Fodor's Expert Review Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter
Home to an array of birds (most notably sandhill cranes) and small critters (like the spotted frog), as well as more elusive larger inhabitants such as foxes, deer, elk, moose, and coyotes, this 1,200-acre preserve is both a bird-watchers' paradise and an example of land restoration in action. Naturalist-led walks, showshoe tours in winter, and other environmentally friendly events are hosted by this nonprofit throughout the year. The EcoCenter is filled with interactive exhibits, such as a climbing wall with microphones emitting the sounds of the wetlands as climbers move through habitats. The facility serves as an exhibit in itself, given its eco-friendly construction, incorporating everything from recycled denim insulation to solar panels. More than 10 miles of hiking and biking trails encompass both sides of I–80.