Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
"Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people who are alive today, but the property of unknown generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander." - Theodore Roosevelt
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge offers adventure, serenity and natural experiences for those with a passion for wildlife, the beautiful prairie grasslands and productive wetland habitats. It's a place for people to relax and enjoy some of the magnificent pleasures of nature, such as the spring and fall migrations of thousands of ducks, geese, shorebirds and songbirds – the colorful blossoms on the delicate spring crocus – and the howls of the elusive coyote. The seasons of the refuge – spring, summer, autumn, and winter, all offer new and enriching experiences to those who are adventurous and seek them out.
Wildlife abounds – More than 246 bird, 34 mammal, 5 reptile, 4 amphibian and 37 fish species can be found in the refuge's gently rolling prairie grasslands and wetlands. More than 100 islands scattered throughout Lake Audubon provide safe nesting havens for many species of birds.
Wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities for visitors include:
Visitor Center - This is an ideal place to begin your visit. An exhibit hall features exhibits on wetland and grassland habitat, migratory birds, night life of the refuge, John James Audubon, Refuge history, and more. The visitor center is open from 8am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays.
Prairie Pond Store - Enhance your visit with wildlife and habitat educational materials or souvenirs of Audubon National Wildlife Refuge. The store is managed and operated by Audubon Refuge Partners, Inc., a group of volunteers who assist with refuge programs and activities.
South Shore Auto Tour Route - The 8-mile route begins near the visitor center and winds along the scenic south shoreline of Lake Audubon. Highlights include views of the lake, prairie wetlands, grasslands, and a chance to observe many species of animals and plants. You are welcome to leave your vehicle and stroll through the prairie or along the wind-blown shoreline of Lake Audubon. An auto tour route brochure corresponds with numbered signs along the route.
Prairie Nature Trail - A one mile, self-guided trail begins on the north side of the visitor center. The trail meanders through prairie grasslands and along wetlands, allowing visitors to observe many species of plants, birds, and other animals.
Wildlife Observation - Spring and fall migration are peak times to observe many species and concentrations of birds. Early mornings and evenings are best for viewing wildlife. A wildlife checklist is available in the visitor center.
Photography Blind - Enjoy peaceful moments observing or photographing waterfowl and shorebirds on a quiet bay of Lake Audubon. A westerly view from the blind offers a glimpse of a beautiful sunset over Lake Audubon.
Hunting - Deer hunting and a late season upland bird (pheasant, grouse, partridge) hunt are held on the refuge. Special regulations apply. Hunting information and a map are available in the visitor center.
Ice Fishing - Ice fishing on the Refuge is permitted when ice covers the water. Special regulations apply. Ice fishing information and a map are available in the visitor center.
- Guided Tours
- Guides Available
- Instruction Available
- Self-Guided Tours
- Open Year 'Round
- Free Admission
- Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm, except Federal holidays
- Advance Reservations Required