Celebrate San Diego River Days with 30+ FREE Events


Celebrate San Diego River Days NOW through Sunday the 21st, San Diego River Days will bring you over 30 FREE events from Julian to Ocean Beach. Get your whole family involved in fun activities like hikes, environmental clean-ups, educational walks, and more.

Visit www.sdriverdays.org for a full listing or we have summarized them below!

Don’t miss their grand finale event on Sunday, May 21st, where families will be able to contribute to the planting of 500 plants for the new river education and stewardship center in Mission Valley! There are also opportunities to help paint a mural!! 


  • Date: Sunday, May 21
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: River Center at Grant Park; 2450 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92110
  • A family-friendly event that will include opportunities to make an impact at the FUTURE River Center at Grant Park. Plant a plant, paint a mural, and take a tour of the soon-to-be permanent home for the San Diego River in the heart of Mission Valley.


  • Date: Wednesday, May 17 
  • Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Location: Eagle Peak Ranch 5030 Eagle Peak Rd, Julian, CA
  • Join The San Diego River Park Foundation’s Preserve Stewards volunteer team to care for the beautiful open space land of the headwaters of the San Diego River.  


  • Date: Wednesday, May 17 
  • Time: 9:30 am – 11:00 am
  • Location: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA
  • Join a Mission Trails Regional Park Trail Guide on a guided nature walk and learn about the plants, animals, geology, history, and ecology of the park on one of these scenic and easy trails: The Oak Grove Loop, The Visitor Center Loop, or The Riverside Grinding Rocks.  


  • Date: Thursday, May 18 
  • Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Location: Crestridge Ecological Reserve 1171 Horsemill Rd, El Cajon, CA
  • Earth Discovery Institute invites you to celebrate the 20th annual River Days by hiking with them at Crestridge Ecological Reserve, one of the many beautiful wild spaces within the San Diego River watershed!  Experienced guides will discuss the flora and fauna that inhabit the San Diego River and its surrounding areas, and their importance in our ecosystems, and enjoy a nice hike together.


  • Date: Friday, May 19 
  • Time: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Location: Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA
  • Join MTRP birders Millie Basden and Cindy Cornelius for a guided bird walk along the Visitor Center Loop Trail. We’ll pass through a variety of habitats on this walk and will expect to see typical species that call MTRP home, plus newly fledged young may be present!


  • Date: Friday, May 19 
  • Time: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Location: West Sycamore 17160 Stonebridge Parkway, San Diego, CA
  • Join members from the San Diego Astronomy Association at the West Sycamore Staging Area to view the nighttime sky through telescopes. Viewing begins at dusk


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Location: Old Mission Dam 10164 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA
  • This Plein Air Paint-Out with San Diego Plein Air Painters Meetup & California Art Club is an opportunity to enjoy the San Diego River and Mission Gorge as part of the San Diego River Days.  All skill levels are welcome, but note that you must bring your own outdoor painting setup and all your own supplies.  Explore, find a scene you love, and paint!
  • During the morning you will be able to mingle with some well-known local artists, share ideas and learn.  Children accompanied by an adult are welcome. 


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: Point Loma Native Plant Garden 4444 Greene St., San Diego, CA 
  • Start your Saturday morning off with a stroll through the lovely Point Loma Native Plant Garden!  This beautiful community garden offers walking trails, picnic tables, benches, and of course, a variety of native plants, many of which are in bloom!  
  • This is an open house offering to the community to come explore the garden on your own or join a tour hosted by one of the amazing volunteers you and chat with the volunteers who care for the garden.  This knowledgeable guide can help share more about efforts to protect this space and how you can incorporate native plants into your own space.  While there are no organized activities other than the tour, we invite you to stop by for a nature walk, bird watching, picnic, or whatever you like!


