Who knew there was so much to do in Eureka, MO? Not me! I’ve lived in Missouri my whole life but had no idea some amazing places existed until last week! My son’s kindergarten class went on a field trip for the day and we had the best time!
Our first stop was at the Endangered Wolf Center (aka Wolf Sanctuary) How I’ved lived here my whole life and never heard of this place is beyond me! It opened in 1971, so it’s not exactly new! The purpose of the center is pretty simple, it is to rehabilitate wolves but also to keep them from becoming extinct.
There are 5 different kinds of Wolves at the center. The Mexican Gray Wolf which is just beautiful. There were several enclosures with Gray wolves in them. They were quite active and came pretty close along the fence line.
The Swift Fox was hard to see, he was laying in the corner most of the time, the keeper said he was waiting for his food.
The Red Wolves weren’t too active while we were there, one of them was running around a little though. None of the Maned Wolves were out at the time of our visit.
The African Painted Dogs were very active! They reminded me of a pack of puppies running and playing. They were even jumping over each other. It must have been play time for them. They had very beautiful splotchy coats, hence the nickname of “painted”. They have huge, goofy looking ears too! They were hard to get a picture of though, they were inside their inner enclosure and we had no trouble seeing them, but my camera didn’t like shooting through 3 fences!
Like I said though, the Mexican Gray Wolves were so active and there were so many enclosures of them that it made the whole visit worth it just to see them running around. The keepers know so much about them and share wonderful stories of them. Reservations are required for tours. They offer a variety of tours for various prices.
Our next stop was the World Bird Sanctuary. This was just a short drive down the road. The World Bird Sanctuary is free and it was beautiful. There was such a variety of birds and I couldn’t believe how many there were! The first thing you come to is an outdoor viewing area, it had a good variety of birds tethered to perches. Most of the birds here have been injured and cannot be released into the wild. We saw various Hawks, Eagles, and Owls. My personal favorite is the Bald Eagle. They are just so beautiful.
We walked down the path to the Nature Center, this was an indoor facility which had a variety of creatures including a Burmese python, armadillo, hissing cockroaches, rabbit, and more! Step out back to the patio and there was a big selection of birds including a Barn Owl and Turkey Vulture among others.
We walked back up the hill and there was a ton of outdoor enclosures featuring a wide selection of birds. We saw more Bald Eagles, Chickens, Owls, and the Red Tailed Hawk which frequents our backyard. It was fabulous.
Our last stop on our day trip was a drive through Lone Elk Park, also free. I’ve passed signs for this park many times and had no idea what it actually was! This was a drive through experience. Lone Elk Park has acres and acres of land. You stay in your car for the most part but there is a few places where you are allowed to get out. You can see Bison, Elk, and Deer among other things such as birds and wild turkey.
|Herd of Bison|
I was pretty excited for this part of the trip. I have never seen Elk before so I was anxious to see some. We drove through and the first thing we came to was a large group of Bison grazing. Signs around here warn you to stay in your vehicle. We came to Elk Hollow next and did manage to see about 5 or 6 Elk. We saw a very large male first and then drove a little more and saw a female and another male, and then saw a couple more here and there. It was really neat. We kept our eyes peeled for Deer but didn’t see any. It was fun not knowing what we might see though.
Our day concluded here and we were exhausted after. It was a long day with lots of walking outdoors but it was just beautiful in the fall weather.
If you come out and stay more than the day, Eureka is home to Six Flags St. Louis. This is seasonal and closed for Winter but in the summer it is a great time!
If you visit in the Winter, be sure to check out Hidden Valley Ski Resort. I hope to make it there this winter! I’ve been wanting to for years but I was either pregnant or had a newborn and last winter was so mild the season didn’t last very long. I have never skied before but hope to learn soon!
Another places I hope to go to soon is Route 66 State Park. I actually didn’t know this existed until recently either. Everyone has heard of Route 66, so I definitely want to try and visit this historical state park.
Who knew there was so much to do in Eureka, MO. I hope next time you have a little time to get a way and want to enjoy nature at little cost you will think to come here.