Nature Centers

Turtle with keeper

H.A.R.D. operates two nature centers that promote environmental awareness, stewardship, and a connection with nature. Learn more about each location and its offerings below.

  1. Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center 
  2. Sulphur Creek Nature Center

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center (HSIC)

Perched on stilts above a salt marsh, the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center is your introduction to the ecology of the San Francisco Bay Estuary. It features exhibits, programs, and activities designed to inspire a sense of appreciation, respect, and stewardship for the bay, its inhabitants, and the services they provide. 


Naturalist presenting a shark prior to releasing it back into the bayMission: The mission of the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center is to foster the connection between people and the San Francisco Bay-Estuary by providing environmental education and recreation programs. Our goal is to inspire a sense of appreciation, respect, and stewardship for the Estuary, its inhabitants, and the services they provide.

Brief History: The center opened in 1986 as a place where school groups, community groups, and the general public could learn about the ecology, history, and significance of the wetlands surrounding San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay is an estuary, a place where saltwater and freshwater mix. We call this a “salt marsh,” but, in fact, these wetlands consist of a complex set of salt, fresh, brackish, and tidal ponds.  From 1856 through the 1940s, this area was used for salt production.  In 1980, land managers began removing dikes in order to restore tidal action to an area that was originally a mixture of tidal wetlands and associated uplands.

People walking on HSIC trailAbout the Trail: The adjoining park and trail system is called the Hayward Regional Shoreline and is operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. The Hayward Regional Shoreline is a mosaic of landscapes that extends across nearly seven miles of diked trails adjacent to the San Francisco Bay.  The shoreline trail is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail and passes through and around mudflats, salt marsh, grasslands, and salt evaporation ponds.

Plan a Visit: Individuals, groups, and families are welcome to visit the trail throughout the yearPlease remember that many shoreline areas provide nesting and feeding grounds for wildlife. In order to minimize human intrusion upon the plants and animals, please remain on the trail while you observe wildlife.

Activities:  Individual registered activities can be found in the H.A.R.D. Guide and on the Activity Registration Page.

Group Programs: Education programs for school groups, scout groups, and other private groups are available on select dates. Birthday Parties are not available at this time.  View the Nature Education Program Flyer for more information.  To request a booking, fill out our Program Request Form. 

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