Welcome to Jack's Pond Park & Nature Center

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Visitors of all ages are welcome to encounter the many wonders of this natural, rustic learning and hiking habitat. Trained, knowledgeable docents or a City of San Marcos Interpretive Specialist will be available for direction or questions during open hours.

Open Hours

General Info 

About Jack's Pond 


Schools, Groups
& Birthday

Safety & Rules

Jack's Pond Building

Open Hours

Saturdays & Sundays 10 AM - 1 PM. Free of charge
For more information, please call (760) 744-9000
Located at 986 La Moree Rd

General Information and Features

About Jack's Pond Nature Center

Jack's Pond Nature Center promotes understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of nature by using the Jack's Pond Park and Trail as an interactive window to the San Marcos environment. The Nature Center offers a K-5 curriculum-based science and outdoor education program with hands-on nature study, interpretive hike and more! Jack’s Pond Park is a 23-acre park with picnic areas, a tot lot and Jack’s Pond Nature Center.

Jack's Pond Nature Center

The Nature Center is a work in progress and is designed to intrigue the minds of all ages.  Visitor and community input are valued and will be incorporated into the Center's projects. We aim to integrate community groups into the ongoing functioning of the Center so that it truly reflects community needs and interests related to environmental stewardship.

Local and outside groups have contributed to the displays at the Nature Center.  The Palomar Audubon Society has created a display on birds and their habitats. San Marcos School Science classes have contributed displays and exhibits from their science fairs and other class projects.  Cal State University San Marcos student science teachers designed learning stations with the help of local high school students. The most recent contribution comes from a local Eagle Scout who designed and installed our Ocean-themed room.

Jack’s Pond Nature Center offers hands-on nature study, hikes and a curriculum-based outdoor education program. It is the perfect place for a field trip, birthday party or scout meeting.

Jack's Pond Nature Center's Mission Statement: To provide information about local habitats, plants, animals, geology, and cultural history in educational and enjoyable ways. 

Jacks Pond Nature Center Use Application 
Jacks Pond Directions
Jacks Pond Field Trip Safety
Native Plants of Jacks Pond
 View Jack's Pond Trail Map
 San Marcos Residents  Non-Residents

$2.00/person (Schools in SMUSD. Non-profits)
$3.00/person (Private Groups)

$2.50/person (Schools. Non-Profits)
$3.50/person (Private Groups)

Prices include two hours for Nature Center time, a craft, and a guided nature walk. Groups must pay for a minimum of 25 (1 free leader per 10 paid for non-profit groups).

For more information, contact San Marcos Community Services at (760) 744-9000.

Events at Jack's Pond Nature Center

The Nature Center hosts 4-5 special events throughout the year. Please check back for 2017 dates or email Nature Center Director to be added to our events mailing list to receive updates.
Spring: Bird Day 
Summer: Reptile Day & Junior Ranger Day
Fall: Halloween at JPNC 

Interested in Helping?

Volunteers: Jack's Pond Nature Center relies heavily on help provided by adult docents during weekend open hours (Saturdays & Sundays 10am-1pm) as well as weekday field trips (select reserved Mondays and Tuesday 9:30am-11:30am). We are looking for additional volunteers to add to our amazing team. A commitment of one shift per month is preferred. Training is provided.

Donations: If you have a live animal or a display item that you would like to donate to the Nature Center, please contact us to discuss whether it would be a good fit. We also accept monetary donations to help support special events and continuing improvements to the center.

For questions and inquiries regarding volunteering or donations, please email Nature Center Director or call (760) 744-9000 ext. 3508.

Jack's Pond and Stream Rules

  • No swimming or wading is allowed.
  • Fishing is allowed only from shorelines.
    • The City recommends catch and release fishing with barbless hooks.
    • A fishing license is required for all individuals over the age of 16 years.
  • No boats, inflatables or rafts are allowed.
  • No gas powered model boats or airplanes (tethered or by remote control) allowed at any public park, except in an area designated by the Community Services Commission as part of a specific park regulation, or by special permit.