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: Bay City Brewing Company 3760 Hancock St., San Diego, CA
  • Join I Love A Clean San Diego and the San Diego River Park Foundation for a litter cleanup in Loma Portal! Help us celebrate San Diego River Days by protecting the San Diego River and keeping litter out of the Pacific Ocean.  I Love A Clean San Diego staff will be on-site at set-up with a check-in table and cleanup supplies at Bay City Brewing Company.  Join us at 10a m to learn about our watersheds and recycling right, then grab supplies and help us clean up!  After the cleanup grab a pint (21+) at Bay City and celebrate our accomplishments. You can also get community service credit in ILACSD’s Community Hub dashboard.


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: The Historic Santee Barn 9200 N Magnolia Ave, Santee, CA
  • The Santee Historical Society is hosting butterfly and bee experts at the Santee Historic Barn on Magnolia Ave. between Mission Gorge and Mast Boulevard.
  • These special species are so important to our ecology and agriculture.  See a demonstration of a Layens hive, and learn about natural beekeeping and the different varieties of honey. Learn about the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly, the importance of milkweed for the survival of Monarchs, the various native milkweeds in Southern California… and how milkweed is important not only our pollinators but for a large part of the local food chain.  Children’s activities will include bee and butterfly crafts, face painting, and milkweed seeds to plant at home.


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 12:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Location: Mission Valley Library 2123 Fenton Parkway, San Diego, CA
  • Bring the kiddos and meet us at the Mission Valley Library anytime between noon and 2 pm on May 20th to find out which building has the most stories, what a bee’s favorite book is, and how you can learn more about spiders.
  • We will share fun facts about the San Diego River and the animals that live around the watershed.  Even if those animals are hiding in plain sight, you can be part of the food web by creating a trout hat, bobcat, or bat mask.  Take a close look at nature through microscopes and make an animal bookmark to keep tabs on your library books


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • Location: Kumeyaay Lake Campground Day Use Lot 2 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA
  • Join MTRP Trail Guides for a family-oriented adventure learning about some of the reptiles and amphibians that live in Mission Trails. Have fun completing a nature journal while on the walk.


  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Location: Famosa Slough 4275 W Point Loma Blvd, San Diego, CA
  • This bird walk is especially good for beginners, who will be able to learn from experts while exploring a world-class birding area near the San Diego River estuary at Famosa Slogh.  Watch for resident and migrating species, and enjoy a guided interpretive walk along trails at the slough. Guides from the Friends of Famosa Slough anticipate seeing many species of birds and native plants, and probably some interesting insects and maybe even some Fiddler Crabs!

NATURE NIGHTS: BATS AND MOTHS – Event full, waitlist available

  • Date: Saturday, May 20
  • Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Location: River Center at Grant Park; 2450 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92110
  • About: Attendees will embark on an evening adventure to listen and look for bats and moths as they walk along the river. Guests will learn about bats and monitor their echolocation calls using bioacoustics. Staff will also set up a UV light to attract and observe moths. This event is family-friendly.


  • Date: Sunday, May 21
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Location: Lake Murray 5540 Kiowa Drive, La Mesa
  • Join the San Diego Fly Fishers for a free fly casting clinic at Lake Murray!  This event is designed for beginners, but more experienced fly fishers are also welcome to come for practice.  The clinic begins promptly at 9 am, so please plan to arrive a little early so you won’t miss the beginning of the clinic. You can use your own equipment or borrow club equipment from one of the certified instructors.


  • Date: Sunday, May 21
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Location: Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, Lakeside 13003 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA
  • Come explore the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary!  The 785-acre preserve in Lakeside is owned and maintained by San Diego Audubon.  Its purpose is to preserve in as complete and natural a state as possible a prime area of coastal chaparral and riparian woodland.  It is available for hiking, guided walks, bird watching, passive research, and education.  Over 324 native plant species and 124 bird species have been recorded there, as well as numerous reptile and mammal species, including mule deer, bobcat, and raccoon. 

This is the 20th year of the annual San Diego River Days celebration. The San Diego River Park Foundation and partners are offering a variety of fun and free activities from May 13th through May 21st that engage over 500 participants of all ages! These free activities are designed to be approachable and fun. By trying out something new, attendees are able to get to know a local group, explore a new place, connect with nature, and learn something new about their community. For a list of 2023 activities, click here.





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