California San Diego Travel

Children’s Nature Retreat review

Are y’all scratching your head, trying to figure out what to do today, this week, or this weekend? Well, the Children’s Nature Retreat in Alpine, CA is fun for the whole family and a step up from your average zoo. Not to say that the San Diego Zoo is average, because it is seriously one of the best! The Children’s Nature Retreat has 23 different species and 61 distinct breeds. Since the pandemic, they’ve taken on 46 more animals that have lost their homes, which brings the total to 201 animals.

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The 20-acre animal sanctuary also really needs your help right now. There’s been a slow down with visitors, field trips, memberships, and monthly donations, that the Children’s Nature Retreat relies on to help keep the sanctuary running. The monthly operating costs for the Children’s Nature Retreat are $45,000. More donations are desperately needed, especially recurring monthly donations. A monthly $10-plus donation can be made on their website at The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so any donation is 100% tax-deductible.

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Keep reading on to find out everything you need to know and why the Children’s Nature Retreat is a must visit.

Children’s Nature Retreat – Know before you go

Location – 5178 Japatul Spur Alpine, CA 91901

The Children’s Nature Retreat is located in Alpine, CA, which is in San Diego County. It’s further out into Alpine, so make sure you get your GPS up and running before you go because you will probably lose cell reception. 

Hours – Thursday thru Sunday: 10am-5pm

Always make sure to check the website for any updated hours as they may change.

Price – Single Visit: Adult $38, Child $20, Senior (60+) $28, Under 2: Free

There are other options to choose from on the website. Always make sure to check the website for any updated pricing as they may change.


Alpine is hot in the summer, and cold in the winter, so make sure to check your local weather report. We went in the summer when it was hot, however, I think because of where the Children’s Nature Retreat is located, it didn’t feel as hot as you would think.

What to wear

Whether you wear pants, shorts, or a dress, I just recommend wearing something you won’t mind getting dirty. My biggest recommendation is to wear comfortable closed-toed shoes because there is a lot of dirt and walking. I of course wore sandals because I never learn…

What to expect at the Children’s Nature Retreat

So what should you expect with the Children’s Nature Retreat? A good time. Duh! When you first arrive, you’re required to sign a waiver, and then you watch a short video to learn about the facility and how to feed the animals. After that, you’re sent off with your bucket of BARLEY and bucket full of fun!

There’s a lot of walking, so if the Sprouts get tired, there are wagons that you can rent. Now if I could fit into the wagon, I probably would’ve rented one for myself, lol. It’s all walkable though, so we really didn’t need one.

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Next, you need to figure out what you want to start out with – small animal farm, big animal farm, or the exotic animals. We just went right, because you know… it just felt right. If you’re wondering what’s there, it’s the small animals. 

We hit up the big animals next. Carter loved all of the horses and did not want to leave. The Alpaca obviously was not a fan of me because it SPIT on me!!! Maybe it was for good luck?

The exotic animals were pretty cool. We almost saw an Ostrich lay an egg, but we didn’t. It decided to move on and I’m kind of glad it did. I’m not sure we were ready to see all of that. The Zebras were really cool too, but let me tell you – So. Much. Poop! The kids didn’t seem to mind though. 

Once you get through the exotic animals, there’s a little bonus. There’s a big shed (not sure if that’s what they call it) where there’s some more animals. We got to learn about the animals and how some of them ended up at the retreat.

Final thoughts on the Children’s Nature Retreat

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We definitely recommend the Children’s Nature Retreat to families and people with or without kids. There’s something about being able to get up close with animals that’s just so calming. Have you ever been anywhere like this, or have you ever been?  I’d love to hear about all about it.

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