Lake El Estero is a citywide park in central Monterey. Originally a salt-water lagoon, its outlets to the bay were cut off because of over flooding. The 24.7-acre (100,000 m2) park has become an estuary to many migrating birds and ongoing improvements have been made into preserving the park. Lake El Estero offers several activities with its baseball diamond, skatepark, and the world famous Dennis the Menace Park. Many parks and attractions have been developed in Lake El Estero to attract both tourists and locals. The most popular of these is the Dennis the Menace Playground.
The park opened on November 17, 1956. With a variety of children's play areas, the park became a great success.
Lake El Estero is also an important ecosystem in and of itself that supports a large amounts of life and is home to a countless number of birds, fish, and plants. Over 300 species of birds live in or pass thru Lake El Estero Park. Many birds migrating south stop at the lake to rest such as the Ring-billed Gull, the Western Gull, the California Gull, the Mud hen, the Black-crowned Night Heron, and the Great Blue Heron. During the summer the Brown Pelican comes in from the south. Many ducks live there year round such as the Mallard.