The visitor center at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (JHNWR) resumed normal hours this week after funding was approved to reopen the government. The Center is now open daily from 9am to 4pm. The JHNWR website and social media channels are now being updated. GoPhillyGo is also in the process of updating our site with events happening through February at the Refuge like their annual Groundhog Day festival this Saturday.
The day begins with a groundhog hike at 9am. Visitors can also enjoy live music, games, crafts, and activities including a giant groundhog tunnel from 10am to 1pm. Three interactive presentations including beekeeping, live animals, and a Franklin Institute weather expert will take place throughout the day.
It may be winter, but the Refuge is alive with all kinds of birds and other wildlife. “The Refuge is always full of activity,” said David Stoughton visitor services manager at JHNWR. On a recent walk around the 300 acre lake known as the impoundment, we saw a great blue heron, cardinals, ducks, and even a groundhog! You can spend some time at the festival and wind your way through miles of forests, tidal marshes, and meadows.
“This is one of the largest green spaces in Philadelphia. It is a community space and a spot that is really important for wildlife,” Stoughton said. “The trails here are one of the few (nearby) spots that you can actually get out in nature, and get an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”