Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
"The Givens Interpretative Center"
The Visitor Center should be the first stop for all groups planning a visit to the Refuge. Activities and programs are available for visiting groups of all descriptions, ages, and sizes. The visit and activities are all free.
The 10,000 square foot Givens Interpretive Center located off Highway 67 east of Decatur offers a variety of displays depicting area wildlife and habitats.
Hours: The Visitor Center and Observation Building are open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (March through September), and seven (7) days each week (October through February) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Visitor Center's phone number is (256) 350-6639.
Auditorium: A 126 seat auditorium is available with a large screen for projecting DVD’s, or VHS videos. The projection system is also compatible for use with a computer. A collection of approximately 40 videos are available for viewing in the auditorium. Topics and length vary.
Education Classrom: A 64-seat classroom with tables, chairs, TV, VCR, DVD, projector and screen is availalble.
Wildlife Observation Building: The Wildlife Observation Building offers a large, glass-enclosed room with bleachers and spotting scopes for viewing waterfowl and wading birds in the observation pond. November-February is the peak time for waterfowl viewing. The building overlooks a Backyard Wildlife Habitat Area complete with a waterfall which is maintained to attract songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Many species of birds are frequently visible here.
Atkeson Cypress Trail: A 1/2 mile trail that begins with a 330 foot section of boardwalk through a cypress swamp. A variety of wildlife inhabits the area surrounding the trail.
Picnic Area: Three picnic tables (seats 18 comfortably) located behind the visitor center are available for use by classes and other visitors.
Scheduling Classess: We encourage educators to arrange field trips to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Please contact the Refuge Visitor Center at (256) 350-6639 and be prepared to provide the following information: school name, teacher’s name, number of students, date of field trip, time of arrival, and which facilities you wish to use. Please call at least two weeks in advance to avoid potential conflicts with other classes.
Teacher Resources: Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge has a large number of brochures available to the public for use during a visit. A General Brochure explains the Refuge, our policies and goals, general information, and hours of the visitor center. The Refuge Tear-off Sheet is a one page map showing the interior roads of the refuge, a calendar of wildlife activities, and general information about the Refuge. The Bird List Brochure lists the different species found on the refuge, typical seasons, and whether they are common. The Fishing Brochure covers many of the details concerning fishing on Wheeler Refuge an contains a map, depicting all the developed boat launches. The refuge Hunting Permit is a must for anyone hunting on Wheeler Refuge and contains information concerning dates, laws, and a map. Specific questions concerning other available material should be directed to the Visitor Center at (256)350-6639.