Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

1580 Cannon Road, Carlsbad, CA 92008

(760) 804-1969 |

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 33-0411888.

© 2019 by the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. All rights reserved.

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Looking for a Great Venue in Carlsbad?
AHLF Discovery Center

The AHLF Discovery Center overlooks the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, a 400-acre estuary and wetland situated in Carlsbad, California. The Discovery Center is a 3,800 square foot building that features both indoor and outdoor facilities that may be rented as a whole or a la carte.

The Discovery Center has hosted a wide variety of events, including lectures, business meetings, anniversaries, birthday parties, gala dinners, book signings, yoga classes, and more.


"This intersection in Carlsbad is at the tip of the spear, the very vanguard of technology for clean water, drinking water, emission free energy and environmental stewardship, for not just Carlsbad but for our state and our nation." – Peder Norby, April 7, 2014

An 8.9 kW solar system installed in our parking lot and on the roof above the Rancho Room provides the Discovery Center with 45% of its electric needs!

The gutters and downspout connected to the roof of the Rancho Room collects rain water and spreads it across the patio pavers. Rain water seeps into the soil, sustaining the garden and helping protect the quality of Agua Hedionda lagoon.

**Click on pictures below to view more photos of the area

Gardens and Patios

All rooms in the Discovery Center open to patios and gardens. The patios weave around the building, creating cozy gathering spaces amongst +750 native plants.

The main patio is a favorite setting to Wine, Dine, and Dance! The panoramic ocean and lagoon views make a gorgeous backdrop. The patio consists of approximately 220 square feet (dimensions: 18.5 feet by 12 feet) of open space along the west side of the Discovery Center. Couples enjoy exchanging their vows under the gazebo and then celebrating with their intimate friends.

Special Features: The gardens feature art, murals, informational placards, and more. Have a sharp eye? When you're wandering the gardens, look for all of our amazing Eagle Scout projects!

Rotunda Room

The Rotunda Room, located in the heart of the Discovery Center, is a magnificent 624 square foot space (dimensions: 26 feet by 24 feet). This airy room features wood beam cathedral ceilings, a candelabra chandelier, and two sets of double doors that open to the back patio and native gardens. The western doorway frames the lagoon at her most spectacular time of day – sunset!

The overall room color scheme consists of white and beige, allowing for both dressed up or dressed down décor. Perfect for any occasion.

Special Features: Touch tank. Fish tanks. Reptile enclosures. Educational Displays.

Great Room

The Native American Room is a 338 square foot open space (dimensions: 22.5 feet by 15 feet). This room is one of the main classrooms used for the AHLF Kid's Club and education programs. The room features three sets of glass double doors, which open to the back/front patios and parking lot and main building. The Great Room is decorated in white and beige and is carpeted. This room has been used for business meetings, conferences, and seminars!

Special Features: A projector and screen is also available for rent.

Lagoon Fact! Deer grass is one of the materials used by the Luiseño Indians to weave baskets.

AHLF Kitchen

The Discovery Center has a small but fully functional kitchen. Appliances available in the kitchen include a glass-top four-burner stove, oven, microwave, dish washer, refrigerator/freezer, coffee maker, and stainless steel double sink with a U-shaped faucet.

The kitchen features a glass door that opens onto the main patio and has been used as a food preparation and staging area for events.


Discovery Membership: $150

  • Two year membership to the AHLF

  • ABC license not required

  • Waived rental deposit fee

  • 3hr minimum rental requirement waived

  • 25% OFF your next rental at the AHLF Discovery Center

  • 50% OFF additional rental items for your next rental at the AHLF Discovery Center (not including cleaning) 

  • Non-refundable 

Membership Pricing: $500

  • The entire Discovery Center venue

  • 4:00 p.m. rental start time (this includes your set-up) 

    •  $150 per hour to start before 4:00 p.m.

