National Wildlife Refuge System

Wildlife Have Fun Too!

volunteer and partnership
Courtship rituals of Atlantic puffins include tapping each other's bills. On February 10 at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, children will learn about other wildlife courtship rituals, in preparation for Valentines Day.
Credit: USFWS

Snow and frost may change the landscape. But wonder is always present at national wildlife refuges. See for yourself. Layer up and explore your natural heritage at a refuge near you.  
Identify animals by their tracks in the snow.  Listen for a woodpecker’s tattoo. Attend a festival celebrating the 110th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and learn how your refuge is protecting wildlife and habitat for generations to come. 

Waterfowl Identification Workshop
Thursday, February 7, 7 to 9 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Learn to identify ducks, geese and swans present in Massachusetts. A field trip will follow on Saturday, February 9, to Cape Ann or Cape Cod. This workshop is free for members of the Brookline Bird Club and Friends of Assabet River Refuge and $15 for non-members. Register: or 508-393-9251.

San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival
Friday, February 8 to Sunday, February 10 — San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
The 17th annual festival includes field trips to the refuge.

Oak Tree Acorn Planting
February 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Join refuge staff in planting acorns while learning state-of-the-art planting techniques. Help restore oak trees that are so important in many of San Diego’s ecosystems.


Sullys Hill Winter Fest
Saturday, February 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, ND
Attend the 9th annual winter fest. Enjoy guided snowshoe hikes, displays of soap and wood carving, an introduction to dog sledding and a presentation on Skijoring and Canicross.


The Basics of Salt Pond Restoration
Saturday, February 9, 2 to 3:30 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Learn how construction in former salt ponds ties into the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. This ambitious project seeks to convert 15,100 acres of former industrial salt ponds to habitat for endangered and other wildlife. Weather permitting, take a walk on the 0.25-mile boardwalk to view the progress thus far. Environmental Education Center, Alviso

Preview: Snow Goose and Eagle Tours
Saturday, February 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  — Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MO
Sample an early-season migratory bird tour.


Bald Eagle Day
Saturday, February 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
Enjoy a full day of free activities, including auto loop tours to view eagles. Take part in eagle crafts and games. See movies and a live bald eagle.


14th Annual Everglades Day Festival
Saturday, February 9 — Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Attend the refuge’s biggest annual event. Enjoy talks, wildlife demonstrations, games, conservation exhibits, music and entertainment.


Guided Refuge Hikes
Saturday, February 9, and Saturday, February 23, 9 a.m. — Buenos Aires National Wildlife, AZ
Enjoy a 3.8-mile hike. Public hikes are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from November to April. Have lunch under the shade of a natural rock arch. $5 per person. Register: Bonnie Swarbrick at 520-823-4251.


Hibernate, Migrate, or Insulate: A Wildlife Winter Survival Guide
Saturday, February 9, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  — Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, ID
Do squirrels have sleeping bags? Do bears have space heaters? Do geese eat at restaurants? How do they survive the challenges of winter? Children in grades 2-4 are invited to join this interactive winter day camp at the refuge visitor center. Register: 208-467-9278


Winter Birding Tour
Saturday, February 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Tour the refuge with a naturalist guide to learn how birds, mammals, reptiles and plants adapt to the change in seasons. Bring binoculars, bug repellent, water and field guides if you have them. Register: 850-925-6121.


Wild Discoveries for Kids
Sunday, February 10, 1 to 3 p.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by learning how animals find their mates through smell, sounds and dance. Enjoy hands-on games and make a craft to take home. No reservations required for this drop-in program in the Visitor Center Discovery Room. All ages are welcome.


Winter Wings Festival
Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17 — Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CA
The 34th annual festival celebrates the waterfowl-rich Klamath Basin, a major migratory stop on the Pacific Flyway. More than 80 percent of birds that use the flyway stop over in the Klamath Basin. The basin’s six national wildlife refuges attract a wide variety of waterfowl and raptors, many in astounding numbers. Popular festival events include an “owl prowl” at Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and field trips to other Klamath Basin refuges.


The Great Backyard Bird Count
Friday, February 15, to Monday, February 18
Join citizen scientists in this annual bird count, hosted by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, to document the winter movement of birds. Many national wildlife refuges will take part.  Here are some of the refuges where there will be Great Backyard Bird Count events:


Winter Nature Walk: A Sense of Place
Saturday, February 16, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Winter is the season when earth and sky merge in a shared palette of color, shadow and reflections. Ice and snow give way to myriad forms and ephemeral worlds that reveal themselves only in these silent, frozen months of the year. Join in for a winter revelation.


Puddlestompers Nature Exploration
Tuesday, February 19 to Friday, February 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Let your kids discover the beauty and wonder of late winter and early spring during Puddlestompers February Vacation Week Drop-Off Program. The group will venture along refuge trails as much as weather permits. They will look for animal tracks and learn how animals survive the winter and why evergreens keep their leaves. Hands-on exploration, active movement and play, crafts, stories, and songs will be part of the curriculum. Sign up for 1, 2, 3 or all 4 days. $60/day/child; Friends of Assabet River receive a 10 percent discount. Contact Rona Balco at 978-779-2259.


Whooping Crane Festival
Thursday, February 21, to Sunday, February 24 — Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Enjoy a weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, including an overnight nature trip, birding tours, boat trips and refuge tours to see the magnificent whooping cranes in their winter habitat.


Disappearing Treasures: National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository Tour
Friday, February 22, 10 a.m. to noon — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Tour this one-of-a-kind facility that houses illegally imported animals and animal products seized at U.S. borders. The facility manages the Native American Eagle Feather Program. Families are welcome. Reserve: 303‐289‐0930.


Full Moon Owl Hike
Friday, February 22, 7 to 9 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Learn about owls in New England. Then head out on refuge trails to try to locate some local owls by sight and sound. Reserve: or 978-201-6028 by February 20. Dress warmly.


Thunder on the Prairie – The American Bison
Saturday, February 23, 9:30 to 11 a.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Massive bison herds once blanketed the Plains, their hoofs echoing like thunder when they stampeded.  Learn about bison and enjoy a guided tour of the bison pasture with a refuge naturalist.


Hike with a Ranger
Saturday February 23, 9 to 11 a.m. — San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Join an easy-to-moderate monthly hike sponsored by the refuge. Children will have a treasure hunt to keep them entertained while hiking. Meet: Par 4 Drive trailhead. RSVP: Lisa, 619- 476-9150, ext. 106.


Trees in Winter
Sunday, February 24, 1 p.m. — Oxbox National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Using the skills of observation and bark identification, explore the trees of the refuge and identify the common and not so common species found there. Register: Rona Balco at 978-779-2259 or Ada at


Wetlands Water Café
Sunday, February 24, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Visit the wetlands of the South Bay at the Environmental Education Center in Alviso and learn about wetlands nutrients and organisms that build a diverse web of life. Use the lab to observe wetland creatures up close and learn about their role in the ecosystem. All ages are welcome. Reservations: 408-262-5513 ext. 104.


San Diego Bird Festival
Thursday, February 28 to Sunday, March 3 — San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
The San Diego Audubon Society will team up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Events will include field trips to the three national wildlife refuges near San Diego.

Last updated: February 4, 2013