Through a mixture of field recording, interviews, music and narration, the Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After… audio tour explores the natural, social, and economic forces that have shaped, and continue to shape, Lake Merritt and its surroundings.
The tour route makes a big loop, with a couple of detours, going clockwise around the lake. It begins and ends at the Rotary Nature Center. There are 21 stops, each with a corresponding landmark and audio track. Depending on your pace the tour will take 5.5 to 6 hours in its entirety, covering a distance of just over 3 miles. I recommend breaking the tour into three parts (stops 1-7, 8-13, and 14-21) rather than attempting the whole thing on a single visit.
Because this is a self-guided tour you are responsible for starting, stopping and advancing the audio at each stop using the controls on your player. Spoken instructions on each track will help you get from one stop to the next. However you will want to bring the tour map for reference. For a more individualized experience simply visit a location on the map, select the corresponding audio track and press play. In this way you can enter or exit the tour at any point, listen to as many stops as you wish, in any order you desire.
A tour booth, located inside the Rotary Nature Center in Lakeside Park, was open Saturdays and Sundays, 10AM–4PM, from August 7 through November 14, 2010. Visitors could check out headphones and a player in exchange for a valid ID. Today the tour is only available remotely. You can download MP3s of the tour stops or stream them on your mobile device, and view a printer-friendly version of the tour map by clicking on the links below.
Note to parents: Stops 5, 9, and 20 contain adult language.
For directions to the Rotary Nature Center click here.