Visitor Activities

Tattler T. Dove

The main wildlife-dependent activities at Keālia Pond NWR are wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation. The refuge is a popular place for birdwatching, particularly when migratory birds are present from August to April.




  • Wildlife Viewing

    The refuge is popular for birdwatching not only for close-up glimpses of endangered ae‘o and ‘alae ke‘oke‘o, but for viewing the diversity of migratory birds that use the refuge during winter months. Shorebirds arrive in August and waterfowl begin increasing in September-October. This is an exciting time of year because infrequently seen birds show up and can become a challenge for even the seasoned birders.

  • Interpretation

    Refuge System interpretation programs provide opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the natural world.  From self-guided walks to ranger-led programs, many national wildlife refuges help visitors learn more about the wildlife and habitat behind the landscapes.

    In addition to staff and volunteers presenting programs to audiences, refuges use a variety of exhibits, signs, brochures, and electronic media to communicate natural history stories to visitors.  Printed and virtual information is often available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.

    Through Refuge System interpretation programs, you can learn why nearly all of the critically endangered Whooping Cranes spend the winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, about the beneficial role of wildfire to encourage native vegetation to grow at Necedah Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, and thousands of other interesting and informative stories.

  • Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  Contact or visit the refuge to check on program availability and reservation policies.  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

  • Photography

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! 

  • Prohibited Recreational Activities

    Recreational activities such as bicycling, ball throwing, frisbees, jogging, and skateboarding are not wildlife-dependent and result in altering birds behavior from feeding or resting to avoidance. Even an activity as seemingly "quiet” as flying a kite is a disturbance as birds perceive the shape and motion as an avian predator and consume valuable energy in avoidance (fly away) or chase away if they are protecting nests and/or chicks. Pets are not allowed on the refuge for these same reasons. Nonwildlife dependent activities can be performed in the numerous county parks located along South Kīhei Road in Kīhei. Disturbing or removing plants, animals, rocks, fossils, or artifacts is prohibited.