My son’s favorite thing about visiting the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is feeding the geese while walking on the floating bridge. Because he loves it, I clench my teeth and march right out there…straight into the hundreds of geese flocking closer and closer, wildly honking, hoping to be fed, and me with no way to escape. The geese are waddling towards us from each end of the floating bridge and I am trapped. So I bravely (yes, damn it, bravely) close my eyes and follow P as he feeds every last goose and duck at the Wildlife Sanctuary. Yes, I have an irrational fear of geese. No it doesn’t stop me from visiting the sanctuary regularly with my family. There are just too many cool things to do to let the geese ruin it for me.
We usually start in the Nature Education Center where P speed walks straight for the otter slide. It’s totally enclosed (read: pitch black) and lets kids out under the “pond”. It used to be a highlight of my childhood visits as well. The Nature Education Center also has lots of small live animals at kids’ eye-level. Everything from Tarantulas to Guinea Pigs.
Usually we head for the outdoor animals on the Wildlife Habi-Trek Trail next. We watch otters swim and play, see nocturnal animals in the Woodland Building, climb the deer observation tower and wrap it all up with photos and play on the playground equipment.
Across the water from the Nature Education Center (and over the floating bridge, if you’re brave enough) there’s the Resch Falls and Conservation Wing. We haven’t spent much time over there lately. We usually run out of time before we make it over there, but it features birds of prey, an animal nursery, and a Critter Corner where kids can see and touch live animals.
- It’s free! Of course, they appreciate donations and we make sure to give something each time we visit.
- Most underrated feature at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary? The bird viewing deck in the Nature Education Center. P just started a bird life-list and this is the perfect place to spot a few birds (and rest).
- Take advantage of their catch and release fishing for kids under 16.
- Bring hand sanitizer or be prepared to wash your hands frequently. You’ll be touching or feeding plenty of animals.
- In the same vein, Don’t wear your favorite shoes. There’s lots of goose and duck poo!
- There are plenty of picnic tables.
- Make a day of it and plan to walk over to Bay Beach Amusement Park along the trail that connects the two.
- Best of all we love all the “photo ops”, as you can see from the pictures!