For instance, if you wanted your wedding or reception to be at 4:00 p.m., and you thought you needed 4 hours prior to set-up:   

  • The entire venue from Noon – Midnight: $150 x 4 = $600 + $500 = $1100

  • The entire venue for the whole day (8:00 a.m. – midnight): $1500.


Non-Member Pricing: $200 an hour


Included in the pricing:

  • (15) 6ft rectangular tables

  • (1) 4ft rectangular tables

  • (50) white folding chairs

  • (20) grey folding chairs

  • Roll-away high bar



  • Cleaning Team at end of night (you take away your items. They put away all our items, clean, take trash out and lock doors – otherwise you do): $200

  • AHLF Team Member During Rental (pending availability): $50 per hour

  • Rental of our coffee machine, includes cups and creamer etc.: $125

  • Set up tables and chairs (our table and chairs, by an AHLF Team Member): $50

  • (4) Belly Bar Tables: $20​

Natural Package Option: $1000, includes: 

  • Membership to AHLF (allows you not to have to get an ABC license

  • Facility Venue Space (after 4pm)

  • AHLF Set Up (our tables & chairs)

  • Tables & Chairs:

    1. Belly Bar Tables (4)

    2. 16 6ft Rectangular Tables (seats 6 comfortably, 8 tighter squeeze)

    3. 1 4ft rectangular tables

    4. 1 tall Rollaway Bar Table

  • Third Party Cleaning Team

  • Additional Items (to be added to the $1000):

    1. Linen Table Cloths from Ara’s Party Rentals: $180 - $250

    2. Draperies for entire inside Discovery Center Building: $850

    3. Additional Items from Ara’s (examples include round tables, AV equipment, additional tables and chairs, décor) – Price varies (see website)

    4. AHLF Coordinator: $500  (As the coordinator we coordinate all pick-up and drop-off logistics with Ara’s,  and third party cleaning team)

      1. Includes 3 walk-throughs onsite with coordinator

      2. If coordinating additional items (i.e. food and bar, entertainment): $1000 total

      3. If wanted onsite during wedding: $50 per hour

    5. Rental of AHLF Coffee Machine: $125 (cups, coffee and creamers all included)

    6. Closing the Facility down before 4pm: $150 per hour (to have the space the entire day $1500)

    7. AHLF Decorates/puts table cloths on/centerpieces/glassware & plate ware set-up: $200


See our birthday party invite templates here

Download the Birthday Brochure Here
Let's Celebrate! Bring your own Decorations and Cake!

Birthday Packages may be purchased by members at Family Level or Higher

  • Family Member and Above, take 20% OFF 

  • Kids Klub Members, take 10% OFF

Six fabulous packages to choose from!

  • Available for Ages 1 - 12 years

  • All packages include:

    • Room Rental​

    • Table & chairs

    • 15 children

  • Extra Party Goer? No Problem! ($3)

No substitutions please

Skip the Goody Bag: 

Give kids the gift of legacy!

For an extra $2 per child, we will print adoption cards of our animals, and the money will be used for keeping their habitats up to date and for food and care needs! Great replacement for goody bags- or a great addition! 

Let's Party! Package ($100)*
  • 1.5 hour rental in the Great Room

  • Up to 15 children

  • Tables and Chairs

  • TV available (movies not included)

Slither & Shuffle Package ($175)*​
  • Includes everything from the Let's Party! Package

  • Animal Interactions

    • approximately 30 minutes​

Oh Macaw! It's a Party! Package ($250)*
  • Includes everything from the Slither & Shuffle Package

  • Decorate your own craft for up to 15 children.

    • approximately 15 minutes
      Craft options are:

      • Construction Paper Snake

      • Cardboard Fish

      • Recycled Paper Roll Squid

  • Lagoon Scavenger Hunt

    • approximately 20 minutes​

  • Extra Half Hour to Party!

