Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 76-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created prairie, open field, and upland forest. Persisting despite the urbanization that continues to grow around it, the Reserve is home to numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Migrating songbirds and waterfowl nest and feed in its protection.
The mission of HWR is to enhance, restore, and preserve the Reserve and educate all people in the importance of conserving our natural resources while promoting the Reserve’s many recreational opportunities.
Great little place with a surprisingly extensive network of trails that make you feel far more removed from the city than you actually are. Well-constructed boardwalks wind through wooded swamp, with occasional open water where one might find wood ducks and other wildlife. There are several goodies tucked away among these trails... like a blind, a large reconstruction of an eagle nest (which looked like it was meant to be climbed in), and a playground. There are also a large number of apparently resident deer that are easily spotted. If you only have a short time, the smaller western edge of the reserve has much shorter trails that still boast some interesting things, including a stretch of open water which often hosts several species of waterfowl, a bridge spanning a small creek, and a small meadow. The staff seem to keep their bird feeders well-stocked, and Tufted Titmice are among the frequent visitors. Inside the nature center itself is a plethora of taxidermy as well as live specimens of native species. And the nice clean indoor bathrooms are always appreciated... Especially in winter!
What a wonderful area! Took a short stroll down one of the trails while waiting for the meeting to start, to my delight a deer slowly crossed 5 feet in front of me, totally relaxed and simply stopped at the trails edge to eat... There 4 others just off the edge of the trail.
Easy to find and walk trails. Very kid friendly unfortunately, you have to leave the four legged family members behind. It helps protect the reserve and the abundance of wildlife to be found there.
Love bringing my kids here. Nice well maintained. Live the turtle pond. You will see deer and able to see them pretty close.
All ages get a great experience all year long.