Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge
We figured that our little getaway couldn't be all hot tubs and stuffing our faces. We needed to do at least one non-food related activity, so we decided to check out the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge in Galloway, New Jersey.
I didn't have huge expectations for our visit. First, it was the middle of January, not a very active time for wildlife. Second, I usually prefer my wildlife refuges to be filled with sloths. I will say that I came away pleasantly surprised.
The Edwin B. Forsythe Wild Life Refuge was built to be a safe haven for various animals who required an escape from all of the city sprawl of downtown Atlantic City.
Usually there is a small entrance fee, but we happened to show up on a no entrance fee day.
We started out by milling around the information center. We like fancy displays and reading plaques.
We were asked if we'd like to watch the informational video. Of course we would! We got the whole movie room to ourselves as there were no other visitors. The movie was very well done. It gave a brief history of the refuge, then it showed what the refuge looks like through each of the seasons. It definitely made me want to come back to see the refuge during the other seasons, especially in late fall when the place gets an influx of Monarch butterflies.
We picked up a map, then hopped in the car to drive the 8-mile nature viewing loop.
There was a silent, magnificent beauty in the starkness of winter.
Everything was all neutral tones, mixed with silvery light.
I imagine that during the height of the shore season, this place can get crowded, and the cars can get backed up. With the exception of a few other cars, we had the place to ourselves, thus, we took our time to really soak it all in.
There wasn't a lot of wildlife to view in the winter. We saw otter homes, but I'm sure the otters were keeping warm and cozy. We were treated to an array of birds and geese that didn't seem bothered by the cold.
The wildlife refuge is a fantastic place for picturetakers. We were constantly pulling over to the side to snap a photo, or just to watch an interesting bird pick up a couple of snacks in the water.
I was truly surprised by how lovely the refuge was. I wondered how even more lovely it would look in spring, or summer, or fall.
The wildlife refuge has several hiking trails that I'm sure are very nice, but it was too chilly for any lengthy outdoor air exposure. Just another reason to go back.
The next time you plan a trip to the New Jersey Shore, head to the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, and take in some natural beauty before heading to the beach and the boardwalk. I will most certainly return.