Visitor Activities

  • Free Nature Programs & Special Events

    free nature programs

    There is always something going on both on the refuge and at local Southwest Philadelphia community spaces! Check out the event calendar for upcoming guided nature walks, clean-up opportunities, nature festivals, and more!

    Calendar of Upcoming Events 

  • Volunteering Opportunities

    volunteer opportunities

    From trail maintenance to environmental education to the front desk, there are many opportunities to contribute! Join a cohort of dedicated volunteers that help make the refuge run!

    Learn more about volunteering

  • Fishing

    family fish

    Whether you are fishing for the first time or a seasoned angler, there are fishing opportunities at the refuge for everyone! Stop by the Visitor Center front desk to borrow fishing rods and tackle boxes, free of charge. Visit our fishing page to learn more about the best areas to fish and current rules and regulations.

    Learn more about fishing

  • Kayaking and Canoeing


    Paddling is one of the best ways to experience the refuge. Non-motorized boaters are invited to wind through the 4.5 mile segment of Darby Creek and discover the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. A non-motorized boat launch is located near the Visitor Center parking lot. Please be advised that Darby Creek waters are tidal and navigable only within 2 hours before and after high tide. Please refer to tidal charts and local conditions before launching.

    Learn more about kayaking and canoeing

    Tinicum Marsh Tide Chart 

  • Hunting

    new hunters

    John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is open for a limited public recreational archery hunting program held within the existing Pennsylvania archery deer season (Refuge Permits Required). Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge strives to provide quality educational and outdoor recreation programs including hunting experiences for youth and adults who may not have the opportunity to hunt elsewhere. Please check our hunting page for more information.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    child binoc

    With over 10 miles of trails and several wildlife observation platforms, the refuge provides many areas for visitors to observe wildlife. The refuge contains a variety of unique ecosystems, including tidal and non-tidal freshwater marsh, freshwater tidal creek, coastal plain and riparian forests. The diverse habitats support a variety of resident and migratory wildlife including more than 300 species of birds, as well as many mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and plants.

    Learn more about refuge wildlife


  • Environmental Education


    Since its establishment in 1972, the refuge has worked with area educators to provide educational opportunities for their students. Our programs provide teachers with the information, skills, and resources to incorporate the environment into their curriculum and to utilize the refuge as an outdoor classroom as well as engage students in hands-on activities that inspire and connect them directly to nature. "Connecting People to Nature" is a national program and priority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Learn more about environmental education