Bugs & Bubbles Birthday Party ($350)*
  • 2 hour room rental, Great Room

  • 15 children

  • Tables & Chairs

  • 1 hour X-Large bubble entertainment provided by I Bubbles Design

  • Outdoor Bug Hunt with take home identification Card

    • approximately 20 minutes​

  • Your choice of Craft

    • ​approximately 15 minutes​
      • Recycled Paper Roll Lady Bug

      • Recycled Paper Roll Grasshopper

      • Recycled Paper Roll Bumble Bee

Radical Raptor Birthday Party ($425)*

  • 2 hour room rental, Great Room

  • 15 children

  • Tables & Chairs

  • 1 hour Live Raptor Presentation provided by The Raptor Institute

  • Owl Pellet Dissection

    • approximately 20 minutes​

  • Celebratory Birthday Photo, with frame, with The Raptor Institute

Piper's Piggy Party ($300/450)*
  • $300 Friday Afternoons / $450 Weekend

  • 2 hour room rental, Great Room

  • Up to 15 kids

  • Tables and Chairs

  • 30 minute play and feeding time with Piper the Pig, guided by Director of Education Cierra Russo (Piper's mom)

  • 20 Animal interactions with Piper's Friends

  • Piper the Pig craft

  • Frame with child's photo with Piper

Build Your Own Birthday Party 
  • Room Rental 1.5 hours - $125

  • Animal Interactions - $75

  • Scavenger Hunt - $25

  • X-Large Bubble Experience - $125

  • Craft per party goer - $3.50

  • Extra Hour to Party? - $50

  • Tables & Chairs - $25

  • Birthday Helper: Set-up and tear down including decorations. Assists throughout entire party - $75

To Book your Birthday Party contact or call (760) 804-1969.

Q: How do I reserve/Cancellation Policy?

A: Full payment is taken at time of reservation. We can tentatively hold the date and time for one week at no cost to begin with. If someone else were interested we would give you 24 hours to pay. If cancelled within two weeks the payment is non-refundable. 

Q: Can we bring a pinata?

A: Yes

Q: Can we decorate prior to the party?

A: Yes, we allow 15 minutes prior, or 30 minutes if available. We set up chairs and tables 30 minutes prior. We do not have linens. 

Q: Can I book at any time of the day? 

A: We have specific time slots for the parties. Inquire on times when choosing a party package. 

Q: Can we bring in food, snacks and drinks? 

A: Yes. You may bring in whatever you like, as long as there is no Styrofoam. You can only bring in alcohol if you are a family member, or you need to get an ABC licence. 

Our Most Popular Package!

Rental FAQ's

The how to's for renting the AHLF Discovery Center for your next unique, elegant, environmentally aware event.

Download Rental Brochure

Commonly Asked Questions


Q: What facilities may be rented at the Discovery Center?
A: The Discovery Center is situated at the eastern end of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, an estuary and wetland located in beautiful Carlsbad, California. The Discovery Center, a 3,800 square foot building, features the magnificent Rotunda Room, a 26'x24' space with wood beam cathedral ceilings, candelabra chandelier, and glass doors that open onto the lagoon and patios. Other Discovery Center Facilities include the Great Room, patios, kitchen facilities, and more. For your next gathering rent a room or the entire facility!


Q: What is the venue capacity?
A: The Discovery Center is a versatile facility, ideal for small to medium sized events. The patio area has been set-up for weddings (40 to 100 guests), networking events (up to 200 guests) and gala dinners with up to 300 seated guests (with outside tent).


Q: When is the Discovery Center available for rental?
A: The Discovery Center is available for rentals during open hours and after hours. During open hours (Mon –Sat 9:00am -4:00pm, Sun 12:00-4:00pm) rentals are $150/hour for members and $200/hour for non-members, if you would like to rent after hours (after 4:00pm-12:00om) it is a $500 flat rate. Renters can stay until midnight. Carlsbad has a noise ordinance of 10pm (if you have an outside band, you would want to end them). It is also recommended that you call the Carlsbad Police non-emergency line ahead of time to let them know (760-931-2197)

Q: Can I just rent a room during open hours?

