We were blessed with gorgeous weather for a long weekend camping trip along scenic Highway 61. The first thing we did upon tumbling out of the camper in Wabasha, Minnesota, was spend a good fifteen minutes soaking up the sun along the Mississippi. It’s along these banks that majestic bald eagles winter and build nests to raise their young. You can learn all about these raptors – and get just about nose-to-beak with them – at the adjacent National Eagle Center.
Since (obviously) this website’s got a strong family slant, I’m going to list what my kids were most drawn to at the Eagle Center. I’ll also note that we planned our visit to last about an hour and a half, including time spent exploring the exhibits and watching one of three live eagle programs presented daily.
Not surprisingly, the kids loved the very personal feeling of being close to the birds. Only a low railing separated them from the five rescued eagles – four golden and one bald eagle – that call the National Eagle Center home. Each one has been rehabilitated from life-threatening injuries, but will never be able to be released into the wild. Below, Erin is visiting with Columbia, who was struck by a van around 2003.
Thanks for providing my kids with stuff they can touch! And play with, too. There’s a giant eagle’s nest for children to “hatch” eggs in, a station to make crayon rubbings, telescopes for eagle-spotting, and a large artifact corner. Plus, there are objects passed around during the live program that help hold the kids’ interest.
The kids got squirmy during the eagle program (through no fault of the presenter; she was great), but came front and center for the feeding portion of the show. Who isn’t tempted by food? They watched the celebrated bald eagle Harriet devour her daily meal of fish whole. Fun fact: eagles consume their entire prey, then cough up “pellets” of the indigestible material later!
We all agreed that the National Eagle Center was a worthwhile stop on our tour down Highway 61.
National Eagle Center
50 Pembroke Ave
Wabasha, MN 55981
March 1- November 1: 10am – 5pm
Live eagle shows: 11am, 1pm, & 3pm
Admission: $8/adults, $7/seniors & veterans, $6/child 4-17
Touring tip: LARK Toys is five miles south of the National Eagle Center in Kellogg, Minnesota, and is also worth a stop!