United States Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Jump to last reply

That's quite a mouthful, so I'll just use Tinicum for short.

Today was a gorgeous spring day, the first day that really felt like spring all the way through. Happily, this was also the day chosen for our field trip to Tinicum wetlands, the most urban of the National Wildlife sites in the US. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/john_heinz/

The refuge is host to many migrating birds, plus turtles, frogs, snakes, native bees, butterflies, foxes, deer, and so forth. We saw the fish jumping in Darby Creek, blue herons on the wing, hawks, ducks, and turtles, but no mammals except us and the other visitors there, many of them photographers intent on capturing the views of that multitude of birds.

It's a place of rare peace, bordered by Philadelphia International Airport on one end and oil refineries to the side. There are tidal and non-tidal wetlands, fields, and forest; five distinct habitats in all. At this time of year and with our very cool spring so far, the leaves are not showing, but there was some green on the ground. The dried grasses and reeds and the intricate skeletons of the trees were beautiful in the sunlight, though, and actually made the bird-watching a bit easier.

There are trails to follow and an impoundment that shimmers as you cross its bridge, a wide boardwalk with a central area to stop and view all the life on the water. Trails lead into the woods, as well, and there are observation platforms and towers. You could wander for a long time, and indeed it was difficult getting the students to leave!

The environmental experience starts in the parking lot, created to be porous to prevent runoff, and then the Education Center, built to fit the landscape over a rain pond and made of environmentally friendly materials, with solar and geothermal power use. There is an exhibit area there which explains a lot, and you can get maps and guides there as well. They have binoculars, field guides, nets, and so forth on loan for educational groups; the binoculars were a definite plus! Some of the kids had their own, but most used the center's and happily spotted birds, turtles, and each other.

There's an interesting story behind the center: Antonio Cusano, a single factory worker from the area of Tinicum, amassed a 2.5 million dollar fortune (stocks) that he left to the federal government, due to his love of country and nature. He wanted it used to help children learn about nature, and these funds were matched (by private donors) so that the award-winning education center could be built. Thank you, Mr. Cusano!

There are some pictures here that I took today: http://missalg.smugmug.com/Nature/John-Heinz-National-Wildlife/38243353_NLKt22 and even a YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3E2qQU9BiM

I recommend it! It's free, and there's plenty of parking in that porous lot, or you can get to it from the Eastwick station of the Regional Rail Line.

1 Reply |

Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

View all United States activity »
  1. 1 The reason for choosing Anti Aging serum Is Ok Or Not?
  2. 2 Escape cold in mid-Feb (4) nights from Michigan
  3. 3 Boston Uber shenanigans? Fake airport fees
  4. 4 where in 'Charleston' would you winter?
  5. 5 Chicago- The Godfrey hotel or the Hotel Burnham????
  6. 6 4 week family trip ideas
  7. 7 Dining in Manhattan
  8. 8 Did Interstates ruin travel in America?
  9. 9 ideas for roadtrip through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado
  10. 10 Road trip next summes...Suggestions ?
  11. 11 Is It Possible - One Post for MT, UT, WY in a Week?
  12. 12 From Seattle airport to the city
  13. 13 General Utah planning questions
  14. 14 A trip to the SW: Not rushed, do it all, perfect time of year.
  15. 15 Trip Report A Week in Naples Florida--Much Ado About Food (and Wine)
  16. 16 Protecting yourself when using VRBO
  17. 17 Washington and Oregon Fall vacation 2015
  18. 18 need two stop-overs from LA to Santa Fe, NM
  19. 19 Arthritis and Humidity where to live?
  20. 20 New York City Christmas Trip
  21. 21 Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, February
  22. 22 Washington - North cascades trails (Goat Lake and others) okay in winter?
  23. 23 Colorado Skiing
  24. 24 American Honeymoon in March
  25. 25 Craft Beer & Delicious Food in Vegas
View next 25 » Back to the top