If you are looking for a day trip away from the city, I suggest planning a trip to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.
Beginning in 1989, the now-center started as EagleWatch, Inc. as a group of volunteers sharing with visitors to Wabasha views of wintering bald eagles from an outdoor observation deck along the river.
With good reasoning, too.
Wabasha is at the confluence of the Chippewa and Mississippi River and the water there never freezes, making it home to hundreds of bald eagles.
In 2007, in a partnership with the City of Wabasha, they opened a beautiful 15,000 square foot interpretive center right on the banks of the Mississippi River.
There are two floors of interactive exhibits where you can walk into a life-size replica of a bald eagle nest, learn how to identify the native raptors, learn about environmental conservation and sustainability, educate yourself about the ecology, biology and natural history of eagles.
The interpretive center also focuses on the importance of the bald eagle as a national symbol, and its relationship to veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
The new Center also relays Native American history and the culture of the region as it relates to the bald eagle.
The center is also home to non-releasable bald and golden eagles.
Having suffered injuries that have left them unable to return to the wild, these Eagle Ambassadors spend most of their time in the eagle viewing room where volunteers answer questions.
Angel, Columbia, Was’aka and Donald get to take center stage during the educational and entertaining feeding programs.
Since the birds are tethered as opposed to behind glass or caged, visitors get to be up close with them. Get there early as the room gets pretty packed!
If you’re in or near Wabasha, be sure to take time to stop in. This is a great place to take out-of-town guests, as its a short drive from Rochester or a for a day trip from the metro area.