A: Yes, see rental options below under pricing.

Q: Do you allow live music, bands, or DJs on the premises for an event?
A: Yes! There is nothing like dancing to live music on the patio at dusk. Carlsbad has a noise ordinance of 10pm, so a band/DJ outside must end then. 


Q: What amenities are available at the Discovery Center?
A: All building and patio areas are wheelchair accessible. The Discovery Center has bathrooms, and small, fully functional kitchen.


Q: Do you have heating and air conditioning? 

A: Inside, yes. We do not have outdoor heat lamps.

Q: What is the lighting like outdoors?

A: There are lights surrounding the building that automatically turn on at dusk as well as market lights strung up on the back patio. 

Q: How many tables and chairs do you have?

A: 16 6ft rectangular tables, 1 4ft rectangular table (all included at no cost). 4 circular belly up bars which cost $5 each.  

Q: What should I bring?

A: Your own kitchen items (we do not have serving trays, wine openers, utensils or accessories), your own lighter (to light candles), no Styrofoam (we are a no Styrofoam zone).

Q: Can I bring in any rental items prior to my rental or leave them their after my rental?

A: No, we cannot store things prior to or after your event- everything would come at the time of rental (ice, coolers, centerpieces etc.)

Q: Will the animals in the main room be covered up or moved?

A: All the bird items are moved into the back offices. The reptile corner is not. We do not have covers. You are welcome to drape over them though.


Q: Can I bring alcohol?
A: Yes.


Q: Can I bring decorations and outside rental items?
A: Yes. You will be charged the $100 security deposit fee if the decorations do not come down at the end of the nigh, or if any items destroy the paint on the walls. We recommend Ara's Party Rentals (in San Marcos). You can receive 15% off if you are a member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation.

Q: Can I bring in catering?

A: Yes. You are welcome to bring any professional vendors that you like! The AHLF is happy to share a list of vendors that have supported past events, such as weddings, galas, birthday and anniversary parties, lectures, networking nights.

Q: Are there trails available at the Discovery Center?
A: There is one trail onsite that you can access from the Discovery Center. We have four additional trails, Kelly Trail, HUBBS Trail, Cove Drive Trail & Bayshore Drive Trail. Learn more about our trails.

Q. Does the AHLF Set-Up Chairs & Tables?

A: We can set up our own tables and chairs at a cost of $50. We do not set-up additional items. 

Q: Can I drop items off before my rented time?

A: No. All items need to be delivered within the window of your rental.

Q: Are we allowed to have fire pits on the back patio?

A: No

Q: Can we bring a pinata?

A: Yes

Q: Do you have extension cords for us to use?

A: No

Q: Can we use the Kitchen/Fridge/Freezer?

A: Yes. We clear a shelf in the fridge. The freezer has very limited space. We recommend you bring plenty of coolers. The entire kitchen you may use.

Q: Do you have scissors/tape/sharpies for use?

A: No please bring all supplies form home.

Q: Do we lock the doors at the end of the night?

A: Yes, we provide a key and you lock the doors, shut off the lights and shut the gate. We have a cleaning team for $200 that will come in the morning and put all tables/chairs away, take out the trash and clean. Otherwise you do so. 


Q: Can we have candles?

A: Yes

Q: Is there WIFI?

A: Yes

Q: What does it cost to rent the Discovery Center?
A: We have two rental policies: an hourly rate for rentals occurring during opening hours and a flat rate for rentals after opening hours.

Rentals During Opening Hours (Mon-Sat 9:00-4:00, Sun 12:00-4:00)

  • Discovery Center $150/hour (max 10hrs)

  • Must be a member to access this rate

Rentals After Hours

  • $500 flat rate (entire center)

  • Replenish our paper supplies with 2 rolls of toilet paper, 1 roll of paper towels and citronella oil (seasonal). 

