The Gardens at Lake Merritt, a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, is conveniently located in the heart of Oakland at Lakeside Park, our nation’s first wildlife refuge.
Established more than a half century ago, the Gardens serve as a source of great regional pride, a cultural and educational center and a place to enjoy tranquility in the heart of the city. The Gardens are poised to serve as an example of the highest standards of horticulture and historic preservation, while providing enriching public programs.
The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt hosts the Autumn Lights Festival, a now perennial event which each October unites Oakland’s horticultural, arts and music communities to delight and amaze attendees, and to raise funds to sustain the Gardens’ facilities and the Friends’ programs.
With your involvement and support, the Gardens will represent the best of who we are.
The Gardens are a collection of small themed gardens requiring varying levels of upkeep. Volunteers provide much needed maintenance assistance as the City of Oakland’s gardening staff has been dramatically reduced over time.
You are enthusiastically invited to join the Gardens’ volunteer work party days and/or support the Gardens through a donation; both are critical to preserving this community asset.
Adhering to the Gardens’ traditional status as a demonstration garden, the Gardens at Lake Merritt currently is home to the Pollinator Posse which raises awareness about the irreplaceable role pollinators play in urban gardening, as well as a “Bee Hotel” for native apian species and an exhibit which spotlights cutting-edge resource-preserving water feature filtration.