Wabasha, the home of some Grumpy Old Men… or so I thought. Ok, they really only filmed a few small things there. To the locals, they are most well known for their National Eagle Center. We decided to take the river drive there. There were a lot of small towns along the way that you had to stop at. It was nice getting to take things a little slower. For some reason when you get onto freeways, it’s a mission to see how fast you get there and you miss things in all the small towns along the way.
The National Eagle Center
Our mission, the National Eagle Center. We got there about 20 minutes before the first show. It gave us just in enough time to check out the 4 different Eagles they had on display. One of the things I really appreciated was that they had the birds in an open air room. When I say open air, I mean there was nothing preventing you from jumping over and petting a bird. (Not Recommended). There is something a little more intimate about visiting birds or any animal for that matter when there is not a pain of glass or a netting in-between you. They had 3 Bald Eagles and 1 Golden Eagle.
People started to fill up the classroom 15 minute early to get a seat for their presentation. They put on a really informative show. What I loved was that they passed around a lot of hands-on visuals to give you a good idea of what they were talking about. One of my son’s favorite parts was getting to touch the ‘Pellets’. For those that don’t know what a pellet is, those are everything that the bird cannot digest i.e. vomited back up. I think he thought it was a new touch and feel book. They also passed around feathers, talons and a lot of pictures of the different types of birds of prey.
Then there was the main event. They brought out Angle, a female bird that’s been with the center since 2000. She had a broken wing and was unable to return to the wild. We also came on a very special day. Instead of the normal fish they feed them, this time they had a rat to treat on. Thankfully it was dead but still it was very graphic. As a warning to anyone thinking of going to the show, the front row is known as the splash zone. We also found out that the Birds also dictate how long the presentation goes on for. Typically the whole presentation will last an hour. If the bird gets uncomfortable, they will end it sooner.
After the show, we looked around the center a little more. They have two different floors of activities. They had a bunch of interactive setups to learn about other aspects of the birds. My daughter had fun playing with the telescope camera, looking at feathers. They also had a bunch of telescopes and binoculars pointed outside to try and catch a glimpse of the birds flying on over the river banks. If the weather is nice enough, you can also hang out on their balcony to try and spot some.
Fun thing –
They do not rehabilitate the Birds there; just provide them with a home for the birds that are unable to return to the wild.
The Eagles will start to scream if they see other Eagles outside the window. They are very territorial. We were fortunate enough to hear this on our visit.
Shows at the National Eagle Center are at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm.
It’s all privately funded nonprofit organization. Admission is $5 for kids and $8 for adults.