  • Must be a member to access this rate

Additional Items Available to Rent​

  • AHLF Cleaning Team $200

  • Belly Up Bars (4 available) $5

  • AHLF Sets-up Tables and Chairs $50

  • Cream Linens (6 available) $15.50 each

  • Rental of Coffee Machines $100 flat rate (you provide cups)

Potential Member Pricing

  • $200/hour

  • ABC License and Insurance required

Single Room Rentals during open hours

  • Rotunda Room: $750 flat rate, max 10 hours or
    $125 per hour

  • Great Room: $75 flat rate for 2 hours or
    $45 per hour each additional hour

  • Membership not required

Q: How do I reserve/Cancellation Policy?

A: Join as a Discovery Member (no deposit needed) and we will reserve the day. Memberships non-refundable. Full payment required within two weeks of the rental. If December/June Rental - 50% non-refundable fee required to reserve. If cancelled within two weeks the payment is non-refundable. 


Q: What are folks saying about their experience renting the facilities at AHLF?

“We had such a wonderful time at Victoria’s birthday party.  All the guests were impressed with the venue, the staff, and the activities.  Set up was a breeze.  The staff were very helpful.  They interacted well with the children.  I very much appreciated that they kept the schedule moving, but were very discreet about it.  And so we seamlessly flowed from one activity to the other.  The children could have spent hours perfecting their squid/octopus craft.  The animal interactions were so well thought out.  Thank you for considering the interests of the guests.  The scavenger hunt was a huge success - and educational, too, which was a big plus for the parents.  Guests with no young children enjoyed the spectacular view. Thank you so much.  It exceeded my expectations.  Thank you for offering this service.” ~ Maryam Tanudra

Maryam Tanudra

Birthday Party Rental

Curren’s 3rd Birthday was amazing.  Thank you so much.  We will definitely be booking more events with you all.  Your graciousness and understanding and additional help was so thoughtful especially after our family had been evacuated.

Megan Carter

Birthday Party Rental

I want to take a moment and let you know we had a great birthday party there at the Discovery Center last Sunday, Oct 1st. All the kids enjoyed the reptile experience and scavenger hunt too. Randy did a great job with the kids & he gave great facts about each reptile. As a parent, I was thankful he also discussed safety and reminded them not to try to touch snakes in the wild. He was a pleasure to work with.. making sure I had what I needed too!

Valerie McConnin

Birthday Party Rental

Just wanted to thank you and your team for making Wednesday night a huge success! I have had such rave reviews on the setting and the fact that the sunset behind Encina. People enjoyed the venue so much. Thank you for all your guidance and commitment to making the evening flawless.

Andrea Coghill

NRG Energy

Thank you AHLF staff for everything. You were great and easy to work with. You helped make our whole party experience a pleasant one. Thanks also for the bottle of wine. You are great!!!

Jose De Anda

Carlsbad Educational Foundation

Thank you so much for helping make the arrangements for our daughter, Aliana, to celebrate her birthday at your Discovery Center. You made it very easy! It was wonderful to see the children so interested in the animals and having such a great time learning about them and interacting with them. The volunteers were very welcoming, helpful and great with children. We were so appreciative of the warm and educational way they helped the guests interact with the animals. We had a great day! Thank you!

Katrina Carroll

Birthday Party Rental

Thank you so much for everything! I never thought that we could have such a magical evening as we had Friday night. We really appreciate the help and guidance throughout our journey with you. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity.

Teanna Evans

Sage Creek High School ASB Advisor

Thank you so much again for accommodating us! The students had so much fun. It was a great event!

Jocelyn South

Sage Creek High School ASB Accounting Technician

Thank you so much for allowing us to host our party here last night. You did such a wonderful job to get the place ready for us. We had a magnificent time... Thanks for all you do!

Andy Roe

Author at Book Signing Event

I just have to tell you that the party yesterday far exceeded our expectations and everyone had such a good time. Randy was so helpful, super friendly and really flexible with the schedule. Thank you so much for your help! Best party ever!

Sarrah Gielow

Birthday Party Rental

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