Last week was my husband’s birthday and I asked him what he’d like to do. He said, “Let’s go check out that Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. We drive past it all the time, but never stop.” We were so impressed with how beautiful this place was, we brought the kids back with us a couple days later.
I thought I’d share some images from our visits with you today because this place is so gorgeous and relaxing. I think it’d make a great place to visit with the kids this summer if you’re looking for some options.
To get here is simple – it’s just exit 114 off I-5. Follow the signs – it’s just a few turns off the freeway.
There are miles of trails like these that you can walk on past ponds, through forests, and out into the estuary.
I think it took us about an hour to walk all the way out to the end of this boardwalk and back! You could easily spend hours here.
This is what you’ll find at the end of the boardwalk.
There are some cool old barns right off the trail that make for a neat photo shoot!
This place is a bird lover’s paradise. Make sure to pack your camera and a pair of binoculars! If you have a bird identification or plant identification guide, bring those too.
It’s also fun to keep your eyes open for evidence of animals. What animal do you think caused this?
And of course, sometimes you’ll see animals!
On our first trip, I didn’t notice any frogs. But on the second trip with the kids, they started pointing out so many! They were everywhere!
There are many ponds throughout the refuge, perfect for spotting wood and mallard ducks. I was hoping to spy a river otter or weasel, too.
The air is full of songbirds! I seriously think I could spend a day out there by myself with a journal and some good coffee and be perfectly content.
If you have kids, you might be interested to learn that the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge has a FREE Junior Ranger Program. Ask for the booklet at the visitor’s center. If your kids complete it, they’ll receive a badge!
A few last notes: while it’s free to visit the refuge, there is a $3 parking fee. Also, we noticed many people bringing picnic lunches or snacks. This may be a good idea as it’s easy to get hungry out there walking around! Finally, there are no dogs permitted. (Sorry, Fido!)
For more information or to plan your trip, visit the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge website.
Now it’s your turn: have you been here before? Other tips about planning a visit? Other great, similar places you think my family & I should visit and report on?
Other cool spots in the Pacific Northwest: