With so much of the state dedicated to beautiful public lands and the great outdoors, it’s nearly impossible to find a spot that doesn’t offer great opportunities to see the wildlife native to Wisconsin. But there are a few spots that offer better options than others and are nearly guaranteed to have animals for you to see, enjoy and learn about. Check out these awesome spots for Wisconsin wildlife.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Schlitz Audubon Nature Center - Fox Point
These folks have 185 acres right on the shores of Lake Michigan and there are a number of different types of habitats. You'll definitely spot a number of birds, as well as geese and ducks, turtles, frogs and more. There are six miles of trails for different abilities as well as a large observation tower. They keep a number of animals on site, as well, including a raptor that does educational visits.
Address: 1111 E Brown Deer Road, Bayside, WI, 53217
2. Buffalo Overlook - Oneida
There's a large herd of buffalo here and while we tend to think of bison out west, they actually naturally roamed through much of the Midwest, as well. There's a viewing platform as well as a large bronze buffalo for a photo op.
Address: N7633 Cooper Road, Oneida, WI, 54155
3. International Crane Foundation
More than 15 different crane species can be found here and there is so much to see and learn. This international non-profit does work all over the world and it's a privilege to have them call Wisconsin home.
Address: E11376 Shady Lane Road, Baraboo, WI, 53913.
4. Sandhill Wildlife Area - Babcock
Here you'll find Sandhill and Whooping Cranes, beavers, a small bison herd and all kinds of other birds and animals. It's located right next to the Necedah Refuge, so there are hundreds of acres to explore. Sandhill has a car loop that makes getting out in nature easy for everyone.
Sandhill Wildlife Area is located in southwestern Wood County, approximately 25 miles south of Marshfield and 17 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids. The property headquarters and visitor’s entrance is one mile west of Babcock on County Highway X.
Address: 1715 County Highway X, Babcock, WI, 54413.
5. Horicon Marsh - Horicon
This spot happens to be the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. There are three different visitors centers and it's been named a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention of the United Nations. At 32,000 acres, it's both a state and national wildlife refuge. There are habitats for many species of birds, especially ducks, great blue herons, and Canada geese, as well as fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, muskrats and insects. Keep an eye out for beaver dams and check out their migratory bird information to find out what you can be on the lookout for and when.
Address: N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon, WI, 53032.
6. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge - Trempealeau
Take the scenic Great River Road to get here and then find a number of bird species who travel up and down the Mississippi River, from eagles to pelicans to terns.
Address: W28488 Refuge Road, Trempealeau, WI, 54661.
7. Buena Vista Grasslands Wildlife Area
This nearly 13,000 acre property supports Wisconsin's largest remnant population of greater prairie chickens. Because the site has been maintained as an open grassland, several rare and uncommon grassland bird species thrive here. The area has been designated an Important Bird Area and you should be able to find short-eared owls, sandpipers and more.
Address: 44°20′14.6″N 89°38′49.3″W
The area is bounded by CTH F, Mill Rd, Taft Ave, and Lake Rd.
8. Prairie du Chien
This one is a bit more vague than the others, but this town in southwest Wisconsin along the Mississippi River is known as a hotbed for bald eagles. They nest here and it's not unusual to see a number of them flying up and down the river as they search for fish to feed on. A few of the good spots for viewing are Blackhawk Avenue and Washington Street bridges where a large artesian well gives open water and the birds perch nearby. You can also check the trees along the Mississippi River shore near and across from Lawler Park on St. Feriole Island.
9. Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area
This massive area features a number of different wildlife habitats in 37,000 acres of wetlands, open water and islands. Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area encompasses nearly 37,000 acres and a wide variety of wildlife habitats. Here you'll find bald eagles, osprey, common loons , black terns, merlins, trumpeter swans, and over 150 other bird species. In addition, a variety of reptiles, amphibians and mammals, including deer, bear, bobcat, and timber wolves are found here. There have even been occasional sightings of moose.
The Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area is located in southern Iron County in far northern Wisconsin. Access from the south is via either U.S. Highway 51 or State Highway 13; access points are off State Highway 182 on the south side of the property or County Highway FF to the north. The property office is located on Highway 51 at the DNR Ranger Station in Mercer.