Living in the Twin Cities offers us the best of both worlds: access to all of the amenities or urban living with the amazing natural beauty of Minnesota and all it has to offer just a short drive away. If you are looking for a really neat family day, we suggest you Go, See, Explore the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN! It’s an hour and half drive from the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities and you’ll also find lots of other things to do in the area and along the Mississippi River!
Parking is plentiful and free in Wabasha and the walk to the National Eagle Center is short and pleasant. The entrance is located on Lawrence Blvd.
Heading upstairs allows you the opportunity to meander through an exhibit all about eagles. Besides seeing the actual eagles, we got to see, feel, listen to, and read much more than we expected! You can even look through binoculars and maybe be lucky enough to spot an eagle in a nest across the river.
Twice a day the National Eagle Center offers Educational Programs with Indoor and Outdoor Options. (reserving your seat is $3 additional to admission). At the program we attended, the Naturalist Staff member was very engaged with the kids and was extremely knowledgeable. It was fun to learn more about the life of the eagles and how each one came to be at the National Eagle Center.
During one portion of the presentation, kids had the chance to stand up front and measure themselves next to a wing span stick to find out how big they would be if they were eagles. For the littlest attendees who might lose attention through the presentation, there are eagle puppets in the back of the room to play with to keep busy! The entire program was approximately 45 minutes.
Next, we walked through the room where eagles are available for visitors to see. This isn’t like seeing Eagles at a zoo where they are behind a fence or a glass wall. These Eagles were right there, just a few feet away!
At one point while we gazed at their beauty and listened to the trained staff tell us a little more about each one, one of the eagles decided to open its wings up and then called out loudly quite a few times. We were all blown away and the entire room fell silent in response!
The storefront has a great selection of eagle-themed products and gifts as well as educational resources, books, and other literature. I’m always looking for new books to add to our collection so I picked up a booklet on all the different types of birds we can see in our area. For the little visitors, there is a table with coloring activities as well as a life-sized eagle’s nest that kids can walk in.
What I love most about the National Eagle Center is that in addition to educating about eagles, they are also focused on preserving the lives of these birds who would not survive on their own. The National Eagle Center is a sanctuary for injured or sick eagles that were found and brought to safety. It is a nonprofit organization that is not only home to a handful of very special eagles but also educates and inspires the public on conservation, ecology, and research on these birds and their natural habitats.
Visit their website for more information on tickets, hours, and events! The National Eagle Center is definitely worth the trip. The eagles are mesmerizing and the passion of the staff and everyone at The National Eagle Center is contagious. We all definitely enjoyed our time there and look forward to going back.