Walk in a winter wonderland. Hear sleigh bells ring. Make the season bright at a national wildlife refuge near you. Check out some of the free, family-friendly holiday-season activities that refuges will host through the New Year. Look here for added listings as the holidays draw closer.
Winter Tram Tour
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA (KIDS LOVE VIRGINIA, pg 192)
Take a ride on an open-air tram and see the ducks, geese and swans that make the refuge their winter home. Continue into False Cape State Park for a one-mile hike to the Wash Woods cemetery and church site. $8 per person. Reservations are required: 757-426-7128. Dates are:
November 9, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
November 23, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
December 7, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
December 21, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
November 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Shop for wild and not-so-wild, new and gently used treasures. Find unique gifts that support the Patuxent Research Refuge and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Okefenokee Pioneer Day
November 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA (KIDS LOVE GEORGIA, pg 145)
Visit the Chesser Island Homestead to discover how people once lived in southeast Georgia. Learn how settlers made soap, brooms, butter, quilts and other everyday items. Watch a sugar cane boil and taste the cane juice.
Assateague Island Waterfowl Weekend
November 27 – 30 — Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA (KIDS LOVE VIRGINIA, pg 141)
The refuge will host an open house and offer special events in conjunction with the festival, which marks the fall migration of waterfowl to the refuge.
Holiday Open House
December 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, IL
Celebrate the holiday season with refuge Friends, staff and volunteers. Sample a variety of holiday food and learn about the refuge and Friends of the Cache River Watershed.
Winter Open House
December 6, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI ((KIDS LOVE WISCONSIN, pg 142)
Enjoy musical performances by popular artists Ken Lonnquist and Dave Adler at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will also be nature crafts and outdoor activities, and discounts at the Coot’s Corner Bookstore.
December 7, noon to 4 p.m. — Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, OH
Enjoy a warm fire, festive music, kids’ crafts, good company and holiday gifts at the bookstore. Two neighboring conservation organizations, Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the state-managed Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, will also hold open houses the same day.
Snowshoe Habitat Hike
December 13, 10 to 11 a.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI (KIDS LOVE WISCONSIN, pg 6)
Explore the refuge and search for winter wildlife and tracks on a free one-mile snowshoe hike. Warm up with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. Some snowshoes in adult and children’s sizes are available to borrow. If there’s not enough snow for snowshoes, enjoy a winter hike instead. Snowshoeing is a great activity for all ages.