Browse a variety of exhibits relating to the culture, nature and history of the San Joaquin River and environs. Exhibits are available to the public when the River Center is open, Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 – 3:00.
River Runs Through it From Sierra snowmelt to the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, the water of the San Joaquin River brings life to Central California. Now, see and touch this one of a kind, handcrafted model of the San Joaquin River and the land and water features that drain into it. Removable, hand-painted wooden pegs let visitors learn firsthand what kinds of plants, animals and other features are found in the 13,537 acres that make up the San Joaquin River Watershed. This new permanent exhibit is presented in English and Spanish and was created by local artist Brian Gibson, and funded with a generous grant from the Resources Legacy Fund, Preserving Wild California Program.
For over a decade Trust Board Chairman, Coke Hallowell, and her daughter, Joell Hallowell, have been collecting oral histories of people who have lived along the San Joaquin River. This collection of stories of Fresno and Madera county residents is on permanent display at the River Center in video form, with accompanying photographic portraits and related artifacts. Take Me to the River runs continuously in the Story Room, which is furnished with bookshelves full of California stories, artifacts, cozy lighting and a small, inviting seating area where the videos are played.
From gold dust mining to grass basket making, summer swimming on hot days to salmon spearing by firelight, people who have lived at the river’s edge remember and recount it with respect and fondness. Their memories provide a colorful look back into the social, cultural and natural history of the San Joaquin River. From the beginning of time, people have gravitated to this area largely because of the river and the ways it supports, sustains and enriches human life.
A book based on this collection of oral histories is available for purchase in the River Store.
Touch, see, smell and hear an engaging array of animal clues such as feathers, footprints, bones, sounds, and nests. This hands-on room invites visitors of all ages to learn about signs that animals leave behind and learn to read them as a fun way to explore the Parkway and appreciate the critters who call it “home”.
Many different animals call the San Joaquin River bottom “home”. Birds are some of the most easily spotted creatures that depend on this riverside retreat. With water, shelter, food and space for over 150 species, San Joaquin River bottomland is a unique and precious treasure to not only birds, but also to those who share space with and enjoy them.
In our “Room With a View, “ spotting scopes overlooking heron and egret rookeries, life-sized hand-painted wooden cutouts of river birds, hand-sewn eagle, hawk, heron, quail and hummingbird nest quilts made to scale, and field guide all help visitors take a fresh look at birds.