. Micke Grove Road
Lodi, CA 95240
This 258-acre oak tree park has plenty of amenities, such as: Micke Grove Zoo, featuring exotic and endangered species; the Japanese Garden with cherry blossom trees, tea pavilion and koi pond; Funderwoods Amusement Park offering fun-filled rides and delicious treats; the San Joaquin Historical Museum; outdoor picnic shelters; indoor facilities for events; softball fields and a children's play area. Park Hours: Daily (except Christmas) from 8am to sunset; Zoo Hours: Open Daily 10am-5pm. Summer weekends until 6pm; Japanese Garden: Weekdays 9am-2pm, weekends until 1:30 pm; minimal cost for entrance to park, $3 + Museum.
Lodi Parachute Center
23597 N. Highway 99
Acampo CA 95220
The Parachute Center is one of the largest and oldest centers of its kind in the United States. The Center employs the latest in training techniques and the most experienced and active instructors to ensure you a safe and exciting jump. Whether you are a first-time or experienced jumper, the Parachute Center has a training program to meet your skydiving needs and activities. Classic aircraft and scenic flights available by appointment.
Lodi Lake Park
1101 W. Turner Road
Lodi, CA 95242
For year-round fun, visit Lodi Lake Park. Picnic with family or walk along the nature trails to view the riparian habitat that is home to many species of mammals, reptiles and fish. Beginning in late May and through September, the public beach is open. Families can enjoy the sandy beach, tiny tot area or spray pool. Pedal boats and kayaks are available for rent. And for the educationally minded, don't miss the Lake Discovery Museum. Fun for the whole family! Minimal fee for entry to park and swim area.
Lockeford Springs Golf Course
16360 N. Hwy. 88
Lockeford, CA 95237
Lockeford Springs Golf Course, is a public, par 72, 18-hole course located in the heart of the Lodi wine country. Our course has been designed to provide an enjoyable round of golf for the novice player, while providing a unique challenge for the highly skilled golfer. The guests at Lockeford Springs will find a warm, friendly atmosphere which will enhance the experience of their golfing and/or social outing.
Woodbridge Golf and Country Club
P.O. Box 806
Woodbridge, CA 95258
An elegant blend of the rich heritage and tradition of the game combined with luxurious, modern amenities and state-of-the-art facilities. Belonging to Woodbridge Golf Country Club goes far beyond a tee time The Club is a home away from home where the entire family can escape for a couple hours — or a day — of golf, tennis, swimming, and more. The Club is a place where members are united by a common language and a love for the game.
It is a place to build lifelong friends and unforgettable memories. It's a place where you'll be challenged time and time again where you'll curse the hazards and delight in the subtleties of the design. Surrounded by grandfather oaks, amidst cherry orchards and grape vineyards, our Club has 27 holes and hazards provided by the Mokelumne River and natural wildlife. Our beautiful dining facility offers an ideal setting to entertain family and friends for a myriad of events. Our dedicated golf and catering professionals will work with you to plan every detail of your business meetings, seminars and golf outings. Our meticulous attention to detail guarantees your special occasion will be one you and your guests will cherish for years to come. Our championship courses provide an unparalleled golf experience a place where members have come for 80 years to unwind and gather with friends a private haven with the promise of relaxation and the spirit of camaraderie. It's that Club Life that keeps our members coming back day after day.
Consumnes River Preserve
13501 Franklin Blvd. Galt
Hike through oaks, marsh and willows on established trails. Over 200 bird species use this site for resting or residence. Visit this expanding reserve along a wild and scenic river. Directions: Go North on I-5 to Twin Cities Road. Take Twin Cities Road east to Franklin Blvd. Go south on Franklin. Willow Slough trailhead is on the left after 1.3 miles. Trailhead for Lost Slough wetlands boardwalk is .2 miles beyond the Willow Slough trailhead.
Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
This salt/freshwater marsh hosts one of the state's most diverse groupings of birds, and California's largest population of river otter. Directions: Go west on Hwy. 12 toward Rio Vista. Just east of Rio Vista, turn south on Grizzly Island Road. Continue south to Grizzly Island Refuge Area.
Isenberg Crane Reserve
In the fall and winter months, witness awe-inspiring flights of Sandhill Cranes along Woodbridge Road. Other birds include barn owls, herons, pelicans, vultures, hawks, ibis, shrikes, swans, stilts and ducks. Directions: 2 1/2 miles west of I-5 on Woodbridge Rd.
Lodi Lake Park
The Mokelumne River riparian habitat is home to a great variety of wildlife. Walking along the nature trail on the northeast side of the lake, hikers will see many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. Education opportunities abound in the nature area, as well as the Discovery Center on the south shore of the lake. The Discovery Center offers docent-led walks. Directions: Located at Turner Rd. and Mills Ave. in Lodi.
Oak Grove Park
This beautiful park is a living example of the Valley Oak Woodlands that once covered much of San Joaquin County. Over 1,500 oak trees tower around this 180-acre park, providing natural landscape and shade to the native species that call this park home. The Oaks Nature Center displays flora and fauna native to San Joaquin County, while nature enthusiasts can enjoy a 1 1/2-mile trail with spectacular views of the forest. Directions: Go west on Hwy. 12 to I-5. Go south approximately four miles to Eight Mile Road. Exit and go east on Eight Mile. Park is on the right.
Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Explore a grassland trail along the water's edge and ramble through the woods. This new urban refuge provides homes for well over 100 bird species and many resident mammals and reptiles. Get a bird's eye view from the viewing platform or join a tour.
Directions: Go west on Hwy. 12 to I-5. Go north on I-5 approximately 20 miles. Exit on Hood Franklin Rd. Go west on Hood Franklin.
Woodbridge Regional Park
Providing a quarter-mile of Mokelumne River frontage, this underdeveloped park features an established riparian habitat, great for birders or fishermen! Directions: Go north on Lower Sacramento Road to Mokelumne St. Mokelumne will turn into Woodbridge Road. Turn north on Meadowlark Drive and then east on River Meadows Drive. River Meadows dead ends at the park.
Other popular nature viewing sites surrounding Lodi...
Arno Road: Go north on Hwy 99 past Galt to Arno Road. Turn east on Arno and continue east. The road will veer north and east.
Brannan Island: Go west on Hwy. 12 for approx. 24 miles. At Hwy. 160, go south on 160. Continue for approximately three miles. Brannan Island will be east of 160.
Correia Road: Go west on Hwy. 12. Approximately 3.75 miles west of I-5, exit and go south on Correia Rd. Continue south one mile.
Empire Tract: Go west on Hwy 12 to I-5. Take I-5 south to Eight Mile Rd. Exit and go west on Eight Mile for approximately six miles. Exit Empire Tract Rd.
Lower Sherman Island: Go west on Hwy. 12 for approx. 24 miles. At Hwy. 160 turn south. Continue on 160 for approx. 13 miles. Lower Sherman Island is east and west of 160.
Snodgrass Slough: Go west on Hwy. 12 for approximately 24 miles. At Hwy. 160 turn north. Continue on 160 through the town of Locke. Take Lost Slough via Delta Meadows River Park in Locke.
Staten Island Road: Go west on Hwy. 12 to I-5. Go north on I-5 approximately 10 miles. Exit on Walnut Grove Rd. Take Walnut Grove Rd. east to Staten Island Rd. Go south on Staten Island Rd.
Tyler Island Road: Go west on Hwy. 12 for approximately 24 miles. At Hwy. 160 turn north. Exit on Tyler Road, and go southwest to Tyler Island Road.
Westgate Landing: Go west on Hwy. 12 approximately four miles west of I-5, exit and go north on Glasscock Rd. (B-4 Terminous). Continue north one mile.
Woodbridge Ecological Preserve: Go west on Hwy. 12 to I-5. Go north on I-5 approximately four miles. Exit Woodbridge Rd, and go east.