Festival of the Cranes
ADA Accessibility Notes
Ages Festival is Appropriate For
Over 14,000 Sandhill Cranes along with several pairs of Whooping Cranes spend the winter each year at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. In celebration of the winter migration of the long-legged and long-necked birds, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association hosts a free two-day event filled with nature walks, live raptors, music and special programs for experienced birders and anyone who would like to learn more about birding and other wildlife that call the Refuge home.
During Festival of the Cranes, guests are invited to visit the observation building to view thousands of sandhill cranes along with several whooping cranes, ducks, geese, raptors and perhaps a bald eagle from the comfort of the heated building. There are bleachers and spotting scopes available along with volunteers and staff standing by to answer questions.
A variety of activities and educational opportunities are lined up during the two-day event at the Visitor Center including Birding 101 course, a photography presentation and special activities for children to take part in.
Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center returns with its popular educational program. During the program, the public is treated to an up-close look at hawks, eagles, falcons and owls while learning about their habitats, conservation and ecology. Three showings will be offered at the Princess Theatre during the two-day festival.
How to Get There
Follow I-65 to AL-67 N/Point Mallard Pkwy SE in Priceville. Take exit 334 from I-65. Head east on Hwy. 67 to Entrance of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on left.
Parking at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is very limited during festival hours. Visitors are encouraged to use the shuttle service from the Princess Theatre from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during both days of the festival. Shuttle wristbands allow each person that makes a purchase ($2 round trip per person), unlimited rides to and from the event site. Wristbands may be purchased in advance at the NARCOG Transit Office, located at 401 2nd Ave SE in Decatur (between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or at the shuttle access point on the day of the event. Cash only and correct change must be used.